Online Program Director -- Game Art & Design / Media Arts & Animation (The Art Institute Online)
Lead Author & Series Editor – Game Development Essentials series (Thomson Publishing)
- Plan out the scope of your mod. Will it be a solo project, or will you need a team of modders who will handle different aspects (art, design, tech, testing)?
- Always create a level design document (LDD). You don’t need a full-blown game design document (GDD), but an LDD can be very helpful in planning out your mod – especially if you will be experimenting with one level at first. You’ll need to incorporate your story and gameplay elements into your LDD.
- What game type will you focus on? With an FPS mod alone, you’ll have several possible “traditional” types – such as death match, capture the flag, bombing run, assault, onslaught, double domination, and invasion.
- Consider making a paper prototype to test your gameplay mechanics.
- Build up a library of reference material – including photos that you might take while “location scouting.”
- The environment you create should play the role of a character in your game. You can enhance this by manipulating the condition of your props. Before you ever place characters into your environment, consider whether or not the environment already looks inhabited. Do your props look too generic . . . too clean? Do your spaces look “lived in,” even cluttered?
- Your structures should always be grounded into the environment. The roots of trees extend far under the ground, and even the foundations of buildings are often not above ground.
- Non-player characters (NPCs) should have rich histories (backstories) – but also detailed physical and personality descriptions that incorporate both psychological and sociological characteristics.
- Sketch out a level map that will become the blueprint for your level.
- Create a non-linear gameplay flowchart that allows your player character(s) to take a number of different paths through the level.
For more information and insight, head to the Art Institute Online website today.