The Science of Level Design


Level designers create gameplay through geometry, AI scripting, and item placement. Designers draw from their experience, design lore, and rules of thumb rather than a formal understanding of how the construction of a level creates gameplay for a player. To improve this understanding, we have taken a first step by identifying design patterns in game levels, primarily in single player first-person shooters (FPS) and studying the cause-effect relationships between these level design elements and gameplay. To test these relationships, we are gathering data from a series of user tests. Analysis of this data will improve our understanding and provide level designers with scientifically verified tools for creating gameplay.


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Ken Hullett, Lindsey Freeman, Rob Giusti, Dan Healy, Stacey Johnson, Jacob Pernell, Gabe Rivera, Clement Tran, Christopher Ueda, Adrien Young


Jim Whitehead

Research Lab

Augmented Design Lab

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Posted: Jan.01.2010