A level design question

Greetings UE4’ers,

whenever I plan on designing a building interior I sometimes refer to AutoCAD and floor plans blueprints of buildings to get ideas from that. Do you guys find that a good approach? or is it a too realistic design?

Depends, i think it is ok to get a sense for room layouts and such things but your focus always should be on the gameplay side. The main problem we have found with maps that follow certain real life blueprints was that people tend to explore everything (which is good). But this can lead them either off track or make them overthink certain things, which in turn can kill any established pace or in the worst case can stop them from playing any further. It is tricky, whenever you use a blueprint make sure you can still lead the player through it without too much dead ends where the player has to run back.

A really comprehensive list of information about level-design can be found over here:

Lets just say I grew up learning to become an architect, when I was young hand drawn blueprints was everything. Then along came autocad and I learned and loved it as well. Then along came RTCW I got hooked and I learned how to map for games. Was a easy transition for me because it is the same premise without rules. I don’t have to worry about weight, materials, tolerances or integrity’s etc.

When it comes to level design there are many approaches depending on the type of game and gameplay you are shooting for so I would not say that there is any one design fits all approach. About the only thing that remains consistent for me is the planning. I always in advance lay out my level on paper or paint and understand how I am going to fit everything together in my head long before I lay a single brush. Top and Side View Minimum so I can see the 3D depth. Its much faster to change something with a pencil and eraser then in a level half fleshed.

As far as over detailing it which is what I think you where really asking. Using actual blueprints as reference is just fine. I wouldn’t try to do a 1:1 translation for most environments but again this all depends. If I was doing a game that only involved a couple rooms then I would pack as much detail as I could into those rooms. But if I am making a city block I am going to give just enough detail to make each area believable and move on so there is no lag etc. Something else you will find is that just because you add more to something doesn’t mean you actually adding more to it. A 1:1 translation may translate to a horrible environment to move around in depending on the game again. Bumping into things getting clipped or blocked.

However again using real life anything such as blueprints for reference is wonderful and suggested. The key term though I believe is “reference”.

What I do is I look at blueprints or reference images and work from that to boost my creative imagination so that I can come up with a level that is both appealing and fresh to the player and to keep them remembering hey your playing a game and now looking at a art gallery haha!

thank you guys for the feedback.

Chris that is one good website thank you man.

the reason why i use floor plans is to keep me going on building my level as block out phase then i add props and details to specific areas where player will spend more time.

to me … i look at blueprints as top overview of how my level will be.

A problem with using real world blue prints is it does not look right from the first person perspective. Doors and hallways tends to look cramp and confining.

As stated use a reference but let your eyes tell you the truth. If it looks good it is good.

One thing I’ve noticed from level design is that it’s usually much more spacious than real-world design. Gives players and their cameras more room to move. And it’s more aesthetically appealing, less claustrophobic.

The focus of your design should be where the players are going to be traversing the most. Don’t get too caught up on adding detail or making everything realistic, you can worry about that when your map’s done and it’s fun to play.

This is worth skimming through.