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Architecture Level Design

Lessons from teamLab

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a number of exhibitions by the fantastic art collective teamLab. Ever since attending one of their smaller shows back in 2017, I’ve been captivated by everything they’ve done. After a recent trip to Tokyo, I attended the larger original version of the ‘Borderless’ exhibition […]

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Game Design Level Design Narrative

How Virginia keeps the player moving forwards

Having recently replayed Variable State‘s fantastic Virginia (2016), I’ve made a few notes on how I think the game uses linearity to it’s advantage to ensure players move the story forwards. Scene cuts The game implements match cuts – a scene transition technique adapted from film to quickly transport the player from one scene to […]

Categories
Architecture Level Design

Lessons in Architecture

I recently revisited Matthew Frederick’s ‘101 Things I Learned in Architecture School’, a fantastic book full of concise lessons that are applicable to various design disciplines and not just limited to architecture students. I have picked out 10 essential lessons, and then attempted to briefly explain them in regards to approaching level design in games. 1. “Use […]

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Game Design Narrative

Exploring possibility spaces

‘Possibility Space’ is a familiar concept in game design that has always resonated with me when it comes to understanding how we interact with games spatially and mechanically. Essentially, the term refers to a visualisation of all possible moves and states within a defined game space; representing the full range of interactions and possible outcomes available […]

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Game Design Level Design

Composition techniques and player direction

Compositional techniques have always played a fundamental part in constructing aesthetically pleasing imagery throughout art history, specifically referencing the placement and organisation of visual elements. Established as a vocabulary for artists, the theories used were focused on achieving unity within these visual elements and guiding the viewer’s eye through them. After investigating compositional theories in […]

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Game Design Level Design

Foreshadowing in level design

Foreshadowing is a technique that can be used to visually hint at an upcoming area of the map to the player. Previewing a future location ahead can create an element of anticipation and tension, whilst giving a sense of orientation within the world. The technique can also be reversed, to frame elements of the map […]

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Game Design Level Design Work

2 week Source project

‘Rebel_Bunker’ is a Half-Life 2: Episode 2 map I recently finished working on; the primary goals of this project being to get me back into actually creating levels on a regular basis, and more importantly giving myself a strict deadline and making sure I delivered a finished product at the end of it. Though this […]

Categories
Game Design

Using heat maps to inform design

Heat maps are an incredibly useful way to visualise critical player data  from game sessions. They can collect and represent important statistics, with this data then being compiled and presented to the developers to analyse. For example, they can be utilized effectively in an online multiplayer shooter to observe the intricate details of a game, […]

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Game Design Narrative

Confined narrative space in The Last Express

Imposing limitations on the player is a fundamental part of game design. However, the challenge arises in deciding where these limitations are implemented and how the story, world and mechanics support these limitations to provide internal consistency. Observing this in terms of the navigational space available to the player, I want to briefly look at […]

Categories
Game Design Narrative

Narrative analysis: Thirty Flights of Loving

(Note: Contains minor spoilers, intended for people that have played the game. If you haven’t yet played Brendon Chung’s 15 minute masterclass in narrative design, you can do so from his website!) The narrative in Thirty Flights of Loving is embedded, pre-generated story content that is exposed to the player linearly. What makes the game so interesting and […]