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How to Become a Video Game Level Designer

How to Become a Video Game Level Designer

Video game level designers essentially provide players with an ultimate goal throughout playing the game. They typically begin with concepts and sketches of how they want the game to progress, then use level editing tools (created by Tools Programmers) in their production in order to eliminate the need to alter a lot of code. Common software programs used by level designers include Maya, 3DS MAX, and various Photoshop suites. Designing levels also includes designing missions and tasks. They work closely with texture artists, cinematic artists and audio designers.

It’s common for video game level designers to focus on one particular level or stage of the game. They begin with a map of the level, starting their focus on large-scale features and ending with the minute details. All factors of the level are determined, including environmental or weather conditions, available weapons, missions within the level, scoring system, time limits, etc. Once they have a detailed outline of the entire level, video game level designers then work with animators, texture artists and sound designers to add more dimensions. Video game level designers are also responsible for any “cut scenes” in their level, in which they enlist the help of cinematic designers.

There are a variety of different types of levels, including circular, arena, and linear. Circular levels eliminate dead ends with a focus on unrestricted movement. There are typically a lot of entrance and exits for players to use. Arena levels are typically where fighting is designed to take place. There’s generally a central, open area at the center of multiple small paths, all of which lead to the arena. Linear levels are used to progress the game. They do this by offering few path options, essentially creating a roadmap and forcing the player to move to specific areas.

Video Game Level Designer Salary*

That average video game level designer makes around $82,000 per year, but those with ample experience working for a prominent company earn an annual salary of $98,000 on average.

*According to

Get information on game design degrees using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your game design degree.

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