What Does A Level Designer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Level Designers

Level Designers are responsible for designing the levels that appear in certain types of video games. The Level Designer also determines the actions, character locations, and objects for each level.

Bachelor's degree
Interest Match

If you have found yourself tossing the controller at the TV after getting stuck on a video game level, you can thank the Level Designer. Some video games feature incredibly challenging and frustrating levels while others allow you to breeze past the level in seconds. Some levels also include multiple objectives, side objectives, and maps.

The person responsible for tying everything together and creating a fun level is the Level Designer. Working as a Level Designer could be a great career for those who enjoy puzzles. You get to challenge people. Here is what you should know.

What they do

Level Designers are responsible for designing the levels that appear in certain types of video games. The Level Designer also determines the actions, character locations, and objects for each level.

Use Storyboards to Create the Basic Structure of Each Level

Concept Artists or a Storyboard Artist creates storyboards to illustrate the layout and design of each level. The Level Designer uses the storyboards as blueprints for building the levels. Level Designers create multiple representations of the game levels. They first create a sketch of the level.

After the Project Manager or Producer approves the sketch, the Level Designer begins mapping out the level using development software. The level is then rendered using the game engine used to power the video game.

Maintain a List of Assets Needed for Each Level

Each level may use different assets, which include the files and images used to populate the user’s screen. The Level Designer needs to maintain a list of assets used in each level.

Some of the designs may change throughout the development process. The list of assets ensures that Artists and Designers update the necessary files.

Map Out Action Sequences and Objectives for Each Level

Level Designers plan action sequences and objectives to create challenging game levels that match the intended style of the game. The objectives may be set by the Narrative Designer, Game Designer, or Level Designer.

Each level also has specific entry and exit points for player characters and non-player characters (NPCs). The Level Designer often needs to ensure that the characters are spawned (enter the level) in areas that are not immediately visible. Keeping characters from magically appearing in front of the player helps make the game more immersive.

Collaborate with Other Video Game Developers

Most of the work completed by Level Designers involves collaboration. They work with Storyboard Artists, Concept Artists, and Asset Artists to understand the visual style and direction of the levels.

Level Designers also work with the leads of each team to ensure that the level meets specific criteria. For example, the Level Designer may need to ensure that players encounter specific situations to move the storyline forward.

Edit Levels Based on Feedback

Level Designers typically need to tweak and modify their designs before the video game launches. They may receive feedback from Producers, Project Managers, QA Testers, or Beta Testers. Level Designers make changes based on the feedback, such as making the level more challenging or easier.

What is the job like


The Work Is Fulfilling

Many Level Designers are fulfilled by the work that they complete, as they enjoy creating levels that challenge or entertain players.

You Get to Work on One Project at a Time

Level Designers rarely need to multi-task. They often focus on a single task to completion, which helps limit the stress of the job.

You Can Express Yourself Creatively

Designing video game levels is a good creative outlet as you get to design missions and objectives involving a variety of moving parts, such as different characters and environments.

You Learn New Things from Talented People

Level Designers work with a diverse range of talented individuals, which provides the chance to continually learn new things, such as techniques for better level design.


You May Work Long Hours

Leading up to the release of a video game, Level Designers may need to put in extra time and long hours, which can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Coding Can Be Tedious

Level Designers work with the latest development software but they still need to spend a lot of time typing tedious code.

Where they work

Video Game Publishers
Software Development
Motion Picture Industry
Video Game Developers

Level Designers primarily work for video game development companies in the video game industry. However, some Level Designers may use their skills to seek work outside the industry, such as working for a software development company.

Level Designers are also employed by motion picture production companies in the entertainment industry. Architectural and engineering firms occasionally hire Level Designers to create computer-generated maps and designs.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Programming and Computers in High School

Aspiring Level Designers should develop basic computer and programming skills to prepare for college. Motivated individuals may use the Internet to start learning how to program video games and use video game development engines.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Level Designers should earn a Bachelor’s Degree. Employers do not typically have a minimum educational requirement for Level Designers. However, this field is highly competitive. Earning a Bachelor’s Degree has become standard for many video game professionals.

Level Designers often major in Graphic Design, Video Game Design, or Computer Science. They need to develop programming skills and understand how to use video game design engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 4 (UE4).

Step 3: Take a Level Design Course

Take a level design course during college to gain specific training on the steps involved in designing video game levels. A level design course may also be included in a Game Design degree program.

Step 4: Get an Entry-Level Job in the Video Game Industry

Level Designers often start in smaller roles, such as Quality Assurance Tester or Junior Programmer. Some studios also employ Junior Level Designers and Assistant Level Designers.

Step 5: Build a Portfolio and Apply for Jobs

Maintain a portfolio of your work and start applying for Level Designer jobs. Your portfolio should include the best examples of levels that you have designed, which may include levels that you have designed for independent projects.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Level Designers should be creative as they need to come up with interesting and original ways to challenge players. Working as a Level Designer also requires patience as designing and mapping out levels involves many steps and a lot of work.

Level Designers are often detail-oriented individuals as they need to keep track of a variety of details when designing levels. Most Level Designers are also ambitious due to the tight deadlines and demands of the job.

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