Can you make a level using architecture skills?

Hey everyone, I felt like I should talk about my favourite topic, Level Design. Having worked on a game with 2 programmers and one other designer, as well as 2 3d animators, and coming across the issue of whether allowing an animator to create the level would be a good idea.

Level design is more than just a floor plan for a house, it has to have more thought put into it. Where will the player be going, how will they navigate the area, what challenges will they be facing? And whilst I had a nice conversation about these decisions to the animator, they were adamant that they could pull it off. They didn’t, it was a floor plan that worked but the layout for a video game area was confusing and I found myself confused navigating the level.

But as a reference, I guess you could take ‘The Last Of Us’ as an example. Throughout the game there is a plethora of levels that take place in office buildings, houses, asorted industrial structures. The level design for The Last Of Us is phenominal. It flows and it has had thought put into each detail and what mechanics are being needed to go about evironment. Comparing the house designs in The Last Of Us, its clear that they have been stretched out to accomidate several characters running through a hallway, considering real life houses have hallways approximately 1m-1.4m walking room. In video games, when i design a level, I’d like to have 2-2.5 character widths of space in a hallway, depending on what type of game it is.

So upon reflection, I shouldn’t refer to the projects I’m working on as Naughty Dog epics in design quality, but make sure I communicate my knowledge to someone working on something for me. Lesson of the day, Architecture =/= Level Design.

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