Specialisms in Level Design Part 5: Scripting

A scripting language is commonly used to be interpreted by an engine to perform actions without the developer being tied to a specific programming language or the complexities of one.  It is useful to designers as it allows them to put together quick prototypes of their ideas without learning a specific language to implement it.  Because of the similar semantics and syntax that scripting languages use it is useful for level designers to learn scripting in order to effectively communicate between programmers on a project.  It also can be a good entry point for any prospective programmers as it will teach you the basic rules of programming without being specific to any platform or language.  Scripting can be done using text i.e. Javascript, Actionscript or visually like Unreal’s Kismet.

The best way to begin scripting is to pick up a game engine and learn one.  There are a number of free engines to choose from:

Unity - C#, Javascript

Unreal Engine 3/UDK – UnrealScript, Kismet

Torque Game Engine - C#

Game Maker - Game Maker Language

Flash - Actionscript

To show that you have a good understanding of scripting use it to create fun (and if you can manage it) complex gameplay within your level.   Try and build upon your knowledge of scripting over every project so that you stretch yourself further each time.

Although there are a lot to choose to from, make sure you gain a full understanding of one or two scripting languages instead of gaining a basic understanding of all.   Specialists are more sort after.  In my opinion, with the direction that both Unreal Engine 3 and Unity 3 are taking being able to distribute to multiple platforms as well as the fact that more game companies are utilising Unreal Engine 3 and Unity technology presently I think that these are good engines to start with.

If you know of any other specialisms with the field of level design please feel free to share your knowledge by commenting.

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