It’s been a while since my last update, but my floating prison has been looming all the while. I’ve made a number of changes, all of which has pushed the design forward considerably.
The aim of the most recent changes is to get the first room into a state where it is, in a first draft state, complete. That way I can copy it twice to make the other two rooms of my three room level. Each will serve as an identical base which can be tweaked to fit the tone of the game and the narrative, as required.
First off, this meant upgrading the textures and and lighting. In a prison it would make sense that each section of the building be constructed in the same way, with the same materials, so covering each wall was just a matter of choosing a believable texture for a floating building. You can’t overstate the feel good moment that comes after the last blue and grey polygon has disappeared from your draft!
I’ve also added some textures to the outside of the building. I’m anticipating doing at least one of following: an intro matinee, an end of level matinee or some kind of big finish where the player exits the level by getting onto the roof of the level and escaping in some way. This means that, from the start, I need to be thinking of ways that I can facilitate these ideas in the way I build the architecture of the level. At the moment, it’s plain and uninteresting. It is, however, ready to be built upon.
I’ve included the picture below for two reasons. Firstly, I love the effect of the directional light as it shines through the frame of the skylight. It forms the basis of the atmosphere I want to create and has looked, from the first instant, just how I visualised it.
Secondly, notice the green light. The first room of the level is reasonably open plan, with very little to force the player in a particular direction. I do want to offer the player some direction and guidance, so I will be using green (lights, static meshes, particles etc) in my level to indicate points of interests and to covertly control the route the player takes. Once this is in place, I can offer the player things to look at (short matinees, etc) to give the world a sense of life.
I wanted to include the below angle because it shows that I’m concerned about the level being believable (as opposed to realistic). The level implies a sci-fi setting, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be believable. The flame particles coming from the bottom are engines of some sort, which explains how the prison being levitated above the city.
As I say, the next step is making two further copies of this room, placing each in its own level which can be loaded in and out with Kismet. Then, using this template, I can change each room (probably quite dramatically) to show the progress of the narrative. Before that can be done, I’ll have to include the basic scripting to make the level navigable, broadly “working” and bug free. Then it will be back to the pen and pencil, drawing out the perfect route through the level before putting in place ways to guide the player through that route.