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Please Note <ul><li>There is a ton of useful information in the notes of these presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Please dow...
Production <ul><li>The thrilling world of workflow </li></ul>
When is production? <ul><li>When you’ve got: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A plan/GDD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A budget </li></u...
Level Design
Workflow/Pipeline Image courtesy of  rickz
Why Bother? <ul><li>Who wants red tape? </li></ul><ul><li>Save time </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid frustration </li></ul><ul><li>...
The Frontlines Pipeline
The Handoff
The phases <ul><li>Phase 0: it exists </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 1: it’s got stuff in it </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: even more...
Why did it happen?
Our current process
Stages <ul><li>Contain steps </li></ul><ul><li>Time boxed </li></ul><ul><li>Clear deliverables </li></ul><ul><li>Approvers...
What is locked?
The Process <ul><li>Research & Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Blockout & test </li></ul><ul><li>Iteration & Vetting </li></ul><...
A less crazy document
How’s it going? <ul><li>- Time estimates off </li></ul><ul><li>+ collaboration improved </li></ul><ul><li>+ No cut maps </...
Key Ingredients <ul><li>Unambiguous goals </li></ul><ul><li>Defined stages </li></ul><ul><li>Established approvers </li></...
Single player process Image courtesy of  max_westby
Process breakdown
The Swarm
Positives <ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Team work </li></ul><ul><li>Coherency </li></ul><ul><li>Specialization </li></ul>
How do we do it? <ul><li>Unreal – architected for sharing </li></ul>
Submaps
The tangled web
Map Lead <ul><li>Produces known-good builds </li></ul><ul><li>Insures seamless linking between sections </li></ul><ul><li>...
Drawbacks <ul><li>Loss of mission ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Technically challenging </li></ul>
Will it work for you? <ul><li>Does it fit your game? </li></ul><ul><li>Can your tools support it? </li></ul><ul><li>Will i...
How’s about Fallout 3? <ul><li>Take it Joel </li></ul>
55 Ayleid Ruins 57 Imperial Forts 24 Mines 0 9 Sewers 19 Oblivion Realms 91 Caves  . 255 Dungeons What Came Before? Oblivi...
How do 8 people build 255 dungeons/levels? <ul><li>Build Kits in 3ds Max </li></ul><ul><li>  Clutter/Light/FX “Warehouse” ...
13 Metro Tunnels 12 DC Neighborhoods 26 Office Buildings 0 6 Vaults 15 Other 8 Caves 68 “Z” Cells  . 148 LD Locations What...
Fallout 3 LD Workflow <ul><li>Iterative Passes, Formal Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Pass 1:  Basic Layout </li></ul><ul...
In Conclusion <ul><li>Production is hard </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a pipeline </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate concrete goals...
Contact <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@stuckbug </li></ul>
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GDC 2010 - Level Design in a Day Part 5. Production - The Thrilling World of Workflow: Forrest Dowling, Lead Multiplayer Level Designer, Kaos Studios | THQ Inc.

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Please note: There is a ton of good information in the notes sections of these presentations. Please download locally and view in PowerPoint to experience all the juicy details.

In this intense day-long tutorial, attendees will gain deep insights from some of the most experienced level designers in the industry into every aspect of the level design process, from basic navigation and object manipulation tips and tricks to best practices for encounter design and level flow. As the development discipline responsible for crafting the vastly important moment-to-moment player experience, a deep understanding of core level design principles becomes essential for level designers, game designers and design managers alike. Likewise, an intimate familiarity with the level creation process can be a massive advantage to producers, testers or artists in frequent collaboration with level designers. This year’s session will focus on the Unreal Engine, while subsequent years will focus on Source, Quake, and other popular engines.

Published in: Design
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  • The 6th and final presentaiton of the day, Bethesda Games Studio's Joel Burgess on Environmental Narrative and Storytelling via Level Design, can be found here:
    http://www.slideshare.net/LevelDesigninaDay/gdc-2010-level-design-in-a-day-part-6-level-designer-storyteller-joel-burgess-senior-designer-bethesda-game-studios
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GDC 2010 - Level Design in a Day Part 5. Production - The Thrilling World of Workflow: Forrest Dowling, Lead Multiplayer Level Designer, Kaos Studios | THQ Inc.

  1. 2. Please Note <ul><li>There is a ton of useful information in the notes of these presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Please download these presentations and enjoy them in MS PowerPoint locally. </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks! </li></ul>
  2. 3. Production <ul><li>The thrilling world of workflow </li></ul>
  3. 4. When is production? <ul><li>When you’ve got: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A plan/GDD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A prototype/VS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun! </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Level Design
  5. 6. Workflow/Pipeline Image courtesy of rickz
  6. 7. Why Bother? <ul><li>Who wants red tape? </li></ul><ul><li>Save time </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid frustration </li></ul><ul><li>Control iteration </li></ul><ul><li>Manage budget </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid crunch, delays </li></ul>
  7. 8. The Frontlines Pipeline
  8. 9. The Handoff
  9. 10. The phases <ul><li>Phase 0: it exists </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 1: it’s got stuff in it </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: even more stuff! </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 3: The GM says it’s done </li></ul><ul><li>Not all bad: as a designer, it’s kind of fun! </li></ul>
  10. 11. Why did it happen?
  11. 12. Our current process
  12. 13. Stages <ul><li>Contain steps </li></ul><ul><li>Time boxed </li></ul><ul><li>Clear deliverables </li></ul><ul><li>Approvers </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibilities </li></ul>
  13. 14. What is locked?
  14. 15. The Process <ul><li>Research & Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Blockout & test </li></ul><ul><li>Iteration & Vetting </li></ul><ul><li>Refinement & Playtesting </li></ul><ul><li>Optimization, Art content, bug fixing </li></ul>
  15. 16. A less crazy document
  16. 17. How’s it going? <ul><li>- Time estimates off </li></ul><ul><li>+ collaboration improved </li></ul><ul><li>+ No cut maps </li></ul>
  17. 18. Key Ingredients <ul><li>Unambiguous goals </li></ul><ul><li>Defined stages </li></ul><ul><li>Established approvers </li></ul><ul><li>“ The courage to be clear” </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not about feelings </li></ul>
  18. 19. Single player process Image courtesy of max_westby
  19. 20. Process breakdown
  20. 21. The Swarm
  21. 22. Positives <ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Team work </li></ul><ul><li>Coherency </li></ul><ul><li>Specialization </li></ul>
  22. 23. How do we do it? <ul><li>Unreal – architected for sharing </li></ul>
  23. 24. Submaps
  24. 25. The tangled web
  25. 26. Map Lead <ul><li>Produces known-good builds </li></ul><ul><li>Insures seamless linking between sections </li></ul><ul><li>Handles save/load issues </li></ul>
  26. 27. Drawbacks <ul><li>Loss of mission ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Technically challenging </li></ul>
  27. 28. Will it work for you? <ul><li>Does it fit your game? </li></ul><ul><li>Can your tools support it? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it work for the developers? </li></ul>
  28. 29. How’s about Fallout 3? <ul><li>Take it Joel </li></ul>
  29. 30. 55 Ayleid Ruins 57 Imperial Forts 24 Mines 0 9 Sewers 19 Oblivion Realms 91 Caves . 255 Dungeons What Came Before? Oblivion Staff 1 Dungeon Art Lead 4 Dungeon Artists 3 Level Designers (late) 8 Busy Individuals Oblivion Dungeons
  30. 31. How do 8 people build 255 dungeons/levels? <ul><li>Build Kits in 3ds Max </li></ul><ul><li> Clutter/Light/FX “Warehouse” </li></ul><ul><li> Layout & Populate </li></ul><ul><li> Ship it!* </li></ul><ul><li>* Some exceptions may apply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major Locations Got More Love </li></ul></ul>
  31. 32. 13 Metro Tunnels 12 DC Neighborhoods 26 Office Buildings 0 6 Vaults 15 Other 8 Caves 68 “Z” Cells . 148 LD Locations What Now? Fallout3 Staff 6 Level Designers (peak) 4 Environment Artists Fallout 3 Spaces
  32. 33. Fallout 3 LD Workflow <ul><li>Iterative Passes, Formal Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Pass 1: Basic Layout </li></ul><ul><li>Pass 2: Refine, Populate, Script </li></ul><ul><li>Art Pass: Lighting, Detail Clutter </li></ul><ul><li>Pass 3: Polish for Ship </li></ul><ul><li>Pass 4: Bonus Polish Time </li></ul><ul><li>1-5 Days per pass, depending on Size </li></ul><ul><li>Passes Scheduled to match dependency </li></ul><ul><li>Shared ownership, one party accountable </li></ul>
  33. 34. In Conclusion <ul><li>Production is hard </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a pipeline </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate concrete goals </li></ul><ul><li>Stay flexible </li></ul>
  34. 35. Contact <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@stuckbug </li></ul>

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