Use Level Maps and Posters to Give Information and Build Anticipation
The last thing you want is for players to feel lost in your world. There is no way they can remember in their head exactly where everything is and what leads where in the game so unless your game is very simple you’ll need to include a map and some directions that let the player plot their route and know where to go to complete tasks. If the player spends too much time lost or unable to find their task objectives they will get frustrated.
Your game’s maps and information bits don’t have to be bland. You can make an interactive map with highlighted objectives, zoom capabilities, displays of information or graphics, etc. Modern games sometimes use phones or other devices with screens to show information or play “video” of other characters giving information while still in-game. You can choose to darken or “red zone” certain parts of the map and challenge the player to unlock all of the areas. You can also have icons that represent missions to come at each main location. The point of all this is to get the player excited about what they are doing and what is coming next.
Determine the Location, Depth and Objective Theme of Your Levels
There are four main “depths of gameplay” that a level can take place in: at ground level, underground, in the air, or in space. These categories are not exclusive since different sections of the same level can take place at a different depth of gameplay. You build the boss fight in individual scenes and each scene can take place wherever you want.
Every level you create will have various tasks and objectives to complete, but you need to decide the overall objective of the level in regards to how the level affects the player. Is the player’s main goal to escape this level and avoid danger, to explore the level and find artifacts, is the goal to educate the player as they journey through the level or maybe the goal is to teach a moral lesson with gameplay and story elements. Either way once you know what the objective of the level is you can design more engaging and fulfilling gameplay that will make sense to the player and make a more coherent experience within that level.