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CGMA – Level Design for Games

CGMA - Level Design for GamesLevel Design for Games

 

Level Design for Games : In this course you will learn to approach 3D game level environments from a design perspective. The lectures will explore theory of games, shape composition, architecture, and player psychology. You will design and iterate on level setups from the initial planning phases to playable prototypes in Unity. The course will focus on crafting immersion and modeling shapes that intrigue, surprise, and inspire players. We’ll explore how to design for game mechanics and narrative, creating level progressions that support character development and player experience.

COURSE FORMAT: Standard

LECTURE TYPE: Pre-recorded

FEEDBACK: Individual recorded

DURATION: 10 weeks

MATERIALS: Maya (or equivalent), Unity

SKILLS LEVEL: Intermediate

PREREQUISITES: Strong working knowledge of Maya is required; knowledge of Unity is recommended but not required


WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

The more you know, the better.

Week 1 | Getting Started

What is a “level”? What do level designers do? We’ll look at the history of environments in games and their purpose in the overall structure of a game’s design. And we’ll briefly take a look at the structure of the course. Finally, we’ll setup Unity and familiarize ourselves with the pipeline of creating environment mesh and bringing it into the game.

Week 2 | Shapes, Space, and Beyond

We’re going back to basics of architecture this week and exploring components of geometric shape. We’ll talk positive and negative space, rules of perception, and how shape influences player behavior and experience.

Week 3 | Elements of Layout

Let’s get organized! We’ll learn about the structure of cities and buildings, how players mentally map and utilize space, and how you can create environments that communicate their purpose to the player.

Week 4 | Hit the Books

It’s time to start planning an environment. We’ll talk about how designers study and research, gather reference, and create prototypes leading up to the creation of their levels. Learn to look at reference and pick out what evokes a sense of place and atmosphere. Creating immersion means getting your head in the world of the game.

Week 5 | Shape in Sequence

A level is a story. We’ll learn about formal narrative structure and performative techniques. We’ll create beat diagrams, pacing, and examine how levels flow from space to space in support of narrative and character development.

Week 6 | Exploration Design

How do you create spaces that are interesting to explore? We’ll look at path flow, valving, risk, rewards, creating mystery, player motivation and investment.

Week 7 | Battlefield Design

Many games feature some form of combat. We’ll dive into cover-based shooter mechanics as a case study for how environmental shape interacts directly with player mechanics.

Week 8 | Multiplayer Combat Design

This week we’ll take a look at what considerations go into creating multiplayer deathmatch style arena maps.

Week 9 | Puzzle Design

What is a puzzle? We’ll analyze one of the hardest types of level setups, and how different games approach puzzle and problem-solving spaces.

Week 10 | Play-Testing and Iteration

A design isn’t done until it ships. It’s a humbling experience putting your game in the hands of new players. We’ll look at the cycle of iteration and working with other departments to carry your design to gold. Also some final thoughts.

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