Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1025935 Posts in 41119 Topics- by 32719 Members - Latest Member: Darkmill

July 23, 2014, 12:08:03 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeDesignLevel Design Workshop - #3 Structural Atmosphere
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17
Print
Author Topic: Level Design Workshop - #3 Structural Atmosphere  (Read 39377 times)
Jonathan Whiting
Level 2
**



View Profile WWW
« on: July 06, 2010, 02:54:43 PM »

Exercise 1: Minature Sokoban

Exercise 2: Composition and Pacing

Exercise 3: Structural Atmosphere

Exercise 4: Teaching Mechanics


Hey all Smiley

Whilst responding to http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=13618.0 it struck me that level design is something that isn't as discussed as often as it should be.  Whilst not all games involve it, for those that do it is at least as important as the programming and art, and is all too often treated as a chore to fit in at the end of development; level design ought to get more respect!

I think a big factor in this is that level design is hard.  Programming and art are hard too, but we know that, and we practice and practice so that we can get better.  We should practice level design too.. and so I want to start..

The Level Design Workshop!

Essentially the way I see this working is a bit like a somewhat directed creative writing group.  There will be short regular (weekly?) exercises to challenge us to grow/challenge our skills.  We will also encourage each other to share our in-progress level design work for our own projects.  Hopefully there will be a lot of juicy discussion and really hard hitting constructive criticism; if nothing else I'll try really hard to write some high quality feedback on everything I see.

In case it isn't already clear, I'm happy to put the organisation work in here.  I'm using 'we' because I want to be nice and inclusive, rather than because I'm lazy (I *am* lazy, but in a good way, honest).

So, who's in?   Coffee
« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 03:26:56 AM by Jonathan Whiting » Logged

G-Factor
Level 0
***


View Profile Email
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 03:15:46 PM »

This will definitely be useful. When people think design they generally think of 'mechanics' design, which in my opinion is the easy part. Once you have a good idea, you need to create 4-5 hours of gameplay to show off that mechanic. An awesome idea that lasts for 10 minutes is not really worth much in my opinion. And I've seen games with potential, but lacking in content length because the author probably lacked the level design skills to see their game through.
Logged

GregWS
Level 10
*****


a module, repeatable in any direction and rotation


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 03:24:11 PM »

I'd need some specifics about what you'd plan before saying I'd get involved, but I do think it's a good idea.

Were I doing something like this I'd probably do it in level editors or something.  Probably Knytt Stories levels for 2d, and possibly SketchUp + Unity for 3d stuff (I've been quite pleasantly surprised by how nice those two pieces of software work for simple stuff).

Those two tools would really keep the focus solely on creating interesting levels, instead of allowing people to get caught up in mechanics.  I mean, heck, just look at how creative and amazing some of the community Knytt Stories levels are!

And by using standardized stuff like that, everyone would be able to easily compare their work; it would certainly make criticism easier.
Logged
Jonathan Whiting
Level 2
**



View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 03:49:02 PM »

My plan is that the "regular exercises" will be focused on specific games, largely chosen for the speed at which you can get started/productive with them, but also things that should encourage learning.  The "share our in-progress level design work for our own projects" will obviously be much more freeform, anyone's free to share anything as long as it comes under the (rather broad heading) of level design.

Knytt Stories certainly does fit the bill, and will almost certainly feature at some point.  I do want to keep mixing things up though, this should be about level design in general not "level design for xyz".  I've got a good few ideas lined up to start us off, and we can see where we go from there.

Sketchup, I'm slightly less keen on because a) it needs to be tied to a game before it's relevant and b) frankly I find 3d less interesting than 2d nowadays and c) whilst it is *fairly* easy it's not as immediate as I'd like the tools we use to be.  As a great example of a really immediate 3d level editing check out http://sauerbraten.org/  (again, something that is likely to feature at some point).

Oh, and I don't intend this to be a "you must take part in every exercise or else" kind of a thing, more of a "do what you can when you can" one.
Logged

JoGribbs
Guest
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 03:53:19 PM »

I am reaching the point where I'm a good enough programmer to get stuff working, and have started to worry more about the content I'm creating for my games. I'd be interested in taking part in this, in the interest of self-improvement, if you don't mind.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 04:01:01 PM by JoGribbs » Logged
GregWS
Level 10
*****


a module, repeatable in any direction and rotation


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 03:59:46 PM »

Ah, alright then; thanks for the clarification.
Logged
Jonathan Whiting
Level 2
**



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 04:09:47 PM »

I'd be interested in taking part in this, in the interest of self-improvement, if you don't mind.

Collective self-improvement is what it's all about.  Great to have you onboard  Grin
Logged

Draknek
Level 6
*


"Alan Hazelden" for short

msn@draknek.org
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 04:17:45 PM »

Definitely interested.

It would be nice if there was a mixture of game-specific exercises and more abstract ones that could be used to inspire us in whatever games we're working on.

I understand that coming up with game-agnostic exercises wouldn't exactly be easy though.
Logged

Captain_404
Guest
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 04:19:09 PM »

I think it would almost be more productive to put together level editors specific to challenges you want to give, rather than work from existing games. My main problem with using existing games is that their editors will necessarily be tied to the game's atmosphere and aesthetic, which dilutes from the experience of pure level design.

I think it would also be useful to define what you see as "level design." Is it the arrangement of things in a game level from a purely mechanical point of view, or is the creation of art central to that process? I know that for me the two are inseparable, and I there are bound to be variables beyond even that to consider.


Regardless, I'm interested in this.

Oh, and should there be any interest in creating editors for this workshop, I can lend my Flash skills to help.
Logged
LemonScented
Level 7
**



View Profile Email
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 04:36:17 PM »

I don't have a lot of time to commit (I'm even having to sit out of the AGBIC contest, which I'm gutted about), so if these exercises are like 10 hours things every week where participation is MANDATORY then I won't be so keen on that. However, this sounds like it could become something really awesome, and if I'm able to dip in and out, submit stuff which I did on paper and scanned, or in a paint program or some really easy level editor, then I'm totally up for being involved.

If I ever get a chance, I might sift through some of my old notes and games I made when I was a teenager (seems like a lifetime ago) and post-mortem some of my own level design choices, so people can see what stuff I came up with which was good, and also stuff I did because I was young and stupid and which nobody else should ever do.
Logged

fraxcell
Level 5
*****



View Profile Email
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 04:53:27 PM »

I'd definitely be interested.  I'd love exercises which have to deal with architecture and using space and those kinds of design techniques, as they are more abstract and not limited to specific game mechanics.
Logged

AKA ninjutsu63
Twitter
Jonathan Whiting
Level 2
**



View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 10:57:58 PM »

I understand that coming up with game-agnostic exercises wouldn't exactly be easy though.

My hope is that game agnostic lessons can be taken from game specific excercises.  I'm certainly intending to frame them with that view in mind.

I think it would almost be more productive to put together level editors specific to challenges you want to give, rather than work from existing games.

Yeah, this is certainly something I'm considering.  One of the best things about that approach is our level design interface could remain largely the same, and only the challenges change.  Whilst I do have a good base (flash with in-engine editing) for it it'll probably take a bit of time to get it slick enough for general use.  I don't want to delay making a start when there already lots of games around that are easy to make levels for.

My main problem with using existing games is that their editors will necessarily be tied to the game's atmosphere and aesthetic, which dilutes from the experience of pure level design.

I consider supporting a game's atmosphere and aesthetic to be one of the fundamental elements of "pure level design".  So, whilst I don't want all exercises to include that sort of challenge I certainly want some of them do.

I think it would also be useful to define what you see as "level design." Is it the arrangement of things in a game level from a purely mechanical point of view, or is the creation of art central to that process? I know that for me the two are inseparable, and I there are bound to be variables beyond even that to consider.

Yes, you're right it would be good if I provided a definition that we'll work around here.  I'll try and come up with something vigorous.  For the moment though I'll just say that I see level design here as taken to be the arrangement of already created game elements.  I want to leave graphics, mechanic design, and programming at the door.  They are all of course deeply related to level design, and good level design involves some elements of each of those disciplines.  I feel they're discussed enough though, and we need to cut our scope off somewhere.


Regardless, I'm interested in this.

Oh, and should there be any interest in creating editors for this workshop, I can lend my Flash skills to help.

Fantastic  Hand Thumbs Up Left Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right

I don't have a lot of time to commit (I'm even having to sit out of the AGBIC contest, which I'm gutted about), so if these exercises are like 10 hours things every week where participation is MANDATORY then I won't be so keen on that. However, this sounds like it could become something really awesome, and if I'm able to dip in and out, submit stuff which I did on paper and scanned, or in a paint program or some really easy level editor, then I'm totally up for being involved.

All contribution is hugely welcome, I'm not going to be a slave driver about it.  I also hope that the exercises will be substantially shorter than that (otherwise I'll never get any work done on anything else!)

If I ever get a chance, I might sift through some of my old notes and games I made when I was a teenager (seems like a lifetime ago) and post-mortem some of my own level design choices, so people can see what stuff I came up with which was good, and also stuff I did because I was young and stupid and which nobody else should ever do.

That sounds like a great idea, I wish I had more examples of my early work around, I'd love to spend some time picking through the stuff I made back then more critically.

I'd definitely be interested.  I'd love exercises which have to deal with architecture and using space and those kinds of design techniques, as they are more abstract and not limited to specific game mechanics.

Yes, some exercises with that focus would be great.  I'm often struck by how much level design is like conventional architecture an odd combination of aesthetics and functionality.  Raising this has made me wish I knew more about conventional architecture  Concerned

Anyway, I'm so very glad that there appears to be interest in this thing.  Beer!  Now I just need to get it off the ground.  I think I'll try and put up a first exercise at some point on Thursday.
Logged

baconman
Level 10
*****


Design Guru


View Profile Email
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2010, 01:13:40 AM »

This sounds wicked cool. And another substitute worth considering: Spelunky and it's level editor. There's an incredibly diverse set of 2D action styles you can make happen with that little engine!
Logged

Flimgoblin
Level 0
***


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2010, 03:55:18 AM »

Very interested - I find myself picking an interesting mechanics/programming problem, solving it then not getting to the point of implementing levels/etc. with it. Something to flex/train the level design muscles would be very useful.
Logged

increpare
Guest
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 04:10:06 AM »

I very strongly suspect that I might be up for this : )
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic