Level Design is where the development of a game physically begins. It takes a lot of thought and process to be able to create a successful level and environment. You have to be aware of the space and general interactivity. As well as the importance of playability and the way the player navigates through the level. Level design combines the use of visual and geometric abilities all designed to construct the architecture of the level. It requires more than just an artistic way of thinking, it demands a structural and precise insight to the mechanical expectations of architecture. This is because level design is an expensive use of time, as if things don’t work or look right then the level, and therefore the game will look bad, and this will be shown in the sales of the games. Gamers want to play something believable, not something that is falling apart at the seems.
Another important aspect of level design is the purpose of what is going to be placed in the level and why you are having it in the level, you need to consider what the purpose of the object is and how it will help you to get your end result. Deciding the location and environment will help you back up your general theme for a game. For example, in horror games such as silent hill, don’t you always see hospitals and abandoned theme parks? Why? Because they are creepy! So if you’re creating a horror game, you aren’t going to have the environment in a sunny field full of rainbows and unicorns. No. you will conform to stereotypical places ideal for your theme.
So, with that in mind, the level must be constructed around the general story of the game. You must realise, before creating a level, what the environment and place has to do with the story and why the character(s) are there? This will help you decide assets and how the level is constructed.
The layout is another important aspect of level design. You don’t want the player to have a headache because the level is designed like a maze (Unless your making a maze, then it should be maze-like) forcing them to give up because they’ve “Gone past this same tree several times now”. These are important things that you must keep in mind if you want to create a successful level.
Another important stage with creating a level is what are the objectives and obstacles? As these will help to forward the plot and storyline. If these are missed out then the game will not have a meaning. You need to give a typical character arc to the character by setting tasks and having problems, like with any film or game. Your protagonist has some sort of problem to overcome which in the end makes them or the world better. (This cannot be typical of ALL game and films, just the majority) You must also create main focal points in your level. This will help draw gamers in the world, giving them something to concentrate on. Focal points must be visually pleasing and could often be the sign of where the player needs to go or the importance of that area.
In conclusion, all these things are relatively important to the full aspect of a game. Poor level design will result in a overall poor outcome, as level design is classed as the “interface” (how the person reacts with the operating system) and will be an important and constant feature of the game.