Software Development Blogs

Five Game Level Design Tricks

Any game should provide fun for gamers, and monotony and sameness are two main fun killers when it comes to any entertainment genre. Just remember your favorite thriller - no matter how cool the action is (e.g., chase or combat), it's always diluted with dialogues, romance, and flashbacks. Change of scenery is important to keep viewers engaged and excited. The same refers to gameplay - you need to show any type of progression or change in your existing content to keep providing fun to gamers. If you fill up your game level with your gaming elements and assets, it'll become rather monotonous and passing it will look like routine rather than fun or challenge. Therefore, it's important to break each game level into several parts and determine the key differentiator for each part. Then, you should put these parts together to make them help gamers reach a particular goal.

I've reviewed some recommendations of professional game level designers and compiled them into a list of five tricks that can help you better design your game levels. Explore new mobile application development in Chicago.

1. Color contrast

Using dynamic lighting is a cheap and simple yet very effective level design solution. You can start your level with daylight and finish it with twilight. Alternatively, use the warm spectrum at the start of the level and the cool spectrum - at the end. Yet remember that the color spectrum in use should both reflect the progression and match the general gameplay. For instance, you can make your lighting yellow in safe locations and red in the dangerous ones. To make it properly, make sure to determine the color coding at the pre-production stage; otherwise, the next level may "break the rules" set by the previous one.

Check out a related article:


In Half-Life 2, you start your boat trip on a gloomy day and finish it at sunset.

2. Indoor - outdoor

Did you know that in Doom all open areas are actually the closed rooms, but they have a different rule of reflecting the ceiling. As such, all game levels take place indoor, but we, players, perceive some as outdoor.


3. Redistribution of assets

If you aren't designing your level from scratch, but are building it up with a set of assets, try to redistribute them unequally across the level. Let your players find more new visual objects as they advance further in the level. It'll also serve as a good reward for overcoming challenges.

That's especially relevant for objects that help create a location story. Just fancy designing a level in which the player has to get to his spaceship captured by aliens. You have spaceship setting objects as well as objects that provide evidence of aliens' presence on the spaceship. Start your level with telling a story of the spaceship, i.e. show to your player the spaceship objects only. Then, as they move on, tell a story of the alien invasion by providing some objects relevant to aliens. To finish your level, create a "bloody mix" of all those alien objects to show to the player that everything is really bad.

4. Switch user interfaces

As we know, there're two types of interfaces: diegetic and non-diegetic. Diegetic interfaces are those included in the game world, while non-diegetic interfaces are those rendered outside the gameplay. You can design your level by switching these two types. For instance, you can let your player see the gameplay through their character's eyes first, and then see the game world as an outside observer.


In Call of Duty: Ghosts the level starts on the trail with no background. As we move on, we see the background and it changes our impressions of the game.

5. Scalability

Start your level at the wall of a huge tower and then let your player walk through narrow passages. Or start it in a narrow canyon and finish with an epic battle on the top of the tower with a bird's eye view on the entire level setting.

What can be scaled? Objects, their allocation density and game space. But remember - for the player dimensions are relative. For instance, a very tall tree is something usual, but a very tall statue will be perceived as a very huge one. A large battlefield can be perceived as a flat empty space that is hard to move around, i.e. negatively. Yet, if you reduce its size, but allocate few more small battlefields around this main one, the player will get the right perception of the dimensions. So, be very careful here!

game level design

In The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim the level starts in a narrow passageway and continues in a spacious cave.

What other game level design tricks do you know / use in your game development?


Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals.