Level Delivery

The level was presented at the GradShow in the form of a fully playable game prototype.

People who tried our game enjoyed the progress we have made during the last 8 weeks and had high hopes for ImpactO’s future endeavors.

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Personally I did not reach the goal of what I had set out to do, but I am very happy with our end result as a group. I covered my part of this group project by delivering a functional level that can show the players the future potential of the game, but I didn’t have enough time to delve deep into more advanced modular, texturing and lighting techniques. The time frame only allowed me to reach a certain level of detail and made me pull back on the amount of props. In retrospect I would have liked to put more love and care into some models and textures, but as both a level designer and an environmental artist I had to prioritize the gameplay over my own creative ambitions, in favor of the group.

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The planning got revised many during the project as the constant evolution of the level was a very time consuming process. Game tests were a good way for both the group and for myself to get a broader perspective on our work and we have all learned a lot. The Unity4 engine have been a very nice tool to work with and it is a big part of our successful workflow.

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In the future I will keep on focusing on asset creation with the hope of being able to put more time and effort into each individual model. The level will go through some small changes the next couple of weeks, but the general layout will stay the same until the time when we are going to compete in the Swedish Game Awards.

Prioritizing.

It’s been a long time since last I posted anything and I apologize.

The main theme of the team’s blog posts the past weeks has been “killing your darlings”, and unfortunately I cannot break that theme.
Since I established that I was behind schedule in my last blog post I’ve tried to up my effort by putting in extra hours, making free time non-existent. But longer hours doesn’t always mean more progress, especially if you are cutting down on sleep and exercise. The stressful schedule made me forget to take care of myself  which resulted in me coming down with the flu.

Thanks to a Teamviewer connection between my school and home computer I’ve had a way to work from home, but I’ve mostly spent the last few days recuperating.

I got back to work today (not fully recovered yet) and I’m now refining my pressing time schedule which has now gone over to the Texturing phase. Most of my models are UV mapped at this moment and several test bakes have been done, but there is still a lot of tweaking to be done.

These unfortunate events have put more assets on the wishlist and with a little less than 2 weeks to go I’m now focusing all my remaining time on those assets that are of highest priority.

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Time flies.

Progress is slow on the asset creation. This week have been very stressful and as of now I’m behind schedule.

My lack of posts this week is due to staggering modeling progress and I have not been able to pull up any fully textured models to show here on the blog. I’m now forced to lower the level of detail on my assets to make due.

My workflow have been interrupted a couple of times after every game test by tending to small fixes here and there on the level and have been very time consuming. Various inputs from testers have led to improvements to the level gameplay, but not the aesthetics of it.

With 3 weeks to go until milestone 3, I have made alterations to my schedule to try and put out a fully textured level, but I will not be able to have the level of detail I first set out to create. This is a disheartening realization, but I remain true to the goal: To make a fun prototype level to show the game’s potential.

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As can be seen in our gameplay videos, the level have received ramps on both sides of the pit of death as well as a pipe dangling from the crane. This addition has gotten both positive and negative response from the testers. The negative critique often come from the players who lack the skill and precision to fly into the pipe and take part of the power-up inside.

But after a few tries, they too get to savor the sweet taste of extra damage.

 

A thousand decisions.

We have passed Milestone 2 – ‘Proof of Concept’ which for me meant a playable level that fits our game mode and game style. Everyone in our group has their own vision of how a good level looks like and during the past weeks it has been my job to combine them into one and put it into the game engine. It has been a time consuming process, but we are pretty happy about the progress of our prototype. After only a few game testing sessions the level has improved a lot and people are having even more fun.

Here are some of the steps I took during my level designing:

  1. An idea to add/alter something is presented and it sounds reasonable.
  2. Make sure it fits our game mode and the theme of the level.
  3. Make new/alter existing mock-up geometry.
  4. Game test the idea with various groups of people.
  5. Democratic vote within the group to make sure it is to everyone’s liking.
  6. The idea is implemented into the game.
  7. Progress and repeat.

We have now passed a crucial milestone so we are not going to add any new big features or assets to the level, but we reserve the right to alter the existing ones to further improve the gameplay if necessary.

My job is now to create those assets that have been implemented into the game and use the old models’ measurements as frames as I have now started sculpting more vivid and more detailed versions.

During this week I have altered my planned approach for a finished level. Instead of having all models pass through phases of highpoly modeling -> lowpoly modeling -> baking/texturing, I am now going to finish groups of assets in succession. This is to get earlier visual feedback in Unity.

The first group of assets are the cliff walls surrounding the level.

WIP

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Posted in Art

Keep on rolling.

To make a fun level within the timeframe that we have been given, we must prioritize quality over quantity. And since we are only making a prototype, I am determined to create a good template where we can explore the future potential of ImpactO.

As soon as a geometry is added to the level we explore it to the max. If something doesn’t feel right, it is quickly altered, re-positioned or deleted. It is a thousand little design decisions back and forth, and I concept at the same time as I model.

The process is slow, but rewarding. The level takes tiny steps every day, and will have it’s final layout on Monday 11/2-2013, Milestone 2 – when we will hand in our ‘Proof of Concept’.

Below I will show you the major steps we have taken to make our level more alive.

 

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Spawn points: Red and Blue. You will be able to spread out into the neutral zone from the sides and strategically position yourself.

level_highwaysHighways: Fast lanes where you can build up speed for an attack or to evade pursuers.

level_bottlenecksBottlenecks: Narrow paths where conflict will be forced upon you and your teammates.

level_batte_zonesDanger Zones: You must strategically make your way from one part of the level to another to achieve victory. Risks must be taken to be successful.

More game tests with up to 6 players will be done this weekend to ensure we have that flow we want for our game.

First Gametest

We invited some of the 2nd graders to test our mock-up level today and it went quite well. A lot of constructive criticism came our way and we got a many sets of fresh eyes on our game. So this week when I’m starting on some highpoly modeling I have a updated mindset and will be making some slight alteration to my plans to fit the bill.

Modeling updates and layout designs will be posted later this week.04-02-2013_Unity_Capture01

Posted in Art

The flow is the key.

This past week I’ve built a mockup level where I’ve tried out some layout ideas both to get a taste of the general feel of the level and a sense of scale of my props. During this process I’ve also extended my research on the game engine Unity 4 and some functions i think will become valuable during the project.

The Unity editor is wondrous from an artist’s perspective. It’s very intuitive, smooth and fast way to test your layout ideas as you can very quickly set up a scene and pull things around in it.

As seen below we have put in a small character from the last version of ImpactO which we can use to drive around in the scene with. This have given us a good insight into the flow of the level as it evolves.

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Posted in Art

Hold the Flag

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Hello, my name is Jonas and I’m one of the new members of Team ImpactO. I’m a 3d artist with a passion for games.

I going to delve into the world of level design and environment creation during this project. I’m going to try and make a fun and exciting level for our prototype with some new concepts in mind.

We are going to introduce a new game mode called “Hold the Flag” which will be the foundation for the new level. So during the next couple of weeks i will post design progress, screenshots and concepts to give you a picture of what to expect from the game.

 

Posted in Art