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Level Design Methodologies

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Some-Yahoo, Jan 11, 2019.


How do you design levels?

Poll closed Mar 22, 2019.
  1. Import Whole level from my designer

  2. Import one fully designed room or corridor at a time

    0 vote(s)
  3. Build things in unity from a collection of Walls, floors, ceilings, etc.

  1. Some-Yahoo


    Jun 27, 2013
    I design my level interiors in Wings3D, but the same questions would apply to any 3d designer.

    When you design your scary complexes and starship interiors, do you import them as one giant unit (the walls, ceilings and floors, not the decor), or do you import floors, wall segments, and ceilings and glue them all together in unity?

    I tend to map out the whole level in my designer, and import it - the drawback being that if I need o add a room, I have to reimport and reapply all the materials every time. Also, there may be some issue with the renderer where the culling function may feel the need to keep the whole object in memory the whole time, wasting resources.

    If the answer is to design rooms one at a time, or even wall segments, floor segments, and ceiling segments, but then how do I attach everything so there are no coincident surfaces and/or gaps?

    I would love it if I could include in my geometry an invisible null object at the center of each door and had a script to snap the parts together.
  2. BlankDeed


    Jul 10, 2018
    I like building in Unity, for some reason it helps my weirdo brain to know there's a separation; make in one and put together in another. However, it is still not always the case. If only one room is needed I could see an exception, but I like to destroy things and rebuild them so much, make little tiny changes and such so I could never see me personally relying on it. Some people are really smart at it though, and they know exactly what they want from the beginning. Also mobile games might be more inclined.
  3. newjerseyrunner


    Jul 20, 2017
    I build it in Blender all as one big object. I find this makes it significantly easier to iterate. Only after I have all of the geometry the way that I want do I start splitting it up. My philosophy is to break it up based on the resolution of the light map. For scenery off in the distance, I want that to be a seperate object with a much lower resolution.
    BlankDeed likes this.
  4. gabrielw_unity


    Unity Technologies

    Feb 19, 2018
    Normally, level designers use an in-engine "greyboxing" tool to build up their level, figure out play size, lighting, etc. The main benefit is speed of iteration and prototype accuracy- simpler tools means building simpler shapes (you don't get lost in details), and you and/or your team can immediately playtest-tweak-playtest-tweak-etc. If you happen to prefer the old-school BSP-style, "RealtimeCSG" or "SabreCSG" will do you well, otherwise ProBuilder is now part of Unity if you want to go with the 3d modeling style :)

    These guys made a super demo:
    Kurt-Dekker likes this.
  5. GameDevCouple_I


    Oct 5, 2013
    Ofcourse if you couple this with the fbxexporter package, you can then export the greybox level into a DCC program to use as a base for your actual asset creation. You can even send it to substance too and back. This round trip workflow means your level will mostly be 1:1 scale etc as your original design, and the work you do at level design phase transfers cleanly towards your asset production phase without losing lots of work/repeating yourself a ton.
    gabrielw_unity likes this.