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Interesting notes on level design in 3D games. FPS means first-person shooter, TPS third-person shooter. Both refer to the position of the “camera” while you’re playing.

In an FPS, realistic room sizes would be pretty much what they are in real life, in a TPS they’re closer to double that of real life. If your average bedroom is 4×5 meters and 2.5 meters high, in a TPS the size would be 8×10 meters and the height 4 meters; the great thing about larger sizes is that the characters are easier to control and the spaces don’t even feel too big!

But what about furniture? If the room is 150-200 percent of realistic size, surely the pieces of furniture need to be large as well? Not exactly. The best approach really is to make the furniture close to real life scale as the characters in the game are as well of real size — making the furniture larger would result in the characters looking like children and that’s definitely something you should avoid. Please note I’m not saying you shouldn’t scale the furniture, but rather than the effect should be kept to a bare minimum; making the pieces 10-20 percent larger than what’s realistic still results in close enough real size tables, chairs, couches etc., but it also ensures the rooms don’t look overly large. Its also important to remember the spacing between the pieces — even if they are about real life size, the space between doesn’t need to be, go with whatever still looks good and makes the movement of the characters easier.

A good rule of thumb for all this is to make things the player gets near closer to the their real life size. Objects further away can be too large, as it often makes the space look of more realistically sized. Another pointer to keep in mind is a thing they teach people studying architecture: one centimeter on the floor is ten on the wall is a meter in the ceiling – as your gaze is usually downward, you tend notice small things on the ground more easily than larger ones in the ceiling.

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