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I feel like most will think this is a dumb question but I'm really curious.

Are levels made of just multiple textures or just a collection of models that make up the whole area? I'm working on creating assets at this point and I feel like this is a question I should ask now because I get to deep in the wrong direction. (if i'm headed there)

Example, Lets say I wanna make level setups like those in Bastion, would that be models that represent each area of the map? Or possibly one big model for each square area?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bastion simply uses 2d images. Anyways your question makes little sense. You can make level out of whatever you can draw which is models and textures. You can even have both. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now that I re-read my question it does seem like it doesn't make sense. I'm thinking I need to read up on what a level is comprised of and all that. :P Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, levels are made of exactly what you think it would be. If it looks like a bunch of sprites stuck together, then that's probably how it was done. If the terrain is 3D, then yes it is a polygon mesh. No, there are no magical incantations or pentagrams involved. The hard part is making large groups of geometry render fast. You will need a pentagram for that part. \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 18:08

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Levels can range from very complex to simple. They can be statically defined or procedurally generated. They can be pure 2D like Mario, and 3D but played in a 2D manner like Trine, or they can be full 3D like GTA. They can be a combination of 2D and 3D assets. They can be tile based or free placement based. Levels will be defined and designed differently for each game. Levels are made of the stuff you put in them for the game you're making.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good start. But "Levels are made of the stuff you put in them for the game you're making." / "These cookies are made of the ingredients I put in them" \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Broad questions get broad answers :p The bulk of the usefulness you'll find in my answer is the links to help research and gain an understanding of how levels are created and what kind of stuff goes into them. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 18:07
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You don't only have assets/in the case of an 3d game models in your game but also

  • Scripts
  • Triggers
  • Lights
  • Entities which interact with the player

  • Static/dynamic landscape

  • static objects
  • dynamic objects

else the game would be very very boring.

In the case of a pure 2d game you have the same, but it is displayed differently (sprites instead of 3d models/meshes).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Strictly speaking, a game does not have to be scripted (from an interpreted language like Lua or whatever). That's a nice feature high end game engines commonly have. You can "script" (program) the game from the same (native C++) code base that the rest of the engine is written in, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 19:37

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