|Study level:||bachelor’s degree|
|Recommended high school specialisation:||Artistic or Economic|
|Beginner salary:||€ 1,750|
|Salary after experience:||€ 3,350|
|FAP code :||U1Z82|
« Their job is to build the basic ‘gameplay‘ of the levels. Level design is an extremely vast field whether we are working on a puzzle game, a platform game or a dance game. Nevertheless, a common core consists of understanding the mechanics of the game you are working on and knowing how to use them in order to create a pleasant game experience for the player, » underlines Simon Chocquet-Le Roy, a level designer for Wild Sheep Studio.
The responsibilities of a level designer
« A level designer must be perfectly aware of the development constraints that may be faced when implementing their design. They must even feed off these constraints so that their proposal is as coherent as possible. Just like a game designer, they should not be afraid to go back and redo their work », clarifies Paul-Etienne Bardot.
They work under a game designer and a producer within a team with which they develop game levels. Their responsibilities are:
- To anticipate the player’s behaviour
- Add technical constraints
- To develop level prototypes
- Integrate visual elements (objects, sets) and stage them
- To create modding so that the player can make their own personalised level
- To do tests while respecting the graphic and artistic coherence, as well as the playability
The skills of a level designer
For a video game to be as fun as possible, a level designer will have skills learned through level designer training, such as mastering:
- 2D and 3D prototyping software
- Web technologies
- Level editing tools (UnrealEd, Bungie’s, etc.)
- Scripting languages
« A level designer must have a good understanding of game engines (from a user point of view), know how to take a step back, have patience, be curious and critical about their work. Obviously, a minimum of technical skills is an undeniable bonus, because we can often be required to script specific behaviours for a sequence of play, as well as having some artistic bases to have consistency in our work which makes life easier for level artists, » adds Simon Chocquet-Le Roy.
Two pieces of software that a level designer must know: 3DS Max and UnrealEd:
The qualities of a level designer
In addition to their skills, « a level designer is a curious person, interested in other games, but also other disciplines, who creates designs consistent with the game world and that are interesting from the player’s point of view », emphasises Paul-Etienne Bardot.
Working as a level designer then requires unavoidable qualities, such as:
- A good relationship
- A sense of organisation
- A real work ethic
The advantages and disadvantages of the profession
- High international mobility
- Development of artistic and imaginative senses
- Profession based in passion
- Mastery of many skills
- Average salary
- Hours aren’t counted
- You must be able to manage stress
- A high workload
Studies to become a level designer
Today, in a constantly evolving sector, it isn’t easy to join a studio without qualifications. You will need to have software skills and other techniques. This is why orienting yourself towards level designer training is fundamental.
A bachelor’s degree to work as a level designer will be the minimum that you’ll need to obtain. It is advisable to continue studies in a master’s degree program to improve your digital techniques and design skills. Long before this, choosing a high school diploma with a speciality in economics or literature is a must.
« For my part, I was interested in many areas of video game creation and in the end level design is a central profession during the production of a game. It is placed at the crossroads of many other careers, which is exciting when you are interested in a lot of things. So I first did a Technical University Diploma in Computer Science during which I was able to train in programming. After that I joined Supinfogame (now Rubika), » says Simon Chocquet-Le Roy.
We estimate that more than 2,500 students are training to become level designers among all schools and universities in France.
A bachelor’s degree will give you the basics of the profession both technically and artistically. But also, it will allow you to acquire cultural knowledge of video games. You will learn the following:
- The basics of programming
- Level design
- 2D and 3D software
- Dynamic drawing
- Motion design
- Game engines
- Video game culture
- The economics of video games
- Employment law
Then, in the MBA, you will deepen your knowledge, whether in game art or technical artistry. In each specialisation, there are common modules:
- Project management
- Game design
Then depending on the diploma, you will learn:
- Computer development of a video game
- Mastery of universes (lighting, character design, video creation, etc.)
The G.Art school at Gaming Campus offers a digital graphic designer bachelor’s degree after a high school diploma or through admission on record. Gaming culture, digital and technological tools (graphics software, video creation, dynamic drawing, lighting, materials, etc.), and communication and management are on the menu. Internships add to the three-year training course.
Some of our modules are taught in English
After, it is possible to choose the MBA game artist course, which teaches coherent and immersive graphic universes. Or the MBA Technical artist is possible; this course gives students the tools to play the role of a technical expert while learning graphic data. There is a six-month internship for each course at the end of the first year, and the fifth year is done via work-study placements or internships.
Finally, choosing our school means being immersed in the world of video games throughout the training course. This makes you able to directly enter the world of work upon graduating. You will be accompanied by professionals and teachers who are experts in their field. Jean Mariotte, the co-founder of Smart VR Studio, Nicolas Chaunu, the CEO of Tuto.com or Franck Weber, a graphic designer and many others will bring their perspective and expertise.
You will also be able to develop projects, including creating a mobile game.
Note that our diplomas are registered with the Lyon rectorate and were distinguished in 2020 by the globally recognised rating agency EEA Eduniversal as innovative diplomas of the year. And that our MBAs are certified under the RNCP Title, level 7.Learn more
Register for training
You can apply to study at G. Art without going through the Parcoursup system. It would be best to first have a general or technological high school diploma to be admitted to the bachelor’s degree. And you’ll need a completed bachelor’s degree to be admitted to one of the two MBAs.
So to start, you must complete the application form directly on the school website.
We are committed to ensuring that all our students follow several internship periods throughout their education. They allow you to learn a trade, to evolve in a professional environment, and internships are also an opportunity to put the lessons learned at school into practice.
For the bachelor’s degree, there are two-month internship periods in the 1st and 2nd year. Then there is a three month period in the last year.
For the MBA, there is a six months internship period in the first year. And in the last year, you’ll do an internship, fixed-term contract or a work-study contract, as well as classes.
The salary of a level designer
A junior-level designer earns an average of 22,000 euros gross per year. After a few years of experience, their salary can reach 37,000 euros. If they work independently or as a salaried employee, their salary might vary slightly.
In San Francisco, the salary of a level designer is between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 annually. In Montreal, salaries are between 40,000 and 70,000 dollars.
Opportunities for a level designer
After a few experiences in the working world, they can take on responsibilities and move up to lead level manager or even creative director. They can also become game designers.
Where can you work?
By virtue of their skills in video game production, a level designer can work in many studios in France and abroad and in the audiovisual sector. It is a sought-after profession around the world.
Some examples :
- Video game studios (Motion Twin …)
- Video game studios for mobile games (SLF Interactive…)
- Serious games studio (Succubus …)
To find your first job, studio websites have a « job offers » category and will allow you to apply.
There are also specialised gaming job sites, and more general sites, such as:
- Gaming job
- Welcome to the jungle
How can you become a freelance level designer?
Like all video game design careers, level design is no exception to the rule. They too can work from home, on their computer for clients on the other side of the globe. Freelance level designers can work this way after having had some experience in games. It will always be easier to apply for a studio than to start freelance without references after school. Demonstrating discipline, work ethic, expertise and tenacity is fundamental.
How can you become a level designer?
When a player levels up, advances in the game, drives a car, grabs an object, etc., all their actions result from the work of a level designer. They are a link in the production chain of a video game; they apply their technical skills. To become a level designer, it is, therefore, necessary to do a bachelor’s degree in digital graphic design, like that at the G. Art school, after a high school diploma or through admission on record. It is a diploma that allows you to obtain all the knowledge you’ll need regarding gaming culture and digital tools. It is also a basis for moving to the next level, onto an MBA game artist or technical artist. Two training courses which are done over two years.