[This was originally posted on my personal blog www.reachingperfection.com]
So I'm a wee bit bored of general game speak and what-nots, so let's take some time to delve into level design and understanding that. For those casual gamers and non-gamers, you can learn from these theories as well. This particular post will cover the similarities between real life and video games so that when I start talking hardcore level design you can utilize those design theories in games as well as the real world. This is useful for you designers out there as well since it will allow you to observe and practice level design when you aren't playing games or using a level editor.
Floor Plan Design
A direct comparison from the virtual world to the real world for level designers is a floor plan designer (or any building designer, city plan designers, etc.). Our job as level designers is to create a map that allows for intuitive travel, ease of access, control of obstructions, and various other aspects. Floor plan designers design in the same way. Here is a comparison of thoughts from a floor plan designer and a level designer:
Floor Plan: "How accessible is the living room in respect to the rest of the house?"
Level: "Can the flag room be accessed from different areas of the map?"
Floor Plan: "When this closet door is open will it obstruct movement in the hallway?"
Level: "If I put a pile of boxes here will it obstruct the flow of combat in this hallway?"
Floor Plan: "When a guest enters the house, will they be able to find the important parts of the house easily (bathroom, living room, etc.)?"
Level: "When a player spawns here will they be able to figure out where they need to go for their objective?"
Quite the comparison, eh? Have you level designers thought about how useful your skills are in the real world? Have you floor plan designers seen yourself designing maps in Farcry 2? Take the time to explore your house, grocery store, or workplace, and apply the design theories that you know. Are they well designed?