Valve has released "The Sacrifice" for L4D1/2. It is a 3 map campaign that features few new additions, features and endless level design insight.
The following tutorial features a video where you will learn 13 Level Design Tips from "The Sacrifice".
Many of these tips can be applied to other game level designs. Don't pass this by if you don't play L4D1/2.
13 Level Design Tips from The Sacrifice:
Below are notes for 13 Level Design Tips. The video detailed explanation and more level design tips and advice along the way.
1. PLAYER SPAWN PERSPECTIVE
Spawn the player facing the direction they need to go in.
2. STORY OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Tell a story with your environment. Design and create an environment to communicate a story. Environment needs a reason to exist. Let the player piece together a story of what has happened to an environment prior to the player getting there.
From Valve: "Added "prop_fuel_barrel" entity. This is a special destructible physics prop that blows up in several stages."
4. ENVIRONMENT CHOICES
Offer options which way the player wants to go. For example: Building vs Side Alley.
Create an illustion of freedom by giving the player a choice where they want to go.
5. "NARROW FLOW"
Create tight narrow spaces such as alleyways or hallways. Valve calls these "Narrow Flow". These help to break up your levels pacing and increase tension.
6. SIDE ROOMS
Create side rooms along the way to allow players to collect items, weapons, break up pacing of your level and spawn horde of infected.
The Sacrifice also uses cargo containers to do the same thing.
7. ENVIRONMENT EXPLORATION
Allow the player to explore your environments. Don't design your levels to go from point A to B. Make the player a participant of your environment. Make them travel within your environment, making choices.
8. FORCED WALKING
From Valve: "Added support for "Forced Walking" to trigger_player_movement entity. Forces the players to move at walk speed. "
Water is another element to introduce "Forced Walking". Water also introduces a visual element to your environment. Function and visuals.
Trap the player for panic events or finales. Use the drop-off method.
11. GUIDE THE PLAYER
Guide the player to their next location using light. Elements such as light flares, warm lighting and safehouse overlays are all effective way to help player not get lost.
Pay attention to detail. Add various details in your environment to make it more authentic and believable. You don't want to detail every section of your map, you want to detail important locations.
Design your environment with the idea that one player will have to sacrifice themselves.