1st Edition

A Practical Guide to Level Design From Theory to Practice, Diplomacy and Production

By Benjamin Bauer Copyright 2023
    374 Pages 124 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    374 Pages 124 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

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    Written by an AAA industry expert with over 20 years of experience, this book offers comprehensive coverage of the practical skills that all successful level designers need to have. It covers everything from practical production skills to the social and soft skills required to thrive in the gaming industry.

    This book begins with a theoretical and abstract approach that sets a common language for the later hard-skill applications and practical examples. These later chapters cover a wealth of practical skills for use during the concept phase, while creating layouts, scripting, and working with AI. This book includes essential chapters on topics such as social skills, soft skills, world-building, level design direction, production, as well as how to gain employment in the industry.

    This book will be of great interest to all level designers, content leads, and directors looking to enhance their skillset. It will also appeal to students of level and game design looking for tips on how to break into the industry.

    Section I: Book and Level Design Introduction.
    Chapter 1: Book Introduction.
    Chapter 2: Definition of Level Design and Level Designers.
    Section II: Production and Social Skills.
    Chapter 3: Level Design Production.
    Chapter 4: Diplomacy of Level Design.
    Chapter 5: Teamwork and Leadership Tools.
    Section III. Level Design Theory.
    Chapter 6: About Vision, Pillars, and Direction.
    Chapter 7: Abstract Level Design.
    Chapter 8: The Big Picture.
    Chapter 9: High-Level Layouts.
    Chapter 10: Connective Tissue.
    Section IV: Practical: How to Get Started.
    Chapter 11: Concept Phase.
    Chapter 12: First Steps.
    Section V: Practical: Layouts.
    Chapter 13: Cover, Flow, and Player Leading.
    Chapter 14: Scenarios and Location Types.
    Section VI: Practical: Technical Aspects and Game Design.
    Chapter 15: Scripting and Technical.
    Chapter 16: Working with Ingredients.
    Section VII: Closing Topics.
    Chapter 17: Closing and Shipping.
    Chapter 18: Becoming a Level Designer.


    Ben Bauer has been working in the gaming industry since 2003. He previously held lead roles at Crytek and Ubisoft and is currently the Creative Director at Plan A Collective.

    Ben Bauer is one of the top-level designers in the business. His deep knowledge of flow, game space and environment creation and refinement has resulted in some of the most exciting experiences in games. This book gives readers a look into what makes a level great and how to do it the right way.

    --Jack Mamais, Director, Impeller Studios.

    Mr. Bauer has achieved something truly rare in a book on specialized game development methodology: He delivers a rigorous framework for the various interconnected practices of Level Design and does it with a witty conversational style that makes you feel like Ben is there coaching you in person. He also takes the time to bring our collective attention to some oft-neglected aspects of the LD’s craft. An outstanding primer for new designers and experienced game devs alike.

    --Patrick Redding, Creative Director, Warner Bros. Games.

    This book will be a fantastic read for level designers of all skill sets and experience. Entertainingly written, it shows great insights into how to practically develop levels, but also covers how level designers can excel within a larger game development environment, with many anecdotes from Ben's own work experience in his 20+ years in the industry. "

    --Sten Huebler, Senior Level Designer, Microsoft.