Level Design 101

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Welcome to Level Design 101.

Unlike the Zone Builder tutorial, which explains the technical "how" of making maps, this series of articles contains advice for making your maps fun to play, ranging from general design principles to advice for more specific mapping situations.

You can learn a lot by playing maps from other designers. However, in the spirit of thoroughness, these articles are presented as a complete discussion of all aspects of stage design.

This tutorial consists of seven chapters:

  • General information – Design issues that apply to all maps regardless of gametype, such as sector layout, item placement and the importance of gimmicks. Make sure to read this chapter first before you take a look at the gametype-specific guides.
  • Visual design – Aside from aesthetics, visuals help players understand their surroundings and draw players' attention to the important parts of a stage.
  • Gametype-specific articles:
    • Single Player – Information regarding Single Player stages, such as placement of obstacles and increasing a map's replay value with multiple paths and secrets. It also includes information on 2D Single Player maps.
    • Enemy placement – Advice on how to properly place different types of enemies, which is important for making a good Single Player level.
    • Match and Capture the Flag – Special requirements for Match and CTF, especially regarding weapon rings and item placement.
    • Circuit – Information regarding Circuit maps.
    • NiGHTS – Advice for NiGHTS maps, both for Single Player and Circuit.