Video Games

Specificity of Level Design and Why it is Not the Same with Game Design

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Specificity of level design and why it is not the same with game design

A level designer is a specialist in the gaming industry who is responsible for creating levels in gaming products. Sometimes a level designer is also called a game designer, but this is not entirely correct.

The game designer creates the game entirely from A to Z. He comes up with a concept, thinks over the game mechanics, determines the rules of the game, the capabilities of gamers, etc. became more and more complex, there was a need for a separate specialization.

This is how the profession of level designer appeared, which originally had other names – game mapping (creating game maps) and environment design (environment design). The main tool of a specialist in the field of level design is the level editor developed by programmers, with the help of which the creation and placement of locations, the implementation of scenarios for missions, the location, and appearance of buildings, etc.

The Specifics of The Level Designer Work

Since the level designer works with the built-in editor, it is clear from this that he starts to work when the game is almost ready. At the same time, the work of such a specialist is quite complex and capacious, because he needs to work out and implement exciting gameplay, natural lighting, appropriate sound, and special effects, etc.

The working process takes place in a limited time environment, and it will not work to stretch the creation of one game map for six months, since it is economically unprofitable.

The functions of a Gaming Level Specialist are highly dependent on the company they work for. If it is a small studio, then the list of responsibilities will be much longer than in large companies. Accordingly, a level designer should have more experience and technical skills to perform tasks well. But due to the fact that one person is working on creating a level from beginning to end, the final result looks more harmonious.

In large corporations, level designers are usually divided into separate areas of work. For example, one person deals exclusively with gameplay, the second specialist sets up artificial intelligence, the third works out the landscapes, geometry, and architecture of the game world. Due to this approach, even dimensional and complex maps are created quite quickly, and there are fewer requirements for individual specialists since they are focused on performing tasks of the same type. Sometimes this approach is practiced in the mobile game development process, if the game is large-scale.

Specificity of level design and why it is not the same with game design

When Creating Levels, they Go Through the Following Stages in Stages

  • At the initial stage, they come up with what the game locations should be, depending on the general concept of the project. A clear plan must be developed, describing the details of the gameplay, details of objects, visual and sound effects, etc. Sketches, videos, text descriptions are prepared.
  • The next step is to create a prototype. It demonstrates what the level will look like in the end. At this stage, the overall impression is assessed, the gameplay is tested, and certain points are corrected. Often in the first version, the details of the game space are not yet worked out, but key ideas are tested.
  • After testing and making all the necessary changes to the prototype, work on the details begins with the 3D artists. At this stage, the level is filled with all the necessary objects, and the game physics is polished.
  • Then the results achieved by the individual specialists are combined and the final version is obtained with the adoption of game geometry, exposed lighting added special effects, voice acting, and optimization carried out so that the game consumes as few resources as possible.
  • Well, at the final stage, active testing takes place to identify and fix bugs.

What Skills a Level Designer Should Have

  • Possession of programs for working with images and three-dimensional graphics.
  • Photoshop, 3Ds Max, Maya.
  • Good knowledge of major game engines and systems: Unreal Engine 4, CryENGINE 3, UDK, Unity.
  • Experience with SpeedTree (included in the UDK) to create terrain, trees, leaves, grass.
  • Knowledge of the principles of building a gaming space.
  • Understanding the basic elements of game design.
  • Ability to generate levels to confront players (PvP modes).
  • Experience in playing multiplayer shooters, RPG, MOBA.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the profession

Working As a Level Designer Has The Following Advantages

  • it is interesting, creative, and requires relentless movement forward;
  • the profession is in great demand, and therefore no problems with employment are foreseen;
  • wages are quite high, but more on that below.

But With Such Obvious Advantages, There Were Some Drawbacks

  • the level-designer profession is rather laborious;
  • the work schedule is usually irregular;
  • often have to work in conditions of constant lack of time;
  • It is very difficult for beginners with no experience to get a good start right away.

Interested in mobile game development? Learn about mobile app game development cost.

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