I found this old post about a long dead project of mine. I’m making it public now, in case someone might find it useful.
Compile and build
What is blocking out?
Mass Out or Blocking In:
Super simple geometry
Nothing is textured
AI and Vehicle Friendly
Cortana Mission Challenges Part 1:
Sheer size, how many BSP’s?
Desire for tight corridors and big vistas
Vis blocking, partitioning
All surfaces = AI friendly
Desire for uneven and tilted game spaces
Cortana Mission Challenges Part 2:
AI Path finding problems
How to transition forms
Aesthetics vs. Design
Avoiding visual noise
Final geometry, cleaning up UV’s
Tech pass (vis blocking)
Purpose is primarily aesthetics
Balance macro and micro details
Add layers of interactivity
Decoration and Decals:
Samples lighting and color
Paint them on
Use to hide seams
“Think of your events in your level as progression of one event to the next, but with rising conflict. For example in Counter-Strike you buy weapons, then you run towards a choke point, firefight happens. Most of your team dies. Everything calms down for a second; there is a moment of serenity. You advance further, plant the bomb, anticipation is built even higher. Timer ticks down as you know that the CTs are going to rush the bombsite to diffuse. At the last second it goes off. Expectation justified.”
“Build it up to something great and then release hell. If the player survives then it is something to remember. Never introduce and give away everything in the beginning. Wait till later. And build up your pacing slowly by introducing anticipation.”
“Use a focal point in your map is a great way to build anticipation.
Use lights and sound to drive the player’s focus to a specific spot in the environment. But of course don’t give away everything.
Use hints. Use of sound and noise is a great way to build anticipation.
Create enough space between each event to let the player breath before the next even happens. Next one comes, should be harder and more interesting and challenging then the previous one. Introduce your events slowly, meticulously and well thought out.
“Story is king.
The power of story in your level comes down to two things. The story of the environment; and character’s story in that environment. As well as the relationship between each other.
Story is what we remember after everything is done and over with. We love to tell stories. We love to listen to stories. There is no better way to communicate and to connect with someone. We don’t care about facts. If you teach me history and just give me facts about dates and people I won’t remember it.”
“Write a story of your environment. Think as if you are telling a story to your friend. Who lived here? How did it get to be how it is? Why did everyone leave?”
Level 1: Garbage room
Lots of diagonal lines, 45 degree walls and corners. The room is foggy, bland, uninhabited (only 2 people). It inspires loneliness, desperation, depression. Lots of worn out textures. Old factory. Smoke coming out from several places.
There are catwalks around the crematory room and large factory-like brushes.
Hallway idea – a tight space with stairs leading to an upper floor, smoke coming out from some pipes, and a large blueish light.
Colours here should inspire old equipment, grungy walls and rusty metal. See Star Wars hallways.
School – Quake 3 map