My Level Creation Process

I’ve talked a bit about the creation process I use when building levels before, but this time, I thought I’d do a complete walkthrough of the process. This is the same process I use for all of my level designs, and I’ve iterated on it with each new level I work on. I developed this process by studying current industry standards for workflow; talking with industry professionals, university instructors, and fellow level designers; and what I personally feel comfortable with. I have broken everything down into steps, and each step has an estimated time associated with it, which simply represents the amount of time I typically spend on that particular portion of the level. Below is the quick list of steps I follow, but to better understand my workflow and creation process, read on!


Step 1: Conceptualization

Step 2: Research & Pre-Production

Step 3: Asset List & (Possible) Creation

Step 4: Blocking In & Game Play Testing

Step 5: Asset Implementation & Scripting

Step 6: Populating & Polishing

Step 7: Final Product & Retrospective


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Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Job Hunting

As some of you might already know, I will be graduating from the University of Advancing Technology at the end of April. While my upcoming graduation is very exciting, it is also rather nerve-racking, since it means the job hunt has begun. This post will act as a guide for fellow game development job-seekers, based on what I have heard and read from industry professionals and my professors, as well as what I am currently doing. Keep in mind that this is my first time applying for positions as a game and/or level designer, so I’m certainly no expert. If you have any questions or additional suggestions, please leave a comment below.


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Level Retrospective: Inkblots

The following is a retrospective I wrote after the completion of the level, Inkblots. This singleplayer level was created in UDK in roughly sixty hours, and included custom textures, key bindings, and voice-overs. You can learn more about this level on my portfolio, which includes documentation, screenshots, and a walkthrough video.


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I’m Back From GDC!

The Game Developers Conference is now over, and it’s back to work! This week is my spring break, but I have a lot of schoolwork to catch up on, and I will be polishing some portfolio pieces up. I’ll be posting a lot this week, so check out this list of upcoming works:


  • A Guide for Graduating Students at GDC: This will be similar to my last GDC guide, but with a focus on job hunting and networking.
  • Level Retrospectives: This will be a series of posts where I discuss what went wrong, what went right, what could be improved, and more regarding the levels that are currently in my portfolio.
  • UDK’s Landscape Tool: A quick guide to the basics of using the Landscape tool in UDK.
  • UDK’s Foliage Tool: A guide to using the Foliage tool in UDK.
  • My Level Design Process: A detailed overview on the process I use to design and build game levels.
  • Texturing Levels in UDK (Workshop Video): The newest installment of my UDK tutorial videos. Between GDC and my school’s library being closed for spring break, I haven’t been able to check out a microphone to finish this up. It’s still in the works though, so please be patient as I try to record the last of it.
For those of you who also attended GDC, don’t forget to follow up with the new contacts you made! Whether you’re adding them on LinkedIn, sending out emails, or both, this is the week to do so. Hope everyone had a great GDC; I know I did!

A Guide for First-Time Students at GDC

Next week, I will be attending the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. (If you’re going and want to meet up, tweet me  – @praliedutzel) Unfortunately, this year, I only have an expo pass, so I might not be posting any “What I Learned at GDC” articles. Instead, I plan on doing a ton of networking in preparation for my upcoming graduation this April, as well as marketing the game I’ve been working on, Delirium. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been talking with the team about what to expect at GDC and how to be prepared. Because the majority of the team has never been to GDC, a lot of really good questions came up, so I decided that it might be helpful to write about what I talked with the team about. Read on for a guide to GDC for first-time-attending students!


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Tips & Tricks: Performance Optimization in UDK

The Unreal Development Kit is a wonderful editor for building both games and levels, but sometimes, things don’t always work as anticipated. I’ve heard numerous complaints of people who claim UDK is a terrible editor simply because it was running slow, but don’t forget that there are ways to fix this problem, so don’t just give up on the editor, especially if it could be caused by something you did! If UDK is running impossibly slow, check out these tips for optimizing the editor’s performance.


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Game Design Lessons I Learned From Hockey

I’m not going to lie: I’ve become a bit of a hockey fan since I was first introduced to the sport two years ago. It’s an exciting sport, and I find it to be a lot of fun to watch and follow. Now that I’ve been getting more into it, I’ve come to a realization: hockey and video games have a lot in common. Sure, they’re both forms of entertainment, and yes, there’s a series of NHL video games, but there’s much more to it than that. There are actually elements of game design that can be found behind the scenes in ice hockey, so keep reading to see the similarities I’ve found, and how they can be applied to creating games. 


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