In our previous design post, we talked about our approach in designing an area for Rogue Reaper: Awakening. In this post, we will follow up that post as we dive into the physical creation that follows when the design is made. Today we are going to dive into the greybox of the area we have designed!
When designing levels for the game, I often choose to use graph paper. Most of you will most likely remember this kind of paper from math lessons at school. In this case, graph paper helps very much to draw out areas in a proper way, keeping in mind the size of the area and everything it contains.
As we start off creating the greybox, it is important to know how big everything in the area needs to be. In our design, a square on graph paper would be 1 unit in the game editor. A unit basically is a defined size within the game editor that can translate to real-world sizes. In Unity, it is common understanding to see a unit as one meter. We use that rule in creating our game as well.
We already know how the level has to look like, so now we can build it in our game editor using all kinds of different shapes. Most of the work in the greybox is done by using planes to basically make a rough build of how the space the area should contain. Also, when certain spaces within the area should not be reachable, I build something out of planes to block it off. Currently, everything that Lilly should not be able to climb upon should be 5 units or higher in height. These ground rules are important to take along in how you will build the greybox.
Looking at the design, we see that in the middle there is a big blocked off section in order to create a circular path around the edge of the level. In the greybox I have blocked off the middle part of the level by creating a cube that is long and wide enough to cover the middle space of the area. Since you should not be able to climb over this part, the height of the cube is 5 units, considering the ground rule we discussed earlier.
Now we have an area with a path around its edges. But how do we place something that defines the enemy? Well, we can use cubes and give them a color to indicate what these shapes mean in the greybox. In this case, I have created two small cube shapes that I colored dark purple. When showing the greybox to the team, it is important to communicate what these colors mean so they understand their purpose.
Finally, an exit and entrance have to be created so the area can be connected to other parts of the level. After this is done. Finally, I sit down with our Art Lead to show the greybox and talk it through. When agreed, the greybox moves on to our art team to be visualized!