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Thread: Tips on thebest way to plan a level

  1. #1

    Tips on thebest way to plan a level

    I'm attempting my first level *shock* lol..I have lots of ideas but no ideal formula for plannning it/doing research. Does anyone have any suggestions, advice, tips regarding this? It would be much appreciated, thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Mater Urbium
    have a look on the FAQ page, section Designer Tips | Forum Thumbnailer | Driber Wagon™ | RAWR! | TR Ancient Legends III - Lost Chambers | -- .- .-. .. . / .. ... / -.-. ..- - . :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002


    When I design a level, I do not know what I want to create. I simply run the editor and be architecturally creative. When the architecture begins to take shape, I then start to think about textures and gradually collect or create those of interest. Then I decide from what objects are available would best suit the level and lastly I begin to think of puzzles that would fit into this environment.

    Bare in mind that the type of level I create, is simply fun to play. I do not overdo the puzzles or make them too difficult as hard puzzles used to frustrate the gameplay of original levels I had played; and I do not wish to frighten away potential level players.

    Of course you could take a different approach if you wanted more intricate puzzles in your level, however this would take more forward planning; the puzzle design needs to work on paper before it can be transferred to the editor and then rooms or environment can be built around it.

  4. #4
    my way:

    1 open roomedit
    2 load a texture
    3 build 6 rooms
    4 add objects
    5 play it
    6 delete it
    7 go back to step 1

  5. #5
    thanks guys for all your help, I've started it already. And hopefully creating my own custom objects as well

  6. #6
    I heard someone used graph paper to plan out their level.

    Good idea.

  7. #7

    oooooh! me next!! :D

    I'm good with this, I hope you like and use these!

    -OK, you want to make a new level! Pick one from each group of choices

    -Mostly inside
    -Mostly outside



    -Not Scenic


    -Choose your location, and make sure you can make it realistic!

    -Start with making the tga file, look through all the tga's you have, and select any texture you find useful, once you have made this, you will be in the mood to:

    -Make a wad set, start with a blank wad, add a good outfit, appropriate for the level, then add the essential objects. Next load up the winroomedit, and look through various wads and find the right objects for your wad, traps puzzles, statics, etc.

    -Load up the two files and place lara in a test level (I have these available for download) some test levels test out objects and enemies, how well puzzles work, if the textures look good, etc, and some others are for testing out new outfits. When making these, place lara, then go wild! Place all the objects you want to play around with, and you'll know for later what objects you like, and what goes where etc.

    -Start making your real level

    -When starting a level, know what the starting rooms will look like, think of these in your spare time, while walking, while typing, etc. While working on some rooms, you will get ideas and inspiration for others, and your level will be great if you have good ideas!!

    -Make your level fit it's enviroment, and make the puzzles and traps make sense!

    -Remember to make totally different traps and puzzles, no one wants to know what's going to happen next, because it was already in TR_.

    -Take advantage of a great new wad and texture set, and don't be afraid to try new things.

    -Make sure you are happy with your level.

    -If you realize you don't like what you are working on, it may not be your style of level, everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

    -Find out what you're good at, for example I make good:

    §Italian places
    §Chinese areas
    §Angkor wat areas
    §Waterfall scenes

    When you have a good tga set, it's easy to create great areas!

    -Keep going, only quit your level if you can't stand it

    -Try to avoid multitasking, work on you level OR your new wad OR your website at one time, I am VERY bad with this one, I have this site up and running, to take care of, with updates all the time, wads and textures to work on, 3 levels started at once, and I still find time to talk on the forums!! Limit your expenses.

    -Put great detail into the quality of your level

    -Show previous or later rooms in your level with toggle opacity

    -Provide windows to other rooms right next to the door.

    -Don't forget baddies!!!

    -Waterfalls make a great effect!!

    -Use audio to your advantage

    -post screenshots, ask questions, get suggestions, improve!

    -lighting is very important in the quality of a level

    -your textures should flow together, dont have mud next to steel with no contrast!

    -criticism is GOOD!!!

    -if your level has been hard, provide a treat for those who finished it! its always good to reward those who try

    -your finish trigger should lead to the next level, dont be in the desert and then the next one loads, your in antartica! always provide some kind of transportation, helicopter etc.


    How I start a level, which is my opinion, you don't have to use this strategy.

    -Decide where, when, what, etc.

    -Open faithful old Texture Edit, and load in all the texture sets that are appropriate, from my handy texture archive, textures from custom levels, old tr levels, etc.

    -load in the texture set into roomedit, and play around with all the wads i want.

    -use trwest to make a big wad, using stuff from a ton of other wads, and enemies i can find on the net

    -make up a test level, put out all the interesting objects in and trigger them, and play with any interesting new outfits i used. also test out new textures and animation ranges, anything you wanted to see before.

    -now play around with architecture, as Data said, and add anymore objects and textures you want as necessary, you can do this at any point, but it's best to do it before you start.

    -make the kind of rooms and puzzles you want, and make a great level everyone will like, with lots of cool scenes!

    -but if you dont like what you're doing, stop immediately and do not waste anymore time, because if you don't enjoy making your level, it will come out terrible, this is what happened to hundreds of my old levels (not kidding, really hundreds)

    -dont be afraid to test, test, test, save, save, save!!!

    -and dont forget to post pics here to tease us (*cough cough piega cough*)

    -have fun!!

    hope that helped!
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  8. #8
    that was some GREAT advice C5, one other thing I did was create different folders for each area I design, that includes custom objects, textures and sounds That's helped a lot. I'm looking for textures now, namely Italian/Sicilian/Classical Roman

    Because I'm doing inside AND outside, I need to know:-

    how many static objects I can have in a wad, and their textures.

    I'm sure there's other questions at the moment, but my brain has gone dead haha.

  9. #9

    glad i could help :)

    well, you cant exceed 2048 object textures, but if you want to make a big long detailed incredibly awesome level, keep it under 1600, and feel free to delete anything you dont use because the level converter will crash if you have a big wad/ big level. to put that in other words, have some traps, some enemies, all necessary objects, some puzzles, and also have animatings and statics, dont over or under use any of these and you should come out fine! good luck! and btw what is your level about and if you need an italian texture set let me know! i have several different kinds used in my two italy levels just let me know how i can help, i have a good feeling pompei/rome came out very well!
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  10. #10
    Originally posted by LarzBritsh
    I heard someone used graph paper to plan out their level.

    Good idea.
    That would be me and Dhama.
    Most of the time, my sketches work out. Other times it really gets frustrating cause I forget about a room that'll get in the way.

  11. #11

    Big Grin

    I've got an LE book and I use about 8 pages of drawing concept art ( well I wouldn't actually call it art...more just scribblez )

    Yeah you've gotta play all the Tomb Raiders and know exactly what you can use and how to use it. You must know your boundaries and stuff.


    Current Project:
    Tomb Raider: The Awakening
    It will be quite a while until release...

  12. #12

    Big Grin

    know what your good at, and play other levels like yours for ideas, but dont copy something of course for my peru levels, first i played alot of tr1, like the lost valley etc. just to get to know how to use the textures, and get ideas for how to make a good level with this wad and texture set. it appears you are making a roman/italian/sicilian level, i would suggest playing tr2 venice, bartolis hidout, maybe opera house, and the rome levels of trc, and if you want more ideas play my pompei level, this is really original! (will be released soon)
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  13. #13

    Big Grin pompei out early!

    litepulsar, just for you, an early release of my pompei level: please, i will send it in to lara's levelbase etc. later. this link will eventually expire, so get it now, as it is taking up half of my web space
    use this as a bit of a tutorial i guess, its not perfect, but it's italian, you can guess that much hope you like it!
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  14. #14
    wow some great replies here! Yep I've got textures coming out of my ears lol, the sort of textures I'm looking for, instead of just being warmly colourful, rather than the heavy grandeur of a Roman city, more like a mediterranean village, lots of light buildings, bright sunshine etc Thanks for the download, C5, I really appreciate that, I'll play it in a few, if I use any textures, I'll make sure you get full credit

  15. #15
    ok thanx! some of the objects in the wad (please feel free to use TR2WAD to make yourself a wad) are good for roman areas some for towns, and some for old, old houses. The textures are from several different levels, some have been modified, but these I feel work well. Glad to help, and I hope you like the level!
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