Mohammad Alavi is responsible for some of the most intense and memorable campaign levels in Call Of Duty history, but he almost never entered the industry at all. He was on the path to becoming a doctor, earning bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology. On the side, he enjoyed making maps for firstperson shooters, starting with Duke Nukem 3D and continuing with Quake, Half-Life and Counter-Strike. As a part of the Internet’s then-thriving modding scene, he soon became a contributor to some of the more prominent mods of the Half-Life era, including the original Natural Selection and the ill-fated Half-Life: Nightwatch. But the idea of working on games professionally never struck him as viable.Then, just as he had sent his last applications to medical school, an issue of PC Gamer magazine changed his life. The issue contained a feature on modders and mod teams, and prominently featured were screenshots of Alavi’s maps. “I’m flipping through this magazine, and all of a sudden I see all my levels,” he recalls. “I never took it as a serious career path; I didn’t think I was good enough. Once I saw that, though, I guess it gave me confidence.”On the next page, Alavi saw an advertisement for Florida’s Full Sail University. “I got my acceptance to medical school, but I lied to my parents – I told them I didn’t get in. I was like, ‘Well, I didn’t get into medical school, so here’s a backup plan!’” he laughs. “They were pretty pissed for a while there.”After graduating from Full Sail with a degree in game design, Alavi moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding employment. He ended up getting hired by Infinity Ward just after the studio had completed Call Of Duty. “It was the combination of the programming I’d learned in school and all the stuff I’d done on those Half-Life mods that got me the job,” he explains.