• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

What is good level design?

Dec 12, 2018
1,404
1,526
420
Very subjective, but you can at least point out broken or lazy and repetitive level design.

On the other hand, a game can have levels that are visually generic but really well implemented in the gameplay loop and are just fun to traverse and vice versa. So bad level design to me is, when the world is both boring visually (with lots of repeating assets) and doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay.
 

DeadMansParty

Member
Dec 1, 2020
184
412
245
KH1 traverse town and KH1 Hollow Bastion, or something I absolutely love about KH1 are all the hidden world interactions. They really add so much to the game with the amount of detail that was secretly added.
 

Men_in_Boxes

Member
May 31, 2020
4,881
9,811
590


1- Good level design is fun to navigate.

2- Good level design does not rely on words.

3- Good level design tells what to do but never how to do it.

4- Good level design constantly teaches.

5- Good level design is surprising.

6- Good level design empowers the player.

7- Good level design is easy, medium, and hard.

8- Good level design is efficient.

9- Good level design creates emotion.

10- Good level design is driven by mechanics.

GO to 41:50 for the recap.
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
Mar 22, 2017
16,707
26,717
1,075
I enjoyed ICO's level design and really impressed how well it aged
 

Mozzarella

Member
Aug 4, 2020
445
478
285
I honestly dont have enough information to give a good answer to that, but i think a good level design should consist of:
1- Secret areas, hidden areas that opens up new things.
2- Good loot, a level that distributes its good loot around its areas.
3- Backtracking available, meaning the level does not give the player all that it can offer right at the moment you enter it. (e.g locked areas that you unlock later)
4- Multiple traveling paths, meaning you can go to different rooms from more than one road.
5- Good atmosphere via good art direction and good soundtrack, yes those are not part of the level design but the right art and the right sounds will greatly enhance it.
6- Good Enemy placement, whether its horror or action.
7- Good lore and context to increase its depth.

I think those things make a level design good for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Physiocrat

Men_in_Boxes

Member
May 31, 2020
4,881
9,811
590
Good level design has the same definition as Will Wrights definition for what a good game is.

"A series of interest choices".
 

Ozzy Onya A2Z

Member
Apr 16, 2012
9,546
3,380
970
Melbourne, Australia
See Jedi Fallen Order by Respawn. Exploration, free to move, pathing, unlocks, abilities open faster routes on revisits, quick access, choke points, action, fun and easy to traverse but skill required in difficult areas. There is also visual appeal that alters with each planet visited so you're discovering elements that are meaningful to navigate or discover or climb or wall run etc. Honestly it's extremely well designed with the levels combining your progressing abilities while alleviating many of the issues in "padding" a game such as this. Loved and appreciated what the Respawn team did with its design from the get go, across the levels and sandbox. Clearly the team as a whole understands the design and mechanics of great gameplay.
 
Last edited:

Jigsaah

Gold Member
Jan 31, 2018
5,901
6,034
740
Good Level Design in single player games:
- Promotes exploration
- Provides context to the story
- Implements intelligent enemy placements, power ups and resources for the player
- Provides a worthy challenge to players
- Promotes Immersion and pursues an emotional reaction from the player

Good Level/Map Design in Multiplayer Competitive games:
- Non-symmetrical (personal opinion)
- Spawn point fairness and mechanics
- Map specific mechanics
- Minimize one way in-one way out areas
- Prevents Spawn Camping
 
Oct 4, 2013
4,327
2,261
875
USA or Japan
www.thunderboltgames.com
What is good level design?

OK, let's start the lesson.

 

tassletine

Member
Oct 24, 2007
1,462
571
1,220
Something that is constantly interesting and challenging, even on repeat playthroughs, revealing new details and tactics the more you play.
 

Hawks Eclipse

Member
Nov 15, 2019
1,402
1,190
480
I think good level design is like a good friend: mentally stimulating, reasonably challenging, respects your intelligence and doesn't make you feel stupid. You learn more about him and yourself each time you two hang out.

Doesn't boast about his own cleverness and when he points out your mistakes, it's with kindness and intent to edify. Sometimes he doesn't even point them out, he leads you to realize them yourself. When he's not around, you feel his absence even though everything else is there.

And when you've gotten good enough and the friendship is strong enough, you get gems like this:
 
  • Fire
Reactions: Con-Z-epT

Hudo

Member
Jul 26, 2018
4,937
6,342
490
Good level design is the opposite of what you'll find on 99.99% of Super Mario Maker 2 levels and I love it.

Good level design is what you'll find in Super Mario 3D World.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kuncol02

SafeOrAlone

Member
May 22, 2018
1,294
1,304
445
Sometimes great level design comes in conjunction with great a.i. or enemy encounter design.
For instance, I've always loved the way enemies would chase you up and around buildings in Infamous 2. It sounds simple, but many open-world games don't utilize the level at all when it comes to combat and enemy design, so it's pretty exciting when you can incorporate the level design into your strategy for taking on enemies. I'm always hoping to see more of this. We got pretty much the opposite of that with Cyberpunk 2077, unfortunately, where the game had such fantastic level design, but you couldn't play with it at all. Not even car chases.