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FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME
DESIGN
GAME LEVEL DESIGN
Sayed Ahmed
BSc. Eng. in CSc. & Eng. (BUET)
MSc. in CSc. (U of Manitoba)
htt...
WHAT IS LEVEL DESIGN
 Process of constructing the experience that will
be offered to the player
 Level designers create ...
KEY DESIGN PRINCIPLES
 Make the early levels of a game tutorial levels
 Vary the pacing of the level
 When the player s...
KEY DESIGN PRINCIPLES
 The purpose of an artificial opponent is to put up
a good fight and then lose
 Implement multiple...
GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN
PRINCIPLES
 Action Games
 Vary the pace
 Strategy Games
 Reward planning
 Role-Playing Ga...
GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN
PRINCIPLES
 Construction and Management Simulations
 Offer an interesting variety of initial...
LAYOUTS OF THE GAME WORLD
 Open Layouts
 Linear Layouts
 Parallel Layouts
 Ring Layouts
 Network Layouts
 Hub-and-Sp...
EXPANDING ON THE PRINCIPLES OF LEVEL
DESIGN
 Atmosphere
 Lighting
 Color Palette
 Weather and atmospheric effects
 Sp...
PROGRESSION AND PACING
 Designing the Progression
 Mechanics
 Experience Duration
 Ancillary Rewards and Environmental...
TUTORIAL LEVELS
 Tutorial Levels
 A scripted or partially scripted experience
 Explains
 Game’s user interface
 Key c...
THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS
 Planning Phase
 Gameplay Planning Phase
 Layout
 Areas devoted to major challenges
 Pacing
...
THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS
 Planning Phase
 ART Planning Phase
 Plan Performance
 Plan Coding
 Prototyping Phase
 Leve...
THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS
 Level Refinement and Lock-Down
 Level Design to Art Handoff
 First Art and Rigging Pass
 Art...
PITFALLS OF LEVEL DESIGN
 Get the Scope Right
 Avoid Conceptual Non Sequiturs
 Make Atypical Levels Optional
 Don’t sh...
SUMMARY
 The level designer is responsible for actually
presenting the game experience to the player by
designing
 The s...
SUMMARY
 Designing the actual layout of the level is
important
 Enhance the playing experience
 Level design requires i...
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Level design

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Level design

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Level design

  1. 1. FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN GAME LEVEL DESIGN Sayed Ahmed BSc. Eng. in CSc. & Eng. (BUET) MSc. in CSc. (U of Manitoba) http://sayed.justetc.net http://www.justETC.net sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net 1 Presented at the University of Winnipeg Just E.T.C for Business, Education, and Technology Solutions
  2. 2. WHAT IS LEVEL DESIGN  Process of constructing the experience that will be offered to the player  Level designers create the following essential parts of the player’s experience  The space in which the game takes place  The initial conditions of the level  The set of challenges the player will face within the level  The termination conditions of the level  The interplay between the gameplay and the game’s story  The aesthetics and mood of the level 2 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  3. 3. KEY DESIGN PRINCIPLES  Make the early levels of a game tutorial levels  Vary the pacing of the level  When the player surmounts a challenge that consumes his resource, provide more resources  Avoid conceptual non sequiturs  Clearly inform the player of his short-term goals  Be clear about risks, rewards, and the consequences of decisions  Reward in a large way, punish in a small way  The foreground takes precedence over the background 3 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  4. 4. KEY DESIGN PRINCIPLES  The purpose of an artificial opponent is to put up a good fight and then lose  Implement multiple difficulty settings if possible 4 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  5. 5. GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES  Action Games  Vary the pace  Strategy Games  Reward planning  Role-Playing Games  Offer opportunities for character growth and player self expression  Sports-Games  Verisimilitude is vital  Vehicle Simulations  Reward skillful maneuvering 5 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  6. 6. GENRE-SPECIFIC LEVEL DESIGN PRINCIPLES  Construction and Management Simulations  Offer an interesting variety of initial conditions and goals  Adventure Games  Construct challenges that harmonize with their locations and the story  Artificial Life Games  Create many interaction opportunities for the creatures in their environment  Puzzle Games  Give the player time to think 6 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  7. 7. LAYOUTS OF THE GAME WORLD  Open Layouts  Linear Layouts  Parallel Layouts  Ring Layouts  Network Layouts  Hub-and-Spoke Layouts  Combinations of Layouts 7 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  8. 8. EXPANDING ON THE PRINCIPLES OF LEVEL DESIGN  Atmosphere  Lighting  Color Palette  Weather and atmospheric effects  Special visual effects  Music  Ambient audio  Special Audio effects 8 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  9. 9. PROGRESSION AND PACING  Designing the Progression  Mechanics  Experience Duration  Ancillary Rewards and Environmental Progression  Practical gameplay rewards  Difficulty  Actions available to the player  Story progression  Character growth  Designing the Pacing  Vary the Pacing  Overall Pacing 9 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  10. 10. TUTORIAL LEVELS  Tutorial Levels  A scripted or partially scripted experience  Explains  Game’s user interface  Key challenges  Actions to the player  Use voiceover narration, text superimposed on the screen, special mentor character to explain things to the player 10 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  11. 11. THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS  Planning Phase  Gameplay Planning Phase  Layout  Areas devoted to major challenges  Pacing  Termination Conditions  Resource placements  Player start and end points  NPC positions and spawn points  Elevations  Secret areas  Special event issues  Landmarks  Destruction  Storytelling  Save points and checkpoints 11 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  12. 12. THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS  Planning Phase  ART Planning Phase  Plan Performance  Plan Coding  Prototyping Phase  Level Review Phase  Scale  Pacing  Placement of objects and triggers  Performance issues  Other code issues  Aesthetics 12 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  13. 13. THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS  Level Refinement and Lock-Down  Level Design to Art Handoff  First Art and Rigging Pass  Art to Level Design Handoff and Review  Content Integration  Bug Fixing  User Testing and Tuning 13 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  14. 14. PITFALLS OF LEVEL DESIGN  Get the Scope Right  Avoid Conceptual Non Sequiturs  Make Atypical Levels Optional  Don’t show the player Everything at Once  Never Lose Sight of Your Audience 14 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  15. 15. SUMMARY  The level designer is responsible for actually presenting the game experience to the player by designing  The space in which the games take place  Deciding what challenges a player will face  Creating the atmosphere of the game worlds  Planning the pacing of events for each level  Level design is governed by  Some universal principles  Some genre specific principles 15 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net
  16. 16. SUMMARY  Designing the actual layout of the level is important  Enhance the playing experience  Level design requires interaction among  The game’s design team  Artists  Programmers  Audio team  Attention to detail and a methodical approach  Will help to prevent level design pitfalls 16 sayed@justetc.netwww.justETC.net

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