GDC 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.

Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, topic, and format. You will be able to build your personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021.

Level Design Lessons from 'Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment'

Sean Velasco  (Designer, Yacht Club Games)

Alec Faulkner  (Designer, Yacht Club Games)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: N/A: I would like to deliver a virtual presentation only

Learn how Yacht Club Games approached the level design process for Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove! This talk provides a top to bottom account of the thought-process that goes into every screen in the game, from the first day of development to the very last. See the process of how Yacht Club Games scrutinizes and massages every piece of content until it's perfect. Topics covered include game-wide planning, plotting rooms and encounters, polishing content, maintaining a difficulty curve on a micro and macro scale, methods for teaching mechanics to the player incrementally and intuitively, designing content for casual players and speed-runners alike, intuitively routing the player, telling a story with level design and much more!


Attendees will gain insight into the challenges faced and lessons learned while developing Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. Yacht Club Games' entire level design process, from the beginning stages of planning, to the nitty gritty of designing content, to the final stages of polishing content, is laid bare.

Intended Audience

This presentation will tickle the brain of anyone who wants to understand, create, or work on games that have crafted level content. No prerequisites are required, but any prior knowledge of platform games (and Shovel Knight in particular) will help provide additional context.