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Category Tutorial TopicsLevel DesignUDKUnreal Engine 4CryEngine 3 SDKGame Modeling: MayaCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveLeft4Dead 1 and 2Time Management and ProductivityGame Environment Art+DesignGetting StartedBrowse Full Tutorial List

Level Design - Tutorials List

Full tutorial list for Level Design; Focused on gameplay, flow, balancing, pacing and designing your levels/maps for playing

Level Design tutorials that are non-game specific but cover important timeless principles of gameplay, design, theory, layout and workflow using various games, level editors and game engines. These tutorials should apply to most games.

Table of Content:

  • Becoming a Better Level Designer
  • Level Design Workflows
  • Preproduction: Planning and Beginning Your Map/Level
  • Gameplay: Flow, Pacing, Balance and Layout
  • Production: Level Design Creation
  • Lighting
  • Survival Horror Level Design
  • Game Industry Insights / Getting a Job
  • Misc

Becoming a Better Level Designer:

Recommended Level Design Editors

A list of 12 recommended level design editors.

What Level Editor and Game Engine Should You Use - (How to Choose)

Tutorial will help you to decide which level editor and game engine should you choose for your project.

Recommended 3D Game Engines

A list of 15 3d game engines.

How to Have the Best Level Design and Game Environment Year

In this blog post I share what has been working for me and what I would recommend you do to have the best year in level design and game environment art.

Why I Failed for Years at Level Design and Game Env.

My personal story of why I failed for years at level design and game environments. Focused on planning and preproduction.

How to Reverse Engineer Level Design and Game Environment Art

How to use the principles of reverse engineering to become better level designer and game environment artist.

Deliberate Practice for Level Designers and Environment Artist

Deliberate practice isn't daily work. It isn't what most call, practice. It is a specific kind of practice with its own steps, actions and principles to follow.

13 Ways to Improve Your LD/3D Skill Away From a Computer

Ways of becoming better level designer/environment artist away from the computer. These can be done anywhere, anytime any place. Continue to improve and expand your knowledge.

11 Things I Learned From Dream Worlds

What can you learn from production design for animation? Here are 11 things I learned...

Becoming a Level Designer and Environment Artist Pt. 1

Get started with navigation in the editor, interface overview and various viewport options.

Becoming a Level Designer and Environment Artist Pt. 2

Various tips on how to keep your map to proper scale, proportions and dimensions.

Game World Creation with Inception

Movie Inception is full of references to level design and game environment creation. Inspiring movie to watch for any level designer and game environment artist.

Work On Your Map/Environment Art for 30 Days

How to develop a habit on working on your map or game environment art for 30 days straight, without missing a day.

Monthly Level Design/Environment Art Focus

Focus on a single topic, a single monthly improvement to get better at level designing or environment art.

Level Design Workflows

How to Plan Game Environments and Level Designs

Workflow tutorial on how to plan out your game environments and level designs.

Single Player Level Design Workflow by Magnar Jenssen 

Workflow tutorial by Magnar Jenssen.

Level Design Workflow: Making of HL2DM DM_Zest by Thiago Klafke

Workflow tutorial by Thiago Klafke.

Level Design Worklfow Tutorial

Level design workflow of IcyApex.

11 Day Level Design Process Overview

Process overview video shows level design workflow day by day hHow to create a map in 11 Days.

How to Create a Playable Level in 11 Days

Want to create your own map in 11 days? Follow this workflow process.

Preproduction: Planning and Beginning Your Map/Level

How to Start Your Own Level Design or Game Environment Challenge (8 Ways)

Focus on how to start your own self-imposed level design and game environment challenge to improve your work and process.

Level Design Creation Guidelines

Creation guideline that will help you to make sure you know your level design and game environment inside out. Really helpful guide to creating your maps.

How To Add Depth To Your Level Design

Adding depth to your level design and game environments.

How To Plan Your Next Map

Planning your next map. What to do, where to look for inspiration and how to make sure that your next project is successful.

100 Level Design Ideas and Locations

100 ideas for game environments and level designs.

Damnation's Concept Art to Level Design

Damnation may not have been a good game, but the art process applying concept art to level design is a great study to apply to your own work.

Guide to Collecting Level Design Reference

Guide to collecting level design and game environment reference.

Gameplay: Flow, Pacing, Balance and Layout Creation

How to Design Gameplay Map Layout - In Depth Guide

Complete, detailed in-depth guide to creating gameplay layouts for online multiplayer maps. Examples are from Counter-Strike.

CS:GO 6 Principles of Choke Point Level Design

Choke point design tutorial focused on Counter-Strike, but the principles apply to any team based, search/destroy type of gameplay. Lots of insight and can be used in similar games.

From Top Down Layout to BSP Block In Workflow

Using paper layout and block in gameplay inside the level editor. Counter-Strike is used in this tutorial, but the principles apply to other game level editors using similar gameplay/gametype.

Production: Level Design Creation

How to Use Cover Object Placement for Level Design 

Tutorial covers proper cover placement that encourages map flow, control pacing, provide choices and encourage strategy.

13 Level Design Tips from L4D1/2: The Sacrifice

The following tutorial features a video where you will learn 13 Level Design Tips from "The Sacrifice". Many of these tips can be applied to other game level designs.

Visual Reference Guide to Level Design

Tutorial contains 61 ways you can better design your custom maps. L4D2 is used as an example, but these principles apply to many FPS games.

L4D2 Level Design Tips Part 1

Part 1/2 Left 4 Dead 2 Level Design tips. Principles apply to most FPS games.

L4D2 Level Design Tips Part 2

Part 2/2 Left 4 Dead 2 Level Design tips. Principles apply to most FPS games.

Art of Blocking In Your Map

Tutorial covering how to block in and shell out your map with BSP. Also knows as "white-boxing".

Creating Unique Level Design Overviews: Photoshop Filter

Couple ways of creating top-down layouts using Photoshop Filter.

Level Design Originality and Innovation

Innovation refers to creating something new, better or improving upon another idea in a way that is significantly different then where it originally came from.

Lighting

Functional Lighting

Article is aimed more towards how lighting affects the gameplay of a level and how big of a role it plays in player guidance and the playability of a level.

Playing with Space and Light

Olafur Eliasson creates art from a palette of space, distance, color and light. The following video begins with an experiment in the nature of perception.

Survival Horror Level Design Series:

Horror/Survival Level Design: Part 1 - Cliches

Survival horror level design tutorial focuses on cliches and their use.

Horror/Survival Level Design: Part 2 - Anticipation and Pacing

Survival horror level design tutorial focuses on creating anticipation and pacing.

Horror/Survival Level Design: Part 3 - Story and Environment

Survival horror level design tutorial focuses on story of the character and environment.

Horror/Survival Level Design: Part 4 - Relationship

Survival horror level design tutorial focuses on character and environment relationships.

Horror/Survival Level Design: Part 5 - Moral Decision

Survival horror level design tutorial focuses on moral decisions of the player.

Game Industry Insights:

GDC Level Design in a Day - Q/A Session

Transcript of the Q&A session from the Level Design in a Day tutorial at GDC. Broad range of topics are discussed; from portfolio and getting your foot at the door, to balancing and branching issues.

GDC Level Design Notes Part 1

Level Design in a Day, best practices from the best in the business.

GDC Level Design Notes Part 2

The following is a talk from Matthias Worch, a Senior Level Designer at Viceral Games and has worked Dead Space 2. Matthias's lecture is about Digital Ditch Digging, the core space creation of a level and its flow.

GDC Level Design Notes Part 3

Jim Brown's lecture about level design tools and how they can save your life, called "Tools of the trade : Making a better game through the tools".

GDC Level Design Notes Part 4

Niel Alphonso talk isabout maximizing the effectiveness of cover placement, and overall multiplayer level balancing. This talk is aimed at FPSes and Third Person Shooters.

GDC Level Design Notes Part 5

The last conference of the day was led by Joel Burgess. Entitled "Level Design as Storytelling", it was about the tools we have at our disposal to tell stories, regardless of their size or depth, directly into our levels.

How to Get a Job With Epic Games

The following notes are from a presentation by Andrew Baines, a Senior Level Designer at Epic Games.

Misc:

Far Cry 2 Level Editor Tips, Links and Videos

Far Cry 2 comes with a sandbox to create your own worlds. Article featuring some links to get started and advice to follow.

Quantum of Solace Video Game Level Design

Quantum of Solace video of how the developers created their environments for James Bond game.