As you’re getting ready for the Game Developers Conference in March, organizers want to be sure you know about some of the great sessions taking place at the event that are all about the art of great level design.
Each of these talks is part of the Level Design Workshop, one of many focused, insightful Bootcamps and Tutorials scheduled during the first two days of GDC — that’s Monday and Tuesday, March 19th and 20th this year!
The Level Design Workshop returns for the eighth consecutive year bringing together another all-new docket of talks spanning a variety of topics that will interest working and aspiring level designers across the game industry.
Historically, LD Workshop presentations run the gamut from sharing specific techniques, to in-depth analysis of shipped games, to introspective explorations of “big” concepts that affect level designers/teams, as well as providing guides to process and workflow.
For 2018, Clint Hocking and Joel Burgess have curated a diverse mix of established and emerging voices from all corners of the level design world to present an entertaining and enlightening agenda of talks for attendees to check out on Tuesday, March 20th.
For example, in “Designing for Non-Linear Story Discovery in ‘Tacoma‘” Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor and Nina Freeman will share level design lessons learned during the development of their latest game, and how you can apply these techniques to your own process.
Expect to see some fascinating examples and techniques for integrating story into game levels, and for structuring game levels to support the story-shape your game is built around, from linear to non-linear progression.
Plus, Naughty Dog’s David Shaver will be delivering a Level Design Workshop talk on “Invisible Intuition: Player Guidance from Blockmesh to Final Level Design” that will present you with practical techniques to guide players naturally through 3D environments without relying on external systems.
Most of the presented techniques are applied in the blockmesh layout, while others occur via environment art, lighting, FX, audio, and scripting. It is important for designers to apply these techniques as early as possible in the blockmesh phase to ensure proper playtest feedback and layout changes are working as intended.
As such, this presentation not only highlights good examples from existing shipped games, but also showcases the techniques using custom examples to show the improvements from initial blockmesh to final blockmesh design. Attendees will see the before and after of how these techniques improve a level layout’s ability to guide the player intuitively.
And in “Procedural Regeneration: Matching the World to the Player” game dev Heather Robertson will introduce you to the concept of procedural regeneration, that is, the concept of dynamically altering the world space of a game to fit the play style of its player.
This can be done for multiple reasons, from gameplay balancing to horror, with the results influencing player experience in subtle yet powerful ways. This talk will largely focus on the lessons learned from ‘Secret Spaces’, a game which, on the micro level, is about gardening and exploration, but on a macro level is about the relationship formed between a player and the living building they inhabit, and how the building’s feelings about the player changes how the player is allowed to interact with the world. Additionally, this talk will touch upon future potential uses for procedural regeneration. Don’t skip it!
And of course lots more talks will be announced in the weeks ahead, so make sure to bookmark the online GDC 2018 Session Scheduler, where you can get an early start on planning your GDC week!