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Tell me more about the Level Designer...

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Hi there!, I’m working on an article about the level designer. It is not just about making the article, but for me and to others, it is about understanding this function. I sometimes get contacts telling me that students mostly don’t even know how many functions are out there (game industry) and let alone the whole understatement around it. At the other hand I also get to hear that schools/educations are not up to date or dropping half of the information. Dropping information is not that bad, since a student needs to do its own research to. But hey! Where can you find the information? … right!.. at EFG (soon). Now tell me about the function ‘level designer’. If you’re not a level designer, you can always share your experience, which you have or had with a level designer. I'd like to know your experience! You can explain, inform, give advice or even complain about it. Appreciate the reply! Thank you

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1. A level designer has to be able to think 4-dimensionally - in terms of TIME. A level is a location a player is supposed to spend a certain amount of time to complete the content in that location. The player's path through the level is basically linear because the player can only be in one place at a time, although that linear path may loop if the player returns to the same location later. The goal is to have the player experience all the content in the level for as much time as is fun, but not too much time so they get bored.

2. A level designer has to understand player psychology. Fun level design is essential to the fun of the game as a whole. The level designer needs to understand the fine line between teasing the player (building good suspense) and frustrating the player (bad). It is the level designer's overall challenge to design levels where they player will not get stuck or lost, yet are not too easy.

3. Level design consists of these sub-areas:
- Design of terrain, architecture, and the player's path through the physical level. This may include physical challenges, such as jumping, or timing puzzles.
- Distribution of enemies throughout the level.
- Placement of story information throughout the level.
- Design of puzzles and placement of them and their pieces throughout the level.
- Placement of utilities: save spots, safe areas where enemies cannot follow the player, healing spots, magic recharging spots, merchants, banks, quest-givers and quest-turn-ins.

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Thanks for the information!

Perhaps this post is not on the good place for the next question;
I'd like to know some of the experience a level designer has in the game industry. Probably it will be a bit tough to find them and let them reply, but here are some smaller questions he/she could respond on.
- what is your specific role in your team as a level designer
- things you like to see become better while working on a level
- how much influence do you have when the first concept of a level is being made
- what would you like to tell students more about this function

If you do respond, please close the reply with your name and company you work (this is not comitted)

Appreciate, the reply.

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