Introduction to Level Design for PC Games / Edition 1

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If you're like most gamers, you're always looking for more gameplay from your favorite games! Well now, thanks to today's technology and the tools developers are including in games, you can. Using the game editors that come with your game, or the free gmax software, you can create your own characters, weapons, objects, levels, and other assets. These tools might seem intimidating at first but once you overcome the initial hurdles, you'll find that you can achieve almost anything with them. Introduction to Level Design for PC Games is one of the best ways to get started. It teaches you everything you need to know about the fundamentals of game creation, so that the assets you create will work well with your favorite game. The focus throughout the book is on creating and texturing geometry for levels, but the concepts you learn and the tools covered in gmax can easily be applied to all types of asset creation. Plus, you'll begin to make the transition from player to creator, by learning many of the fundamental skills needed to become a marketable level designer. If you want to make game levels that many others will enjoy, you need to start with multiplayer levels, so the book covers popular multiplayer games, particularly First Per son Shooters (FPS). Working through the tutorials, you'll create a complete level and many of its objects. You'll find out everything you need to know to create all the elements of a level --geometry, textures, and exporting. And once you've mastered these skills, you can explore game industry jobs and salary ranges to see if this is your future!
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Take a universe into your hands. Then shape it, twist it, to your heart's content. In other words, build your own game levels. Introduction to Level Design for PC Games will show you how.

Andy Clayton covers level design from planning and architecture through exporting to game engines and editors. Most important -- and right up front -- he offers practical guidance on creating hugely playable levels. (Which is, of course, the whole point.) Clayton helps you think about design metaphors, “backstory” and player challenges, and each of the “classic” elements of design -- form, space, light, shadow, texture, color, and so forth.

Along the way, you'll master gmax, the free tool that lets you create new assets and levels for many of the world's leading games. (Gmax 1.2 is on the CD-ROM, along with all the tutorial files and sample levels for Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena.)

After introducing the gmax interface, Clayton shows how to use it to create terrain and buildings, design and change objects with gmax’s powerful Editable Mesh tools, and use it to create textures and mapping. (If, like many game designers, you prefer to create your textures with Photoshop, that’s covered too, with sample projects walking you through creating rust, forest growth, dirt, and “mechanical” panels and bolts.)

Clayton wraps up with a full chapter case study on creating a Quake III Arena level with Tempest, a gmax variant that gives you virtually unlimited control over how the latest Quake looks and plays. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

Library Journal
Video games have graduated from child's play to big business, so acquiring one or two creation guides is a good idea. Suitable for libraries serving beginning to intermediate users, gmax and Level explain how to use the free gmax editor to create new elements ("mods") for existing games. While Level strictly focuses on building new levels for first-person shooter multiplayer games, gmax discusses creating both levels and characters, with examples of models for many popular games; its CD-ROM includes gmax 1.2, a trial of Paint Shop Pro 7, and projects and images from the book. Level's CD-ROM also contains gmax 1.2, in addition to a trial of Photoshop 7, finished files, a discussion of what makes fun and useful game levels, and a chapter on careers in the game industry. Business and Legal helps those launching a game design company, covering from financing and staffing to protecting intellectual property and licensing work. Though specialized, this guide contains invaluable content for game developers and start-ups; appropriate for large public libraries and university libraries supporting design programs. Also for large libraries, Online Games builds on the growing popularity of the genre, discussing the process of proposing and designing as well as pitfalls and lessons for design teams. Case studies and interviews add real-world credence, and an appendix provides a useful online world time line. For intermediate to advanced designers, On Game Design discusses the process of turning an idea into a playable and marketable game. A great example-filled resource, it encourages designers to think about the different ways that games appeal to players, important gaming elements, and the psychology behind various games' success; for large libraries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584502050
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 5/1/2003
  • Series: Charles River Media Game Development Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Clayton is an experienced animator and 3D content producer. He is currently a Discreet Certified instructor at the Art Institute of California Los Angeles and DHIMA (a Discreet Training Center), where he teaches a variety of animation courses. He has also developed customized courses for animators at major studios, including Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Universal Studios Creative, and Walt Disney Imagineering. He has worked with 3ds max and related software for over 9 years.
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Table of Contents

Introduction to gmax
Creating Terrain and a Spawn Base
The Launch Pad
Creating a Factory Building
UVW Mapping and Texturing in Depth
Creating Game Textures
Dungeon Siege - Siege Max
Unreal Tournament 2003
Quake Tempest and Radiant
Counterstrike Hammer
Medal of Honor
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