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Level Design Primer Part 14: Rules of Composition

So far we’ve been looking at level design purely from a gameplay perspective. I want to switch tracks for the next few parts and discuss the aesthetic and narrative aspects of level design. That is not to say that these … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer Part 13: Level Geometry

I want to step back a bit and discuss the term “Level Geometry.” Level Geometry refers to the physical space and construction of the level, and the shape and positioning of objects in the level. You’ll see the term most … Continue reading

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Trailer – Emo McGothington: Sad Candy Shooter

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Level Design Primer Part 12: Hubs and Shortcuts

This time around I want to talk about some ways to make navigation easier in non-linear space, and I want to specifically deal with the issue of backtracking. Backtracking is when the player has to go back over the same … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer Part 11: Designing Around Failure

There’s a level design idea which I’ve been trying to resolve into a concrete topic, but I was having trouble getting to the core of it. Then I played the new Strider and it resolved itself. So far we’ve been … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer 10: The Revenge of Planning Out Levels

I want to take what I’ve talked about so far in terms of non-linear level design and show a practical application. Thus, I’m going to do another “Planning out your Levels” article, this time showing my process behind the level … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer #9: Navigation through Non-Linear Levels

We’ve talked a bit about arranging challenges in a non-linear level. But what about the person actually playing your game? How do they find their way around? In linear games, it’s easy. “Which way did I come from? I’ll go … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer #8: Gating and Implicit Linearity

As I said in the last part, there are a lot of benefits to linear design. You can control the pace at which the player is introduced to new content and harder challenges. What if we want the feeling of … Continue reading

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Level Design Primer 7: Non-linear Level Design

We’ve talked so far about stringing together challenges in a linear order. Challenge 1 is followed by challenge 2 is followed by challenge 3 and so on. There are many advantages to building a game around this structure: you can … Continue reading

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Design Musings: Emergence and Authorial Intent

I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks games have as an art form is the idea that the author of the game does not have total control over the game due to the element of player input, and the … Continue reading

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