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How Do I Become a Level Designer?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

If you want to become a level designer, you should typically ensure you have a strong background in art and design, as well as the skills necessary to design levels in a video game. While it is not always essential, you should definitely consider developing strong artistic abilities that may be needed in level design. You should learn traditional artistic skills, as well as those used in game development, including modeling three-dimensional (3D) objects, texturing, and lighting. Also, you should learn about scripting, which requires an understanding of computer programming, and develop your skills using game editors, engines, or other platforms.

A level designer is someone who works at a video game company creating the actual levels that players experience during the game. Some of the first skills you should refine to become a level designer are your artistic abilities. Even if you are not already a great artist, you can still develop your abilities through extensive practice and research or classes in drawing and design in general. You might consider a program in art or game design at a school, though this is not absolutely necessary.

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Woman posing

Once you have these basic artistic skills down, then you should begin learning the computer art abilities you need to become a level designer. While level designers and environmental artists are not necessarily one and the same, many companies often hire individuals to fulfill both roles. This means you may need to learn about 3D modeling, texturing, lighting, and animation. All of these artistic abilities can help you better realize your own vision in games and make it easier for you to work as part of a team once you become a level designer.

In addition to artistic ability, you also need to develop the ability to scrip events within a game engine to become a level designer. Scripting can be handled in different ways by various engines, though it is often done through creation of scripts using programming language and techniques. This means that you need to learn about programming and understand basic programming skills to be able to script events in a game environment. You may, in fact, find that your scripting abilities are more important than artistic ones, though this depends on the company you wish to work for.

After you have mastered these various abilities and skills, you should begin creating a portfolio to demonstrate your work and help you become a level designer. One of the best ways to do this is to use a game editor for a popular computer game, or a game engine that is provided for new developers who want to begin working in game design. You can use these programs to make your own levels, which demonstrates your abilities to prospective employers. These levels can be released to the public online, which may be noticed by potential employers already working in game design, though you should also contact companies directly to find opportunities to become a level designer.

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