Level Design

smu guildhall specializations grey design Learn to create the levels for games

As a level designer at SMU Guildhall, you will learn the necessary practical skills to build a professional portfolio of completely assembled game levels. You create the complete player experience in the context of the level and the capabilities of the level editor. Level designers use scripting to craft gameplay progression, implement the level architecture to define player flow, and integrate aesthetic elements to impact and generate player immersion. Utilizing diverse perspectives and backgrounds, level designers consider player psychology and motivations to influence and guide the overall play experience.


Who are Guildhall level designers?

Our eclectic group of students comes from a wide range of backgrounds — architecture, philosophy, creative writing, computer science, fine arts, history, psychology... even music! Combined, this diversity provides a broad perspective that inspires creative concepts and level designs to appeal to a variety of gamers.


What will I build with as a level designer at SMU Guildhall?

  • A variety of game editors to create complete level artifacts
  • Scripting languages used by many game engines
  • 2D & 3D art software programs for prototyping and blocking level designs
  • Immersive level layout and flow in complete level artifacts
  • Integrated aesthetic elements to impact player experience
  • Multi-player level design
  • Encounter and puzzle design, implemented in complete level artifacts
  • Systems design, demonstrated in complete level artifacts
  • Storytelling, implemented in complete level artifacts

In addition to the core Level Design curriculum, students are able to explore additional aspects of design in their two Directed Focus Study courses, in which they independently propose, design, and implement complete level artifacts while receiving faculty feedback.


What would my career path be as a level designer?

The level designer implements the game vision in an immersive player experience, the level editor. Portfolio artifacts include complete levels that showcase student skills, which can include more technical and/or more creative design skills. Common career paths include:

  • Level designer
  • Mission designer
  • Gameplay scripter
  • World Builder