Glossary - Level Design

Level design is the collective term for processes involved in creating different aspects of video game levels like missions, locales, and stages. Usually, this is accomplished using a game development software called a level editor. The level editor enables game developers to design levels. However, there are video games that have built-in editing tools for level design. The typical design process for modern games consists of concept art, renderings, physical models, and sketches. It is these early concepts that become game specific entities like game characters and environment models. But not without the aid of a level editor.


The level design relies on editors distributed as complete stand-alone packages. Some of these are so robust; they rival commercial 3D modeling software. With the level editor, game developers lay out the map and environment of video games at different stages. Generally, the purpose of the first level of a game is to enable the player to discover the game’s mechanics. A good example is World 1-1 of the popular Super Mario Bros. Also, level design may incorporate different cut scenes into a level. These cut scenes usually set off as specific actions or events during gameplay. To achieve the desired outcome at each level, the level design process occurs many times over.

Uses of Level Design

As with the case with some games, concept artists or level designers may need to provide players with a pre-rendered map of the entire game world or each level. This helps achieve two primary purposes. Firstly, it produces games with the overall goal or objective of the game. Secondly, it makes gameplay a more enjoyable experience for players. Therefore, a quality level design seeks to achieve immersive gameplay and improve the storyline of the game. In summary, the level design is both a technical and artistic process.