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general paradigm for game maps

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Hey all, I''m getting into game programming, and i''ve been doing some DirectX programming as well as reading some books on the subject. My main issue right now is that I am not sure of basic idea behind loading a level (or map) into a game. I have some experience with .x files for models, but I''d like to know the general approach professional game programmers take when implementing their game engine. Some of the questions I have are: - What kind of data is stored in a file that describes a level (or map) - How is that data stored there (manually, or programmatically) when designing and creating the level - certain levels have objectives, and how are those typically represented in a game engine? Again, I realize that this is a broad topic, but I guess I''m looking for a basic overview, nothing too detailed. If you guys have any useful links I could use, I''d greatly appreciate it Thanks, riz

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