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[Questions] Level Design roadblocks


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I am currently focused on improving at multiplayer level design, but I am going through several roadblocks: 

 

Questions:

1.    How do you design levels if you keep drawing a blank for the layout?

2.    How can you improve your designs if you keep thinking/drawing room by room?

a.    I keep ending up with room-corridor-room designs and/or weak designs

3.    I feel like I am going at it blindly (designing a level without fleshed out ideas for each room/ purpose of each part of the level)

4.    I’m struggling to concept multilevel levels, how do you improve on this?

 

What I want to improve on:

·         Get past my “writer’s block” for concepting layouts

·         Better flow

·         Better interconnectivity of rooms

·         Get better at making multi-floor level designs

 

Things to note:

·         I have read several pdfs:

o   An Architectural Approach to Level Design ( by Christopher W. Totten )

o   29 Ways to Become a Better level Designer ( by Alex Galuzin )

o   Streamlined level Design ( by Alex Galuzin )

o   Ultimate Level Design Guide ( by Alex Galuzin )

o   Ken Hullett Dissertation ( by Ken Hullett )

o   Multiplayer Level Design ( by Thomas Buijtenweg )

o   Multiplayer Level Design Guide ( by Patrick Williams )

·         I know that I want to become a level designer for video games, and I am determined, but I am struggling with the above questions. Thank you.


Links to examples of my level design/process so far:
1) Multiplayer Level Design based on Molecule Design:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/LD Questions 1/IMG_20160229_092028995_zpstg2icyix.jpg


2A) A Singleplayer section based on the lower left molecule:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_091949678_zpseoxl0iqb.jpg?t=1456702466

2B) A cleaner version of the layout:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_092001693_zpsl6neychv.jpg

3) Singleplayer FPS map, practicing a multiple floor layout:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_111434097_zpswkkb76st.jpg

4) A CTF layout with above/below ground rooms/corridors:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_091919306_zpspvao9mo0.jpg?t=1456702466

5) 2 different multiplayer maps:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_091847143_zps0643zedw.jpg?t=1456702466

6) A different approach: A list of room types for me to move around physically (rather than drawing, Blue is 1F, Black is 2F, Red is 3F):
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160229_092118056_zpswhro25zw.jpg?t=1456702466

7) A basic layout of rooms:
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160225_135825917_zps9u4dy7xn.jpg?t=1456702466

 A different layout of rooms (but with 3 different levels (Blue is 1F, Black is 2F, Red is 3F):
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/Yourname942/Mobile Uploads/IMG_20160225_135114677_zps41iy0vd2.jpg?t=1456702464

Thank you.

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Did you map anything yet? Personally sketching on paper never really worked for me. It was always good as a starting point and fun to do but I always ended up with something different. Maybe it's an idea to map the room first that has the most entrances / exits. Then from that room you can expend to wherever you like. For your first map I wouldn't worry to much about all the things. Instead of sketching on paper, I always prefered to fly a lot around with noclip and just imagine how the rooms could look. I might make a tutorial soon on how I mapped cause it's quite different from how I know most people do it.

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There is no magical formula here; it's all about practice - you know, practice makes perfect :)

Reading papers and tutorials is important to get started on the right foot but equally important is to practice with test maps to try out different concepts. It also helps tremendously to review work done by other designers/games to see how they get things done.

I'm gonna throw in a couple of papers and articles that I wrote some 2-3 years ago concerning the topics you wanted help with:

Overcoming Creative Block in Level Design

The Power of Reference Photos

Planning To Win Sketching Your Level

Hope this helps to get you started, and good luck.

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