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Hourences' book about leveldesign

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Hey taffers,

 

a thiefy friend (Judith) recently told me about a book called "The hows and whys of level design" written by Hourences and I thought I'd share that information here as well, because some of you might be interested in it. It supposedly contains valuable information on design workflow and common rookie mistakes. I just had a brief look at it so far, but it looks nice...

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At € 14.50 for the PDF version, this is beyond the impulse buy category. Can someone who owns the whole publication vouch for its usability in designing Thief-style levels? I am a bit skeptical if the lessons learned from work done for fast-paced multiplayer games are all that applicable to games where the focus is on slow-paced exploration and risk avoidence. Of course, since Hourences created some excellent maps (e.g. for Operation: Na Pali, a T2X-sized single player Unreal Tournament campaign), the work may be pretty good.

 

Also, I learned a whole lot about level design from Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, which was coincidentally recommended on this same site a few years ago. It is an urban design manual / philosophical treatise / anti-modernist manifesto, and doesn't come cheap, but it's close to 1000 pages of great ideas on creating attractive man-made environments from individual rooms to buildings to city districts.


Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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You could ask Judith over at ttlg via pm about it and give my regards to him while you're at it. ;) He, as a FM-author himself, said "I wish I'd bought this one earlier". I don't intend to turn all this into a commercial-thread, but maybe this helps you with your decision...

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The guy I am talking about is not really active in these forums, so that's why I told Melan to PM at ttlg. I thought this was obvious... =)

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True that multiplayer games and singleplayer maps can differ greatly. I spent a year or so making maps for TF2, major things are lighting, you need everything to be well lit for team color visiblity easily (dark maps suck to play), You need wide open spaces, minimal objects to block paths and get stuck on, but mostly it's more about attack routes, defense routes.

All of which have almost no place in a thief-like level. Instead you need hiding spots, lots of details, interesting patrol routes, ambient music in the right spots...

 

So the book may or may not be worth a look, can't say as I haven't read it. But most likely if he designs maps for Unreal alot of the stuff probably doesn't apply to TDM maps too much.


Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I just had another look at the index of contents and there are chapters about multiplayer and about singleplayer. The rest of the book seems to be based rather on general leveldesign issues, like lighting, texturing, placement of static meshes, geometry and architecture, immersion and atmosphere etc.

 

I think I'll have a go at it...

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its aimed on singleplayers at linear maps, usually gaming loops, where the player is shown the exit near the start of the map so that they know where they are heading, thief maps are more like figure of 8 maps, where there's more than one way to approach the objective.

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How strange to see Christopher Alexander mentioned here.

He was a bit of a hero of mine for a while.

I'm a carpenter with a strong interest in the why of building as well as the how.

Not cheap books though.

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Necroing the thread to add that the book is now free (though a Scribd account seems to be required in order to download an actual file instead of reading in the embed): http://www.hourences.com/product/the-hows-and-whys-of-level-design-2/

The e.t.a. for the 3rd Ed. seems to have slipped a bit though.

  • Thanks 1

Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Whoa, that's a blast from the past :) Cool that it's free now. If you need a crash course in level design in general, it probably still holds value. But for stealth game specific stuff it would be better to check our forum thread 

 

Edited by peter_spy

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