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I am trying to learn a bit of level design. The type of game I am most interested is 2D puzzle games similar to Cut The Rope for iPad. However, literature on general level-design for different genres would be very welcomed.

A internet quick search brings.

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694965/ref=pd_sim_b_5

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Level-Design-Development/dp/1584503696

Anyone can recommend those or any other resources? books, recorded conferences, examples, tutorials, slides..

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4 Answers 4

I agree with what Clinton Freeman suggested. I haven't read Hourences' book, but I have gone through some of his video tutorials and his website is highly informative so I would bet his book is excellent.

The Art of Game Design:A Book of Lenses is a great book and takes you through the game design process but doesn't delve too much into level design specifically as I recall. It covers how to get started designing a game all the way through pitching your ideas to a publisher.

Scott Roger's book Level Up is another fantastic book in my opinion. This book has a a section specific to level design. That section includes things like hand drawn level maps that were used to concept actual levels, what makes a level fun/boring, how to draw the attention of the player, and the different types of level layouts. There are a lot of other interesting topics in the book as well and it was entertaining to read.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

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"I agree with what the first poster suggested", Answers are not kept in order by posting date. So you should refer to other answers using the answerers username. If there were ten answers, all with varying amounts of votes, no one would have a clue who posted first. –  Adam Harte May 11 '11 at 21:08

Although I realize you're looking for literature on the subject, in the meantime I would recommend trying to find a discussion community that most closely aligns to the particular game you're trying to design for. If none exist specifically for level design, find one where players of the game congregate. One of the best ways to learn level design for any game, IMO, is to do the following:

  1. Actually begin creating levels for the game
  2. Get critical feedback about what could be improved from players and other designers
  3. Respond to the feedback with improvements to your level
  4. Repeat

In terms of books on the subject, one you might be interested in looking at is Hourences' book, The Hows and Whys of Level Design.

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I'm an immense fan of the Jesse Schell book (A Book Of Lenses), though as noted it's not the best book specifically for level design (it does have some discussion on that front, though, particularly on how to force player paths without making them feel forced).

You should note that puzzle design (for games like Cut The Rope and arguably Angry Birds-style games) is a drastically different thing than level design; level design often concerns itself with the physical space of a level, and while games like Cut The Rope have some elements of this, if what you're looking for is puzzles, that's really a different topic (and sadly, one that doesn't have a lot of literature on it!).

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Jesse Schell's book is good, though it doesn't work for me strictly as a 'level design' book. What really helps is reading breakdowns of the level design of famous games; for example, try reading some articles about Super Mario's level design. In addition, a good thing I always remember from Schell's book and almost every game I've ever loved is to remember to give the player visual/auditory rewards for progress which don't need to impact the goal of the game (score). This just seems to increase the game's fun. :)

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