Week 3 – Universal Blocking

Moving into week 3, the Firing Squad was getting ready to add a lot to our 3 prototypes. My biggest task for the week was to create a new test level for all 3 prototypes using the new environment assets that Tyler created. This week I got to do one of my favorite parts of Design, experimenting with level set-ups.

I started the sprint by throwing together a quick asset list of structural parts I would need for building a basic level. I asked for a few variations of walls, ramps, pillars, and bridges, along with a few different props. Tyler sent me an environment kit a couple days into the sprint and I immediately started building.

When I started playing with the different parts in the kit, I didn’t have much of a plan going in so I spent a little too much time figuring out what I wanted the layout to be. When I come back to this level in another sprint, I will draw out a plan before even considering getting into the engine. This sprint was helpful for me because I got used to building with these pieces and figuring out the measurements. I decided to split the map into 4 quads and focus on 1 quad at a time. While I was building the first quad, I found that it was beginning to look too linear, so I added a few different options for getting from one side of the wall to the other.

testLevel_Q1

When I began working on the second quad, I decided to create a more open space, and add another level of elevation to help break up the lines of sight. I also populated the open space with barricades and shipping containers to create lanes for the player to walk through. By this time, James had also finished setting up the enemy AI so I threw a few enemies in to see if the layout worked with gameplay.

After I showed the test level I had created last week to my team, Tyler had suggested going for a more open space so the player doesn’t feel as crowded. I agreed with him, but also I realized that this layout allowed for more flexibility on my side. The downside to this style of level blocking is that it’s a significantly less modular method. However, I think if I plan ahead next time, and know what I’m going to be building instead of jumping in blind I’ll be able to block the space a lot faster. Now at the end of this sprint, I have 2 quads of the map built with temporary lighting and enemies positioned around, each holding different weapon parts.

testLevel_skyView

Additionally, James was able to have enemies drop weapon pieces (which is a feature for our second prototype) and I can already start to see how unique this gameplay experience is. Playing through this level with enemies dropping weapon parts and the magnetic arm mechanic that James has been prototyping for us is already really engaging.

I really enjoyed building a level for this game. However, moving into next sprint, I’ll be focusing less on level block-outs and more on implementing new weapon parts and balancing. It will be interesting to see how balancing this game is going to. I have a feeling it’s going to be a challenge for me, but I’ll make it happen.

Until next time!

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