Main fundraiser photo

Groping The Map: Book 1.

Donation protected
Groping The Map: Book 1, will be a continuation of the Groping The Map series of articles I started in 2010.

Groping The Map is a series of in-depth examinations of a single level. Each article will feature a detailed look at a game level from the past several years. I will look at structure, encounter placement, aesthetics, layout and related design issues; screenshots will be used throughout to highlight particularly notable aspects of the design.

The aim is to research and write a collection of four 10,000 word articles on specific video game levels. These four articles will be collected together to be released freely as a .PDF ebook, with the possibility of colour print copies if there is sufficient demand.

What experience do you have?
In addition to the three previous instalments of Groping The Map I am currently I am working on a series of articles focusing specifically on the level design in Thief II: The Metal Age for Sneaky Bastards. I have also written approximately 15,000 words on the level design in Dishonored for Issue 1 of the Sneaky Bastards magazine which is due for publication within the month.

Why are you asking for money?
Long form, critical analysis of level design is an aspect of games criticism I feel there is a need for, one that few other people are attempting to fill. I feel it's important to look at a range of levels from a variety of different games, however other commitments on my time mean I cannot always give my Groping The Map work the attention I feel is warranted. My last instalment on the Life Of The Party level, from Thief II: The Metal Age took over a year to complete and I feel with enough money to focus exclusively on writing of this kind I can write more articles, of a better quality, at a faster pace.

What will Book 1 consist of?
The current plan is for Book 1 to consist of four articles, of approximately 10,000 words each, on the following levels:

- The Omega Ranch - Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
- Nova Prospekt - Half Life 2.
- The Silent Cartographer - Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Jacknife - Mirror's Edge.

Why are all the levels from first person games?
I have experience designing and developing levels for first person games using UnrealED and Hammer and this has proven useful in my analysis. I also have a personal preference for this particular style of game. That is not to say that I am only interested in writing about first person games just that for Book 1 that is the best way to leverage my skills.

What will you do with any extra money?
If I am fortunate enough to exceed my target I will add an additional article to Book 1, Rescue Attempt - The Operative: No One Lives Forever. Further funds will be put towards Book 2, which will contain another four to five articles of similar length.

When will Book 1 be finished?
Researching each article require that I play the game up to the start of the specific level and then play and replay the level itself taking different approaches where possible. All notes and screenshots collected in this phase will then be used to produce the finished article. On average this has been shown to require nearly 100 hours per level. These numbers vary depending on the complexity of the game and the level so I am wary of putting a specific time frame on the creation of Book 1, however I hope to be completed within less than six months.

If I have questions or suggestions where can I contact you?
I can be found on Twitter @GTElephant, additional contact information can be found on my website:


Justin Keverne

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee