Level Design 101 for Mapping & Modding

By Published October 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Level Design is probably the most important production stage of any game: The environment of a level is what the player directly interacts with -- visually and physically -- and determines what, how, when, and why all of the different elements come together.


This design can hopefully provide the player with an enjoyable and challenging experience. The secondary objective is to do so without frustrating them so much they rip the offending product from their device and fling it out the window, raging at having just wasted $XXX.99 of their grind-earned Gil.

2Dawn's hellish, chaotic amalgamation of cannon-equipped muscle cars, slapdash choppers, and makeshift outposts - mostly crafted of tin sidepanel - all come together in the lawless hellscape that is Ravaged.


And that's really how the game goes: It's chaos in its purest form. This is a good thing, though -- Ravaged is an FPS that puts driving and vehicular combat in the spotlight, then complements that with the fluid mechanics we've come to expect of Unreal Engine games.

Before continuing on with the overview and description of the game's feel and mechanics, check out the below video; we got a chance to play with the devs and a few other media outlets, so what you'll find below is the destruction (and dev commentary) that ensued.

Slinging from platform-to-platform, I used my gooey, displaceable mass to cling for spherical life while platforming in space. This game feels sort of like a Spiderman game, I thought, except this one has direction and purpose.

We first covered Grapple in Greenlight Spotlight Episode 4 and were excited about its simplistic premise and promise of fluid mechanics; the game puts you - playing as our amorphous, blobby friend - in a platform-littered space (who left those there, anyway?), where you feel the inexplicable desire to jump into wormholes. There are other objectives along the way, like picking up, err, what I've cleverly dubbed "green things" -- you see, they're really quite complex: They're green, and they're things. Green things. I think they're probably good to pick up, seeing as they're green.


Given the opportunity, we always explore the technology behind upcoming games; understanding GPU specifications is great, but it's important to put that knowledge to practical use. We were able to talk with the developers of BlackSpace (originally covered here) and ask them about how, exactly, the visual interactions and programming works on a development level. Some topics covered were their engine's effects capabilities, 3D Vision optimization, how the code handles physics calculations between the GPU and CPU, engine technology, and more.

If you like our hardware guides -- personally -- I think this is an excellent way to learn about how those components actually interact with games. If nothing else, it's certainly cool from a technological perspective.


Episode 5 has arrived! In our ongoing quest to find the best upcoming indie games listed on Steam's Greenlight service, we look this week to the likes of Battlefield parodies in Minecraft environments, space adventures, battles against werewolves, and more! I'm personally very excited about this episode; as always, in Greenlight Spotlight, we look at the top games to watch. These games won't go anywhere without your votes, though, so be sure to check out their Greenlight pages and vote up the ones you like! And again, nominate games you'd like to see featured.


The video is below!

Episode 4 of our Steam Greenlight Spotlight series has arrived! In this video, we'll cover the best Steam Greenlight games (in our opinions) that you should pay attention to; these videos are researched based on your suggestions and nominees, so please post about games you think should be featured in either the YouTube comments or article comments.


Without further delay, continue on for the video episode!

It has arrived! This is Episode 3 of our ongoing "Steam Greenlight Spotlight" video series! The series, for those unfamiliar, showcases our Top 7 games (as selected by the community and our staff) on Steam's Greenlight service each week. These are the up-and-coming stars of the indie scene that deserve more attention, so if you like what you see, be sure to vote for the games you want available on Steam! In this episode, we once again delve into the best-of-the-best for Steam Greenlight, helping you figure out which games should be watched.

Continue on for the video!


This is Episode 2 of our brand new Greenlight Spotlight series! We kicked off the new series last week and are working through hundreds of games to find you the ones that are most worthy of being watched! We need your help, though, and would love it if you could comment below (or on the youtubes) and let us know what games you think deserve a spotlight!

Continue on for episode 2 of the Steam Greenlight Spotlight video, where we look at the Top 7 games to watch on Greenlight!


With Steam's new Greenlight addition -- a user-driven voting system that dictates which indie games will get a spot on Steam -- we've seen an overwhelming amount of games get posted for public examination. Yes, many of them are terrible - horrifying, in fact - but the ones that stand out seem like they could genuinely be a lot of fun.


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