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Xtapolapocetl

What should I learn for level development

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Currently I am interested in level design, so I have been using Source SDK to mod levels (because all the assets are already made) and I have been thinking about learning Unreal Editor. My ultimate goal is to be a level designer for a game company, although I know I will have to work my way up in the company in order to get to that position.

My question is that a lot of times when I see the job descriptions for level designers they want a familiarity with something like 3ds or Maya. So will I have to learn how to model in order to be a level designer? The reason why I am confused is because I am not sure if a level designer job is really meant for a 3d artist, or if it is a separate skill set all together and knowing Source SDK, or Unreal is enough. I am not so sure I like modeling very much.

Thanks to all that help me answer this question.

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To build their level geometry, many game studios don't use a level editor like Valve Hammer Editor or UnrealEd -- a lot of studios use Max/Maya.

As a designer, you wouldn't actually be modelling pretty artwork in Max/Maya, you'd be making "grey box" layouts of level meshes.

An artist would take your greybox layouts and actually make the pretty version of the level from it.
[hr]As for having to 'work your way up' - Design isn't "above" other roles, it's next to them. You don't work "up" to a completely different role. You might start in a junior design role and then work up to an intermediate design role...

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