17 February 2018

WildStar: Train Level Designers Without Them Knowing

WildStar's housing is amazing. No seriously. It's amazing how much you can do with it. It technically is an Engine.

Game Engines

Back in the old days level designing was probably a pain in the ass. Nowadays it's completely different. Thanks to game engines there isn't much you have to do for level designing except the design and placement of objects. This makes it a lot easier and faster to design levels.

Okay, that's great but game engines are only used by people who know what they're doing. Designing games.


Some games like Amnesia the Dark Descent allow the player to use the game's assets to make custom story packs. These consist of own levels, own models, own graphics, custom scripts, sounds and more. So basically you can use the existing engine of the game to create your own game out of it but you can also use all the assets that are already there to design your own levels. Now the people we're talking about don't have the goal to design games but to make their own levels. Still, they are taught the basic principle behind creating games. It's nothing new that people have to send in their own designed levels to get a job as a level designer at Frictional Games. At least back in the days, I don't know if it's still that way. Minecraft added Nathan Adams to their team, who formerly developed Bukkit, free software that extends the Minecraft server. This is not a level design example but I think you get the idea.

Level Editors

There are games out there that provide level editors. Level editors allow the player to design levels themselves in an extremely easy and simple to understand fashion. There isn't any programming and it isn't hard to work with. However, they are limiting the things you can do at the same time. Stepping from creating levels in these up to a level designer won't work as easy. Especially as you have to learn a lot more on top of it.

Advance To The Next Level

Something that blew my mind is the housing editor in the game WildStar. I want to write a post later on this topic but basically, it has all you need as a level designer. You can modify the position, rotation, size of objects, you have a handful of assets given. The only thing that's missing is writing scripts, placing enemies and getting some events and sounds to occur. Hey, you can't have everything. It's not a game engine after all.


Taking all these examples into consideration you can see that it's definitely possible to train gamers to level designers without them knowing. One step further you can detect talent via competitive events in your community. So what do you get doing this? A person that enjoys your game, that has enough talent or experience to win versus all the other participants and provides the skills you enable them to have in your level editor or modding.  That's better than going by plain paper, isn't it?
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I'm a B.Sc. Games Engineer and I created this blog to share my ideas, theorycrafting, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.