Practice makes perfect! Following this advice I thought to partake in resources offered on Udemy to continue to sharpen my level design skills. These are screenshots from a composition exercise in a level design course on Udemy.
Recently I’ve been playing Yakuza 0. Though there were a couple of things I didn’t like (the occasional unskippable cut scene!), in general I loved it. As well as an absolutely world class story with fantastic voice acting, the game provides a wealth of content. Content that includes making a custom Pocket Circuit Track in a RC car racing mini-game. As a design exercise I thought this would be fun to do!
The track creation tool is fairly straightforward to use, and making tracks was fairly simple. Saying that I failed on my first attempt as I maxed the route length!
For my first Pocket Circuit Track I started with an image in my mind which I drew.
First I made the basic shape. Seeing it in 3D I felt a desire to add lots of slopes to emphasize the windy nature of the track.Continue reading Pocket Circuit Track Design – Yakuza 0
Using Warhammar 2’s Map Tool Terry I’ve recently published Bretonnia Hills V1, a map for Warhammer Total War 2. I did this to practice my map development skills of using height maps, sculpting terrain, painting textures, and placing meshes. It’s on the Steam Workshop – so check it out here!
The bones of this kind of map is its terrain. To start with a solid foundation I began by finding a height map to apply to the terrain. Ultimately I chose data from a location near Trout River in Vermont.
Next I obtained the height map data, processed, and imported into the map editor tool Terry.
Following this I smoothed out some areas, and did a first pass on painting.
Next I found some areas I thought to be interesting and added some meshes from Warhammer 2’s library to add some points of interest. Meanwhile I playtest the map, and made iterative changes to the configuration of the start point, and geographical features.
After a number of iterations I then posted the map on the Steam Workshop, and presented it to the map makers at the Warhammer Map Makers Discord Channel. The Warhammer Map makers gave me some great feedback, and rightly pointed out the map needs more polish work.
I released the bones of the map, which in itself needs more work having very little work in terms of detailing, and extensive playtesting. The detail work will make some good practice so I intend to do more on that side, and post some updated screenshots!
Following along with the World of Level Design Fundamentals course here are the results of some its practice exercises.
First a little exercise in lighting.
Second some texturing practice. First a follow along.
Next a little improv work.
Since about over a month now I’ve started making sketching a common activity. Here are some that I’ve done.
Disclaimer: This is copy pasta art made for personal enjoyment/starting out!
Also I’ve begun a course on Udemy to develop my drawing skills! This was the result of my first exercise!
In the pursuit of improving my Level Design abilities in Unreal I’ve started taking courses at World of Level Design. After running through the fundamentals this was the result of the first follow along BSP exercise:
More to follow!
Introduction: Whilst at Automaton I worked as a Level Designer, where I iterated and developed world content for Mavericks a next-gen Open-World MMO FPS developed in CryEngine using SpatialOS.
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 | Time: 2 months | Role: Level Designer | Team Size: ~40
Design Goal: Deliver a 1.8km battle royale play space for the alpha release of Automaton Games’s original IP‘Mavericks’, a next-gen Open-World MMO FPS developed in CryEngine using SpatialOS.
Natural World/Minor Points of Interest (POI’s)
Iterated and developed the natural world whilst distributing minor points of interest for further iteration by art. Major tasks for this included:
- Reference gathering.
- Terrain sculpting.
- Texture painting.
- Foliage placement.
- Blockout, and iteration of POI’s.
Mid Size POI’s
Blocked out, and iterated a number of mid sized points of interest.
Iterated on flow, and cover of existing mid sized points of interest.
Enhanced existing major points of interest, as well as blocking out significant areas of the Sawmill, and Biomass POI.
Lately I’ve been itching to practice my level design skills. I’ve found such an opportunity with Total War Warhammer 2 where Creative Assembly has made their battle map editor Terry available for public use.
Therefore to practice my level design skills I’ve decided to take my love of Total War, my design skills, and support from the existing map making community to try my hand at creating maps for Warhammer 2.
First I tried some paper mapping for an existing Warhammer map called Atldorf.
Next I thought it would be good to remake a map. The map I chose to copy was a tutorial map from the map community. My intent was to make a bare bones version so I can focus on practicing using the tool. I began with studying the tutorial map.
For me the development process was loosely:
- First pass at terrain, textures, and water.
- Setup of deployment zones & playable area.
- Second pass at terrain and textures (more detail work).
- Rinse and repeat steps 4-5.
Some In-Editor Shots
Some In-game Shots
Next I plan to practice creating a map, this time with an imported height map!
Some Useful Resources:
- Have Warhammer 2: Total War Running in windowless so you easily use it, and Terry together.
- Have the Go-Region totally eclipse the playable area and close up areas with no-go regions
- Sample Map Object Hierachy Structure:
- Buildings (File Layer)
- Cliffs (File Layer)
- Default (File Layer)
- Scale Reference (Object)
- Logic (File Layer)
- Deployments (Logic Layer)
- AI Hints (Objects)
- Deployment Zones (Object)
- No-Go Regions (Logic Layer)
- No-Go Regions (Objects)
- Playable Area (Object)
- Go Region (Object)
- Deployments (Logic Layer)
- Water (File Layer)
- Water (Objects)
1 – Drawing Attention to a Building
- Use of light texture.
- Billboard with red striking sign.
- Blue awning.
- Depth of side of building.
2 – Affordances
- We encounter a door that can be opened with a shiv. This in my mind established an accordance that doors that looked like this could be opened.
- Later on we may encounter another door that looks like that same shiv door from before, but this one doesn’t open (affordance confusion)!
3 – Drawing Attention to Areas of Interest
- Like the contrast on the left side, draws my eye to the area where the safe is located.
- Sign as well as red car.
- Like the depth on the right side, draws my eye.
- Depth and blue police car.
4 – Lock Before The Key
In this section the player finds a safer that requires a numerical combination to be opened.
Further down the street the player sees the glint of a note against a dark junk wall, and finds the combination to the safe written on the note. I have an issue with this!
The player does need to do backtracking which isn’t ideal, but it isn’t much, my issue relates to getting the combination. When the player gets the combination it would be an additional plus to underscore receiving this important information with a touch of VO that hinted the relationship between the safe and note e.g “hmm wasn’t there a safe back there?”.Continue reading Last of Us – Bill’s Town Notes
In an effort to continue building on my 2D Layouts, and 3D blockouts skills I thought I’d try a short exercise of creating an area in a game that I am playing. The subject of this exercise was ground floor of the Briar Patch diner in Mafia 3.
2D Top Down
I began with a very rough to scale-ish 2D top down to get a general shape.
Next I began 3d work which involved taking in game pictures as reference from various, and areas of the ground floor. Using these ‘references’ I created approximate blockouts. The following is the results of this exercise.