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  • 2. UTILITAS - GAMEPLAY

    • Ergonomics​

    • Flow

      • short term goal​

      • mid term goal

      • long term goal

    • Rhythm

      • Core Loops​

      • Game Loops

      • Second-to-Second

      • Minute-to-Minute

      • Hour-to-Hour

    • Difficulty

    • Impression

    • Hooks

  • 3. VENUSTAS - COMPOSITION

    • Art Direction​

    • Lighting - Guiding Light

    • Texturing/Coloring - Guiding Color

    • Composition

      • Sence of Place - Genius Loci​

      • Focal Points

      • Leading Lines

      • Axis

      • Repetition

      • Symmetry

      • Balance

      • Hierarchy

      • Frame in a Frame

      • L-Shape

      • Vingette

      • Depth and Layering

      • Avoiding Tangents

      • Sence of Scale

      • Referens Objects

      • Negative Space

      • Rule of Shapes

      • Rule of Thirds

      • Rule of Odds

      • Visual Hierarchy

      • Affinity

      • Contrast - Opposits Attract

      • Silhouettes

      • Movement

    • Readability

  • 4. LEVELDESIGN BASICS

    • Call to Action - CTA​

    • Establishing Shot

    • Vantage Point
    • Point of Interest

    • Stairs & Ramps
    • Verticality
    • Doorways & Openings
    • Bottlenecks - Chokepoints
    • The Door Problem
    • T-Junction
    • Corners & Edges
    • Sightlines
    • No-Mans-Land
    • Rabbit Hole
    • Gate - Gating
      • One-Way​
      • Point-of-no-Return
      • Drop-of
      • Skillgate
    • Prisoncell Gameplay
    • Decompression Zone
    • Backtracking
    • Fatigue
      • Visual Fatigue​
      • Combat Fatigue
    • Foreshadow
    • Telegraph
    • Anticipation
    • Affordance
    • Signifiers
    • Signposting
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Breadcrumb Trail
    • Buffer Zone
    • Illogical Space
    • Player Choice
      • Player Agency​
      • Choice Parallazys
      • Percieved Complexity
      • Risk - Reward
      • Prospect - Refuge
    • Implicit / Explicit Knowledge
    • Implicit /Explicit Information
    • Intrinsic / Extrinsic Motivation
    • Juxtapose
    • Counterpoint
    • A Duck
    • Sidescene
      • Hard Boundaries​
      • Soft Boundaries
    • Combat
      • Monster Closet
      • Combat Closet
      • Cover
        • Controlled Randomness​
        • Clusters
        • Hard - Soft Cover
        • Half - Full Cover
    • Denial & Reward
    • Reveal
      • Hard Reveal​
      • Soft Reveal
      • Funnel Before Reveal
    • Rewarding Vista
    • Bait & Switch
    • Fear Then Relief
    • Tension & Release
    • Servant Space & Served Space
    • Closed Space & Open Space
    • Distance goals; short, middle, long
    • Red Herring
    • 10-second Rule
    • 30 seconds of Fun
    • Hour-Glass Design
    • Crazy Ivan
    • Findability
    • Discoverability

  • 5. LEVELDESIGN STORYTELLING​​

    • Show don't Tell

    • MacGuffin​

    • Checkov's Gun

    • Subverting Expectations

    • Event Horizon

    • Story Beats - Gameplay Beats

    • Protagonist - Antagonist

    • In medias res

    • Flow structure

      • Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu

      • 3-act Structure

      • Hero's Journey

    • Plot Armor

    • Deus Ex Machina

    • Alliterations

    • Denotations - Connotations

    • Kuleshov Effect

  • 6. LEVELDESIGN WORKFLOW​​

    • Problems, Tips & Tricks​

      • Onboarding

      • The Red Queens Race

      • World Builder's Disease

      • String of Pearls

      • Hyperbole

      • Design by Reduction

      • Zoom-In-Zoom-Out

      • Rough-Refined

      • Occam's Razor

      • KISS

      • The Five Whys

    • Rough Overview

    • Overview

    • Rough Blockout

    • Blockout

    • Rough Whitebox

    • Whitebox

    • Alpha

    • Beta

    • Gold

    • Release Candidate - RC

  • 7. GESTALT LAWS​​

    • Law of Simplicity

    • Law of Similarity

    • Law of Proximity

    • Law of Closure

    • Law of Figure and Ground

    • Law of Continuity

    • Law of Order and Symmetry

    • Law of Synchrony

  • 8. MULTIPLAYER DESIGN

    • The Infinity Eight​

    • Four Squares

  • 9. THE IMAGE OF THE GAME WORLD

    • Player Paths

      • Main Path​

      • Percieved Path

      • Desire Path

      • Golden Path

      • Detour

    • Edges & Borders

    • Datum

    • Zones & Biomes

    • Nodes & Hubs

    • Landmarks

Leveldesign Techniques

words that bind us together

words that define us

The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts... if done good!

Vitruvius was an architect (aka leveldesigner) that lived during the roman empire. He believed that all buildings should hold three attributes; firmitas, utilitas and venustas (translated to; strength, utility and beauty). We call these the VITRUVIAN VIRTUES

For my leveldesigned... levels.. all of these areas needs to be fullfilled in order to raise the bar and cross the line of what differes between a good or awesome level with the mundane, boring, bland or bad levels.

"Gameplay First" or "Function before Form" are idioms that should be abolished.
Everything needs to walk hand in hand for your level to truly shine.

As leveldesigners we can take the words of Vitruvius and translate them into three leveldesign core values: 

SPACEPLANNING, GAMEPLAY and COMPOSITION.

We need to become experts in all of these areas. 

All of the following words and techniques are in direct connection to these core values.

gl hf

/Tommy Norberg

1. FIRMITAS / STRENGTH / SPACEPLANNING

Spaceplanning is the know-how to arrange items in your level so that it fits the context of your gameworld. If we are making a game based in the real world, then a hospital needs to look and feel like a hospital. Elevators, stairs, waiting rooms and surgery rooms needs to be placed logically and plausible. Doing so makes it easier for the player to grasp the location and not needing to spend extra time just to make sence of the location. 

Best is to have strong references with real world areas that resemble what you are building. Good sence of spaceplanning is equally important in games that have no real world resemblance, then it is the spaceplanning and ruleset of the gameworld that decides your logic.

hospital.JPG
1.1 Optimization

The strength also dictates how well your scripts and functionalities are tuned to the game engine. How aware are you of the engine strength and weakness? How well organized and readable are the scripts for an outsider? (i.e. how messy/organized are the blueprints in Unreal)

How well is the level build to take performance in account? As leveldesigners we have to be mindful of:

  • Drawcall budget. 

    • Rendering alot of objects is expensive. It is your job as a leveldesigner to know the limits, but also push for the limits.​

  • Building the map to block sightlines.​​

    • The cheapest way to render an object is to not render it. A well-placed wall can cover alot of objects and allow the engine to ignore all those objects in the renderpass. The wall obviously need to adress the current gameplay flow and spaceplanning to justify it's existens and not be out-of-place.

  • Know how, when and where we should use modular pieces versus hero pieces

    • Building with modular pieces that perfectly snaps together greatly speeds up our process and also help immensly with performance and the games file-size. But a game consisting entirely of modular pieces that are repeated over and over again tend to feel stale and uninspiring.. Hero pieces are unique pieces to break the repetition and spark curiosity.

External resources:

1.2 Robustness

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1.3 Logic

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1.4 Believability

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2. UTILITAS / UTILITY / GAMEPLAY

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2.1 Ergonomics

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2.2 Flow

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2.3 Rhythm

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2.4 Difficulty

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2.5 Impression

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2.6 Hooks

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3. VENUSTAS / BEAUTY / COMPOSITION

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3.1 Art Direction

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3.2 Lighting - Guiding Light

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3.3 Texturing / Coloring - Guiding Color

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3.4 Composition

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3.5 Readability

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4. LEVELDESIGN BASICS

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5. LEVELDESIGN STORYTELLING

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6. LEVELDESIGN WORKFLOW

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7. GESTALT LAWS

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8. MULTIPLAYER DESIGN

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9. THE IMAGE OF THE CITY

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