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Presentation - Portfolio and Tips Help about Level Design


Pyrokart_PT

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Hi guys, My name is Diogo, I'm 30 years old and I'm from Portugal. After investigating a lot about Level Design I found this forum that I think is fantastic.

I've been an interior designer for about 7 years, but the taste for games has always been huge, but in my country the game industry is still quite green, only with small companies and start ups. That's why and because of the "strength" of my parents, I never decided to invest in a career linked to games at the beginning. However, after 7 years in interior design, the taste for modeling, for 3D, for creating environments became more evident.

With the arrival of Covid, I had a lot of time to ponder and entered a Masters in Game Design here in Portugal. It's been going really well and I really realized that this is what I want as a profession - to be a Level Designer. My thesis will focus on Level Design Patterns implemented in Multiplayer Games.

Currently in college we made a 3D game which I can put the link to try.

First question, being 30 years old, with around 7/8 years in interior design, isn't it too late to enter the industry?

Second question: From what I have read here on the forum, I have a full time work, more research for the thesis, so the time is reduced. Should I start with: Sketching, level's moodboards and then go to gray boxing? Force me on what tools? Unity probuilder?

I use Sketchup a lot in interior design, but in level design it's not used a lot, right?

Third question: In fact, what appeals to me the most are multiplayer games and creating levels for such. Multiplayer can range from FPS like CS, OW, Valorant and/or sandboxes like Dayz, Conan Exiles etc. What suggestions can you tell me about the topic.

All help will be very welcome !!!

ps: sorry for the long post

Edited by Pyrokart_PT
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Be most welcome to the forum, you're here so you're in the right place.

20 hours ago, Pyrokart_PT said:

First question, being 30 years old, with around 7/8 years in interior design, isn't it too late to enter the industry?

The average lifespan for a male in Portugal is 86.7 years. Which leaves you with about 56.7 years to start making levels, I'm gonna go a whim here and say that time is in favor here. I've been interviewing level designers and level artists for a while now, not once did I care about the candidates age. Can you do the job, and can you do it well is the primary factor.

 

20 hours ago, Pyrokart_PT said:

Second question: From what I have read here on the forum, I have a full time work, more research for the thesis, so the time is reduced. Should I start with: Sketching, level's moodboards and then go to gray boxing? Force me on what tools? Unity probuilder?

Heh, you're gonna get a different answer for this question depending on who you ask. It would make sense to start with "planning" like moodboards and sketches, master the tools and try to be very strategic about the process, but the truth is that you can't plan for what you don't know, at least not to a point where it's even worth doing, imho.
For instance, If you're going to wait until you're 100% proficient in Unity or UE4 to build a level, you're never going to do it. So instead, I would flip the process, instead of learning then doing. Go straight to doing, and learn while you do it. It's what the vast majority of us here did, having fun doing it.

For example, say you want to create a CS:GO map, just download the SDK, mess around with the editor, go through the dozens of the free tutorials you can find online, start posting your designs on mapcore and other (discord) communities, start getting feedback, create playtests and hop on other people's playtests too, help them out with feedback and they'll help you out, integrate yourself with the community, it's half the fun of becoming a game designer, the social aspect! 
The important thing is to make sure you do finalize your projects, so scope them accordingly at least.

Another thing I wanna mention real quick is the importance of reverse engineering. Study what makes Dust2 or Inferno so great, if you understand those fundamentals your work will be much better.

Here's another one that I doubt anyone will tell you, read good books on both the creative process AND the creative mind, I would read The War of Art by Pressfield and Mastery by Greene, maybe "Making of Prince of Persia" too, amazing book on crazy ride that game development can be.

 

20 hours ago, Pyrokart_PT said:

Third question: In fact, what appeals to me the most are multiplayer games and creating levels for such. Multiplayer can range from FPS like CS, OW, Valorant and/or sandboxes like Dayz, Conan Exiles etc. What suggestions can you tell me about the topic.

This question sounds like "tell me what game to design for" to me. Just pick a game you like that has a editor, and go for it. 
That said, Valorant doesn't have a level editor, OW doesn't either (I'm still trying to push for it, I swear. But at least we have a basic Workshop for it, you can mess around with game modes and other misc stuff) CS:GO is probably your best best, even tho the editor is a little older by today's standards, you're gonna have to get used to work with BSP, at least until Valve ports CS to Source2 one day.

You can also join a small indie team making a MP FPS game, I'm sure there's plenty out there you could join but I'd solo a few designs first before venturing into joing a team, imo.

 

20 hours ago, Pyrokart_PT said:

I use Sketchup a lot in interior design, but in level design it's not used a lot, right?

Depends on the project. Some projects the designers still like to work with BSP, others like to use simple grid snapping modular kits, and others just like to make simple geo in Maya/Max, whatever gets the job done but for the love of god if you're gonna start learning how to LD, learn to love the grid. It'll be your best friend, your lover, your diva, your god! It helps keeping things simple, iteratable, and iteration is key in this biz.

 

Best of lucks.

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Thank you very much for the feedback. Indeed this new world of mine (Level Design) is still all a bit different. I agree 100% on starting to create levels and learning from feedback and mistakes. Not a perfect level design, because it has to be tested and refined.

As my thesis is on Level Design, I have been trying to conciliate my time with: full time job, sketching, reading books on Level Design such as: Level Design - Rudolf Kremers. An Architectural Approach to Level Design Christopher among others and learning Unity by creating levels

When I mentioned multiplayer games it is because I am more attracted to the whole concept of level design for these games. For example from what I have read in single player games the narrative component is an important milestone, npc placement, puzzles, challenges among others. When I look at a CS or Vallorant map the architectural issue, angles, paths, gameplay styles seduce me much more :).
Like in sandboxes like Dayz, the construction of cities or even PUBG the creation of cities, balancing the elements and structures etc.

I attach the link of my 1st and 2nd year project made by me and 2 classmates, I did all the level design, camera placement, puzzles, challenges etc. My other classmate did the programming and the other did the assets for me putting at level. I will just install and play the first level of the project.

https://rocketcockstudios.itch.io/a-murderer-in-heaven

Hope you like it

Edited by Pyrokart_PT
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On 12/3/2021 at 1:28 PM, Pyrokart_PT said:

First question, being 30 years old, with around 7/8 years in interior design, isn't it too late to enter the industry?

We've had a few people from this forum enter the industry in their 30s, so don't let that stop you.

 

On 12/3/2021 at 1:28 PM, Pyrokart_PT said:

Second question: From what I have read here on the forum, I have a full time work, more research for the thesis, so the time is reduced. Should I start with: Sketching, level's moodboards and then go to gray boxing? Force me on what tools? Unity probuilder?

As HP suggested, you should make something and learn as you go. I would recommend CS:GO SDK and Far Cry 5 Arcade Editor, because those tools have actual games that you can design levels for. The downside to making something in Unity or UE4 is that there isn't anything to work with. You can find asset packs, sure, but it's just hard to demonstrate how the levels function without a proper game to go with it. You'd have to team up with a few other people in order to create something presentable.

One important note to make on this, don't make something overly complicated. Pick projects that you can finish in 2-3 weeks or a month at best. For example, if you're thinking about creating a 5v5 map or a 2v2 one, pick the latter. This way you can focus on quality over quantity and, most importantly, actually ship the thing.

 

On 12/3/2021 at 1:28 PM, Pyrokart_PT said:

Third question: In fact, what appeals to me the most are multiplayer games and creating levels for such. Multiplayer can range from FPS like CS, OW, Valorant and/or sandboxes like Dayz, Conan Exiles etc. What suggestions can you tell me about the topic.

You don't have many choices, so just pick what's available. See the previous answer :)

 

Check out Steve Lee's videos on the topic:

 

EDIT*

Forgot to mention, aim for 2-3 pieces for your portfolio. You don't need THAT many, just a few quality levels to demonstrate some things. The rest comes down to persistence, applying for jobs and very importantly - talking to people.

Edited by Radu
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