This week will be mainly focussed on level design, even for me as a non-specialist. While our two main level designers have already started blocking out levels in Unity during the middle of last week, it will be a bit of a premiere for me since I mostly did gameplay design during the previous projects.
Now that we have started to discuss the level layout in more detail, we have already encountered the first challenge we have to master: the balance between art and design. Our environmental artists would like to have different looks and feels for each room, mainly by adding unique props and lighting. Therefore, they prefer a number and size of rooms that remains more on the smaller side.
Us designers, on the other hand, would like to create more game content and since each room will either have a small puzzle or a combat (or both). This will automatically result in more individual rooms which would require some re-touching by the artists. On top of that, the artists expressed that they would like the rooms to be more interconnected as well.
Consequently, our main goal for this week is to come up with a floorplan for the entire level that we can re-iterate on together with the environmental artists. For now, me and one of our main level designers are working on modular, reusable rooms, including some suggestions for challenges while the remaining level designer is tetris-puzzeling them together into a big floorplan. Right now we still haven’t progressed that far, but it is only the beginning of the week, so I hope things will gain some velocity during the next couple of days.
Sketch of a reusable room layout that could be turned into a small dining hall or a library