Portfolio Question?

My plan and progress:
I am working on a level design portfolio, and I want to have a playable level as my “main centerpiece,” showcasing that I both understand and can create a playable level with good level design, quality animations, enemy AI / player character / level event scripting. (To show that I am a multifaceted, and capable hire)

For my level, there are three enemy types:

  • ranged (bow)
  • peon (sword and shield)
  • skilled (sword and shield)

The combat mechanics play a large role, as the level is combat-centric, but animating is taking a long time, and I still have several more to work on:

  • heavy attack
  • light attack
  • draw bow - shoot arrow
  • block
  • parry
  • reaction - get hit
  • dodge left
  • dodge right
  • sidestep left
  • sidestep right

My question:
I am concerned about presentation, so I want to show quality work to increase my chances of being hired, but for the sake of time, would it be better to have the playable level (my portfolio’s centerpiece) with good/decent animations, or have non-animated basic shapes represent the player / enemies? ( cube, cone, pyramid, etc ) Would it better to have a more polished-playable-portfolio-centerpiece level, and just keep on working?

I feel that for such a combat-centric level, having non-animated basic shapes wouldn’t read as easily, and in the end, would act as a negative.

Characters as non-animated basic shapes:

  • Time spent not animating
  • Enemy type readablity - enemy types as different shapes


  • Combat readability - indecipherable enemy attacks and blocks - hard for player to react and plan accordingly
  • Game feel - feels very unfinished/placeholder, and potentially “rushed”
  • Not fully showcasing my knowledge and capabilities - no animations
  • Unfinished player / enemy controller scripts in engine

Animated characters:

  • Combat readability - animations show exactly what enemy is doing, and player can easily react and plan accordingly
  • Game feel - feels polished, and player controls well
  • Enemy type readability - silhouettes of different body shapes: I can easily swap between character rigs while using the same animations
  • Fully showcasing my knowledge and capabilities - quality animations
  • Finished player / enemy controller scripts in engine


  • Time spent animating

After competing this playable level, the other portfolio pieces that I would work on and showcase next would just be several level design sketches ( detailing enemy / weapon placements, obstacles, puzzles, etc ) with descriptions / summaries showcasing my logic behind the decisions made for those pieces. Basically, my portfolio would have one large project, and several smaller pieces that I could complete quickly, as they require no software and much less time to finish. Also, the playable level would include level design sketches and summaries as well. Thank you.