Level Design Process*

Oct 29, 2010

Knowing how to use a paint brush is different than knowing what to do with it. The previous article was about how to use a level design tool, which is prerequisite to what this entry aims to cover: what to do with it.

Steps in the Process

Although every game’s level/scenario design is unique, there is a common series of steps that, when followed, are likely to produce better results while wasting less content. Without a sound process, it’s all too easy for a team to work themselves into a corner, having to decide between throwing out completed programming/art work because the level they were made for stinks – or to have a designer floundering in poorly defined and inconsistent conceptual space from having not made the right choices prior to fiddling with the level editor.

I used these steps to make overhead 3D levels in Shotgun Debugger, I adapted a version of this process when developing levels on the Boom Blox team, and it’s the same approach that I am now applying as part of the redesign for Vision by Proxy (that link goes to the original version of the game, the redesign is still behind closed doors [2014 update: the remake, Vision by Proxy Second Edition is done and has now played more than 6.8 million times. After that we grew the team and developed a sequel, Ms. Vision by Proxy]).

The steps… (continued in ebook)

*This entry is now in the Videogame Developer’s Strategy Guide, free with Gamkedo Weekly Check-In.



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8 Comments

  1. tartley says:

    Thanks for a wonderful set of articles again this month! This on in particular made me feel strongly that I need to exercise my ability to plan my hobbyist games at a higher conceptual level than just on the bits-and-bytes programmer level – something that you observed before. Looking forward to launching into making some ‘micro-games’ (my term to remind myself to keep it small and focussed) with this in mind.

  2. […] one more source of affordance. Affordance, as covered in previous articles about difficulty and level design, is how expectations are communicated to the […]

  3. […] to undertake a research project. I chose level design for my topic. I recently read your article on Level Design Process and found many of the steps and strategies quite helpful. I was wondering if you could be so kind […]

  4. […] to undertake a research project. I chose level design for my topic. I recently read your article on Level Design Process and found many of the steps and strategies quite helpful. I was wondering if you could be so kind […]

  5. […] This is just a new term I’m applying to a basic design strategy that I’ve mentioned and explained on HobbyGameDev several times before. I usually refer to this idea as overproduction. […]

  6. […] elements into stages can often be put off until later in development, Step 8 of 11 from the Level Design Process, to figure out stage blocking and navigation with basic walls, maybe even do some pruning of […]

  7. […] un poco por Internet, he leído en hobbygamedev, un articulo muy interesante detallando algunos aspectos de lo que podría venir a hacer un proceso […]

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