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Level Design, Politics and Racism (oh my!)

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When you load DBX2 you are presented by a quote of some kind. One quote I saw recently I meant to write down along with its author, but I became distracted and when I returned to DBX2 to get the quote, a different quote was there. I googled what I could remember of the quote and found this interesting philosophical blog post about level design, past and present:




I don't know if this is the same quote as the one found in DBX2 (I think it is), but I thought the article was at least somewhat relevant to contemplating the bigger picture of level design philosophy, even if it only very briefly mentions Doom, and could be useful to Doom level designers. Take, for example, this image from the blog:




I contemplated posting this in the "I hate the word mapper" thread as it somehow argues for the superiority of the term "level designer" over "mapper".


The blog mostly analyzes more modern level design using the role of architecture in general as reference point; ... and goes on for awhile about chairs.

Later in the article, the author compares a low income housing project where the architects build half a house and let the owners finish the house how they want it. Without realizing it, Robert Yang unwittingly proposes Doomworld's next hit community project:



The residents at Quinta Monroy can then finish the house themselves and make it their own, sharing control over the appearance and structure of their neighborhoods with the architects. What if we left our own games and levels purposely half-finished, as a gesture of outreach and respect for players?


I guess there are a couple different community projects that could come out of this article: 1. build half a level, and let someone else finish it. and 2. compartmentalize the building of a doom level into nine separate stages (per the above image).

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Well... I do know the Epic Games method of level design in steps:

1) Level geometry design, play testing (the gameplay)

2) Texture design, objects and meshes (the look)

3) Lighting, particles, level art, materials (the feel)

4) Sounds, scripts, effects, details (the polish)


It's like an assembly line now in modern level design. Everything is setup this way because each step will take longer on the processing power of the PC.


You're correct about low income housing. No one wants a house finished to perfection. They want the cheapest thing possible they can gut over the next 2 - 3 years and replace to make it their own.

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"tech level designer" wat?

"builder" I guess means the guy who plops down geometry in the cad/modelling software

"architect" I guess means the guy who plans the geometry... but one would also do that in the cad/modelling software so it's identical to builder

"lighting designer" probably was only the role of the level designer from like '96-98 (prior there was no such thing as complicated lighting in games, and after that it was so complicated that it was its own job already).

"combat designer" I guess means balance of weapons and player speed and whatnot, while Romero and some others performed this function, I wouldn't put it in the level designer's role... at all.

"encounter designer" please... this is going to be up to a scripter, or if it's not complicated enough for a dedicated scripter then it's not complicated enough to even distinguish as its own role.

"quest designer" is identical to "level scripter"

"content designer" I guess we mean the guy who makes the visual clutter like pipes, fuse boxes, toilets and crates


Why not just distill it down to: scripter, asset artist, lighting engineer, and "environment artist" or whatever they call the guy who plops down map geometry these days? Oh wait that'll make your slide look too simplistic when you're trying to argue how incredibly esoteric and thoughtful level design is


Yes, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today

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