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Game Level Design - Where to start?

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Hi, i have googled the web for game level design - nothing complex, just building simple architecture of some sort, like hallways, stairs, rooms, etc. But i haven´t found anything useful. Books are not an option, since my financial situation is currently more than bad. Would be nice if someone could give me some suggestions where to start. Particulary, there are three questions: 1. Which software is qualified to create 3d levels for fps shooters? 2. Which shapes do i need to create the basic fundaments of a room? Like walls, floor, etc. In gmax and likewise products, there are only solid shapes, except for planes. But creating each room with planes seems to me a painful task. 3. How can i texture an object? thanks for any help :)

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A good starting point would be playing with existing game level editors. I suggest the Hammer Editor (for Half-Life, perhaps even Half-Life 2) and UnrealEd (the one for Unreal Tournament, perhaps even UT 2k3 or UT 2k4), which both provide a simple approach to building a level (one uses CSG, the other uses carving). I've never used Quark, but I heard good things about it as well.

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The quickest way to try out UnrealEd would be to download the UnrealEngine2Runtime Demo, unless you alreadly have a game based on the Unreal Engine along with the tools (SDK) that include UnrealEd. It's a pretty small download of 15 mb.

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