Evolution of a Level: Form

January 13, 2017

At the dawn of this new year, my creative focus has been on the upcoming Robyn HUD computer game. Most of my time has been spent programming the “under the hood” technical aspects of the game and the tools needed to create it. While it’s critical to get that work done before I can shift into full time content creation for the game it’s not the type of work that makes for interesting blog posts. However, this past week I took a short break from the technical side to start some preliminary work on building one of the game levels. It occurred to me that I could milk this level for all of its blog potential by showing its evolution.

[The design of the level.]
The design of the level.

This particular level is a small one, intended for some between mission sequences. It’s set in a small garage/warehouse that’s had one corner furnished with a computer, fridge, and other appliances to make a small living area. I started by doing a quick design with Home Designer. There’s not a lot to this level, which makes it a great starting point and test bed for experimenting with the look of the game.

[The rough form of the level.]
The rough form of the level.
Click to view larger.

With the rough design in hand, I then fired up GTK Radiant to start doing the actual level building. At this point, the focus is just to get the form of the main architectural details done. The above screenshot is taken from the corner of the garage where the furnished area will ultimately go. To the left are the roughed in walls for the supply closet and to the right are the same for the bathroom. In the middle of the room is one of the racks described in the design. Once the rack has been properly textured, I’ll clone it in Radiant to make additional racks to help fill up the space of the garage. Finally, at the top of the garage are some support struts for the roof.

As can be seen, the garage is currently mostly a big box. However, that tends to be the case for most western world interior locations. In the future – between bouts of working on more technical programming tasks – I’ll texture the level and then begin adding in all the detailed items that will make it feel more like a real space rather than a mostly empty box. This will include things like light fixtures, spare tires, tools, boxes of supplies, and of course the furnishings for the furnished area. Keep an eye out for these updates through early 2017.