Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Where to begin...

I find that many folks who attempt to build SP maps tend to approach level design in a slightly backward fashion. By this I mean they design and build the environment and then fill it with NPCs and hope that the action will be appropriately fun.

While having a good idea for the environment you wish to build is an important step, SP level design is primarily based around the events that will occur in your map. Each section of the map is designed specifically with the gameplay in mind.

If you look at any specific area of an SP FPS game you'll realise often how unrealistic the layout of an area actually is. In the real world, how often do you really come across high walkways with no hand rail etc...?

This is the reason warehouses and crates are so popular as environments for designers. They can be configured into almost any layout to meet any preplanned gameplay encounter and still look reasonably realistic. The trick is to take an unrealistic area layout that works well for gameplay and then disguise it as a location that fits the theme of your game map.

For example... that large block essential to making the firefight circulate round the room will become a big water tank once you start detailing. The high level sniper position becomes a clocktower etc...

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