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Junior Level Designer

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Similar Titles

  • Associate Level Designer
  • Assistant Level Designer
  • Level Design Assistant.

Tools

Most Used:

  • Unity
  • Unreal Engine including Blueprints
  • Excel
  • Miro

Good to Know:

  • JIRA or Trello
  • Slack or Microsoft Teams

Role Summary

The Junior Level Designer focuses on creating the spaces and settings where gameplay takes place. This involves using tools like game engines (e.g., Unity or Unreal Engine) to construct the levels, determining the layout of paths, placing obstacles or items, and setting up interactions that players will encounter.  Their primary responsibility is to design game levels that offer players a coherent and engaging experience that stays true to the design team's core vision for the game. This involves planning the characters, objects, actions, layouts, and places that are essential for each game section considering factors like player progression, difficulty curves, and narrative pacing.

As a crucial component of the game development team, they need a comprehensive understanding of gameplay elements and how they interact within the game environment, this includes knowledge of player behaviour, level pacing, and the effective use of space to guide for guidance . Their role is focused on ensuring the game space is functional and aligns with gameplay requirements. They aim to design areas that are not only navigable but also engaging for the player, whether that's through exploration, combat, puzzles, or other game mechanics.

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Knowledge

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The specific understanding around software tools and techniques, terminology and the responsibilities of the role. 
  • Has a grasp of basic game design principles, which are foundational for creating levels.
  • Familiarity with game development engines such as Unity or Unreal and an enthusiasm to learn more.
  • Awareness of the role and responsibilities of a Level Designer within a collaborative development environment.
  • Familiarity with game theory basics, aiming to create engaging and balanced levels.
  • Insight into elementary visual scripting tools, especially platforms like Unreal Blueprints.
  • Familiarity with real-life architectural concepts.
  • Understanding of Excel's capabilities, primarily for data handling and basic analysis.
  • Awareness of interdisciplinary boundaries, ensuring designs are practical within art, programming, and production resources.
  • Basic understanding of concepts like composition, leading lines, and space planning.

Skills

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The specific proficiency around technical skills, the types of creative and problem solving abilities, and areas of communication and adaptability.
  • Ability to design engaging and coherent level layouts that enhance gameplay.
  • Ability to work in a team setting, promoting a collaborative atmosphere.
  • Capable of contributing to critical thinking discussions and bringing fresh perspectives to the team.
  • Foundational skills in verbal and written communication to ensure clear exchanges of ideas.
  • Capable of applying feedback from playtesting to improve level design.
  • Capable of supporting the creation and maintenance of design documentation.
  • Has a basic understanding of Excel, aiding in data management tasks.
  • Ability to identify potential issues in design and participate in brainstorming solutions.
  • Capable of managing tasks to ensure the work is done within timelines.

Behaviour

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In relation to the capabilities around working within the team, and the expectations when it comes to professionalism or commitments to the role and company culture.
  • Exhibits empathy towards player experiences and is receptive to team feedback.
  • Shows a genuine interest and commitment to the game creation process.
  • Eagerness to learn about player behaviour, using insights to inform design choices.
  • Maintains a willingness to adapt designs based on feedback and iterative processes.
  • Embodies a cooperative spirit, striving to be a harmonious team player.
  • Interest in contributing to critical thinking discussions and bringing fresh perspectives to the team.
  • Conveys thoughtfulness in communicating design ideas and feedback.
  • Demonstrates a keenness for continuous learning and self-improvement.
  • Displays openness to feedback and a readiness to incorporate constructive criticisms.
  • Holds a methodical approach to tasks, ensuring tasks are approached systematically.
  • Possesses time management skills, ensuring that work is done in a timely manner.
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What to expect in the day to day duties:
  • Supporting the creation and spatial arrangement of levels, ensuring they are coherent with the gameplay mechanics and narrative.
  • Plays a key role in assisting with the scripting of quests and encounters, consistent with the game's technical and design aspirations.
  • Tasked with helping in the development of gameplay objects using visual scripting to enhance player interactions.
  • Responsible for creation and maintenance of level design documentation, including 2D layouts & beats flow.
  • Assigned with collaborating within the game engine, seeking guidance from senior developers to understand game balance and design.
  • In charge of aiding in the design and structure of level layouts within the game engine, ensuring they align with the broader design intent and project-specific metrics.
  • Committed to assisting in scripting essential game objects and actors for a seamless player experience.
  • Encouraged to share level design ideas with the team, bringing a fresh perspective to gameplay experiences.
  • Responsible for participating in playtesting sessions to gather feedback for level refinement.
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Interview One

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Games (Game Design).

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

From school, I went on to vocational School (Graphic Design), then a short internship at a mobile game studio, University (Bachelor of Arts in Games) and a lot of event volunteering & networking.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

Internships.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

Landing an internships, building a meaningful portfolio, finding a specialization and gaining experience in it.

Interview Two

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

Not provided by my studio, but I took a Design course prior to being hired by my studio in order to grow my Design fundamental knowledge.

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

I transferred from roles in the tech industry. I worked in specialized 3D roles that used non-proprietary software.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

Scripting knowledge specifically for level design, having clean and readable level design layouts. Solid knowledge of Game Design Principles to help with this.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

Level Design is not equal to Level Art. I had this misconception years ago when I was in college and just starting out in Level Design. Level Design is taking the mechanics of the game and making a fun experience out of it. It could be taking all the movement mechanics and creating a obstacle course. It could be taking combat mechanics and making challenging enemies/boss fight encounters. It could be a story-driven game that requires the players to make difficult narrative decisions. For your portfolio, do not try to have as many projects as possible; that gives off a vibe that a candidate is unfocused and does not know what they want; I highly discourage others from becoming a Jack of All Trades. Pick a specialty and have all (if not, most) portfolio projects showcase that specialty. I wanted to be a level designer so I got rid of all non-level design-related projects and had 3 projects only on my portfolio that were strictly level design.

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