How bad do the level designers have it?

I see programers saying that after a few games, creating games becomes boring. Is this because of the work times, or does it just get boring?
Also, what is the situation with level designers?
What kind of pay and work time do they have? How does a LD get in? do they have schools for them too, or is it the portfolio that matters?

devvanabee's picture

Oh, and, could you answer the same for game designers?

Rahnem's picture

Well if you do anything for a significant period of time it becomes somewhat boring. So far level design has been challenging and rewarding job. I certainly could not see myself being a programmer for any significant period of time. I haven't really been in the trenches long enough to comment on its long-term appeal however.

From my experience, level design, 3d art and 2d art depends entirely on your portfolio. Do not expect some game dev course to make it any easier to land a job. For level design in particular, you need to learn the skills yourself.

Big no-no asking about game designers. You will need at least 5 - 10 years experience in the industry before you can even think of achieving that title.

devvanabee's picture

I see. I was under that impression.

So you are saying that I could get in to the industry solely based on my portfolio? I mean, I culd just come in with a degree in medicine and get a job because I have a good portfolio?

And what is the work time/salary of level designer(and is that actually a good salary - Life expenses obviously warry)

Rahnem's picture

When I mean "portfolio" a level design specific portfolio, like an art portfolio. Usually consists a bunch of levels you have created to show your skills as a level design. Being highly educated, while that is a obvious bonus, won't get you a job in this industry, unless you are a programmer. My university degree is really just a $18,000 US work visa.

How much depends where you get a job. From what I hear junior level designers get $35k to $40k. If you work in the US you can get twice that amount.

devvanabee's picture

"When I mean "portfolio" a level design specific portfolio, like an art portfolio. Usually consists a bunch of levels you have created to show your skills as a level design."
I got that.

And how much hours of work do you do in a week? Do you have a 60h+ week like programers?
What additional skills are good for a level designer? Do you do the scripting(I'm talking scripted events that are unique to a level)?

Rahnem's picture

The hours really depend on you. Most companies adopt a milestone approach, so as long as the level is done on time you can work as much or as little as you need to. However expect to pull some long hours during crunch time.

Being able to model with a 3D package like 3D Max, Maya, Lightwave, XSI is almost a must these days. Being able to create textures using photoshop is also *very* beneficial. It depends on the company whether you will be required to do scripting. Some programming experience definitly won't hurt.

devvanabee's picture

That's all OK. I have some knowladge of 3DMax, probably not nearly enough, but I'll learn.
Thank you very much for answering my questions.

Chaos's picture

I would read that web page with all its good info

Kuldaen's picture

I think with programmers like most people, almost any work we do eventually becomes boring. Its more the fact that we lose interest if there no more challenge. As long as the industry gives me challenges to overcome, I'll keep making games. I have to admit I even revel in the long work hours if I have an interesting problem to solve. But if I had to say do the same old AI all the time, I'd eventually give up and move on, there are many other industries for programmers. Programmers want to solve problems, once things become routine we tend to get restless. Boredom is not just the realm of programmers, can you imagine say an artist modelling the same sort of character for years or only doing unwrapping all the time? [xx(].


Rahnem's picture

If I had to do UV mapping all the time I think I would take myself out the back and shoot me. [xx(]

I hate UV mapping.