One of the more interesting aspects of game design is actually looking at a level after you’ve already played around with the tools used to develop it. When you first start game design, you should start to see some of the concepts that are used throughout game industry as a whole. Certain practices in level design, directing the player, set design, difficulty management, etc. But after you’ve actually created your own levels using the game engines of your favorite games, you should to see everything in a new light. Professional developers will usually be able to get those engines to do things that you simply haven’t done yet and analyzing what processes they used to get those effects is important. It’s important because no one can take the time to teach you every last detail of every single engine. These days you can find video tutorials or documentation for just about anything but even those don’t cover every last detail. So while those tutorials or documents can be extremely powerful tools, they also tend to be limited by the fact that they won’t take the time to hold your hand to do every little specific thing. They require you to take the initiate to use the skills you learned from those tools to then create whatever else you might want.
Any tech based field you may go into, let alone game design, will expect you to always be striving for more. You have to be willing to put in the work to figure out how to do a lot of this stuff on your own. In classes it’s not uncommon to see people treat games or levels they work on just like any other homework assignment. This isn’t the way though that you really want to look at the projects that you work on in class. You want potentially anything that you work on to turn into a portfolio quality piece of work. The closer you can get your level to a professional grade level the better. Even if what you created is good and you got an ‘A’ on it doesn’t mean that it’s as good as it potentially could become. That simply means that you did what the assignment wanted and you did it well. This is mirrored even in the game industry itself. Typically games that do what games have always done, usually do alright as long as they do it well. They’ll be fun games, but it won’t be a particularly memorable experiences. The games that get remembered and the ones the light up the industry as a whole are the ones that push the boundaries of what is possible. Never settle for good enough. Always strive to do better than you’ve done before and one day that effort will be recognized when you actually go looking for a career.