What is a Level Designer?
A Level Designer is responsible for creating levels within a game, where the Game Designer is the architect of the entire game, the Level Designer is tasked with the features of a level: What events take place? What does the environment look like? What does the layout look like? And how do the characters and objects interact within the level? The level designer gets to decide on the different challenges, puzzles, actions within the level they are designing.
The goal of the Level Designer is to guide players through the game's logic and provide them with the necessary information to make informed decisions. It begins with the basic structure of the game. The sequence of levels also plays a crucial role in the game's development. The first level serves as the introduction to the player, informing them about the game's objectives and character development.
Entry Level Skills & Capabilities
The following information outlines the exact skills you need to demonstrate as a Certified Digital Artist. You must be proficient and capable of completing all these skills and capabilities.
1. Communication skills
- Strong communication skills to describe and present your work with confidence
- Willing to show progress frequently and able to receive and discern feedback objectively
2. Reference Gathering
- Gathering and analyzing real-world photographic and video reference
- High level of proficiency in finding and identifying good references.
- Research game plot and subject matter to create accurate and compelling environments
3. Meta Game Design
- Create documents showcasing math skills and explanations on how systems work and pertain to the game they are creating, and theories about their balancing.
- Developing gameplay, rules and the scoring system.
- Bonus: Designing Game Economies: Understanding of a variety of mobile monetisation models in order to effectively create revenue earning content.
4. Level Structure
- Work from storyboards to create and implement a clear level structure
- Sketch and map out each level for a game
- Execute maps within gameplay systems constraints
- Display the levels created and grey boxes to see flow, verticality, and overall process.
- Bonus: Write document listing assets, objectives and layout of each level
5. Level Design
- Plot and map out sequences of action within the level: Create entry and exit points for each level
- Create level prototypes: Determine where the player will encounter characters & objects within the level.
- Execute gameplay missions and scripted events.
- Build geometry as placeholders if needed
- Render each level to 3D environment
Ability to use one or more of the following software packages:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Autodesk Maya
- Autodesk 3dsMax
- Unreal Engine
Language & Technical Proficiencies
Basic ability to use on or more of the following coding languages:
- Bonus: C++
These skills are equally important in terms of your understanding and ability to do this role. Although they are not skills or knowledge that is officially certified, it will be obvious to recruiters and Certified Digital Artist(CDA) reviewers if you have knowledge in these areas.
- Knowledge of Mathematical Principles: Linear Algebra, Geometry, Calculus
- Familiar with how a GUI works
- Familiar with coding languages such as: C#, C++, Python
- Strong analytical and problem solving skills.
- Game knowledge: Have a strong and wide-ranging interest in PC, Console and Mobile Games.
Life Skills & Communication
- Thinking Critically
- Communication Skills
- Conflict Management
- Taking initiative
- Time Management
Roles in Creative Media & Entertainment industries are quite different to traditional roles. As a Digital Artist, you need to prove your creative and technical abilities which requires an online portfolio filled with projects that showcase your work. The following projects should be included in your digital portfolio to demonstrate your skills and abilities to perform the required skills of this role.
- Complete designs of different types of games ranging from first-person shooters, puzzle games and games with complex environments
- Design a new challenge or mission for an existing game
- Design complex objects in a game which players can use
- Design a fun level using Unreal Engine and test with an audience