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Katamori

Resources for learning level design

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Okay, semi-related actually:

Ever since I make Doom maps, I've always preferred telling a story or express feelings through maps, instead of "just making another slaughterfest". It's true not only for Doom, so I want to be into the deeper aspects of level design.

Do you know any good sites or maybe books in the matter? I'm currently reading Tynan Sylvester's "Designing games", and it sure helps a lot, but I'm also interested in the more precise aspects. Stuff about how to communicate through aesthetics, architecture, environment, colors & lights, et cetera.

What can you recommend?

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Useless Podcasts are pretty good for this, I think. The owners of the channel have done previous work on the first 3 Ratchet and Clank games and have even done dev commentary on each of them. One of my favorite things they discussed was some of the psychological effects certain design decisions have on most players.

Like, for example, how in testing the very inclusion of a self-destruct countdown stresses out people and causes them to play far worse than they normally would, requiring an increase of the amount of time given to compensate.

Or how very non-gameplay things will effect how someone feels about gameplay. Inclusion of damage numbers gives a very tangible feedback for any increase in power and tends to satisfy players more than if they weren't there. Or how people's initial impressions and enjoyment of something can vary drastically depending on eyecandy or presentation (enemy jumps through window, no sound, no animation = mehlooksgood. Same gameplay, enemy jumps through window, glass shatters = WHOOOOADUDE).

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