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Old 02-22-2009, 06:40 PM   #1
ConfusedCartman
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Default Fears of pursuing a Level Design career

For those of you who are unaware, I'm still a sophomore in High School. I'm interested in working on my Level Design skills, and have begun working in Valve's Hammer Editor. However, I'm having worries about pursuing Level Design as a career. They're probably just normal worries from a novice, but I'm still unsure. I mean, there's always the chance that I won't turn out to be as good at it as I thought I'd be. And even if I am above average, that still doesn't guarantee me a job. Design isn't exactly the safest or most stable career choice when compared to other careers outside of game development. And, most worrisome, what if I spent tons of time working on level design just to discover I'm not good enough? I don't really have anything to look at and go "that's where I need to be in X years"; it feels more like a shot in the dark. I mean, this is a life-defining decision, and it seems so unpredictable. I really just want a way to know if I'm going to be skilled in level design or not, so I can back out and find something else if I'm not going to be up to par.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:39 AM   #2
Mariol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfusedCartman View Post
I'm having worries about pursuing Level Design as a career. They're probably just normal worries from a novice, but I'm still unsure. I mean, there's always the chance that I won't turn out to be as good at it as I thought I'd be.
I think you're getting worried over nothing. Of course if you're just starting out (in anything mind you) you won't be producing brilliant work, but that's why the saying's 'Practice makes perfect'. If you really want to pursue a career in level design you'll have to dedicate the time and effort into improving your work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfusedCartman View Post
And even if I am above average, that still doesn't guarantee me a job.
Nothing can guarantee you a job. Talent will help, but you have to apply yourself, look and work hard for opportunities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfusedCartman View Post
Design isn't exactly the safest or most stable career choice when compared to other careers outside of game development.
I disagree, if you manage to gain a job as a level designer I think that you're more likely to remain in that role. It would've have taken a lot for you to have beaten the competition to gain that role and as long as that's what you want and you continue to improve I'm sure you'll be secure.

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Originally Posted by ConfusedCartman View Post
And, most worrisome, what if I spent tons of time working on level design just to discover I'm not good enough? I don't really have anything to look at and go "that's where I need to be in X years"; it feels more like a shot in the dark. I mean, this is a life-defining decision, and it seems so unpredictable. I really just want a way to know if I'm going to be skilled in level design or not, so I can back out and find something else if I'm not going to be up to par.
You will never have anything to gauge your work against that will be accurate, simply because by the time you're in the industry the standards of games will have risen dramatically. Just compare the games made ten years ago to standards nowadays. My advice is to aim for the quality of games being produced every year, if you do this you're certainly be aiming in the right direction.

I wouldn't call any choice you make career wise a 'life-defining' decision. In this day and age you can change careers very quickly as long as you are passionate, work hard and determined. If you change your mind later, you can show what your determination can achieve to a prospective employer. Nothing is set in stone.

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I really just want a way to know if I'm going to be skilled in level design or not, so I can back out and find something else if I'm not going to be up to par.
There's no way to know without practice. Every avenue in life involving careers is competitive and difficult so you'll just have to work hard.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:43 AM   #3
yaustar
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Everything you said is correct except the part where you said it is life defining. You are 16, you have plenty of time to explore and find what you are good at and what you enjoy.

Read: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson49.htm and the other FAQs on that list.
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