Leveling Out

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This past week was a whirlwind of emails, meetings, and decisions which totally exhausted me by the end. Thankfully, we have Labor Day today to recuperate. I did make some worthwhile contributions to the thesis project, though, and I’m proud of that. Although it hasn’t been implemented yet, I made a level design blueprint for the game that I think would work pretty well. I modeled it after some hedge maze designs, complete with an open space in the middle, like a lot of the hedge mazes out there.

binauralislandlevel

I sketched the original design on graph paper and then translated it into a digital form with DraftSight, a free CAD program that is pretty easy to use and I think pretty useful for level designers. Christopher Totten mentions the program in his book An Architectural Approach to Level Design, a text that I absolutely adore. Since we want the game to last maybe 10-15 minutes, I didn’t want to make the level too long, but I did want to spread out the monster encounters. So it made sense to me to put the four encounters in each of the maze’s corners and separate them with the main maze. In the center I’d like to see a tall landmark, like a fountain or a tower, that will give the player a reference point when they’re exploring the maze. The maze walls will be created with island assets: rocks, trees, bushes, etc. We didn’t have time to get the entire maze into the game this week, but I’d like to see it in there eventually, if only to test out my own ideas.

For this coming week, I’m coming up with more name ideas, finding sound effects, and creating some instruction screens. I’ve also recently discovered how fun creating Doom levels in Doom Builder 2 can be, so I’m spending a lot of my free time creating and playing Doom levels. Super Mario Maker comes out this Friday as well, so it’s a pretty great week to be an aspiring level designer. See you on the next level!

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