Skyrim’s Modular Approach to Level DesignOriginally presented @ Level Design in a Day, GDC 2013
Co-Authored and Co-Presented w/Nate Purkeypile
Slides available here.
While many developers understand the basic concepts behind a modular system, and some have dabbled in it for a project or two, very few have made a career out of it. That’s exactly what Nate and I have done, however. Our current project will be our fifth together in the near-decade we have known and worked with each other. Every one of these projects has taken this kit-based approach, including those we worked on before joining Bethesda.
We recently realized that there are many unspoken understandings we and our colleagues share; expectations and assumptions taken for granted as part of our process. We've struggled to explain ourselves in detail for new artists and designers who had joined our team. This talk was a way for us to explore and articulate this accumulated knowledge.
To understand our approach, it’s useful to know where we’re coming from as developers, and where Bethesda Game Studios is coming from as a whole.