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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Educators Summit: Introducing Beginners to 3D Level Design

Katherine Green  (Assistant Professor, CSUMB)

Date: Tuesday, July 20

Time: 3:20pm - 3:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Educators

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Introducing level design in a coherent manner to 3D beginners is a task that still waits on "canonical" teaching methods to form. Towards the formation of such a canon, this lecture will explore how to minimize confusion and maximize your students learning and creative output with conceptual lenses and a historical focus on the why, where, when, and what of tools and technical terminology. The findings here are the result of years of teaching and researching the best practices for introducing 3D modeling and applying it to level design immediately.


This presentation is intended to give anyone who teaches 3D modeling or level design conceptual and concrete guidance for helping total beginners into a complex digital craft. It covers how to introduce common techniques and the tools that make amazing game design levels possible. By using a general formula that focuses on illuminating the intent and methodology of a technique, teachers can enrich student output and understanding by revealing the origins (literal and semantic) of digitized tools historically utilized to achieve certain desirable outcomes in different media contexts like film, theater, or architecture.

Intended Audience

"Introducing beginners to 3D Level Design" is aimed at teachers of 3D design or game design, workshop instructors, and anyone interested in getting better at understanding and instructing for level design. The focus is on university-level design students and adults, but the methods here could certainty be utilized at a grade school level.