Development Update – Level Design Resources

Still very busy with admin and logistical stuff lately. However, I recently came across some really useful level design resources. I shared them on twitter, but thought it would be really helpful to have a list with them altogether. This way, I could just link people directly to this, instead of having to track down each item separately.

Level Design Resources

This is a list of talks, articles, and other resources that I have found to be incredibly helpful in thinking about level design for RELATIVITY. Hope you find it useful as well.

Portal 1 & 2 Developer Commentary - I highly recommend playing through both games with developer commentary on. Lots of useful tidbits like how they god the player to look in certain direction, the reasoning behind the sequence of puzzles, and how each puzzle was iterated on.

30 Flights of Loving Developer Commentary - The developer commentary alone is worth the price of the game. Lots of fantastic information, especially with regards to how architecture is used to guide the player. A hallway is placed a certain way, facing a certain direction, with a certain angle of curvature, in order to guide the player to see a specific thing.

Devs Play – Doom with John Romero - John Romero plays through Doom and comments on the level design in all the levels. Do watch all 10 episodes. Totally worth it. Lots of useful tidbits like avoiding symmetry, using contrast, and utilizing loops effectively. Very fascinating.

Antichamber: Three Years of Hardcore Iteration - Alexander Bruce talks about all the refinement and iteration that went into Antichamber. Really fantastic.

Jon Blow playing through Braid and commenting - Shaky camera, but totally worth it.

Wayfinding and Signing Guidelines for Airport Terminals and Landside - 200+ page PDF explaining wayfinding and signage design at airports. Absolutely incredible resource. A must read for all level designers. Seriously. It’s a gold mine of useful information.

Walk This Way - Podcast interview with professional wayfinder and co-author of above document, Jim Harding.

How To Make An Attractive City - I don’t know how valid this is from an actual urban planning standpoint, but for level design, there’s lots of useful tips, like balancing chaos and order to create variety.

Everything I Learned About Level Design I Learned from Disneyland - I’ve heard from multiple sources that theme park design has lots of valuable lessons to offer level designers. This talk by Scott Rogers covers a lot of that stuff.

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