Level Design


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Slides revised Mar 23, 2015.

The course intro for level design course with an introduction to some surrealist methods and development project aiming to use those those techniques. This is part of an experiment in design teaching to extend student design understanding outside of tradition methods.

The slides contains the course intro, instructions to a development assignment and description of prefabs that are offered for the project (the Unity Project will be available later after I I fixed all the details and removed assets that I cannot redistribute).

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  • Unity project explained…
    Version control
  • Level Design

    1. 1. Petri Lankoski Level Design Sprint 2015
    2. 2. Level Design “Once the core gameplay for a game is established, it is the level designer’s job to create the game-world in which game play takes place, to build spaces that are fun for players to play in” (Rouse, 2005, p.449) Use of ready design and components to populate the game-world  Where, what, how  Implementation of models, textures, sounds that are needed in the levels Level order and how the levels are connected 2
    3. 3. Petri Lankoski Course Info
    4. 4. Petri Lankoski Learning goals Create levels for a game using a specific game system design Apply theories and research in level design work Describe and Analyze level designs Document and reflect own work
    5. 5. Petri Lankoski Pedagogy Problem-based / project-based learning  Problem-driven (in contrast to lecture-driven)  Project is the problem, a tool for learning Set-up  Intro + seminars  Focus on concepts and theories  Project  Focus on applying theories and concepts in development work  Reflection  Focus on documenting, reflecting, analyzing
    6. 6. Petri Lankoski Portfolio Game level (not returned via StudentAdmin) Development diary (project part, 7/4-23/4) Test plan & report Two work samples accompanied with an explanation how the sample exemplifies your learning. Critique to the levels of another group  Artist of the group writes one critique  Designers of the group writes one critique
    7. 7. Petri Lankoski Grading Criteria G Portfolio shows that the student is able describe and justify their design choices Portfolio shows that the student can apply theories/methods from reference literature in design and practical development work. Attended all the seminars and project work VG Fulfil the criteria for G The portfolio shows that the student is able to critically reflect their and others designs. Portfolio shows that the student has a good command on the reference literature. You have kept all deadlines
    8. 8. Petri Lankoski Reading List for Thu (10/4) All:  Rouse, Game Design: Theory & Practice (2nd ed), Chapter 23: Level Design (pp. 449–474)  Surrealist techniques (Wikipedia) Artist  Salzberg & Kupferman: Stage Light Primer: sections Principles of Composition, Functions Of Stage Lighting, Qualities of Light  Solarsky, Videogame art. Chapter 7 Environmental design and part of chapter 8, colour (pp. 203–229)  Hayward, Videogame aesthetics. Gamasutra. Designers  Licht: An Architect’s Perspective On Level Design Pre-Production. Gamasutra.  Stout: Learning from the Masters. Gamastutra.  Galuzin: Horror/Survival Level Design. World od Level Design.
    9. 9. Petri Lankoski Game One game  Theme: Surrealism  Apply in look-and-feel  Palette: complement colors  Core mechanics:  Exploration  Finding power-ups and portals  Portals are hard to see by design  Spatial puzzle  Finding ones way from the beginning to the goal  Portals, power-ups, and kill zones are the main components for the puzzle “Published” as a freeware after the course
    10. 10. Petri Lankoski Game...  You get Unity project that include (via version control)  Start screen with full functionality  An into scene  Fully functional  Except, some features depending on your level design in other scenes  No coding except for visual effects  A set of prefabs that provides the core functionality
    11. 11. Petri Lankoski Development Diary See template Remember to  To describe what you did  Describe the problems you face and how you solved the problem  Explain how you used the course literature in your work An entry per day, a longer entry once a week  Development phase  Include also quality sprint
    12. 12. Test plan & test report Plan  Plan what to be tested  Aims for systematic approach  You should actively test things that needs to be tested! It is not possible to see everything in advance. Report  Contains the cases that where tested  Also the list of issues that remains 12
    13. 13. Petri Lankoski Work samples  Two Samples: for example:  Level design schema, concept art, assets, postmortem, etc.  Instead of 3D files or Photoshop files, use screenshots showing relevant details  Written report (around a page)  What did you do?  How did you do this?  Why did you do this ?  How this sample demonstrates your learning?  Keep in mind the learning goals of the course!  Telling that you have learned to normal map or using Unity profiler, etc. won’t help to demonstrate your learning
    14. 14. Petri Lankoski Groups for Project Level Design Groups:  Two levels (he second levels is a copy of the other with some small changes) Lead Level Design Group:  overall structure & set-up intro & end scene  Requires co-operating with all groups Scrum Master Group  No scrum masters in the other groups ME: lead designer / product owner
    15. 15. Petri Lankoski Sprints Sprint 1 (7/4-8/4)  Concept: Concept art, maps, prototypes, etc. -> High level User Stories (1)  Scrum team does not work as scrum masters during this, but with lead level design group Sprint 2 (9/4-14/4):  Dev sprint  First level Sprint 3 (15/4-17/4):  Dev sprint  Second level ready  The game is fully playable Sprint 4 (20/4–23/4):  Quality sprint (testing & iteration)  Test the whole game (1) Keith, Agile Game Development with Scrum. Addison Wesley, 2010, pp. 85- 124
    16. 16. Petri Lankoski Game Messanger
    17. 17. Petri Lankoski Theme Surrealism  Illogical, visually realistic  Let your unconsciousness guide  E.g.: Max Ernst, André Breton, Salvador Dali, Federico García Lorca, René Magritte Match to the style of concept images, intro scene, and demo “SURREALISM, n. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.“ (Breton, 1924.)
    18. 18. Petri Lankoski Approach Disorienting  Pseudo-randomized progression structure  Portals  Power-ups  Some levels looking almost the same, but are not Spatial puzzle  Finding ones way from the start to the goal  Finding and collecting power-ups that enables to pass gas clouds that kills (Killing Zones)  Finding portals
    19. 19. Petri Lankoski Level Design and Level Progression  Power-up access  Hide  simple platform path  Simple puzzle  Hide portals in the level  Portals should be easy to access (if one have needed power-ups)  Levels can be revisited  Use Killing Zones to force players to finds Power-ups  More game world should accessible when more more power- ups are collected
    20. 20. Petri Lankoski Style
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    30. 30. Pseudo-Random Variations New game will modify the game  Three variations of the portals  Where they are or where the portal leads to  Three variations of where power-ups are  Where the power-ups are 30
    31. 31. Petri Lankoski Different game variations
    32. 32. A Game Example Windows: • http://www.mediafire.com/download/aei7qb5z4aotf8l/Messang OSX • OSX: http://www.mediafire.com/download/zf3two2blqber1f/Me 32
    33. 33. Early plan: Portal Set 1 33 Intro Level 1A Level 1B Level 2A (UP) Level 2B (UP) End Level 2A (DOWN) 2B (DOWN)
    34. 34. 34 Set: ONE Level: Level1A Exit: Exit01 Set: TWO Level: Level1B Exit: Exit01 Set: THREE Level: Level2A Exit: Exit01 Intro
    35. 35. 35 Set: ONE THREE Level: Level2B Exit: Exit01 Set: THREE Level: Level2A Exit: Exit03 Set: ONE TWO Level: Level2A Exit: Exit02 Set: TWO Level: Level1B Exit: Exit03 Set: THREE Level: Level1B Exit: Exit04 Level1A Set: TWO Set: THREE Set: ONE Set: TWO Set: ONE Set: TWO Set: THREE Set: TWO 01 02 03 04
    36. 36. Level1B Set: ONE THREE Level: Level2B Exit: Exit03 Set: TWO Level: Level2B Exit: Exit01 Set: TWO Level: Level1A Exit: Exit03 Set: THREE Level: Level1A Exit: Exit04 Set: THREE Level: Level2B Exit: Exit02 Set: ONE Set: ONE Set: THREESet: TWO Set: ONE Set: TWO Set: THREE 01 02 03 04
    37. 37. 37 Set: ONE TWO Level: Level1A Exit: Exit03 Set: ONE Level: Level2B Exit: Exit03 Level2A Set: TWO Level: Level2B Exit: Exit04 Set: THREE Level: end Exit: Exit01 Set: THREE Level: Level1A Exit: Exit03 Set: THREE Level: Level2B Exit: Exit03 Set: THREE Set: ONE Set: ONESet: ALL 01 02 03 04
    38. 38. 38 Set: TWO THREE Level: Level2A Exit: Exit03 Set: ONE TWO Level: Level2A Exit: Exit02 Set: ONE Level: Level2A Exit: Exit02 Set: ONE TWO Level: end Exit: Exit01 Set: TWO THREE Level: Level1B Exit: Exit02 Set: ONE Level: Level1B Exit: Exit02 Set: THREE Level: Level2A Exit: Exit04 Set: ONESet: TWO Set: THREE 01 02 03 04 Level2B
    39. 39. 39 Portal Set: ONE, Power-Up Set 3
    40. 40. 40 Portal Set: ONE, Power-Up Set 3
    41. 41. Petri Lankoski Surrealist techniques What & Why Use surrealist techiques in When modeling & animating Putting a level together The main point is restrict the conscious control in the process Examples  Collage: Cut-and-paste from different images, models, animations; combine without reason guiding  Bulleting: Shoot ink to paper; draw based on what is seen (useful in drawing concept art)  Excusive Corpse: words & images are collegially arranged; first write/draw and hides the most, next continues the writing drawing and hides most, etc.
    42. 42. Petri Lankoski Unity Project Technical Overview and Project Customs
    43. 43. Petri Lankoski Unity Version Unity version 4.6.3 We cannot put things together if other versions are used
    44. 44. Petri Lankoski Technical overview The master version of the group’s work on Unity Pro (on school machines) Version control activated  Edit->Project Settings->Editor  Version control mode: Asset Sever  Window->Version Control (Ctrl-0)  Server setting as groups passwords in handouts
    45. 45. Petri Lankoski Working with Version Control 1. Get changes from the server  Update  Do each morning 1. Do your updates 2. Test 3. Local Changes  Select all & commit all your changes  Required at the end of sprint, but commit at least once a day  Do not commit untested changes
    46. 46. Petri Lankoski Setting Up a Level Remove camera from the scene Add MainManager prefab  Prefabs/MainManager/MainManager Add PlayerStart  Prefabs/Player/PlayerStart  No need to add PlayerPrefab directly to a level!
    47. 47. Petri Lankoski Portal Prefabs/Portal PortalEntrance Values need to be set (after adding to a scene)  PortalSet: select from pop-up  Portal end:  level name: the level where portal leads to  Portal name: the portal exit where the player object is transferred to PortalExit Rename object after adding it to a scene  Name needs to be unique
    48. 48. Petri Lankoski Portal & Power-up Set New game will randomize Portal Set Power-up Set A portal is active if its set match to the active portal set Power-up is active if its set match to the active power- up set Examples coming
    49. 49. Debug GUI Toggle on–off: 0 + 8 You can  Set active Portal Set & Power-up Set  Add Power-ups to PC or remove all  Jump to different Portal Exits in the scene 49
    50. 50. Petri Lankoski Power-ups & KillerZones Power-up Prefabs/PoweUp Five different types of power- ups Each enables to pass a specific type of KillerZone Edit Power Up Set after adding power-up Killer zone Prefabs/KillerZone Five different types of Killer zones Distinguishable by the smoke color
    51. 51. MainManager Prefabs/MainMan ager LevelManager to change movement & jump per level 51
    52. 52. Petri Lankoski Other Prefabs Following eye  An eye ball looking towards player object MainMenu  Used in MainManu level Intro Boss  Used in intro scene. Fixed behavior: on level start, freezes player, plays dialogue (can be edited on Inspector), frees player and follows Waypoints
    53. 53. Petri Lankoski Project Organization Groups has their own folders  Add your assets here  Use the directory created for your group (Group1, group2, …)  Your stuff outside of your group folder will be deleted Prefabs  It is a good practice to use prefabs  Everything that goes to a scene that needs some kind of set-up should be made as prefab
    54. 54. Project… Edit only your groups assets without consulting teacher  Ok change prefabs after added to Hierarchy  NOTE instances of prefabs share the Materials  Make sure that you only edit the materials of your group  Duplicating a prefab or game object does not duplicate material No not add multiple versions of a same file to Assets folder  Replace the earlier version 54
    55. 55. Naming assets and Scripts Use GRN prefix for every script you add  Example:  A sound script of the Group1  GR1PlayOnEnter.cs Use only English in file names!  Letters öäå (etc.) will break things 55
    56. 56. Petri Lankoski Hierarchy Organization Use empty objects for grouping things Always rename objects when you have more than one  Eg.:  Waypoint -> Waypoint1  Waypoint -> Waypoint2  … See example in intro level
    57. 57. This week Read the materials for workshop Play the example game Get familiar with the Unity project 57
    58. 58. The End 58