Today's main feature article is from Chad Steingraber, senior game designer at Darkwatch
developer High Moon Studios, and discusses a process for level design, working a level from 2D design basics through to basic 3D geometry with a minimum of fuss.
In his introduction to the piece, Steingraber suggests:
"One of the biggest production issues today for a Game Designer/Level Designer is translating that great concept from your mind into a playable 3D world fast and effectively. I've seen some designers draw out their level with a pencil onto paper, sketch ideas in Photoshop, use simple pictographs in various 2D packages, or bypassing that altogether by building in 3D from nothing at all.
All these methods are perfectly acceptable of course, but this doesn't solve our problem of moving from a 2D idea quickly into a 3D world with known gameplay limitations and parameters already included. Using the above techniques described will not give us perfect scale, exact mission time, or fluid game pacing all before reaching the 3D world.
There is a system to accomplish this while directly translating to Maya, to know the final results of your level in 2D, and it starts with Adobe Illustrator."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the subject (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).