My Final Major Project 3 - The Level Design
As you can see in my Logbook below, I started production with two sets of linear areas and a non-linear area all within my level. I rushed out a few grey boxes over a single day to get the scale of the level and have continued to fully produce the level since. Due to the scope of the project, I feel as if I have rushed the grey box stage and dived straight into producing the level before it was finalised in blockmesh and before fully deciding how each area was going to look. This has more than likely elongated the production stage as I only had my imagination, reference images and a rushed blockout to build the level around. However, I personally believe that as I built it all in rapid time, It has allowed me to structure the level and detail areas much better. I do not see myself as a good environmental artist/designer as I struggle to make terrains and areas look realistic without a lot of time. Therefore building the level early and quickly has allowed me to keep making many changes so that the level looks appealing as well as plays well.
Also, through pre-production and through early production stages I have continued to watch GDC talks (Steve Lee, 2017 ; Dan Taylor, 2013 ; David Shaver, 2018 ; Jim Brown, 2014) on level design, and I also watched several for my case study last year. These have helped me think about how to use negative space and structure areas to generate emotion. For example, I need my combat areas open so the player has space to move around, but having large pillars or other decorations that are large and enclose the area, make the player feel trapped and makes the combat more intense. This has helped me design areas with specific gameplay in mind.
As you can see within my logbook, the original linear areas were feeling too predictable and I felt that this would bore the player, therefore, I added a scripted event for the bridge to break and add some tension to the scene (the story's suspense will also add to this) and broke the level up a bit. I also came up with some random ideas for a small puzzle where the player must follow the axe trail and also added portals that are powered by runes. These additions helped me break up the gameplay and also utilise the core magic abilities for puzzles as well as combat. I aim to work fast and hard so that I have lots of time later to make the level look better and to allow for more testing to increase the levels playability.