Monthly Update – October
Welcome to Interactionman Monthly Updates!
What a month it’s been!
Rather than doing more level design ‘on paper’ as I thought I would this month, I couldn’t put it off any longer and dived right in to building the first full level for the game. I already had the design plan so I started right away modelling the whole thing in 3D. It’s quite daunting starting from a big empty document and turning it into a full 3D game level, but I started at the start, at the gates that exit the grounds of the mansion and off into the forest beyond!
It definitely helped a lot to have the 2D plan to kick things off, but as you might expect things did change and develop quite a bit as I started to build things out. I still have all the main elements and sub-areas in the map, but they are in a slightly different configuration now. Being able to run around the level with the character really helps to work out the fine details of how the map works, what the logical progression through the environment is and where to place each item and area. I’m trying to make sure there is either something to interact with, something to find, or some vista or other area of special interest in every part of the map so that there is as little ‘filler’ as possible and it doesn’t feel like you have to back track through lots of boring corridors.
Having got the level layout all done I started to decorate it a little with a few basic props just to give an impression of what each area is and then I modeled all the interactive props I will need for the level. So I have every object you can pick up, interact with in some way or that has some kind of function in the level and they’re all placed out around the level now. Next step will be to add all the gameplay to the objects and make stuff work so I can test it.
The other major thing that happened this month is that the character controller has been completely re-worked. I’ve been getting some help from my friend Rob Lynam (http://inmosystems.com/) with the coding side of things. I gave him my first draft of the character controller and he re-worked it to make it much more functional and responsive. It’s pretty great now, with variable walk/run speed, a much more responsive jump that allows for a little hop or a great big leap. We’ve also added crouch which means I can make some secret hidden areas that are a little harder to get to for all the explorers to find and it all works for both keyboard and gamepad. The character is still using standard animations that come with Unity for the moment, but I’ll get those replaced later.
So after all that text, how about a little video? I put together a small level using bits of the forest to demonstrate how the character controller works and a very basic look at how the game will function… and a great big spoiler for one of my favorite puzzles in the game so far! The level art is VERY basic at the moment, it’s just at the blockout stage so no textures or anything. It gives a reasonable impression of the location though and allows for testing which is the most important thing at this stage. No point spending a lot of time making everything look awesome and then finding out the level is boring and having to re-do whole sections. I ain’t got time for that!
I’ll probably post a better clip next month showing some more gameplay once it’s done, but I don’t like giving too many secrets away and showing spoilers for everything so it won’t be a full level walk through. Getting all the gameplay scripting done will probably take most of the coming month but if I get it all done sooner then I’ll either make a design for the remaining level, or crack on with building one of the ones already planned out. I really feel like I’m making the game now, even though I have been working on it for several months. Having a character and a level to run around in feels like a big jump forward and I can’t wait to get all the gameplay done and make more levels.
I’ll sign off with this photo from my recent research trip to the awesome Wallace Collection in London (http://www.wallacecollection.org/). Catch you next month!