For this part of the brief we have to look into environments and what the word can truly represent. Typically when we think of an environment related to a game you think of the level in which it is based. Or with an open world sandbox(such as GTA) which the environment is in. However level design is not restricted to just digital game but can be applied to other forms of media such as a board game or card game. When we think of a board game and the environment we do not typically link the two but they are environments nevertheless. Warhammer is a particularly good example of this because it started out as a board game in 1987 but has evolved into multiple digital board games that can be played on computers and mobiles.
A level of interaction and connection from a board game such as this is lost when moved digitally I believe through the matter that you lose having a physical connection with your troops and vehicles. Painting and making them also play a big part into the game according to players which again, promotes and amplifies the connection to there army making it feel like the players army rather than one you was just given. Some of the War hammer games do however give the player customization options to try and emulate and recreate the feeling and connection.
Warhammer 40k space marine customization.
Levels can come in all different forms depending on the games for example, Super mario is 2d were as Super mario sunshine is 3d and the levels are more complex.
Super mario sunshine
Typically as hardware become more powerful the more it allowed for games to tap into the extra power to building more complex 3d levels. Do not mistake this as saying 2d levels are less complex because some are and have clever ideas such as super paper mario which goes from 2d to 3d. 2d .
You can see here how the game is in 2d and 3d on the next screen shot. The game only allows this during certain segments, but allows for a twist onto the traditional 2d platformer which allows the game to feel fresh and new.
There are many other things to consider within a level depending on the genre. So if it is a first person shooter you have to consider the way the map flows which is important for pacing, what objects are where for cover and such which goes into balancing. For example if one team has more cover at there end and the other team has less, it would be considerably more unfair for that team. Vantage points are also other interesting elements that add an extra layer of depth and strategy which players can take advantage of.
Halo makes a good example of this by putting alien sniper towers in through the maps which can be perfect for snipers to take advantage of. However, the other team could counter this by destroying the tower which balances the game.
These are just a few examples of level design and game environments that come to mind on the matter, in future blogs I will go into further detail on level design and how it effects game play, pacing, strategy etc.
Image credit –
Warhammer board –
Warhammer army custimisation
Super mario sunshine
Super paper mario