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How to Design Levels/Adventures for Video and Tabletop games

Course Summary

How to design entertaining episodes for video and tabletop games: levels, stages, adventures, scenarios, missions . . .

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    Course Syllabus

    • Introduction
      • What you'll discover
      • Introducing your teacher - needs replacing
      • How this class works
      • This is not about software, it's about DESIGN
      • You'll understand this better if you know some game design
      • Platformers? No.
      • Start writing things down NOW
      • Anonymous Entry Survey
    • What is level/adventure design?
      • Why design levels/adventures?
      • What are you trying to accomplish?
      • Who is the audience, and what is the player going to DO?
      • One page game design
      • The process of creating a level/adventure
      • Level design documents (video games only)
      • The Joys of Game Design
    • Questions you must consider when you make a level/adventure
      • Originating a level/adventure
      • Strategic or tactical?
      • Overcoming obstacles, or solving puzzles?
      • Open versus linear levels/adventures
      • Story/objective
      • The Role of story - from my "Learning Game Design" course
      • Characterization and Role-playing
      • Taking control away from the player (e.g. cut-scenes)
      • Realism, fidelity, suspension of disbelied - not what it used to be
      • Are you a game designer or a fiction writer?
      • Style and Mood
      • Tutorials
      • Player versus player/"Multiplayer"
      • Self-assessment at the halfway point
      • Have you been writing things down?
    • Producing the design
      • Obstacles animate and inanimate
      • "The Map"
      • Puzzles
      • Quests
      • "Bosses"
      • "Loot"
      • Practice: list the elements you'll use in a level/adventure
      • Map-drawing Practice
      • Pacing
      • Phases, Acts, and the Hero's Journey - from my class Learning Game Design
      • Game Balance
      • Example of a fantasy game level overview
      • Practice - write your own overview of a level/adventure
      • Co-operative play
      • Dos and Don'ts, Part 1
      • Do's and Dont's, Part 2
      • Warren Spector's "Deus Ex Rules of Roleplaying"
      • Playtesting is "Sovereign"
      • Production clarity and document editing
      • Software assist (not level editors)
    • Campaigns, and Conclusion
      • How campaigns differ from single (standalone?) levels/adventures
      • Example of campaign document
      • Text Adventures / MUDs
      • Wargame scenarios
      • Situations versus Specifics, Independence versus Handholding
      • State of the tabletop RPG market
      • Conclusion and where to from here
      • Self-assessment (five questions)
      • Exit Survey
      • All the Slides
    • Bonus material
      • Your Game Design Portfolio - from "Learning Game Design" class
      • How the industry works - from "Get a Job in the Video Game Industry"
      • Rules-emergent versus Progressive Games - from "Learning Game Design"
      • Why I wrote my Game Design book
      • What makes my game design book unusual or unique

Course Fee:
USD 33

Course Type:


Course Status:



1 - 4 hours / week

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