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Level Design

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by MRY, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. skacky Prestigious Gentleman 3D Realms Developer

    skacky
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    That's a very broad and simplistic diagram, mostly here to show varying degrees of space usage. The Advanced/Expert fluff is here in relation to architecture complexity, not layout. Another thing is that these are just top-down views that don't represent height variations or any of that stuff. It just can't be properly represented on a 2d plane. You can have a level that's very well made layout-wise with lots of vertical action but looks like #2 and then have a super flat level with a complex arrangement of rooms like #4. In this case #2 will be much more interesting than #4 despite a simpler architecture and space arrangement. But hey, who designs vertical levels nowadays in AAA?

    #4 here is perhaps the most 'accurate' representation of what a MP level should be from top view:
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. sullynathan Arcane

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    Ubisoft does, which is surprising
     
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  3. DosBuster Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    Even Fallout 4 had heavy vertical level design, it's a common thing in AAA.
     
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  4. HoboForEternity sunset tequila Patron

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    Fallout 4's dungeons are actually an improvement over skyrim imo. Skyrim dungeons are the epitome of straight line covered by cheap illusions and easy twist and turn. Skyrim's dungeons are exactly like intestines. They look like they have many turn and twists, but actually, there is only 1 entrance and exit.

    Fallout 4 is much better in complexity and natural feel of the place, without making it just a straight line.

    That said, both are still shit games.
     
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  5. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Skyrim dungeons were typically composed of relatively well designed small sections strung together in a completely linear fashion. Sometimes they would loop around above one another permitting shortcuts and exchange of fire.
     
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  6. Oblivion had best MMO dungeons ever. You follow a single path which eventually leads to the exit :thumbsup:
     
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  7. Excommunicator Arcane

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    Can someone explain to me how it is intermediate level to physically build the level and expert level to draw "flow" circles. This looks like an attempt to baffle through oversimplification
     
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  8. skacky Prestigious Gentleman 3D Realms Developer

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    It's not simply drawing flow circles, it's making the level using these flow circles as a design goal, which the intermediate level doesn't do. And yes, doing that is way harder than it seems. You can make your level with flow circles and stuff rather easily, but if it's randomly done your level will suck. Why do you think Quake or CS players have been playing the same maps over and over again for more than a decade?
     
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  9. Excommunicator Arcane

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    He doesn't look bad at designing levels based on his website, he's just no good at explaining it

    Multiplayer map design is by nature more boring than singleplayer map design anyway, so I think we should redirect the discussion towards singleplayer level design.

    And I think level design like a lot of similar disciplines that have a rough blend of science and art, the more you analyse it, the worse your results
     
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  10. DJOGamer PT Arcane

    DJOGamer PT
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    :necro:

    This thread needs more love. Level Design is something not very much talked about (even here), despite being extremely important.

    Some cool levels:

    Show Spoiler
    Dark Souls

    While I don't think most individual locations in DS are good, if we consider it's entire game world as a whole dungeon then we have some cool shit:

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    Of course there are good levels. The best ones being...


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    This one is one of the best because, it was the first area they developed and tested the game in.

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    I kinda wish they had put a puzzle or anther type of mental challenge in this level.


    Dark Souls II

    This game gets a lot of shit from everyone (specially the fans). Most levels are bad or just forgetable. However mechanically speaking this one is the best of the trilogy, and the levels that are good, are pretty damn good (specially the DLC's that have the best levels in the Soulsborne series).

    I could only find maps in Japanese for this one, though.

    Forest of Fallen Giants (great first level; good exploration; nice challenges; 2 Bosses)

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    No-man's Wharf (it's a dark area with good enemy placement and one of the best bosses of the game IMO)

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    The Lost Bastille

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    Starting area for those who come from No-Man's Warf Ship (the other starting location is from the 2nd Boss of the Forrest of Fallen Giants).

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    This area has however a problem with Bonfire placement.


    Earthen Peak (feels like a proper dungeon, with traps and 2 bosses - the first one being also one of the best in the game)

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    The Gutter (DSII Blighttown, but with better atmosphere - and design IMO)

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    Now the DLC's. Starting with the best: Crown of the Sunken King

    Shulva, Sanctum City

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    Dragon's Sanctum

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    Crown of the Old Iron King (most difficult areas in any Soulsborne games)

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    The biggest problem of the DLC's are these areas that are almost require the player to use Co-Op because they are filled with trash mobs. Fortunately they are optional.

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    This DLC has easily one of the best Bosses in the SoulsBorne series. That is Sir Alonne (even tough is concept being pretty much Samurai Artorias).

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    It also has what is IMO the hardest Boss in the series. Fume Knight.

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    Crown of the Ivory King

    Frozen Eleum Loyce


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    Frigid Outskirts.

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    Found this one a few days ago. Love it...

    Show Spoiler

    Khazad-dûm. Better known as Moria.

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    Moria's floors:

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    Show Spoiler

    Zelda games have some great dungeons with spectacular puzzles as well.


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    Majora's Mask Stone Tower Temple:

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    This dungeon also as an excellent Theme:



    Shit Zelda games migh have the best Dungeon Themes.










    A complete mess...

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    (if you look closely you can see that it repeats certain areas)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  11. Ash Arcane

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    Sums up modern game design conventions entirely: realism obsession, even when it's hardly necessary (i.e multiplayer). Are they completely ignorant of the advantages of abstraction? Do they seriously think every game should have a strong sense of realism? I return to old games specifically because of their embrace of abstraction.
     
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  12. frajaq Liturgist

    frajaq
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    If I had to choose a game with good level design that would probably be Dishonored 1, unfortunately part of it is completely ruined by the OP Outsider powers
     
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  13. vivec Self-Ejected

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    Level design has to deal with two different ideas:

    Having more than one path.
    Having each of that path mechanically different.

    i.e. if you create two paths but going through either of them involves exactly the same shit e.g. killing 10 million aliens or talking through one with a <intimidate check> and other with <persuation check> then the multiple paths have achieved nothing. Deus ex had the right idea. One path was for the talker, other for the fighter and the third for the stealther. Now, that's a good design.
     
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  14. AscendedFlames Learned

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    Don't forget that they stretch it and have 3 cutscenes from start, middle and end.
     
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  15. Ash Arcane

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    Deus Ex doesn't have such binary level design. Rarely is it just a) combat route or b) stealth route. Even rarer still is a path dedicated to talking. Now Deus Ex: Human Revolution, yes that was very binary. Mostly boiled down to you go the obvious way or you crawl through some vents, but that was shit.
     
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  16. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

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    Now I want to replay Chaos Strikes Back.
     
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  17. DJOGamer PT Arcane

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    I kind of agree with Vivec, but I think what he said is more of a concern for RPG's.

    Since one of the most important features of RPG's is the different number of classes (or roles), these games must be designed with this in mind to allow the players to overcome the game's various obstacules in a way that supports said playstyle (and this is something Deus Ex did right)

    Most RPG's only let you play a certain way and that's to kill every obstacule you might encounter. Sometimes they might let you light shealth or talk your way out, but those times are few and far between. And even those different routes most times wield effectivaly the same results as going trough the combat way. Even magic in most rpg's is never more than a fire ball machine gun, few games actually have spells that your meant to use creativily.

    While level design can influence this, IMO what really has weight in this, is the overall gameplay systems and mechanics.

    Still Vivec, by level design we are talking specifically about the layout, connectivity, the obstacules (and their placement), mental challenges (such as puzzles, riddles, etc) and lastly the aesthetics and atmosphere.
     
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  18. vivec Self-Ejected

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    Even in that scenario, the central idea of what I say applies. That each path is different in theme. If one has to be a puzzle and then the other has to be a *different* puzzle or purely combat. If one simply has nodes in the map, then what good is one node compared to the other?
     
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  19. fantadomat Arcane Edgy Wumao

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    System shock 2,Deus ex,Thief games have great level design. Random illogical levels are cool in old school blobers and fps. Good level design heavily depends on the game settings and idea. I always like to see a level shows that people live there. From recent games Kingdom come have great design.
     
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  20. ortucis Prophet

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    I like how he starts talking about "FPS Multiplayer level" and ends up with Uncharted 4 and "tells a story" in a MP map in the "EXPERT" level. :lol:
     
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  21. Sigourn Futa Lover

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    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Quake III Arena had my favorite maps in any shooter, ever. Then again, I didn't play many.

    Seconding fantadomat 's comment about Thief. It feels natural, real, and mazelike because a place (mansion, cemetery, prison) you've never been to SHOULD feel like a maze.
     
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  22. sser Arcane Cuck Developer

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    I've only played Dark Souls 1 but it definitely has some of the best level design I've ever seen.
    DJOGamer PT pretty much covered it.
     
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  23. fantadomat Arcane Edgy Wumao

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    Dark souls have shitty level design,really can't stand all the fanfaggots. Average action rpg hit their consoles and they loose their mind,and proclaim it best game eva.
     
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  24. Deflowerer Arcane

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    Show Spoiler


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  25. Sigourn Futa Lover

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    Despite being my first Legacy of Kain title, Soul Reaver is the one I've played the least, arguably. I should replay it.
     
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