Archive for the ‘ Tips & Tricks ’ Category

Tips & Tricks: Terrain Is Your Friend

When it comes to creating outdoor levels, the terrain editor should be one of your closest friends. It’s a great way to give your level depth while making it appear more realistic visually. Most game editors have some sort of terrain editor built in, although they may seem a bit daunting with all the different preferences and settings. However, after only a few times playing around with terrain, you’ll find it be both helpful and even a bit fun.

The following will guide you through the basics of the terrain editor in UDK and Unity. Most game editors use a similar form of the terrain editor, but since these are both free programs with easy access, I thought it would be best to start with them. Keep reading to learn more about terrain tips and tricks!

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Tips & Tricks: Pre-Production

Pre-Production is possibly one of the most overlooked or misunderstood aspects of game and level design, and yet one of the most helpful. It is the brainstorming step of level design, in which you evaluate the level’s intended goals, rewards, progression, and more, all before even opening up the editor. My level design professor mentioned to our class the other day that one of the biggest complaints regarding level designers fresh out of college is that they don’t do their pre-production, something my fellow classmates and I can definitely relate to. It seems like such a waste of time, and if you’re really excited about making a level, you want to jump head first into the editor and start building. I’ve done this many times, always skimping on my pre-production, but from here on out, I say no more! I’ve come to realize how significant pre-production truly is, and it is most certainly a step you don’t want to skip.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of pre-production, as well as tips and tricks on getting it done, and done right!

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Tips & Tricks: Making CTF Maps

Making levels for multiplayer maps is like a completely different world than single player maps, which is what I learned this past week when designing a CTF (capture the flag) map for my level design class. The level, which will be featured in a later post, was the the first multiplayer map I have done, and since I am new to making multiplayer levels, I decided to start with something fairly simple: a CTF game. I have had the concept for the level in my head for a while, but multiplayer levels aren’t exactly my forte, considering I like to focus on environmental details. However, I believe I found the right match between aesthetics and making the game fun for more than one person. Keep reading to read some of my tips and tricks on making CTF maps!

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Tips & Tricks: Finding Inspiration for Levels

I just got my first electronic level assignment for this semester, and I’m pretty excited. I’m using UDK and have about a week to complete the assignment. It’s a fairly simple level without many requirements, and the main goal is to practice designing a level with a critical path. So for this particular level, I will be going through the steps in which I design and build the level. This post is focused primarily on finding inspiration to design a level. Check back for more posts on the next steps during the rest of the week!

Design can be a tricky process; after all, we are only human and are not constantly flowing with great ideas. Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, we need a little help from the outside world. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so don’t be afraid to get out there and find it. Or if you don’t feel like hitting the streets, stay inside and grab a laptop. The internet is full of inspiration, and there are even web sites devoted to help you find it. Now I am personally on a sort of creative block at the moment, so inspiration is definitely something I am looking for, especially since designing a level is different than other forms of art or entertainment and thus requires a bit more work to capture that elusive muse.

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