A Brief Overview of Environment Design

I thought I’d not say too much and rather show a bit of the environment creation process.

This is the production phase, so preceding this there has been a lot of concept and story/world development.

Image 1

Image 1: In cooperation with the level designers, we talk about the purpose of this part of the level. This is where our main character lives, so the placement of her house is important in order to show her place in the world. I therefore end up with the preliminary sketch in the bottom right (her door is the little one atop the small flight of stairs - not the big gate).

Image 2: Here I go about fleshing out the space and getting a feel for the spaces and shapes I want to employ.

Image 3: Now I make the finished assets in monochrome line art. At this stage they have - more or less - the exact dimensions I think I need. These then get put into our game level in Unity, so I can walk about them with the main character, Anne, to get a sense of the final space and its relationship with her. But they contain many different elements in the same layer, and for that reason are way too large and take up too much memory. For instance, this image is only four layers in total.

Image 4: When I feel confident in the spaces and shapes relative to Anne, I begin dissecting the line art assets into smaller pieces. If an element is repeated (like in the lower walls and stairs) I will only render one section and then later, in Unity, copy it out to recreate the whole. When the dissection is done, I take all the newly created assets, paint them properly, and try to recreate the space I made with the larger line art assets.

Image 5: This is a screenshot of the “finished” level. Now comes the implementation of the actual game bits.

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