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I have a new game and have a question about level design

Hi all,
I have a game I’ve been developing for some time.
Video here

I’m not sure about how to make my level design for the game and want the help of the community.
I have three options:
Open world
Tightly focused level design
Open arena

All have their good and bad points.

Open world
Pro:
Freedom of playstyle
Con:
Lack of story focus

Tightly focused level design
Pro:
More narrative control

Con:
Corridor shooter

Open Arena:
Pro:
Smaller sandbox with more narrative control

Con:
Can be redundant

I’m not sure which will be more fun for my gameplay.
Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you.
:smiley:

What exactly are your gameplay elements? :slight_smile:
When it’s just a shooter, I personally would go with the open arena -> I like arena shooters, because they are pretty entertaining

My elements are guns and magic powers, main character is a vampire. Right now, I have one gun and a fireball attack.
Thanks for the vote of Open Arena. I hope I can make it look awesome.

In that case, you’d probably not want an open-world game, this can cause boredom if players are constantly searching for each other. IMO the key to FPS games is to keep it fast paced and provide constant action, this can be done by using a tightly-focused level, but an arena would work just as well.

I’m not sure I understand the important differentiating factors of an “open arena” vs. a “tightly designed arena” - Basically to me it sounds like “A badly designed level” or a “well designed level” … which makes the decision there kind of obvious.

An open world is basically an entirely different undertaking and scope for a game, as well as how weapons would behave (distance, rules, large scale multiplayer, online mechanics etc). Obviously a much larger project.

Maybe I am missing something about what those two terms at the top of this mean to you though… but to me this is really a decision between two types of games, one huge in scope and the other smaller… in which case go small to start!

Arenas offer the best trade off between replay value and control from a design stand point. I’d go with that. You can make some really interesting flowing levels with arenas.

Here is a mine of information from valve

There are tons of good articles on gamasutra as well.

I’d stay away from corridor shooters.

Hi Kin,

I would recommend you also to take into account what assets you have or can get for youre mapping considerations.

Then regarding the maps, i would suggest you connect them by level-streaming when they are done/complete, in that way you can start with one map and expand as much as you like/can.
Also you can have different environment settings for these, see my examples here.

If you like, we can cooperate on that project, I got a lot of assets/aontent, that I could bring in. Just PM me.

Is this a single-player game or a co-op multi-player one?

~ Jason

Hi, when I say open arena, think on the lines of Serious Sam 3 or Old Thief games. Where it’s a medium sized level with many hiding spots, nooks and crannys. A more contemporary level design would be the levels in CoD Multiplayer or CS.

I want to create a single player game. I miss SP games with decent AI that the player can mess with, like in the MGS. I mean planting C4 on a walking enemy is hilarious.
I think MP is easier AI wise, because you don’t use AI at all!! lol. :smiley:
However, MP’s challenges include balancing weapons, perks, gear, etc.

Thanks, links have been bookmarked. :smiley:

Is it story-based (like heavily story based)?

~ Jason

A Vampire with Guns & Magic sounds like my type of FPS! Got Evil Clowns? I would vote for a Open World (or huge level map with several arenas). I would also encourage some form of multiplayer (split screen, co-op or player enemies) in addition to good Bot AI. UE4 makes multiplayer it easy to implement and someone else can help with game-play testing in real-time.

I do have a story but not a script.
This leads to another question I have about story delivery.
Being a independent developer with little capital, I was pondering different ways to convey the story outside of the AAA fashion.
I saw that Brothers a Tale of Two Sons was able to invoke emotion with a made up language. It would be nice to do something similar.
Most likely, I’ll be voicing most of the characters, a la abridged series guys on youtube.

I understand, but I feel like games as whole has suffered because of MP being the major focus, not SP gameplay.
I’m not saying that MP is out of the question, it’s just not my focus right now.
I do, however, like co-op gameplay.

Well, if your game isn’t heavily story based you can easily just have three major speaking characters:

  1. Protagonist

  2. Antagonist

  3. Secondary Protagonist (optional)

I prefer to convey story through dialogue and the environment, but that’s just me.

If you don’t really feel comfortable with voice acting, then I’d just use text-dialogue.

However, I wouldn’t have the main character interact with other characters.

He’d just be commenting on the environment or situation.

I never really liked fake languages as I feel like it detracts from the mood (because your game is a bit darker in tone, a fake language seems out of place).
Made-up languages are great for fantasy games, or as part of your mythology, but not the main way to speak.

That’s just my two cents though.

~ Jason

You know your stuff.

~ Jason

I agree.
I prefer interesting characters, not cookie cutouts. For example, my protag is NOT a good guy. His whole reason for doing this is because he’s the best soldier of Vampire High Counsel.
The Counsels reason for trying to stop this zombie apocalypse is because their food is running out. That’s all.
My protag can eat any survivors if he wants, he’s not out to save just individuals, but food source as a whole.
There will be more than zombies of course, I plan for demons, monsters, evil humans and vamp hunters.
I want to incorporate a feature like in Vampire: The Masquerade, where the player can move easily among humans as long as they don’t know he’s a vamp.
Also, due to the situation, humans might work with the vamp regardless.

Your game sounds like BLOOD: Spill Some…

I like it!

Are you thinking of incorporating RPG elements or just a straight out shooter?

~ Jason

I just looked at BLOOD, I think I might pick that one up… somewhere. lol.

In my game, I’m thinking of unlocking new powers over time, but not really incorporating RPG elements. I have boosts system though. If you over fill on blood(drink to greater than 100 points), you go into a “blood rage” that gives you invulnerability, speed and power boosts, until your blood lowers back down due to time and/or damage.
The trade off is that you have to drink a couple living people to get there(blood packs just won’t due), which will put you on the top of the human hit list.