Storytelling and wayfinding

This week I watched the GDC talk ‘Level Design in a day: Wayfinding & Storytelling Techniques’ by Brendon Chung. In his talk he emphasises the importance of letting the level guide the player naturally, rather than expecting players to trial and error their way through the level. He states that he often moves his camera throughout the his levels to get a better player perspective. He does this so that he doesn’t overlook any important corridors that appear like dead ends from the players perspective. To solve these issues he uses multiple different methods, one method is to curve the corridor rather than making it right angled. Another method he uses is giving the player a different elevation to the corridor, whether this is above or below it, it makes the corridor more intriguing. I have used the method he mentioned of guaranteed player orientation. Like how Half-life has its button to burn the tentacle creature, I have used a button to activate a laser and burn a turret in front of them. Because of the buttons orientation and the noise of the turret, it encourages the player to look at the action. I could also use his verticality techniques to help players feel guided through the level. After playing Brendon Chung’s ‘Gravity bone’, I found many points that give great examples of his level design methods. The first would be the elevator at the start of the game that gives you an overview of the space and shows the open space to the left and the wall to the right. Another is the curved tunnels and vents he used in the second level to help guide the player.

Example 1

Example 3

And finally he used a guaranteed player orientation with the elevator button before the chase in the second level.

example 2

There are plenty more examples all throughout ‘Gravity Bone’, these are just four ones that I  found. Brendon Chung gives some amazing examples of level design techniques and I believe that they all will be helpful for my future level development. I will definitely use the guaranteed player orientation as I already have and I hope to find places to use his corridor methods.

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