So, yeah. That’s me – Amanda Jeffrey, Level Designer. Hearing my own voice is most unnerving. Not long now until the game is released and on the shelf, and Elizabeth will take her first real steps out into the real world. That’s my girl.
Go Liz Squad!
I’m a professional level designer – and to 99.99% of the population that is an utterly meaningless title. Even to other video game industry insiders, ‘Level Designer’ is a pretty unusual job – one that varies from studio to studio. So why is Hollywood (and the books it’s based on) doing so well at answering that common question: “Yes, but what is it that you do?”
If you have half an hour, then I recommend the above video lecture – because it will open your eyes to some of the trickery and shenanigans of retail architecture.
No longer will you wonder why the mall is full of seven different clothing outlets, all mostly the same. You will forget those feelings of confused bafflement at why THIS street is a shopper magnet, and THAT street serves only tumbleweed. But most importantly; Ikea, that mysterious beast of a furniture cathedral, will open her secrets to you, and the veil will fall from your eyes. You shall be its master, and the shortcuts will never hide from you again. All the meatballs you can buy.
Oh, and if like me, you’re at all interested in video game level design, then you’ll find some fantastically parallel knowledge of great use to multi-player flow and single-player attractors.
Kids parties and videogame levels - not so different
“Level design is necessary for two primary purposes – providing player with a goal and providing player with enjoyable play experience. Good level design strives to produce quality gameplay, provide an immersive experience, and sometimes, especially in story-based games, to advance the storyline. Skilled use of textures and audio is necessary to produce immersive player experience.”
(Wikipedia: Level Design)
I am a level designer for video games, and I have been since 2001. I love level design, and I’m constantly looking for new ways to see level design as a discipline, and for new skills to bring to my personal toolset. So imagine my surprise when I made the connection today that the skills of a level designer are not as niche and rare as I may have previously suspected!