Sunday, 28 October 2012

 A busy summer - part 1

Over the summer I've been really busy doing my summer project.
I decided to make a level. However rather than just go crazy on making a level i set myself some goals.

- Get better in texturing
- Learn how to bake textures properly
- Get a decent and playable level
- Aim for the current texture quality in games
- export the level into UDK.

Unfortunately the last point didn't work out due to the complex shapes of the level and struggle to make a bounding box for it and getting the texturing right. But a lot has been learned through this. If I were to make a level again I would make this in a more modular approach making small chunks and separate assets so I can puzzle it all together in UDK. However the brief said it had to be handed in in a max file so this wasn't an option to start with.

At the start of this project I decided i would really like to make a level inspired by the Half-Life 2 level called Nova Prospekt. This is an abandoned prison which is now being used by the Combine and through the level it get's over run by ant lions ( spoiler ?? )

So the first step was gathering inspiration. Coincidentally the steam sales were coming out and this gave me a good opportunity to buy some new games that could set the standard for my texturing.
a few games I decided to buy and look at were: Max payne 3, Bioshock 2 and Rage. I already owned all of the Half-Life games but decided to do a quick play through and make several screenshots.

After researching these games i started listening to the developer documentary of half-life learning how they have done their level design and why they made certain decisions.  Because the tri limit was amazingly low I'd have to be very efficient with scene's / game play and optimalize the assets as much as I could so looking at these games i notice how scenes were being re used quite often. Making the player walk back and forth over the same area. After writing down plenty of notes and little sketches i started up UDK only to figure out that the program has changed quite a lot since I've last used it ( 3 years ago ? ) removing the option to make subtractive levels. After looking things up on the internet people recommend making the level first in max and then bringing it into UDK. So much for blue boxing in UDK then..

Once in 3DS max I've started lay-ing out a path puzzling what would be an interesting route and how i would like to make things. When I was satisfied with the lay-out I've started modeling this process took long and was pretty difficult due to the low triangle budget and high expectations I've had. A lot of assets and plans had to be scrapped because of it and will unfortunately not see the light of day. However the difficult part had yet to come.

Part - 2 soon

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