So yesterday I finally uploaded the first playable demo of my adventure game Stig and the Meteor. I've been streaming the development of this game on Twitch over the past few months and it was finally time to let people try it for themselves, rather than just watch.
A major part of these last couple of months have been about finding a working process. Especially when it came to game and level design. A lot more time was spent on this than I expected.
From a level design perspective, I must have tried every method possible. The challenge for me was to keep an iterative approach and not lose focus as the level grow bigger. All while still being able to quickly play test and see if scale makes sense and of course, if it's at all fun.
The Elevation Curves Approach
First, I modeled the entire world using elevation vector curves and then extruded these shapes at various heights. This was great to quickly get a sense of the overall shape of the map but it quickly turned way too detailed and didn't make good use of prefabs.
The Tile Grid
Next I started by modeling a set of square tiles. Very much like a 2d tile system, but using 3d models. This made building levels very quick and using just a few building blocks I could build very big levels. The problem was the grid became very apparent and the world didn't seem very 'natural'.
The 3d Tile Approach
I finally settled on making a 3d tile system with a few, good 3d tiles - a cliff, house blocks and roofs. These tiles are not on grid and I can move, rotate, scale and combine them. In my view, this makes for more interesting level design. Using the one good cliff prefab, I can make caves, platforms, tunnels and overhangs. Using the house blocks, I can quickly model a pretty organic looking village.
I still have a long way to go to reach a full release in June 2020. But I feel this last month of level design adventure was necessary to get through. With this approach, making the other four levels should not be such a painful process.
See you on Twitch.tv/ninjafredde/
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