Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
Multiplayer Level Design In-Depth, Part 1: The Specific Constraints of Multiplayer Level Design
arrowPress Releases
October 28, 2021
Games Press
View All     RSS
If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Multiplayer Level Design In-Depth, Part 1: The Specific Constraints of Multiplayer Level Design

October 26, 2006 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next


The rules that govern single player level design are becoming more and more well known. They help make sure that the gamer’s experience is controlled in terms of difficulty, rhythm, renewal etc. But multiplayer level design does not follow the same constraints as those of single player level design. I will start by describing the specific constraints of multiplayer level design.

Technical Constraints

The first technical constraint is the infamous bandwidth bottleneck. A game machine may be high-powered and capable of processing a huge amount of information, but if the “pipe” that links it to other machines is too narrow, little information can be exchanged and the game is therefore slowed down or impoverished.

What are the main points of a multiplayer game that eats up bandwidth? First there is character movement and animations. In most multiplayer FPS games, character animation is very limited. What characters do most often is run, jump or crouch. But in games such as the multiplayer version of Splinter Cell, the wealth of animations is at the heart of the game.

Characters can grab each other, perform acrobatics, hit each other etc. This wealth of animations is very demanding in terms of bandwidth. I am convinced that such a high quality of animations will become more and more present in future multiplayer games, not only because they provide more realism, but also because they enlarge gameplay possibilities, as it may be noticed when playing Splinter Cell in versus mode.

One of the numerous complex animations available in the multiplayer version of Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory

Other large bandwidth consumers are special effects, such as the explosions with their particle display, and the dynamic events in the levels. The latter are map animations, such as the movement of a crane or of an elevator or the destruction of a wall. If it is possible to interact with such events (by throwing a grenade into an elevator or by positioning a character on a moving object), the exact position of these moving parts of the map must be followed image by image. Once again, I am convinced that maps of future multiplayer games will contain more and more special effects and map animations.

Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

Related Jobs

Champlain College
Champlain College — Burlington , Vermont, United States

Assistant Professor of Interaction Design and Immersive Media
Infinity Ward
Infinity Ward — Woodland Hills, California, United States

Senior Multiplayer Design Scripter/Programmer
4A Games
4A Games — Sliema, Malta

Lead Game Systems Designer New IP (Malta)
PuzzleNation — United States

Senior Mobile Game Engineer, 100% Remote

Loading Comments

loader image