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Presentation on theme: "LEVEL DESIGN CHAPTER 12 – THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN."— Presentation transcript:


2 WHAT IS LEVEL DESIGN? Space in which a game takes place Designed and using 2D or 3D modeling tools Initial conditions of a level Determines the initial state of variables in the level (drawbridge up or down, starting resources) Set of challenges players faces in level Enemies, puzzles, etc.

3 WHAT IS LEVEL DESIGN? CONTINUED Termination conditions of the level What determines whether you win or lose in the level (defeating a boss for example) Interplay between the gameplay and the story Making sure that the story and gameplay work together coherently Aesthetics and mood of the level Tone and atmosphere created in the level (haunted house game)

4 KEY DESIGN PRINCIPLES Universal Level Design Principles General guidelines every game should follow Genre Specific Design Principles Only apply to games in a specific genre

5 UNIVERSAL LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Include tutorial levels in the beginning Vary pacing of the level Provide resources upon completing challenges Avoid conceptual non sequitirs Everything should work and make sense together Inform players of current goals in the level Players should know what the next goal is not necessarily long term goals however

6 UNIVERSAL LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Reward players for skill, imagination, intelligence and dedication Powerups, resources, shortcuts, etc. Large rewards, small punishments This will help not discourage players Foreground takes precedence over background Graphically focus on stuff right in front of the player first

7 UNIVERSAL LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES AI in a game should put up fight but lose Not extremely difficult to frustrate player Multiple difficulty settings This opens it up to a wider array of audiences

8 GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Design of levels is extremely dependent on which specific genre the game is catering to Action Pacing is crucial Lots of high intensity areas followed by periods of recovery and rest (cutscenes) Strategy games Reward planning Anticipating your opponents move and planning attacks or defense

9 GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Role Playing Games Opportunities for character growth and self- expression Every level should have opportunities that reflect player’s persona in the game Sports Games Verisimilitude is vital Each match can be considered a level Design stadiums, players, jerseys

10 GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Vehicle Simulations Reward skillful maneuvering Steering is primary challenge, after that shooting and exploring etc. is secondary Construction and Management Simulations Offer an interesting variety of initial conditions and goals Empty space where player has free reign Scenarios where there is a goal to achieve in a specific time limit

11 GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Adventure Games Construct challenges that harmonize with their locations and the story Exploration and puzzle-solving Each chapter is a new level, challenges should incorporate current environment Artificial Life Games Create many interaction opportunities for the creatures in their environment Game designer typically specifies interaction opportunities

12 GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Puzzle Games Give players time to think Either create puzzles that give player complete freedom to think things through or allow pausing


14 Open Linear Parallel Ring Network Hub-and-Spoke Combinations

15 OPEN LAYOUT Almost entirely unconstrained movement May have small regions that are only accessible in a linear fashion Open map of an RPG Eg. Skyrim main world


17 LINEAR LAYOUT Most common Play may only go backwards or forwards On rails One-way doors sometimes that players can’t go back out of Make sure to not lock out players if they haven’t obtained necessary item from region!!

18 PARALLEL LAYOUT Variant of linear One fixed start and end point but variety of paths to get to the end Players sometimes explore all paths Some paths easier, some more difficult

19 RING LAYOUT Level returns to it’s original starting point May be shortcuts in the level Shortcuts faster but proportionately more difficult Primarily in racing games


21 NETWORK LAYOUTS Spaces connect to each other Learning way around is a challenge Gives player freedom on what path to take Difficult for story telling


23 HUB-AND-SPOKE LAYOUTS Central hub that implies safety Linear path out of hub and then back Return journey quick Major challenge/reward at end of spoke You can make certain spokes accessible at different times



26 COMBINATION LAYOUTS Combines several types RPGS where main map but subplots or quests Game is linear but levels can be completed in various orders



29 Atmosphere Progression Pacing Tutorial Levels

30 ATMOSPHERE Lighting Color Palette Weather and Atmospheric Effects Special Visual Effects Music Ambient Audio Special Audio Effects

31 ATMOSPHERE - LIGHTING Placement and orientations of the lights set the scene Lights have to fit area and the mood of the level Sunlight for warm and cheery Moonlight for a dark alley What you don’t light is just as important as what as lit

32 ATMOSPHERE - LIGHTING MgKHubmf9ds/Tr5eXeS3eKI/AAAAAAAAFn0/xI0yZuEV1Dk/s6 00/gt5time4darkxuoi.gif


34 ATMOSPHERE – COLOR PALETTE Colors of a level reflect its mood Combination of colors on the objects as well as the lighting They can elicit specific emotions from players



37 ATMOSPHERE – WEATHER Fog, rain, snow and wind all create distinct impressions Dark skies show storm Fog creates mystery Wind suggests instability


39 ATMOSPHERE – SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS Weapon recoil, tires screeching creating smoke, magic spells Startle players Discomfort them Amuse them Reward them


41 ATMOSPHERE – MUSIC Rhythm of the music can set the pace of the game or the current level Keep with the tone of the game Generally remains consistent throughout the level


43 ATMOSPHERE – AMBIENT AUDIO Contributes to overall mood of the level May vary with place and time in the level Can help player orient themselves Night time, enemies near, market square


45 ATMOSPHERE – SPECIAL AUDIO EFFECTS Help alert the players of what they might not observe visually OSg_c9uWg0U OSg_c9uWg0U

46 PROGRESSION AND PACING Games that are over an hour in length should have some form of progression system Having challenges that too close together can create stress for the player

47 PROGRESSION Mechanics Experience duration Ancillary awards and environmental progression Practical gameplay rewards Difficulty Actions available to the player Story progression Character growth

48 PACING Designing the pacing First you must decide the genre that is being designed for Varying the pacing Should vary, fast sections followed by slow sections Overall pacing Pacing should increase throughout the game and climax with the final boss battle

49 TUTORIAL LEVELS Used to be game manuals, now tutorial levels Lets players learn in a hands on fashion Not an easy or short level, scripted or partially scripted experience Use voiceover narration, text superimposed on the screen or a mentor character

50 TUTORIAL LEVELS CONTINUED Key Principles to follow: Introduce game’s features in sequence Don’t make all features available at once If the interface is complex, introduce over multiple tutorial levels Highlight the interface element being shown, do not make player look for them Let the player go back and retry aspects of the tutorial or the whole thing


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