Three Keys of Level Design

From Bitfighter

Designing simple symmetric maps is a great place to start building levels. Perfectly balanced maps are great for competitive play. However, most of the time players will log onto Bitfighter to play interesting maps, zap people in cool ways, and aren't focused on playing in the "best" possible way. Here are a few characteristics of entertaining levels.

1. Entertaining levels have a plan. Many of the best maps are made with a certain preconceived design. A plan can be a visual design you want to achieve, a particular take on a gametype, a specific arrangement of teams or items, or any combination thereof. This is not to say that opening up a blank file with nothing in mind is a bad idea. In fact, building at random is often a great way of finding inspiration for better maps.

2. Entertaining levels are visually attractive. The visual design of levels is often overlooked or underestimated in importance, but many of the most enjoyable maps are very pretty to look at. Take time when arranging your objects, and work visual design into your plan. Even exterior barriers or other objects that cannot be directly interacted with can affect the level's success.

3. Entertaining levels take risks. Don't worry if the level you are creating isn't perfectly balanced. Asymmetry can be beautiful. If something doesn't work, try something new. Interesting levels result from creativity. Also, just because a level works imperfectly doesn't mean it can't be fun to play. As long as everyone has at least a chance of winning, go ahead and test it online.