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Level designer course - 4 month before the registration

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I have just finished a 2 years’ formations in computer science, so I have 6 months of nothing (I repeat a semester, that's why I finish on February) and I have the opportunity to try to enter in a level designer formation, this formation prepares to be a level designer and a game designer assistant, so the course is cut in two part, one for learn the basics of game design and the other for learn the level design. The registration is in two parts, the first one is to make a portfolio for June and send it to the university, the second one is to make an interview.


So I decided to spend my next four months working on my portfolio. And that's why I make this post, I’m a complete beginner in the level design field so I begin by looking at some job ads. The first thing that I saw was obviously that you had to be able to use a level editor, like Unity Udk, etc... But I was quite surprised that the studios not looking for someone who uses a level editor in particular, I guess it's because if you master one level editor you can use the others easily (like with programming languages in some way). I have never really touch a level editor before and I read that unity was one of the most easier to use for the beginner. So I will begin by learning how to use Unity, do you know some well-made tutorials?


The second thing that was quite interesting in those ads was that they search for people who have an artistic sense. I suppose that they want someone who know how to bring out some element of the level by using lights, placements, etc ... So I would like to know if you have some reading advise on the subject. I would like to read about game design too, I think that I know basically what is game design (ways to make player learn things and to give him the envy to continue playing) but I can't really see what is a typical game designer week, what are his tasks on the development of the game. For me the biggest part of the game designer work is in the conception phase. The final objective will be to create concept and prototype and so I would like to **read about ways to present a game concept and prototype** too.


For conclude I would like to know you've try to do an online game jam, if it was a good experience. I think it will be the best way to work my skills and my English.

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This is a book a bought myself and found quite interesting: http://www.amazon.com/Level-Design-Games-Compelling-Experiences/dp/0321375971/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1454425955&sr=8-5&keywords=level+design


Will not tell you how to use the Unity editor... actually, the book might be so old that Unity wasn't a thing yet when it was written. But it will give you a good introduction into the steps needed to plan and layout your levels before even touching the editor, and what the general expectations are of a level designer.



As for editors being more or less the same.... yes and no. I can have a lot of expieriences with Unity, some with Unreal Engine 4 and some with other engines.

While the core principles are the same (all of them allow you to bake out a lightmap SOMEHOW, and so on), the process to achieve these common goals differ, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.


I would guess either you didn't read the job adverts correctly and they DID put the engine they want their level designers to be fluent in somewhere, the studio treats level design as an entry position (many do), and expect people starting as level designers to just have basic skills (which is true for anyone without many years of working expierience), and beeing in need of a lot of training anyway....

Or they expect YOU to put in the legwork and find out what engine the studio is using mostly. Some studios make this information available, and if a studio is only using Unity for all their projects, and are looking for a level designer, you can bet they expect their level designer to be able to use the Unity editor.


Should they put that information into the job advert? Yes of course. Would that one additional sentence cost them anything more than the 2 seconds to type it? No, most probably not.

But that is the job market for you. Compared to other sh*t you will have to put up with, this is a rather small thing.



Now, I would personally encourage you to give Unity a try. For one, its one of the easiest to learn fully featured 3D game engines out there. You could start with simpler engines of course, but Unity is not that much harder to get into really. Then there is the fact that it is really used by professional studios, and actually by quite a lot of them.


The last point would be that it is incredibly easy to throw together a small prototype in Unity once you have some expierience...



Other engines have their own strengths, but are often harder to get into.

Unreal Engine 4 for example will give you some additional options and much better graphics out of the box, but with a much steeper learning curve. And don't even try to get into some of the other big engines like CryEngine... I would say without a team of engineers developing tools to replace the dated editor, CryEngine was unusable back 3 years ago when I last tried it.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Moving to Job Advice section, which seems a better fit.  Check out the FAQs, since many apply to you.



Answers to most of those questions can be found in the links in section 1 and section 3 of the FAQ.  Those explain what the job is, what backgrounds are helpful, what education is typical for those jobs, what to look for in schools, and what to avoid in schools.




So I will begin by learning how to use Unity, do you know some well-made tutorials?


There are many tutorials, and many good books.  


I recommend the first thing you do is jump in and follow the official getting started guide.  Then decide if you need an additional book or tutorial for a specific topic.


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