Game Level Design Template

Game Level Design Template, within the Milanote app

The ideal template for planning levels in a game

This game level design template is a great place to map out a video game environment. It's where you can define your level map, objectives, milestones, power-ups—everything you'll need before you start actually coding your game.

Milanote's drag-and-drop interface allows you to arrange lines, notes, links, files, videos and tasks on an infinite virtual canvas. When you're finished your game level design, everything can be shared with your team for further collaboration and ideas.

This template is part of our guide on How to create a modern game design document.

  • Explore ideas
  • Organize visually
  • Share with your team
  • Gather feedback
  • Export to PDF

How to use this template

Whether you’re a game designer, artist, or programmer, follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of designing a video game level in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

1. Start with an empty template

The Game Level Design template contains empty notes for your ideas and descriptions plus placeholders for reference images, video and links.

Game level design empty template
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your level.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Choose the Level Design template.

    Choose a template 

    Each new board gives you the options to start with a beautiful template.

2. Define the concept of your level

What's the basic concept for your level? This is your starting point. For example, is this the 'underwater' level, where your character has to avoid the sharks to stay alive? Is it at night? In the forest? Here's where you set the scene.

Adding concept to a game level design template
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe the concept of your level.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

3. Add a top-down map

Once you have a rough idea for your level, start to create a 'top-down' map of your level. It doesn't have to be perfect, this is just a starting point. Think about the interesting items or landmarks the could exist in your level.

Adding a top-down map to a game level design
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Drag an image from your computer onto the board.

    Upload an image or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio, and much more.

4. Define the journey

Next, think about how players will travel through the space. Where does your level start and how does someone finish this level? Map out the ideal path you want the player to take and what you want them to encounter along the way.

Game level design journey

5. Design the challenges

Great levels have just the right mix of challenge and reward. Start adding in obstacles or puzzles for your players to complete along the journey, like finding a switch, opening a door, or defeating an enemy. Completing these challenges feels like a win and keeps players engaged.

Challenges in a game level design template
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add notes to describe the challenges.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

6. Build in rewards

How will players be rewarded for completing challenges? Design mini victories along the way to help propel them forward. One technique for building a sense of purpose is called teasing. This is where you provide a glimpse of the reward or goal early in the level. This gives players something to aim for. It also means they won't run around aimlessly, not knowing what their goal is.

Creating rewards in a game level design
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add notes to describe the rewards.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

7. Add visual references

Now that you have a rough picture of how the level fits together, it's time to start considering how the scenes might look.

Refer to your game design moodboard or gather images that represent specific parts of your level. Google images or Pinterest are a great places to grab free reference images.

Game level design visual references
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Drag images onto your board.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio and much more.

  2. Browse the built-in image library.

    Use the built-in image library

    Search over 500,000 beautiful photos powered by Unsplash then drag images straight onto your board.

8. Share with your team

When you're happy with version one of your level design, share it with your team and ask for their feedback. This is a chance for your team to add details and questions about the design and technical aspects of your level. E.g. How will the saving or scoring mechanisms work here?

Game level design collaboration
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Invite others to add collaborate.

    Invite editors to your board

    Open the "Editors" menu from the title bar of your board. Add email addresses of the people you'd like to collaborate with—they'll receive an invitation via email.

You're done!

Now that your level design is complete, you have a strong reference for how you want the level to fit together! Remember, just as creativity and inspiration are constantly evolving, so are ideas. Come back and add to your plan when inspiration strikes.

Repeat this process for each level and you'll start to see how the whole game fits together.

Start designing your next game level

Define the plan for each level of your game.