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Recent Tutorials/Posts

Everything is $25 - All Premium Tutorial Guides are On Sale (Updated)

Category: News/Updates/Resources
April 23, 2015 (Updated: April 27, 2015)

UPDATE: The $25 sale is now over.

It has been a while since I ran a website sale for all premium tutorial guides.

I want everyone to experience and learn from these guides, so for next 5 days I am offering everything in the store/product section for just a fraction of the original price.

Starting today, everything in the store/product section of World of Level Design is only $25.

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UDK: Create Landscape Heightmaps w/Photoshop Clouds Filter

Category: UDK
February 19, 2015

In this tutorial I have a great technique/workflow for you - how to generate heightmaps for UDK very quickly. The results are usually very realistic and if you follow these steps, you can get a good landscape going in just a few minutes.

You will need UDK and Photoshop.

Lets break each of the process step-by-step...

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UDK: 2 Quick Ways to Modify and Form Landscapes

Category: UDK
February 17, 2015

In this tutorial you will learn how to generate and modify UDK Landscape heightmap very quickly to generate a random pattern of hills, mountains, peaks and valleys. It will give you a good starting base for a landscape.

These two tools in UDK are Landscape Noise Tool and Erosion Tool.

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UE4: Use This Skeletal Mesh Reference to Judge Scale and Proportion

Category: Unreal Engine 4
January 29, 2015

The first thing you should do when creating a game environment is place a character reference. This will help to create your level to proper scale and proportion. The character scale reference must have the same dimensions as the player in-game.

For this you could use a BSP Box, Static Mesh Box, Primitive Shape Human Mesh or Character/Skeletal Mesh.

The best option is to use a character/skeletal mesh. In this tutorial I will show you two ways you can use Skeletal Mesh Reference that is included with Unreal Engine 4. Better yet, you will learn how to always have this scale reference with any project.

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UE4: Guide to Player Scale & World/Architecture Dimension

Category: Unreal Engine 4
January 27, 2015

When I begin a new project or learn a new game engine, the first things I figure out is scale and dimensions to use.

Deciding on a scale of player character and world geometry will help you to avoid major problems with proportion. Correct scale means that you know the basic dimensions for your architecture, your character and you use them as a guide to create your environment.

At the beginning of every level creation, you have to decide on base dimensions you will use for your project.

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Paperback Available - The Essential Guide to Getting Started w/UDK

Category: Books/Ebooks/Products, UDK
December 29, 2014

After many requests, "The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started with UDK" is now available in paperback.

You may have already downloaded this guide as a PDF version but many have asked me if there is a printed version they could purchase. I myself also prefer to have a physical copy of a book in addition to a digital one.

The book features full color 125+ pages and 150+ tips, techniques and insight on how to get started and use UDK. This is a great reference guide to have on your book shelf (actual book shelf).

Get your paperback/print copy from Amazon of

"The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started with UDK" here...

16 Recommended 3D Game Engines (Updated)

Category: Level Design, Game Environment Design
December 12, 2012 (Updated: April 27, 2015)

Updated (Dec. 19, 2014): This post has been updated with an additional game engine, updated links and new information that was outdated.

If you ever wanted to take your skill further into game development and game design, you will need to begin exploring the world of game engines. Game engines will provide you with the framework that game designers use to create games.

Not every game engine is available to download to try without paying for a license first. However there are many free game engines, open source engines and non-commercial versions that you could work with and download right now.

In this blog post I will provide you with options and links to few game engine, their features and download page so you can make a better decision on which one is right for you.

So, for those who are interested in going a bit further into game development, to explore new technologies to showcase your game environments in or just curious behind game engine technology; here are 15 suggestions of game engines you can get your hands on right now.

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UDK: Landscape Challenge - 30 Minutes or Less to Create/Form a Landscape

Category: UDK, Level Design/Game Environment Challenges
December 04, 2014

If you are working on any exterior environment, you will need to know how to form realistic landscapes.

With UDK Landscape Mode, you can create large open worlds that are miles long. For this you can use external software to generate your heightmaps such as World Machine, Terragen 2, HMES TerreSculptor, L3DT or Photoshop.

But before you can get there, you should know how to form your landscapes manually. For any landscape to look good you have to know how to use the tools. Even more important, you have to understand the workflow and use photo reference.

This is where this short UDK Landscape Challenge comes in.

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UDK: 22 Steps to Getting Started with UDK - Updated (in Less Than 30 Minutes)

Category: UDK
December 01, 2014

In this tutorial you will learn everything you need to know in order to get started with UDK.

I've narrowed down this process to the core essentials in 22 steps. Best part, this will only take you 30 minutes to complete.

This tutorial is the updated version of "UDK Basics Getting Started in 11 Steps Parts 1-3" that were released in 2010.

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2 UDK Tutorial Guides are Now Out - One of Them is a Free Bonus

Category: News/Updates/Resources, Books/Ebooks/Products
November 27, 2014

Today, I wanted to finally let you know that "UDK The Foundation" and "UDK How to Landscape Guide" are Out.

These are two most detailed guides that I have ever created and released yet.

I've included an amazing bonus with it to make it worth your while, but note that the bonus and offer will expire on December 3rd.

Click Here to Download Your Copy...

NEW/FREE PDF Tutorial Guide: The Essential Beginner's Guide to Getting Started With UDK

Category: News/Updates/Resources, Books/Ebooks/Products
November 25, 2014

I have created a brand new, free PDF tutorial guide for you.

It features 130+ pages and over 150 techniques, methods, insight, tips and advice on how to get started and use UDK. It contains a lot of information that is straight to the point and gives you direct steps to applying the techniques.

I created this guide for beginner's to get started with UDK and as a way to manage my own workflow between different game engines. I often found myself forgetting how to do something in UDK, after working in another game engine for a while. Each game engine has its own different workflows, techniques, interface and shortcuts. So I needed a way to remind myself of the steps of doing something without having to re-watch or re-learn the basics.

I recommend to use this guide as a reference manual for most commonly used techniques and tips in UDK. So if you want to do something in UDK, and need a quick and direct steps to doing it, use this guide.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

  • 30 Quick Steps to Getting Started with UDK
  • 18 Tips on Mastering BSP Brush Geometry Construction
  • 21 Tips to Using and Improving Static Mesh Workflow for Environment Construction
  • 15 Ways of Texturing Your Environment
  • 16 Tips to Improve Your Lighting with Exterior and Interior Environments
  • 9 Ways on How to Use Fog in Your Environment
  • 8 Tips to Using Skies Within Your Environment
  • 10 Ways to Improve How Your Environment Looks with Post Processing
  • 34 Tips and Advice on Getting Started, Using and Creating Better Landscapes

If you have already subscribed to WoLD email updates with your email, you have already received this guide - check your email.

But if you are not a subscriber and want to receive this tutorial guide, click here and sign up for free WoLD email and newsletter updates and you will receive a download link to get your copy.

Also, this PDF guide is only a start. Check out these 2 huge detailed guides UDK The Foundationand UDK How to Guide to Landscape Creation.

Here is the free guide download:

Download your free guide here and leave a comment. Let me know what you think about it...

Coming Soon Tutorial Guides - Next Week: What to Expect

Category: News/Updates/Resources
November 20, 2014

I am currently putting final finishing touches on a project that has been in the works since earlier this year.

This release has to do with UDK (Unreal Development Kit), so for next couple of weeks starting Monday, Nov. 24th will be UDK take-over week.

But this isn't about me or this website. It's about what you get out of it.

So, what does this mean for you?

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

Category: Level Design, Game Environment Design, Productivity/Time Management
September 10, 2014

Have you ever wanted to work on your level designs and environment art, but couldn't? You were nowhere near your computer. No level editor or 3d modeling apps in sight. For example you are on vacation, taking a trip, or you have another obligation which requires you to be doing something else and be somewhere else. But, you are eager and want to work.

These are 13 ways of becoming a better level designer and game environment artist away from the computer. Each of the methods can be done anywhere, anytime and any place. Use any of the following ways to continue to work, improve and expand your knowledge. I use these all the time.

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Resource: Level-Design.org Knowledge Base

Category: News/Updates/Resources
August 20, 2014

Mateusz "seir" Piaskiewicz over at Level-Design.org recently created and launched new Wiki-based website called Level Design Knowledge Base. He created the site to share his knowledge and thoughts on Level Design.

Mateusz is a Senior Level Artist and Designer at Techland. Some of the games he worked on include Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Dead Island and Dying Light.

Here is a snipped from Mateusz:

"Welcome to the LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base. This website gathers information about all the aspects of level creation process. Please visit About LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base page to know more. Happy reading and have fun creating levels!"

Here are a couple of recently published articles: Composition and Dominants.

Click over and check out LEVEL-DESIGN.org Knowledge Base.

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11 Things I Learned from Dream Worlds

Category: Game Environment Design, Level Design, Books/Ebooks/Products
August 06, 2014

Book cover "Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation" by Hans Bacher

What can you learn from production design for animation? Most importantly, how do you apply these principles from production design for animation to game environment art?

As environment artist and level designer, you must absorb knowledge from many different art disciplines. It should include architecture, interior design, photography, film and animation.

The hardest part is to find connections and correlations from these disciplines and apply it to your own work. For example, you could read an instructional manual on composition and lighting for photography but if you can't translate it to game environments and how it improves your work, then you just got better at taking photos.

The key is to find a way to use practical knowledge in one discipline and transfer it to another.

When I was in college, studying computer animation I found a great book that offered insight into preproduction and world creation for animation.

The book is Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation by Hans Bacher.

Although the book is mainly focused on feature animation from Disney, there is a lot of correlation to game environment artists. The author offers practical advice and insight you can use.

Here are 11 things I learned from Dream Worlds and how I applied it to game environment art and level design...

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UDK: Material Editor Guide to Practical Examples

Category: UDK
July 17, 2014

The following is a guide to most common practical material editor examples of improving and enhancing your material creation. You can do many things within the material editor that do not require you to re-adjust and re-import a texture. You can brighten or darken a texture, you can increase the depth of a normal map, you can control specular highlights or increase a contrast of a diffuse, you can add color to a diffuse or use diffuse as a specular map. All within the Material Editor itself. Find out how to improve your materials within the editor itself.

This post is an ongoing guide that will be updated with additional methods and techniques.

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UDK: How to Create Your First Material

Category: UDK
June 26, 2014

After covering the basics of the Material Editor, textures vs materials and importing your custom textures into UDK, you are now ready to create your first material. Following tutorial will guide you through to creating your first material by using the imported textures from this previous tutorial.

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UDK: How to Import Custom Textures

Category: UDK
June 20, 2014

In this tutorial you will learn know to import custom textures into UDK in order to use them to create a new material. We'll take a diffuse, a specular and a normal map texture and import them into UDK.

You'll learn proper texture size dimensions to use, how to save textures, how to import textures and create a new package in UDK.

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UDK: Material Editor Beginner Basics

Category: UDK
June 17, 2014

Material Editor is an important element of UDK environment creation. It is where you will create and edit materials that will be used to texture your environment.

This is an introduction to UDK Material Editor before we get into more detail on how to import your own textures and create your own materials.

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