Explaining level design to a non-gamer?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by cornontheCoD, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    Whenever I am mapping, etc, people always ask me what I am doing . It seems difficult to me to convey what mapping is to a non-gamer. How would/do you do it? I would say that I create the level, but the average non-gamer is going to think that that includes the models, textures, and everything else they see. Also, it is difficult to convey that mapping is a long, skillful process. If you say, "oh, I create the layout by laying down the walls", that sounds far too simplistic and easy.

    I am asking because I am doing a project that invloves mapping and explaining it to non-gamers.
     
  2. Mar

    Mar Banned

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    Wait, so you don't like people thinking that you are skillful?

    But the same thing happened to me. I was skecthing my map on paper, and this guy took it away, and looked at it and said, what is this. I said I make maps for video games. Then he was like,

    "You should get like a programmer, and makes some games and stuff. You make the maps, and he does the AI and online lobbies (xbox guy talking here) and you can make a cool indie game and get stuff for it."
     
  3. What Is Schwa

    What Is Schwa L6: Sharp Member

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    My girlfriend still cannot understand that I am not "playing" when I am mapping. While I certainly enjoy cracking open hammer, it isn't play.
     
  4. HojoTheGreat

    HojoTheGreat L5: Dapper Member

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    First off you need to accept that some people just don't get this kind of stuff. On occasion you'll receive the typical "That's so nerdy" comment.

    In my experience however the majority of responses I've gotten have been positive, and in fact encouraging! I always begin by making sure the person knows what a multiplayer game is (which most do these days), and from there it's easy, just explain that you're making your own level to play online. Most people think it's actually pretty cool, though I've yet to have a female ask me, so perhaps the responses are a little biased :p. Good luck trying to pick up chicks with your mapping skillz! :lol:
     
  5. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    undeniably epic if you manage this ;)

    the odd people ive told tend to be kinda impressed, though i doubt it helps that I never finished anything :rolleyes:
     
  6. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    no, I want them to know that it takes skill and dedication to map, it is not easy.

    And it is even harder to explain TF2's art style to a non-gamer. considering most people wouldn't even think games have an art style
     
  7. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    you want to explain how difficult it is?
    there are 2 main methods, have them sit at your computer and try it
    or start discussing the entity system, nothing freaks out computer illiterates more then good old logic
     
  8. GrimGriz

    GrimGriz L10: Glamorous Member

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    It's a lot like landscaping
     
  9. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    My father has, by chance, seen me map in Hammer, and it was pretty hard to explain to him what it was. He seemed to immediately understand that I was making something, the way I moved things around and changed the size of things.

    I explained to him that I was making a "game world" for a game where many people play together at once. I explained that I made most of it out of blocks, and that I put in "props" to make it look nice, and I also made objectives for the players. He seemed to think I was actually creating a game, so I had to tell him that I create the world - what happens is decided by the game developer and the players (which isn't accurate, but it's not like he knows the difference).
     
  10. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    Yeah, that basically boils it down. At best gamers will understand but even then...

    I work in a sign shop, so I do artwork and non-artwork stuff. Mainly vector art.
    When I applied I had a portofolio CD with alot of my game artwork. The response was 'well we don't do that stuff here'. Yeah, no doubt but the point was I can use computers and a variety of programs to do art related stuff. Still that was almost foriegn.

    Of the few people who did understand what I do most are gamers. One of my friends got mad at me when I 'ruined' Tomb Raider 3 for him by pointing out the squre tiles on the ground as a way to measure jump distances :) lol

    But lately I've just left it as an internet thing. People who play/map are interested, anyone else thinks it's crazy. Of course they all like things like model railroads, or driving their big pickem up truck, ... but those things aren't a crazy waste of time :rolleyes:
     
  11. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    Non gamers are not going to have any means to grasp the concept of levels, or level design. They just do not have the knowledge required to understand the concept.

    They lack comprehension of gameplay which is arguably the most important part of level design.

    The other most important aspect of level design is the art. This is something most people will have a concept of so if you are intent on explaining level design to a non gamer this would probably be the best place to start your explanation from.
     
  12. Ceiling Man

    Ceiling Man L3: Member

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    Well, one of my friends isn't that much of a gamer (Just plays a few games), so when I was working in Hammer and he asked me what I was doing, I just said plain and simple "Making a level for a game I play".
     
  13. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    That's not explaining level design.
     
  14. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    That's exactly what I do when someone walks by me on a LAN party, when I'm bored and I start to map (and pretty much everyone asks).
     
  15. Ceiling Man

    Ceiling Man L3: Member

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    Whoops. :U

    I read it wrong.
     
  16. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    Man, this is going to be tough to explain to people then. Especially considering I'm probably the only mapper in my entire school
     
  17. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Show them pictures of what you've done. I've found thats the best way to explain it.
     
  18. GrimGriz

    GrimGriz L10: Glamorous Member

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    what's wrong with calling it videogame landscaping?
     
  19. ratclaw

    ratclaw L2: Junior Member

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    I take it a step further and find I'm the only pc gamer in my town.

    When people ask what I'm doing, their eyes glaze over before I even start to explain what mapping is.
     
  20. ClydeJr

    ClydeJr L1: Registered

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    Most people understand TV shows and have a little knowledge on how they are made. I see mapping as being similar to the set designer for a show. You are creating the place where the actors perform. You control the size of the acting area, set the props, and prepare the lighting.
     
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