Level design is one of my favorite aspects of game development. Good level design can make you feel like an explorer, a puzzle solver and an action hero. Bad level design can make you feel bored, aimless, frustrated, or like you are being dragged by the hand. Level design is what transforms a set of mechanics, characters and enemies into a game that will test the player’s skill.
This will be a series of articles on level design and what goes into it. More specifically, level design as it pertains to single player (or coop) games, and not multiplayer competitive games (that’s a whole other topic). I’ll start with the basics of building a level out of discrete challenges, and move on to topics including teaching through level design, non-linear level design, verticality, and environmental storytelling. I will also break down levels from existing games to analyze what is going on from a design perspective. I will also have interactive examples to demonstrate the concepts I’m discussing.