If you attended the Level Design Workshop at GDC 2017 earlier this year, you might have seen a fascinating talk from Eidos Montreal's Clemence Maurer about how Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's hub city of Prague was thoughtfully laid out to reward players for exploring its nooks and crannies.
According to Maurer, designing Prague with a limited workforce required fast, smart ways to populate a very dense gameplay area, without relying too much on other departments. The hub area was filled with environmental clues and readable objects that tell stories which are not strictly tied to the game's critical path or any side mission, but make the world coherent and rewarding, affording players a feeling that everything is linked.
It was a great talk that drilled down into a complex, multi-layered bit of level design that took years to pull off. If you didn't attend the talk at GDC this year, no worries: you can now watch Maurer's talk for free on the official GDC YouTube channel!
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.
Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Americas