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Top 5 Best Practices for Immersive Game Level Design

By Starloop Studios | 16 December, 2020

Game level design is part of the game development process that deals with creating the stages, maps, and missions of the game. The main mission that a game level designer must fulfill is to build interactive situations within the game so that the player stays engaged and challenged to complete the actual level, but also to explore the next levels. A good game level design has to make the player wants to spend his free time in that game environment, to explore and offer a game world with a distinct look and feel that necessitates certain gameplay.

This whole process requires a lot of preparation and planning from a whole team of designers, artists, programmers and engineers who must collaborate for the result to be a captivating experience for the player.

There are no fixed rules for good game level design, and each studio has its own design process. For example, to create a game level design, an AAA game studio may have its own team of level designers, while an independent game developer can handle the entire project. Regardless of which case you are part of, to start the game level design stage, the first step is to start project planning.

 

1. For an immersive game level design, do not skip creating a game design document

 

Having a well thought-out game level design document allows you to scope your level properly and to reduce the risk of potential problems arising during development. It will let you see the awesome ideas and concepts that kept you up all night long when you first started on your game level design and, perhaps more importantly, which ones need to be cut from the game to make your life easier, or rework to make your efforts worthwhile. Creating a game level design document (GDD) should be the first step you take before starting the game level design process and should contain all the data about the project such as goals, objects, events, a summary of the playthrough, puzzles, secrets, and so on. Another reason to have a GDD doc is that it will keep all project members on the same page and will help make sure everyone is working together.

 

2. Make it interactive and fun

 

Whenever a player starts playing a video game, he expects the game to be fun, interactive, captivate him in the story and make him want to explore as much as possible. Add challenges and obstacles to the game level design to make everything fun and rewarding.

Players love the feeling of overcoming challenges, so make sure your levels are designed to be traversable but not so obvious and orderly as to become boring for players.

 

3. Lead the Player

 

You can use several techniques to lead the player into the game, but remember that you don’t have to give them all the answers. For example, the leading lines are a game level design technique that guides the player’s eyes towards a specific location, item, or event. These can be in the form of textures on the curtain or walls, pipes, hedges, etc.

 

game level design 1

Credit Image: @TomPugh1112 on Twitter

 

To be as efficient as possible, the leading lines can be used in combination with lighting and other techniques. For example, you can design a lighted area or a more interesting piece of scenery, something that catches the player’s eye and urges them to discover more. There are more chances the player will want to explore that area, and quickly realize the way he should go. You need to find that fine line of player discovery and game level design influence.

 

4. Vary the Scenery

 

As we said above, a good game level design should not be boring, so the design and architecture should be different at each level. Don’t put the same building or other objects over and over, as it will look monotonous and boring to your players. Put extra details on the different buildings, streets, or plants, so players have something to look forward to. You can vary by creating a building with several faces, each face having a different look, different texture, and displaying it from different angles on each level.

 

5. Use denial and reward techniques

 

This game level design technique aims to give the player a sense of progress. This has a simple concept: it gives the player visibility in the first phase of the game to the place where he must reach. Then, the player is carried on another road, in which he has no view of the build. After that, the player can see the target again, but much closer, with a different angle of visibility. In-game level design, this technique is used to enrich a person’s passage through a built environment.

 

game level design 2

Credit Image: @TomPugh1112 on Twitter

 

Game level design for an immersive gameplay experience

 

For immersive game level design, there are a lot of techniques that our game level designers know and successfully implement in our clients’ projects. We know that players’ experiences must be memorable and fun while boosting player retention in the game.

Therefore, our professional Starloopians has the expertise to craft environments that are dynamic, immersive, and suitable for many types of playstyles, that integrate both functional and aesthetic game level design, level pacing and flow, player goals, and fun factor.

Learn more about our game level design service and feel free to request a quote.

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