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What is De-Engineering?
De-engineering is the process of breaking something down in order to see how it works, it's a more hands-on approach and a better way to learn something, for example you could read all the manuals on how to drive a car, but to actually do it requires a hands-on approach.

In reality the only way you can learn level design is to teach yourself, not many companies are willing to take on non-experienced level designers so it can be hard.

By 'mapping out' I mean a simple line-out like what a  blueprint looks like, you'll be constantly pausing the game drawing the outline. Mapping one level can take atleast an hour!

The first step in de-engineering is to get a pen and paper, and alot of patience!. You take your favorite game, and then proceed to map out the level, ( Yes by yourself ), and note down where the bad guys are located as well as any objects and so on.

Back to Level Design..
At the end of the session you'll be looking for patterns in the design, seeing the repetitions and techniques the level designer was using, as well as taking special note of the key/door layouts! back-tracking etc.

After De-Engineering a few games, you'll have a pretty good knowledge of level design and how it works, it took this process to get me to the 'next level', it's hard work but if your serious about being a level designer I'd highly recommend it!