The fifth assignment of the CGMA Level Design course which spanned weeks 5 and 6 and focus on Spatial Composition and Cognitive Mapping.
Week 5: Create the loose framework of an old West mountain ghost town. Leave some room for surrounding gameplay spaces. Focusing on a single spatial cluster within the town, and model it out. Create as much detail as you think you need in order to express your ideas.
Week 6: Continue work on the level started in Week 5’s assignment. Add several more “districts” with their own distinct identities. Articulate the edge boundaries and paths that connect them. Be aware of the node network across your level and use it to set up image compositions that inform the player’s mental map of the space, and inspire player action. Each major space should have local or immediate focal points, but also line up views of more distant landmarks.
1. Identity and Purpose of the space(s).
2. Hierarchy of Spatial Dominance and Identity.
3. Structural Rules of the Space.
4. Entry image composition and spatial directive 5. Focus elements – near, far, and immediate.
– Medium-sized level.
– Made in Unity Engine with ProBuilder and Maya
– 2 weeks to make it from scratch.
Controls are as follows:
- Player can run (shift)
- Jump (spacebar)
- Vaulting over waist-high obstacles when pressing forward “W” and jump “space bar”
Designing the Level
Before starting the blockout I gathered as much reference as I could to give me a greater understanding of how I wanted the layout to look and feel.
In week 5, we discussed how landmarks are used to guide a player through a level. Landmarks can be divided into different types:
1. Distant landmarks, also called “weenies”.
2. Local landmarks, or immediate landmarks.
For this level, I have used the statue, the fountain and the coloured banners as local landmarks helping the player to build a mental map of the different districts. While the church, waterfall, tower and Manor style building acting as weenies, guiding the player to the different areas and effectually the main goal.
Environment storytelling – Placement of Assets
The inspiration for the narrative for this level came from Uncharted 4’s Libertalia. The town has become a ghost town as a result of the people in charge taking all of the money for themselves. As a result of this coursed the people living there rebelled and a bloody battle happened. Through assets placement, in the level, I have created moments of narrative to encourage the player to continue to explore the area and help the player to form a history of the place by asking the question “what happened here?”.
Spatial Composition and Cognitive Mapping
Spatial Composition and Cognitive Mapping were the main focus of this assignment. A level is a story and we had to consider the narrative structure of the space when designing it. The spaces had to be interesting to explore and inform the player’s mental map of the space and inspire player action. To allow for the player to build a mental map of the space each major space or zone needed to have local or immediate focal points, as well as also having views of more distant landmarks. I have laid the town out so that the level utilising their existing knowledge of how towns are laid out and the environment makes logical sense with a main social and shopping area in the centre and the housing districts around the outside. I split the housing areas up by wealth as well as creating an area that can be interpreted as a military barracks.