Wednesday, July 25

Gamasutra: Where's The Design in Level Design?

My brother recently pointed me to an interesting Gamsutra article entitled "Where's the Design in Level Design." Written by Tito Pagan. The article comes in Two Parts: One, Two. The first part is admittedly more interesting than the second, which focuses more on how to develop levels rather than the design aspect. A good summary article comes from the first page, actually, where Pagan writes:
A well-designed level takes into consideration a whole set of requirements, such as user interaction and navigation, which are inherent to the purpose they serve. How will the spaces control and direct the player throughout the explorative and interactive experience? What sort of directional and responsive feedback mechanisms will be provided to assist the process? How will all of the elements tie together to form a cohesive environment that is well understood without compromising aesthetic appeal? The level designer must also consider the impact of particulars such as sound, space, lighting, pace, and scale.
The article is worth reading, the first part at least. Pagan talks about wall orientation and window design that is interesting enough in itself, not to mention its application to game design.
Check it out.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. These are things to always consider. While plenty of games employ level design techniques that assist player guidance I have always greatly admired Valve's level design. I know you're very familiar with TF2 so you've probably noticed examples of player guidance such as cases where spawn room exits in payload maps have both the cart and the next checkpoint in view even before the gates open, giving players time to orient themselves. Plenty of goal areas in TF2 and HL2 alike are marked with red in one way or another and most maps use a landmark, persistent in most areas of a level to keep the player aware of the goal.

    I actually like the latter part of the article. I don't think enough mappers pay attention to simple design, and when the designer doesn't pay attention to it, the player does.

    "In creating a comfortable and logical game level, a job well done does not leave your player feeling uneasy about the personality, balance, proportions, lines, or character of the space or structure being portrayed."

    Level Design in the simplest terms is basically pretty similar to 2D graphic design, the only differences being it's highly interactive and 3D. Ideally the design should be attractive from nearly every angle or at least any location the player chooses to view it from, lol.

    Anyway, nice blogs.