Level design

Is anyone else having trouble with this? I can’t seem to make something that I could be proud of or that I even remotely like. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make a level?

Level design is rather like a blend of creativity and functionality. It’s not real easy to guide someone because our tastes may be different. There are a couple of simple very general suggestions that I can offer.

  1. Think of the level functionally what are the activities you intend to allow there. example town with tutorials and starter quests. Break down the things you want the player to learn how to move, zooming, melee combat, ranged combat etc., beginner quests to link into the main story. Then you can either take a piece of paper(recommended) or terrain (if your brave) and start sectioning off the space for the different activities. Set up some basic placeholders and test make sure you have room for the intend activity in each area.

  2. Now the creative part start dressing it up. Start with basic buildings trees and such in place of your place holders. Then add in your details. At different stages you can show the work here or to people you know who support your efforts. Get input from others and encourage they give criticism and ideas. If your still not happy with it decide what part seems “off” or not working functionally and resolve that issue.

Rinse wash repeat.

I really liked some of the ideas that I got from Rick in the lessons 125-126. When I get caught up in the art and looks of the level, the functionality can be neglected. I was glad to see that my level already followed one of the paradigms he suggests (hub and looping branches).

Also, a second suggestion is to shamelessly copy a game that you already like (not for commercial reasons), but to be able to analyze them from a design perspective. Since I have started taking this course I can’t play any ARPG five minutes without pausing the game and start gazing at some design element. I initially started copying the very first level of Titan Quest in Unity (again, just so that I can understand how they go about their design paradigm) and then when I got a sense of their approach I started my earlier level idea.

Finally, I humbly think that it is impossible to get it right the first time. My main level now is very advanced and I like a lot of elements of it, but I believe I will eventually start over and do it from scratch. This is just because I have found too many problems that I have learned to fix along the way. Here are a few:

  • The path the player is taking is too narrow to hold up satisfactory combat
  • The camera perspective coming down from a mountain keeps causing issues with the terrain getting in the way, and using Clipping Plans just do not cut it.
  • The town design is simply too close and does not provide enough room for enjoyable combat.
  • I would like to have more space and combat between some of my story elements.

It will take too much time to fix those, so I will start over. However, I am still building up on my current level because I have been learning invaluable insights into how it should be done.

So keep at it and do not give up. I hope this helps.

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