Welcome to the World of Video Game Level Design!


Have you ever been been playing video games and woundered how in the world they make these stunning levels? It almost seems magical how the levels in the game are made, but its far from magic! A Lot of blood,sweat, and tears are poured into those levels. But, there are major tools that make this process easy somewhat. I'm taking about the game engines baby! A game engine is set of tools already programmed out the box! Simaler to a framework for the internet coders like jQuery or jQuery moblie. I'm going to talk about three of these engines, but be forewarned. Even though these are pre-programmed tools for game development use, these engines are very powerful and can be very hard understand without broud understanding of multiple disciplens in the digital and fine arts. Before any polygon is layed out, a lot of work goes into the planning stages (or pre-production). It's best to splash out all of your ideas in a mind-mapping format. Once your ideas are out of your head and onto paper you can start layout your map.



Now with you're data planed out you need to start blocking in the your level, lets look at the easiest engine to use and then the most powerful!


http://unity3d.com/


The Unity Game Engine is one of the most flexible game engines on the market. It has support for many 3D modeling programs like 3Ds Max and Maya. Along with this great terrian creation tools, support for shaders and normal maps, programming in JavaScipt, C#, and Boo. There is also support many audio and video formats, great particle effects tools, and much more! Unity is also free to use, but there is also pro addition worth $1,500. This such a great entry level engine its hard not to reccomend it!


http://mycryengine.com/


When Unity begins to get small for you (really?) then check out the Cry Engine! They named this engine right because of the sheer graphical power this thing has is unbelievable! Like Unity, the Cry Engine has support Maya and such programs, but at much stricter and more powerful way for example; a more powerful audio system (7.1 anyone?) S-3D veiwing, the sandbox editer, and more!


http://www.unrealengine.com/


The Unreal Engine is pretty much the most popular engine to date. Epic Games really put a lot of pain into making this engine avalible to all that wish it. The Unreal Enigne is just as powerful as the Cry Engine, but Unreal is used for more game productions then Cry. This has ton of features, but also has support for Adobe Flash! Yes, the means that all Ureal developed games can be exportable to Flash in full 3D Glory!

As you can you can see, these are very powerful tools! I think it's a good idea for you to take each tool step-by-step, and be ready to have an understanding of programming fundamentals. These tools give you a great chance to make amazing games! Make sure you done your're homework by going to sites like http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/. Be safe and keep gaming!

All Links:

http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/

http://unity3d.com/

http://mycryengine.com/

http://www.unrealengine.com/




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Comment by Jarvis Sheffield - Admin on April 16, 2012 at 1:27pm

Hey thanks for sharing these great resources. 

Comment by William P. Smith Jr. on April 16, 2012 at 11:21am

Now that is cool!

Comment by Jarvis Sheffield - Admin on April 16, 2012 at 10:08am

i would also like to add this:

Introduction to Game Design and Development

Do you like to play games? Do you secretly want to develop your own games and market them? If you enjoy games and want to get started with game design, then this course provides a solid foundation.

This course presents an overview of the games development process including important historical perspective, content creation strategies, production techniques, and a look into the future. The course covers game development history, platforms, goals and genres, player elements, story and character development, gameplay, levels, interface, audio, development team roles, game development process, and marketing and maintenance . Students will play games, analyze them, and complete portions of game designs with appropriate documentation.

Course Objectives: at the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the history of electronic game development.
  • Distinguish between the different game platforms and player modes.
  • Distinguish between the different game goals and genres.
  • Define elements related to game strategy, theory, and gameplay.
  • Apply story and character development to games.
  • Understand various aspects of gameplay that can be used to design game interaction.
  • Understand the design and use of levels.
  • Understand the use of the interface for game design.
  • Learn how to use audio to enrich the game atmosphere.
  • Identify the distinct roles and responsibilities of game development team members.
  • Understand the production and management of the game design process
  • Evaluate the game industry and market.
  • Discuss the future of game design.

Applicable IT Job Roles: Some of the job roles for the game industry include Executive Producer, Producer, Creative Director, Art Director, Lead Game Designer, Junior Game Designer, Content Designer, Technical Art Director, Lead Animator, Character Animator, Character Rigger TD, Game Designer, Level Designer, Cinematics Director, Storyboard Artist, Concept Artist (Characters, Environments, Creatures, Vehicles and Tech), Level Artist, 3D Animator, Visual Effects Animator, 3D Modeler Character and Props, Texture Artist, User Interface Designer, and others.

Who Should Attend: This course will benefit industry professionals including graphic designers, animators, web developers, music composers, sound designers, voice actors as well as art and entertainment media professionals such as writers, producers, artists and designers who are interested in becoming involved in the gaming industry. This course will also benefit anyone who has an interest in game development and wants to further their knowledge and experience.

Outline
Week 1: Game Development History and Platforms
  • Game Development History
    • The Arcade
    • Console Games
    • Video Games
    • Personal Computer
    • Multiplayer
    • Mobile and Handheld Games
    • Industry Convergence
    • The Future
  • Platforms
    • Platform
    • Time Interval
    • Player Mode
    • Game Elements
Week 2: Goals, Genres and Player Elements
  • Goals and Genres
    • Goals
    • Genres
    • Game Elements and the Significance of Goals and Genres
    • Geographics
  • Player Elements
    • Game Market
    • Player Motivation
    • Psychographics
    • Demographics
    • Applying Player Markets to Platforms, Genres and Goals
Week 3: Story and Character Development
  • Storytelling Traditions
  • Generating Ideas
  • Classic Character Archetypes
  • Traditional Story Structure
  • Story Elements
  • Plot
  • Game Story Devices
  • Game Characters
  • Character Development Elements
  • Point-of-View
  • Visual Character Development
  • Verbal Character Development
  • Movement
  • Background, History, and Advancement
  • Character Description
  • Game Storytelling and Documentation
Week 4: Gameplay
  • Rules of Play
  • Interactivity Modes
  • Game Theory
  • Challenges
  • Balance
  • Economies
  • Gameplay and Documentation
Week 5: Levels and Interface
  • Levels
    • Level Design
    • Structure
    • Time
    • Space
    • Space and Time: Levels, Gameplay and Story
  • Interface
    • Player-Centered Design
    • Interface and Game Features
    • Interface Types
    • Usability
    • The Player Experience
Week 6: Audio
  • The Importance of Game Audio
  • Sound Effects
  • Voiceovers
  • Music
  • Audio: A new Dimension
Week 7: Development Team Roles and Game Development Process
  • Development Team Roles
    • Company Roles
    • Team Roles
    • Tools
    • Game Development Business
  • Game Development Process
    • Development Phases
    • Management
    • Game Documentation
    • Making It Happen
Week 8: Marketing and Maintenance and Future of Game Development
  • Marketing and Maintenance
    • Marketing
    • Community Management and Customer Support
    • Prosumerism: Player as Developer
    • Community is King
  • Future of Game Development
    • Type of Future Games
    • Developers of Future Games
    • Techniques for the Future
    • Game Players of the Future
    • Future of Entertainment
Prerequisites
This course requires general familiarity with computer concepts, an interest in and experience with games, and a vivid imagination.
Requirements
Students will need access to a computer that can be used to install companion CD material (game engines, modeling and animation software, game design documentation, game design articles, game demos, mobile apps and videos, and accessibility videos and games). You will also need access to the internet. Students must submit assignments and other work in a PDF file format.

Books:
Required Book Game Development Essentials: An Introduction. 3rd Edition

Additional information:

Your place in the course is confirmed by your payment. Introductory courses are intended for students with no experience in the subject matter and are seeking beginner level training.

Refund Policy: Please read our Terms and Refund Policy before registering for this course.

Additional Cost: Book and software might be required for the course. Read the Requirements and Book section for more information. Course fee does not include the book and software cost .

How eClasses Work:Instructors post lectures (text-based, no video or audio), reading selections, and hands-on assignments once a week in the online classroom. Students can discuss the assignments with the instructor and amongst themselves in the classroom area. This format has no set meeting time, which allows students to attend class at a time most convenient to them, yet still provides logically organized communication between class participants. Students can apply for the completion certificate after finishing the class.

Price: $220.00 
IWA-HWG Price: $120.00 
Course No.: ZGC12
Instructor: Sandra Perez
Co-instructor/TA: Emilia Butu
CEUs: 4
Duration: 8 weeks

http://iwa-hwg.eclasses.org/courseZGC12/

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