As you might have read in our previous post, we’re working on different elements of the game that we all grew to love at the office. Starting today, we’ve decided to share a single area of what we have in mind for the game with you. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be sharing the process of creating that area with you. including our struggles, creations, and thoughts.

And, something to look out for; at the end of next month, we will be showing the final result of all that work coming together.
Today’s post however, starts with how we came up with the idea

When starting off to create a level design, the first thing to consider is that you need a goal to work towards. The first question that comes into mind is: What does the level design need to achieve within the game? This question can have many different answers depending on the context. In our case, the area was part of a bigger design that has been plotted out by using a bubble chart.

A bubble chart is a high-level drawing containing circles and lines in which you try to outline the bigger picture of an environment. Each circle, in our case, represented an area. Each of these circles were given a theme that aligns with the pillars of the game. This way, it became clear what the role of each area was within the bigger flow of the game. For this area, the theme was combat.

After creating the bubble chart, it was now clear what the area needed to achieve. Knowing this already gives much more direction in the way you need to think about creating a design. From here, we define one or more important criteria that are important for the goal of the level design to be reached. The area needs to present a combat challenge, so that means it must be hard to get through the area without engaging combat. Knowing this, any creative mind will slowly start to get ideas on how the level will have to start taking shape.

After searching around and taking important information into consideration, there are now a couple of ideas on how the form should take shape. It is now time to start visualizing what you have in mind. Time to pick up the pencil and some graph paper! When you start visualizing, that is also the moment to think hard about how things will work. Take a good look at what you, or someone else is creating. The area needs a start and an exit, and in between these two points, combat should have a high potential of happening.

I started drawing an area of 20 by 20 centimeters on paper to see if that would fit in my mind for what I was trying to create. Quite immediately it became clear to me that in order to give the combat challenge without much chance of avoiding it, space had to be more limited. I greyed out the middle part of the area so that there as a rectangular path around it. The next step was to place two patrolling enemies that would give the player the combat challenge when encountered. This way, there is a high potential for combat in this area.

And there it is, a level design on paper. Now that the design was made clear visually. It was time to physically create it.
But more about this on Friday.

~ Joeri