Game Development Reference
Explosive and destructive effects provide excitement and urgency to the game. The
explosion could come from the end of a gun or from a remote detonation. There will
be a central core effect, such as an expanding ball of light, followed by after-effects such
as smoke or a concussion wave. The explosion itself can send rocks, vehicles, or your
opponents flying. Rocks or walls can break when a player is sent smashing into them.
Animating effects of nature help give a sense that you are part of the game environ-
ment. Leaves should spin and float as they fall, rather than drop straight down as if in
a vacuum. Environmental interactions may also occur as the result of movement, such
as water rippling and splashing when a character steps in or moves around in it.
Level designers, also known as level artists, define what goes into the various “levels�?
or parts of the world you explore or inhabit when playing your game. You can usually
tell when you are going from one level to another because there is a pause in the game,
which might also be followed by a “Loading[…]�? screen and progress bar. This is nec-
essary because new graphic elements must be loaded into game memory so you can
smoothly explore the new territory.
The level designer must make each level interesting and different, but it should also fit
into the context and theme of the game or world it is a part of. This is accomplished
by the following:
Defining the shape of the level and the routes that you can take to travel
around in the level.
Choosing tiles, meshes, and textures to fit the theme of the level and the game.
Placing objects in the world and defining which ones can be used or affected
by player actions. This includes ammunition, doors, levers, traps, computer
panels, and containers that themselves may hold useful items.
Placing lighting sources and defining their attributes to create desired effects.
For example, position bright sunlight to come through a window in a great hall
so it highlights a statue that contains a valuable gem.
Placing “pinch points,�? which slow down action and allow new game assets to
Placing and marking paths, doors, or gateways leading to a new level.
Placing non-players characters (NPCs) who may provide information that
advances the story line (these usually are given a unique name in the game),
or who simply provide a sense of which factions are occupying the level.
A test strategy for each level should include the items listed in Table 4.1.