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Level Design Challenge - Gameplay and Flow

Category: Challenges
April 10, 2010


April 2010. Level Design Challenge. This particular challenge deals with level design gameplay, flow and composition. The FUN of the level.

Often overlooked and not planned, but it is the most important part of the level.

How fun is your map?

Fun is abstract term so to explain better here are some examples.

  • Is it clear of what the player should do?
  • Is gameplay interesting and engaging?
  • Are there choices in the environment? Options for the player?
  • Is exploration encouraged?
  • Is it challenging to play? Balance. Not too difficult nor too easy.
  • Does the map design force decisions and creates choices?
  • Is there a goal? Mission to complete? Purpose?

The idea behind this challenge is to focus and learn gameplay and flow. No need for texturing, detailing or creating detailed environment. It must be fun first. The common used term for this is whiteboxing. It is where you create the level with blocks and modular components without focusing on the visuals or the aesthetics.

DURATION: April 10, 2010 - May 10, 2010

GAME: Any Hammer Source Based Games.

BRIEF: Create a single-player or multiplayer, urban style map using predefined provided template created by Andy aka Nexusdog.


  • Hammer Source based game only
  • You must use the template, boundary box and block sizes as they are.
  • Very Important:
    You cannot extend the boundaries of the skybox. No modifying or adding your own blocks. You must use what blocks you were provided with in the template.
  • You can however remove walls, add doors, windows & decor/embellishments to your blocks
  • You can rotate through the Z axis
  • You MUST create a forum thread with
    WoLD: Gameplay Challenge - yourname
  • You must post work-in-progress in the same thread. Keep your thread active with what you are learning, discovering and any ideas you have for yourself. Problems and frustrations you are facing.
  • Deadline is May 10, 2010. Provide a download link to your map in your forum thread.
  • Your map doesn't have to be finished. Textures can be temporary, lighting can be a work in progress etc. All we are looking for is how fun does it play? Are all the gameplay mechanics there?
  • Bot play.

JUDGES: AlexG, Andy 'Nexusdog', AlexS 'Smog'

Questions we will be asking during judging.

  • Are all gameplay mechanics in play? Player starts, weapons, navigation and bots?
  • Was it clear of what the player should do?
  • Is navigation there? Can we play with bots and find it fun?
  • Is gameplay interesting and engaging?
  • Are there choices in the environment? Options for the player?
  • How well you kept withing the guidelines of the criteria.
  • Is your map fun?


- Plan ahead of time. Pen and paper.
- Have a goal in mind for what you would want the player to do. Create your environment based on that.
- Add bots, have navigation.
- Block in quick and test often.
- Change, change and change until it becomes fun.
- Aim to create an interactive environment. Force the player to make choices and decisions.
- Create chokepoints. Where the action happen.
- Guide the player through the environment with the use of items, architecture, props.
- Encourage exploration with interesting item placement.

Good articles to read before you start:

12 Terms from L4Dictionary

L4D2 Level Design Tips Part 1

L4D2 Level Design Tips Part 2


  • Block sizes are cubes of 256x256
  • Walls 224, 240, 256
  • Floor & ceilings 16
  • 3 or 4 levels height will fit comfortably within boundary
  • A note on scale: The dimensions of the blocks, essentially 256x256x128 is deliberate. This is so use of both external and internal space gains importance.


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About World of Level Design

My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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