Level Design in a Day, GDC2012: Word with... Peers?

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Level Design text documentation talk from Level Design in a Day at GDC 2012

Level Design text documentation talk from Level Design in a Day at GDC 2012

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  • There are a lot of different takes on whether documentation is great or whether it’s horrible, but there’s always a nice “medium”..
  • outline
  • That’s it..
  • It’s that important. All hail the age of ADD.
  • Paul Wedgwood paraphrase “Imperfect formatting plants the seed of imperfect contents”
  • Wall of Lorem Ipsum text
  • Line breaks, ahhh
  • Oooh, bullet points
  • Bold, font size, etc…
  • Makes for quicker editing
  • Production phases
  • Pre Production / Planning / Plannifications -Brainstorming -> Culling -> Goals and Constraints -> Refining Production -If poorly structured initially, keeping it current will be too much work Post -Testing guides -Overviews for publishers or reviewers -Strategy guides
  • Know your tools
  • + Completeness, direction, consistency, legal disclaimers - Uniqueness / Individuality
  • + Simple and clear conveyance of ideas + Flow Charts: Type of diagram that is particularly suited to linear experiences, kismet - The simplicity/abstraction can be misleading; effecting factors are potentially not included
  • + Essential if applicable to the type of level (obviously not as useful for a side-scroller!) + Great for multiplayer playtests - Like diagrams, can hide complexity (the strength is also potentially a weakness)
  • + Great for thinking through asset costs of implementing ideas and/or features + Helps you get what you need a lot quicker - Things get missed, and that can leave you culpable for not thinking of it... always include a bit of slack, so that other disciplines can plan their resources accordingly
  • Formatting can apply here as well, horrible colours notwithstanding
  • + Allows different disciplines to quickly find the information relevant to them - Can give a daunting first impression... Strip out when feasible
  • + Normally put last, good for narrative synergy Can bloat the document very quickly
  • #LDinaDay 2010
  • #LDinaDay2012
  • The least of your worries. They will understand your line of thinking quickly and can easily be engaged in discussion.
  • -"Stakeholders ” , key people you need to sell on your ideas -This is where being concise will shine, as normally stakeholders don't have a lot of time to read lengthy documents... it's worth creating streamlined pitches -They need to know how the level will be something interesting from the player, yet not so far out their that the resources required will be astronomical. -Producers are empowered by stakeholders to see that the plan is carried out
  • -Environment Art will always be the principle area of concern for Level Design. -They'll immediately want to know how many unique assets they'll need to create (quality is defined by the Art Direction rather than the map), but this is dependent on how your engine and therefore environment creation works. -Any gameplay affecting elements either in the environments or as entities will normally come under the focus of another department, so be ready to call these out separately as they require more interdisciplinary dancing.
  • Ideally this is more of a Design concern than a Level Design concern, but it's possible that your level might require bespoke code. If this is the case, break down the mechanics as explicitly as possible.
  • I've combined these two disciplines as their needs are quite similar; they will need to know about bespoke events or locations that will require asset creation.
  • Depending on the nature of the game, this can be a huge concern. If it involves cinematic sequences within the gameplay space, meticulous planning can save you a ton of grief.

Transcript

  • 1. LEVEL DESIGN DOCUMENTATION:Words with… peers?Neil AlphonsoLead Designer, Splash Damage
  • 2. TIPSPHASESCOMPONENTSAUDIENCES
  • 3. TIPS
  • 4. PRO-TIP #1 ALWAYS BE CONCISE
  • 5. PRO-TIP #2REFER TO PRO-TIP #1: ALWAYS BE CONCISE
  • 6. PRO-TIP #3EMBRACE THE POWER OF FORMATTING
  • 7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula egetdolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes,nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis,sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec,vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo.Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamuselementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitoreu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis,feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum.Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi.Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus,sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc,blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunttempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sitamet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh.Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velitcursus nunc.
  • 8. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aeneanmassa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim.Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdieta, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus.Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus.Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in,viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aeneanimperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui.Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sitamet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id,lorem.Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullamquis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh.Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc.
  • 9. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis,ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringillavel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullamdictum felis eu pede mollis pretium.Integer tincidunt. • Cras dapibus. • Vivamus elementum semper nisi. • Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. • Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. • Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. • Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. • Quisque rutrum.Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiamrhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscingsem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio etante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orcieget eros faucibus tincidunt.Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendumsodales, augue velit cursus nunc.
  • 10. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes,nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quisenim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatisvitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium.Integer tincidunt. • Cras dapibus. • Vivamus elementum semper nisi. • Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. • Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. • Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. • Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. • Quisque rutrum.Aenean imperdiet.Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, telluseget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blanditvel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut liberovenenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt.Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales,augue velit cursus nunc.
  • 11. PRO-TIP #4 MODULARITY IS ALWAYS USEFUL
  • 12. PHASES
  • 13. PRE-PRODUCTIONBRAINSTORMING -> CULLING -> GOALS AND CONSTRAINTS -> REFININGPRODUCTIONPOST
  • 14. COMPONENTS
  • 15. TEMPLATESDIAGRAMS & FLOW CHARTSTOP-DOWN MAPSASSET LISTSTABLE OF CONTENTSSCRIPTS
  • 16. TEMPLATES
  • 17. DIAGRAMS &FLOW CHARTS
  • 18. TOP-DOWNMAPS
  • 19. ASSET LISTSAsset Name Type Theme Filename Size PolysDoorframe01 Model Industrial Df_01.pkg 5k 120Doorframe02 Model Industrial Df_02.pkg 4.6k 110Doorframe03 Model Industrial Df_03.pkg 5k 180Pipe01 Model Residential Pip_01.pkg 2k 60Pipe02 Model Residential Pip_02.pkg 1.5k 48WaterSpray VFX N/A Spray_01.pkg 145k 1604 (avg)Machinehum Audio Industrial Mchnhum.pk 80k N/A g
  • 20. ASSET LISTSAsset Name Type Theme Filename Size PolysDoorframe01 Model Industrial Df_01.pkg 5k 120Doorframe02 Model Industrial Df_02.pkg 4.6k 110Doorframe03 Model Industrial Df_03.pkg 5k 180Pipe01 Model Residential Pip_01.pkg 2k 60Pipe02 Model Residential Pip_02.pkg 1.5k 48WaterSpray VFX N/A Spray_01.pkg 145k 1604 (avg)Machinehum Audio Industrial Mchnhum.pkg 80k N/A
  • 21. TABLE OFCONTENTS
  • 22. SCRIPTS
  • 23. AUDIENCES
  • 24. AUDIENCES
  • 25. LEVEL DESIGN & DESIGNSTAKEHOLDERS & PRODUCTIONARTPROGRAMMINGAUDIO & VISUAL EFFECTSCINEMATICS
  • 26. LEVEL DESIGN& DESIGN
  • 27. STAKEHOLDERS& PRODUCTION
  • 28. ART
  • 29. PROGRAMMING
  • 30. AUDIO &VISUAL EFFECTS
  • 31. CINEMATICS
  • 32. REFERENCE: “Designing Power-Ups for Action Games” Randy Smith, GDC 2003