Like many 2D platformers, Celeste is split up into different worlds. Breaking down a game into smaller elements can help when designing levels, but how did Celeste manage to make each area feel mechanically different and unique? In this 2017 GDC session, lead developer of Celeste Matt Thorson goes into detail about designing numerous hardcore platforming stages that make up the game. Thorson goes through a wide range of topics, discussing everything from the tools and processes behind elements like arranging sprawling area maps that make up the mountain, to weaving story elements through its game world. Designers interested in the level design of Celeste may appreciate that they can now watch the talk completely free via the official GDC YouTube channel! In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many … [Read more...] about Video: The level design of Celeste
It's that time again: to prepare for the big GDC 2018 Level Design Workshop on Tuesday, March 20th, a handful of the speakers wanted to warm up by chatting (via email) about some of the finer points of level design. Gathering question from the community, they shared some interesting insights, experiences, and learnings in a shared document that's reprinted below for your reading pleasure. The participants in this exchange, in no particular order, are: Robert Yang, NYU video game professor and indie game maker Blake Rebouche, senior quest designer at Guerrilla Games Nina Freeman, level designer at Fullbright Steve Gaynor, game designer and Fullbright cofounder Heather Robertson, indie game maker Mike Bithell, game designer and Bithell Games founder Christopher Totten, game designer and founder of Pie for Breakfast Studios David Shaver, game designer at Naughty Dog Nathan Fouts, game designer and founder of Mommy's Best Games [more detailed bios for everyone are at the … [Read more...] about GDC 2018 Level Design Workshop: An expert roundtable Q&A
Unity has acquired the ProBuilder team and added the 3D modeling and level design tool to its creative suite. ProBuilder, created by Gabriel Williams and Karl Henkel, lets developers design, prototype, and rapidly playtest levels directly in Unity. The tool packs a plethora of useful features like procedural shapes, in-scene UV controls, and indefinitely editable shapes, and has been used in games such as Superhot, Tacoma, Innerspace, and Manifold Garden. Starting today, ProBuilder will become part of the Unity feature roadmap, and all be available to Unity subscription plan holders at no extra cost. As part of the deal, both Williams and Henkel will also join Unity, though it's not clear what their new roles will be. You can learn more about ProBuilder, including how to get your hands on the toolkit, over on the Unity blog. … [Read more...] about Unity acquires ProBuilder level design tool and hires its creators
One of the fundamentals of good level design ensures that the player has fun when navigating a space. That is, according to one of the ten principles Dan Taylor lays out. Level designers are often tasked with constructing an environment that's engaging to a player without giving them too much or too little information. What steps can they take to make sure their levels are intuitive and well thought out? In this 2013 GDC session, Square Enix Montreal's Dan Taylor provides a Ramsian-style breakdown of how to create well designed levels, which distills the art and science of level design down to a set of fundamental principles for innovation and engagement. Level designers may appreciate that they can now watch the talk completely free via the official GDC YouTube channel! In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides … [Read more...] about Video: The ten principles for better level design
As you're getting ready for the Game Developers Conference in March, organizers want to be sure you know about some of the great sessions taking place at the event that are all about the art of great level design. Each of these talks is part of the Level Design Workshop, one of many focused, insightful Bootcamps and Tutorials scheduled during the first two days of GDC -- that's Monday and Tuesday, March 19th and 20th this year! The Level Design Workshop returns for the eighth consecutive year bringing together another all-new docket of talks spanning a variety of topics that will interest working and aspiring level designers across the game industry. Historically, LD Workshop presentations run the gamut from sharing specific techniques, to in-depth analysis of shipped games, to introspective explorations of "big" concepts that affect level designers/teams, as well as providing guides to process and workflow. For 2018, Clint Hocking and … [Read more...] about Sharpen your level design skills at the GDC 2018 Level Design Workshop!