Creative workflow in game development

Workflow: Designing a level

Today’s post is by our Level designer, Klas, and is a short introduction to how we go about designing levels for Shadow Puppeteer.

Once we know what new gameplay elements we want to introduce to the player in a level, the creative work can start. The first step is often the hardest one, yet it is probably the most important: The idea phase. Members of the team bring their thoughts to the table, discuss them, and sketch out basic concepts. These are often scribbled on paper and contain possible layouts and/or abstract interactions.

Start with scetches and Ideas

When the idea and rough layout is agreed upon, it is taken into the game engine for a 3D sketch.

Level propositions are set up using basic shapes such as boxes. The basic interactions are also implemented. This way we can see what works and what doesn’t without producing a single custom 3d model. In the end this saves us alot of time.

Boxed-level-and-visual-conceptsNext the visual concept is designed by the Art director, Philip, using the boxed out sketch,

and then passed on to the 3D modelers. A modeler uses the boxed level as a base, and the visual concepts as a guideline for the look and feel of the area and objects.

modelling-the-visuals-from-boxesOnce this is done the final 3D models are added to the game, replacing any box or basic shape that was used in the first place. Textures and materials are also added during this time, to ensure a wholesome colour scheme and general look.

Exchange-the-boxed-sketch-and-adjustNow we set up any remaining or broken interaction/collision, and we are ready for in depth testing.

After testing the level to see if player objectives are clear and easy to understand, this is the part where we get someone to try and break the level while playing. And they will. In all sorts of ways. Once kinks and bugs both technical and in gameplay/flow are sorted out, our work is done…

…until someone break it again.


Shadow Puppeteer available on Steam

11 thoughts on “Workflow: Designing a level

    1. Thank you, André. It is a lot of fun to do. This description is pretty straight forward. What we haven’t written about is how we work to re-design the level if the testers don’t understand their objective within it. I think we will touch upon that in a future post, though. Looking forward to having you try the game!

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