Mapper/Leveldesigner as a real job?

Howdy all,

Sorry in case it´s a stupid question.
But I am asking myself a long time if people do this as a real job?
I did it in the past only as a kind of hobby.

I thought maybe there´s a chance to make it as my job…
But it´s really hard to find any good informations.
Maybe some of guys know more about that topic?
Or what kind of credentials are needed?

Thanks in advance
Greetz hm^

If mapper not exist,every game will have its character and npc floating on the pitch black void
Of course mapping can be used as real job
problem is its somewhat hard to find until you become pro mapper

A good website to look at for this sort of thing is polycount.

A few years ago I was following a guy called “coco” on there, he made some world and did tutorials for every step (great for rocks) he was hired within a year.

Mapping for source might be somewhat harder to get employed doing, best bet is look into unreal editor. If you learn to model and texture you have transferable skills as an environmental artist.

It very much is a real job.

Level designer will use the equivalent of hammer and design map layouts.
Environment artist usually requires knowledge of 3d modelling and decorates map layouts.

Every big company will ask for 1-5 years prior experience just like any other job really. So best bet is to work on some mods / freelance modelling for a few years and build a strong portfolio.

You can find some jobs here to get a better idea

Thanks for the feedback here.
That helped a lot. =)

Am I the only one who would object to doing it as an actual job? Unless you and whoever you’re working for have the same idea of what you both think is “good”, you’ll probably be stuck working on something you won’t like. Like how bummed would they be someone who loves Vietnam War shit is hired to a bunch of scifi stuff. But if you’re flexible and more open to ideas and work good with a group, you could very well make a good job of it.

From a lot of the stories I hear from former employees of large studios, they come out of the industry hating it. I think a lot of people think mapping is real fun, relaxing and allows you to express your creativity in various ways. But it really boils down to being micromanaged by your superiors to get a lot of things done in a very small amount of time. You have to make things their way (you will have some artistic flexibility). Another is that there is really just a few level designers in a team. The rest are going to modellers, texture artists and engineers. Especially with the way modern engines work, “mapping” isn’t much of a thing anymore.

I was told to never make your hobby your career. usually a hobby is our escape from our careers and jobs. They provide us time to craft something that fits our needs, without people micromanaging you or asking for a status update every day. They give us a break from the mundane worlds we live in. A chance to create something out of your imagination.

I think this right here is the key. You can’t go into a large company thinking you’re going to be dictating key levels in a million dollar game. The more senior you are, and the more you prove yourself, you will have more influence. I sort of feel like being flexible and being able to improve your skills on things that you don’t necessarily specialize in is key to being a good designer.

I won’t name names, but there’s this one tool on the Game Developer linkin who absolutely INSISTS everyone there is wrong about key elements of level design (like greyboxing your level for example) because he has worked “for years” on projects by himself and he views himself as attaining LD mastery.

While there are PLENTY of single man teams out there, I feel like entry level people should really develop a sense of flexibility and maturity to work with a group if they’re trying to make it in the industry.

[editline]25th May 2016[/editline]

This is known as the vocal minority. People leaving the industry on a good note rarely feel the need to post a rant or anything negative. They either want to pursue their own interests or simply want a change of pace.

That said, there are totally legitimate complaints from people exiting companies or developers on a sour note. Those people are the ones willing to go in depth to expose the problems they ran into, or in the case for higher profile devs like Marty O’Donnell do interviews if something really got screwed.

Part of the illusion I think some game dev students have of when they enter a large studio out of school is that they’re going to be given a

This is pretty accurate. As someone mentioned in my L4D2 thread, if you’re going to specialize in something, you need to also have a decently broad knowledge of/be able to produce assets of related specialties. There is a lot of overlap nowadays between the responsibilities of a designer, environment artists, texture artists and more.

That said, “Level Design” is still very much it’s own thing. The responsibilities of an LD however, are still very nebulous and vary from studio to studio.

This is pretty much describes any job in any industry. Yet for some reason it keeps coming up as a negative when it comes to the Game Design industry. Yes, if you work for any large company you will have multiple bosses and there will be rules and guidelines for you to follow.

If you don’t want that, join a smaller indie team. You get more responsibility and freedom, but there is also greater risk.

I imagine mapping as a job isn’t all as glamorous as it sounds, it could be enjoyable sure, but you gotta remember that like everyone else has said, artistic flexibility is essentially key, as you won’t always be making stuff you’d be happy with on a personal level.

i started working on gmod tower as a past time during school and now it’s my full time job with Tower Unite, however i work on unreal engine and do more modeling and art on top of the level design. had i not learned how to model, i probably wouldn’t have a job right now.

I’m sure the mapping is not so much the problem than the programming is.
20 years maintaining ive known that programming can be a real bore and a very time consuming process. Mapping seems to only be seen as hard if you don’t have anything to use as a reference such as making a simple building. Most people tend to spit ideas out of their mind and when they do its simply just a block. If you use a reference such as your house or local neighborhood you can use that and build on an idea to present it and execute it beautifully.

There’s jobs as layout artists, but “mapping” is a null-field.

Environment artist is the closest thing you’re gunna find within industry, which includes modelling, texturing, shader setup, collision management, maintaining the greybox, readability, lighting and most other things I’ve forgotten./

I don’t really know what you mean.
“Level designer” is what I think when people talk about mapping since you’re ultimately designing a gamespace with a game or gamemode in mind.

Also, what the heck? Environment artists flat out DO NOT “maintain the greybox”. Level designers do that. Environment artists refine and fill in a level once greyboxing is done in addition to producing assets for other parts of the game as well. I also don’t really know what you mean by ‘collision management’. If you’re talking about building the collision mesh for models, then yeah… that’s part of making the model. If you’re talking about collision management in terms of getting stuck on corners or props, then the LD handles that as well. Unless you’re talking about collision management for the player character in general…? Then that would probably be a programmer’s responsibility.

If you chose to compose a scene with no gameplay, then ‘environment artist’ is a better it.

Of course, responsibilities of a LD or Environment Artist varies from place to place, so it’s best to specialize in one thing, but know enough about the others to be able to produce stuff as well.

Idk why you’re so hung up on that lol I meant designing the level so it doesn’t effect the preestablished greybox and making everything work with it in terms of collision too.

That’s what I’m hung up on. The level designers are the ones designing the level and are responsible for creating and maintaining the changes when doing greybox stuff.

I don’t know what role environment artists would have for the greybox other than building the detail for the final version of it and creating assets. If they feel like a certain building or obstacle or whatever needs to be changed, they talk to the Level Designer, who is responsible for designing the gameplay of said area and they make the change.

I’m also still confused about how you mean they “make everything work in terms of collision too”. Surely the LD is responsible for doing the player/npc/object clipping for his own level, is he not?

I figured the environment artist would be responsible for the collision of the assets they were producing.

Now days you don’t have many games requiring “mapping” as you’re thinking of it. The BSP format we’re all used to with brush based geometry for 90% of the level has been around since before Doom, and it’s slowly being phased out because almost every computer or mobile phone even now days can easily support rendering high poly models. If you look at something like Unreal Engine’s map editor, or even Unity, you’ll notice that almost every single map is made out of models 100%. BSP primitives are still used to block out areas, if you need an invisible wall to block something off you can always just throw a rectangular brush down there, but 99% of maps now days are made with just 3d models. Look at the new version of de_nuke on CS:GO for example, if you open it up in Hammer and turn off tool brushes and models you basically have a handful of brushes that look like garbage. So even Source games are realizing that the days of brush based detailing and map making are getting old.

The closest thing you’ll find to your “dream job” if you enjoy making maps in hammer would be an environment artist or level designer. An environment artist will typically do some model making of their own as well as incorporate them into the final level, while a level designer will do the hand-drawn layouts, brainstorming, and will come up with the list of things needed from the environment artists. This varies between studios I’m sure, but in general your level designer does the “thinking” and applies it to the level editor in question, and the environment artist will provide the eye candy to each level.