Level Design, the core element of your game.

Since I’ve seen the subject at the game design course I’ve been attending, it got my attention. The Level Design of a game.

Also, I’ve just finished reading Brenda Brathwaite’s thoughts on the types of game designers, and there it was again, the level design.

Even though she didn’t measured the importance of each type within a game project, I think level design is a game’s core element, at least from the gamer viewpoint. Let me get this straight, the game might have a great mechanical system, astonishing graphics, terrific sound and music along with innovative gameplay but if all of that are put together in the wrong way… there you go, your game sucks. And you know that it is true. If you have been doing your first game like me, or have done a few before, you’ve felt that feeling, when you’re putting all the pieces together, making your own prototype, and then you show it to someone that goes “uhhh… is that all I can do?“. And he or she doesn’t mind when you explain that it’s just like that because you’re still testing the mechanics and stuff like that. The point is, you gave a game to a gamer, and that’s what he’s expecting.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t show your game’s prototype to anyone, but you should be aware that you might get some comments like that. The best thing to do is select the people carefully and explain to them what the game is about, and what is supposed to happen.

But when you do get passed the prototype phase, when you’ve got almost every other details done, take a plunge into the level design. And make it good. You have to focus on how to make the gamer to want to play your game. You have to think on the learning curve, on balancing the obstacles, even on allowing the player to turn off your game (as 400 Project’s rule #7 says), and above all things, think on the fun. That’s what your gamer is looking for.

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