Picture composition applied to 3-dimensional level design

University essay from Högskolan på Gotland/Institutionen för speldesign, teknik och lärande


The purpose of this thesis is to examine how compositional techniques developed for fine art may be applied to 3-dimensional level design. It uses game design theory and best practices as a starting point and then investigates how graphic theory can be applied to further them by creating natural graphic focal points in a level, providing a set of tools the designer might use to graphically communicate with the player. The thesis investigates four main techniques used to achieve graphic control:

Managing hues and values.

Managing shapes.

Using linear and atmospheric perspective.

Managing levels of detail.

Each technique is linked to compositional theory through historical paintings which feature the techniques in question. Examples are then provided from contemporary games that testify the validity of using the technique in level design. In some cases altered scenes are also provided; over paints done in Adobe Photoshop exemplify how a technique may be used to change a scene’s meaning and convey other messages to the player. The conclusions and analysis testify to the value of incorporating compositional theory into level design and suggest further areas of research along the same line.

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