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An Architectural Approach to Level Design

Book Description

Explore Level Design through the Lens of Architectural and Spatial Experience Theory

Written by a game developer and professor trained in architecture, An Architectural Approach to Level Design is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. It explores the principles of level design through the context and history of architecture, providing information useful to both academics and game development professionals.

Understand Spatial Design Principles for Game Levels in 2D, 3D, and Multiplayer Applications

The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. The author connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory.

Create Meaningful User Experiences in Your Games

Bringing together topics in game design and architecture, this book helps designers create better spaces for their games. Software independent, the book discusses tools and techniques that designers can use in crafting their interactive worlds.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. About the Author
  9. Introduction
  10. CHAPTER 1 A Brief History of Architecture and Level Design
    1. BREAKING THE RULES OF LEVEL DESIGN
    2. AN EXPERIENTIAL HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE
      1. Elements of Architecture and Level Design
        1. Functional Requirements
        2. Usability
        3. Delight
      2. The Beginnings of Architectural Sight Lines
      3. Architecture as Representation in Ancient Mesopotamia
      4. Architecture as Statement in Ancient Egypt
      5. Spatial and Symbolic Relationships in Greek Architecture
      6. Indian, Southeast Asian, and Asian Representational Architecture
      7. Linear Experiences in Roman Architecture
      8. Medieval Christian and Islamic Symbolic Architecture
      9. The Renaissance Return to Human-Centered Architecture
      10. Ornamental Reformations and Material Revolutions
    3. THE HISTORY OF GAMESPACES
      1. Physical Gamespaces and Architecture
      2. Digital Gamespaces
    4. WAYS OF SEEING FOR LEVEL DESIGN
    5. SUMMARY
    6. ENDNOTES
  11. CHAPTER 2 Tools and Techniques for Level Design
    1. LEVEL DESIGN GOALS FOR CREATING GAME EXPERIENCES
      1. Adjustment of Behavior
      2. Transmission of Meaning
      3. Augmentation of Space
    2. NON-DIGITAL LEVEL DESIGN TOOLS
      1. Basic Drawing Techniques
        1. How to Draw a Line
        2. Contours and Line Weights
        3. Drawing with References
        4. Shading
        5. Hierarchical Drawing
      2. Types of Architectural Drawings
        1. Plan
        2. Section
        3. Elevation
        4. Axonometric
        5. Perspective
      3. Sketching and Journal Writing
      4. Designing on Paper
    3. DIGITAL LEVEL DESIGN TOOLS
      1. CAD Programs
      2. Digital Art Programs
      3. Engine Primitives and Placeholder Art
      4. 3D Modeling Programs
    4. LEVEL DESIGN WORKFLOWS
      1. Form Follows Core Mechanics
      2. Level Design Parti
      3. Pacing Your Levels with the Nintendo Power Method
      4. Iterative Design with Playtesting
      5. Non-Digital Prototypes
      6. Digital Prototypes with Whiteblocking
      7. Modular Level Design
    5. ENGINE-SPECIFIC METHODOLOGIES
      1. Game Maker
      2. Unreal Development Kit (UDK)
      3. Source’s Hammer Level Editor
      4. Unity
    6. SUMMARY
    7. ENDNOTES
  12. CHAPTER 3 Basic Gamespaces
    1. ARCHITECTURAL SPATIAL ARRANGEMENTS
      1. Figure-Ground
      2. Form-Void
      3. Arrivals
      4. Genius Loci
    2. HISTORIC GAMESPACE STRUCTURES
      1. Labyrinth
      2. Maze
      3. Rhizome
    3. SPATIAL SIZE TYPES
      1. Narrow Space
      2. Intimate Space
      3. Prospect Space
    4. MOLECULE LEVEL SPACES
      1. The Basics of Molecule Design
      2. Spatial Types as Molecule Nodes and Edges
    5. FORM FOLLOWS GAMEPLAY WITH PROXIMITY DIAGRAMS
    6. HUB SPACES
    7. SANDBOX GAMESPACES
      1. Pathfinding with Architectural Weenies
      2. Organizing the Sandbox: Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City
        1. Landmarks
        2. Paths
        3. Nodes
        4. Edges
        5. Districts
    8. CONSIDERATIONS OF CAMERA
      1. 3D Views
        1. First Person
        2. Third Person
      2. 2D Views
        1. Side-Scrolling Space
        2. Top-Down Space
      3. Axonometric/Isometric Views
    9. ENEMIES AS ALTERNATIVE ARCHITECTURE
    10. SUMMARY
    11. ENDNOTES
  13. CHAPTER 4 Teaching in Levels through Visual Communication
    1. TEACHING THEORIES FOR GAME LEVELS
      1. Behavior Theory and Operant Conditioning
      2. Montessori Method
      3. Constructivism
    2. SYMBOLS AND VISUAL DESIGN IN GAMES
      1. Implementing Symbols in Games
      2. Teaching with Symbols in Games
        1. Introducing Symbols in First Levels
        2. Symbols as Guides
      3. Designing and Placing Symbols for Effective Communication
        1. Basic Color Theory
        2. Contrast
        3. Framing
        4. Rule of Thirds
    3. ARCHITECTURAL FORMS AND TYPES
    4. TEACHING GAMEPLAY THROUGH ADVERTISING METHODS
      1. Demonstrative Advertising with Scripted Events and Triggers
      2. Illustrative Advertising through Environmental Narrative
      3. Associative Advertising as Deconstruction
    5. CONTROLLING INFORMATION IN MEMORY PALACES
      1. Certainty
      2. Uncertainty
      3. Risk
    6. SUMMARY
    7. ENDNOTES
  14. CHAPTER 5 Introducing Emotional Level Design through Survival Instincts
    1. SURVIVAL INSTINCTS AND PLAYER AVATARS
      1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
      2. The Problem of the Protagonist
        1. Problem of the Protagonist as a Game Structure
        2. Problem of the Protagonist in Individual Game Challenges
    2. PROSPECT AND REFUGE SPATIAL DESIGN
      1. Creating Paths with Refuges, Prospects, and Secondary Refuges
      2. Prospects and Refuges in Architecture
      3. Prospects and Refuges in Video Games
    3. SHADE, SHADOW, AND SURVIVAL
      1. Shade
      2. Shadow
      3. Negative Space
    4. LOVING AND HATING HEIGHT
    5. SUMMARY
    6. ENDNOTES
  15. CHAPTER 6 Enticing Players with Reward Spaces
    1. THE PURPOSE OF REWARDS
      1. Incentivizing In-Game Behaviors
      2. Enticing Exploration
      3. Creating a Sense of Curiosity
    2. THE TYPES OF REWARDS IN GAMESPACES
      1. Reward Vaults
      2. Rewarding Vistas
      3. Meditative Space
      4. Narrative Stages
    3. MAKING REWARDS EXCITING THROUGH DENIAL
      1. Zen Views
      2. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House
      3. Religious Structures and Eastern Garden Design
      4. Layered Walls
      5. Oku
    4. GOALS AND REWARD SCHEDULES
      1. Long- and Short-Term Goals
      2. The Rod of Many Parts
      3. Reward Schedules
    5. SUMMARY
    6. ENDNOTES
  16. CHAPTER 7 Storytelling in Gamespace
    1. EXPRESSIVE DESIGN
      1. Narrative Design and Worldbuilding
      2. Narrative Worldbuilding in Games
    2. MECHANICS VS. MOTIF
      1. Narrative as a Generator of Design
      2. Mechanics vs. Story Narrative
      3. Mechanics vs. Gameplay Narrative
    3. NARRATIVE SPACES
      1. Evocative Spaces
      2. Staging Spaces
      3. Embedded Spaces
      4. Resource-Providing Spaces
    4. ENVIRONMENT ART STORYTELLING
      1. Storytelling with Modular Assets
      2. Environment Art and Cinematography
    5. MATERIALITY AND THE HERO’S JOURNEY
    6. PACING AND NARRATIVE REWARDS
      1. The Dramatic Arc as a Pacing Tool
      2. Rewarding Exploration with Embedded Narrative
      3. Rewarding Exploration with Optional Narrative and Easter Eggs
    7. SUMMARY
    8. ENDNOTES
  17. CHAPTER 8 Possibility Spaces and Worldbuilding
    1. UNDERSTANDING IMMERSION AND PLAYER INDIVIDUALITY
      1. The Immersive Fallacy
      2. Player Personalities
    2. ARCHITECTURAL PHENOMENOLOGY AND PLAY
    3. EMERGENT SPACES
      1. Emergence
      2. Possibility Spaces
    4. MINIATURE GARDEN AESTHETIC
      1. Overviews
        1. Overviews in Historic Games
        2. Overviews in 3D
      2. Tours
      3. Possibility Space and Procedural Literacy
    5. JAPANESE GARDEN DESIGN AND WORLDBUILDING
      1. Points of View in Japanese Gardens
      2. Scenic Effects
      3. Sensory Effects
    6. OFFERING EXPERIENTIAL CHOICE
      1. Introducing Choice
      2. Intelligible Choice
      3. Shaping Choice, Risk, and Reward
      4. Reward-Possibility Mazes
    7. DEGENERATIVE DESIGN
    8. SUMMARY
    9. ENDNOTES
  18. CHAPTER 9 Influencing Social Interaction with Level Design
    1. EMERGENCE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION
    2. LEARNING FROM URBAN EMERGENCE
      1. Modernism and Non-Emergent Cities
      2. Jane Jacobs and Mixed-Use Emergent Neighborhoods
      3. Integrating Urban Design into Multiplayer Gamespace
    3. THE IMPORTANCE OF SPAWN POINTS AND QUEST HUBS
      1. Shaping with Spawn Points
      2. Shaping Player Interaction with Quest Hubs
      3. Enticing Exploration with Side Quests
    4. HOUSES, HOMES, AND HOMETOWNS IN GAMES
    5. SUMMARY
    6. ENDNOTES
  19. CHAPTER 10 Enhancing Level Design with Music and Sounds
    1. THE ROLE OF RHYTHM IN GAMES AND BUILDINGS
      1. Mood and Music
      2. Rhythm and Interactive Sound
      3. Rhythmic Entrainment in Games and Spaces
      4. Varying Structural Rhythms
    2. COMPLEMENTING LEVEL DESIGN WITH AMBIENT SOUND
      1. 2D Sound
      2. 3D Sound
    3. ENHANCING GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCES WITH SOUND DESIGN
      1. Sound as Gameplay Feedback
      2. Sound as Reward
      3. Sound as Narrative Indicators
    4. SUMMARY
    5. ENDNOTES
  20. CHAPTER 11 Real-World Adaptive Level Design
    1. WHEN MAGIC CIRCLES COLLIDE
      1. Magic Circles Colliding through History
      2. Games with New Contexts
      3. Device as Dungeon Master
      4. Magic Circle Game Typology
        1. Pervasive Games
        2. Augmented Reality Games
        3. Alternate Reality Games
        4. Low-Tech Public Games
    2. ADAPTIVE GAME REUSE GOALS
      1. Adapting Level Design Goals
      2. Real-World Level Design Goals
        1. Games That Enhance
        2. Games That Pervade
        3. Games That Rehabilitate
    3. ANALYSIS FOR ADAPTIVE CORE MECHANICS
      1. Site-Specific Core Mechanics
      2. Rules for Social Intervention
    4. SUMMARY
    5. ENDNOTES
  21. CONCLUSION