Level design

Level design (mapping) is the creation of the level (often called map in FPS). It is also the discipline (and art as well) about this process. Levels are created by level designers (or mappers) using level editor and other programs such as 3D modeling software and 2D graphics software. Level editor for Unreal Tournament 3 is Unreal Editor for UT3 - here also referenced as UnrealEd.

Phases of level design with UT3

There is no single always-working workflow for level design and level creation procedure is also very individual however it's always from basic shapes to details and atmosphere with gameplay aspects somewhere in between. There is also difference whether team or one designer is making the level. Here are various stages of level design for UT3 (order may vary):

  • concept art (optional)
  • layout design - floorplan
  • basic BSP shell
  • BSP texturing (optional if there are no brushes)
  • terrain creation (optional)
  • static mesh layout creation (if needed in addtion to BSP geometry)
  • decoration - static meshes, terrain deco layers, foliage, decals, movers, etc.
  • lighting
  • atmosphere - fog, weather effects, particle effects
  • gameplay - pickups/items
  • AI, bot pathing
  • ambient sounds, music track, triggered sounds
  • beta testing, play testing, exploit testing
  • finishing the level, adding preview image, cooking

All these steps rely on pre-existed assets. If there is other assets creation involved you need to use other types of applications (3d/2d) and import these assets into UT3 Editor.

Resources

The Art and Science of Level Design by Cliff Bleszinski (Epic Games)
Level (computer and video games) on Wikipedia
Level design on Wikipedia
Level designer on Wikipedia
Level editor on Wikipedia

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