Dynamic Levels in Payday 2
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by Matthieu CHOLLET
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Dynamic Levels in Payday 2
6 December, 2016
News
Patrick Murphy (patrickmurphy.se) is a well-known level designer, who worked on a number of high-quality mod projects. For example, he created the Half-Life campaign ‘Precursor’, produced a story-driven campaign for portal 2 ‘Designed for Danger’ and created a phenomenal map ‘Agency’ for Counter Strike: Global Offensive (glorious level!). Most recently he’s been working on levels for Payday 2 – a co-operative first person shooter, where you’re tasked with robbing a bank.

In his article at Mapcore, Patrick specifically talked about the creation of ‘dynamic levels’, which are ‘very replayable and always keep levels on their toes’. Dynamic level are not generated procedurally, but created by hand with a bunch of various ingredients.

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The process of building a dynamic level certainly differs from more traditional single player level design. Instead of crafting a linear experience in meticulous detail, a designer must seek to create a broader structure of what will happen in the level and then design dynamic elements, things that change between playthroughs, within that structure. These dynamic elements need to be designed with care, so that the level actually changes in meaningful ways between playthroughs. The process of making a dynamic level will vary from game to game; it all depends on the game’s mechanics, setting and other details. By sharing the design of a Payday 2 level I hope to illustrate what a dynamic level can look like and also showcase the overall possibilities of dynamic level design.

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In the original post Patrick gives a breakdown of the ‘Hoxton Breakout’ level and shows some of the design decisions he made to achieve the right effect. Although, this is a very interesting approach, the author is sure it’s not going to work for all games. It’s not universal.

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The dynamic level design approach may fit some games, but it is not suitable for all kinds of games and it definitely comes at a price. Since dynamic levels are designed to be replayable, heavily scripted story moments and set pieces may have to be deemphasized or removed outright. Playing through such sections may be thrilling once or twice, but they generally lose their appeal very quickly. Furthermore, some degree of polish is generally lost in the process of making dynamic levels. The fact that you are making an experience that can’t just happen “in one way” means you can’t necessarily polish, and control, every moment of gameplay to an insane standard, like you would expect in an Uncharted game for example.

Real the full article here. It’s super interesting.

Source: mapcore.org

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