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Rodolink

Big open area level design tips

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Hi, I'm currently making a level design of an open area that leads to three separate paths imagine the corners of a triangle and the player starts at the center, so the idea is the center to be a kind of desert like space, I added three main interest points leading to those 3 paths, and there will be a sign pointing towards them as well. But still the area feels a little boring while walking since there isn't much variation, (like  a flat land desert surrounded by mountains). 

Sorry for the lengthy intro, is there any suggestions on how to make it interesting? the interactive experience, doesnt have a combat system, just walking, so I'm looking for any suggestions on how to make open areas more interesting, without cluttering the view and without taking away the feeling of openess. 

Also the player's movement is very slow like in Everybody's gone to the Rapture, and it has a sprint action as well. But speeding up player's movement is my last resort though.

 

 

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Hi! Interesting question.

16 hours ago, Rodolink said:

Hi, I'm currently making a level design of an open area that leads to three separate paths imagine the corners of a triangle and the player starts at the center, so the idea is the center to be a kind of desert like space, I added three main interest points leading to those 3 paths, and there will be a sign pointing towards them as well. But still the area feels a little boring while walking since there isn't much variation, (like  a flat land desert surrounded by mountains). 

So the only available mechanic/interaction to the player is slow walking and you are asking how to make the experience more interesting through changes to the level, yes? hmm...is your choice of layout really the best option in this case? Will the player have to keep backtracking to the center or can they go directly from POI A to B to C?  Does the terrain really need to be flat everywhere? As you said, it is pretty boring if you can see everything from where you stand in the center and limits your options on how to shape the terrain to guide the player. Watch this (18:15m): 

Will there be any structures (man-made or natural) along the way? Think about what kind of bread crumbs you could place to pull the player towards the POIs. Clem's article 'push & pull' might be useful reading for you: http://www.clement-melendez.com/portfolio/articles/push-pull/introduction/(

16 hours ago, Rodolink said:

Sorry for the lengthy intro, is there any suggestions on how to make it interesting? the interactive experience, doesnt have a combat system, just walking, so I'm looking for any suggestions on how to make open areas more interesting, without cluttering the view and without taking away the feeling of openess. 

Ravines or dried out riverbeds maybe?

Screenshots of the WIP level or layout sketches would be useful!

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Thanks, great feedback, actually I started reading Melendez article yesterday. I like that idea of placing "breadcrumbs" here and there in between the points of interest.

So here's my layout, the big circles show the areas where the player has to go, or eventually discover, by following the POIs , one is a hill with a temple on top, then is a "weird" rock structure that leads to a beach, and the third is a forest area, the player starts at the center in what is intended to be the "desert". Right now it looks flat, but maybe adding some big dunes or hills to occlude the view towards the rock structure, could work (I'm gonna try that). 

The terrain doesn't have to be flat, I just thought that being flat could help accentuate the POIs. And yes ideally the player will go back to that area at least 3 times, each time she goes to the big circles.

image.png.085c6b617e790b5c81a11b803e72403c.png

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I'm no professional designer, but from my gaming experience, I would suggest to use the idea of the triangle and place the player at one of the vertices.
Even better, think of a cone, and the player is at the bottom, I think that having something behind the player is probably counter productive.
A possible "fix" to this solution you have could be spawning the player closer to one of the PoI, and if the tech allows to spawn randomly each game [near a point].
But even with these adjustments, backtracking without means of doing it fast might be working against your experience.

So here's a quick representation of what I mean: v1 is your current design, v2 a simple variant, v3 my ideal case (blue line a potential basic path), where player potentially sees all the point of interest and should be drawn to them. Should also reduce the amount building you have to do, maybe can use some trick of limiting the area and use skybox, unreachable areas to be able to keep details to minimum, etc

sandbox-diagram.png.9cb9b519e7b3a57aacd9003cbcfdf0b9.png

 

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Underground caves

Puzzles

Bridges

Rivers

 

Look at Farcry games and take references there.

 

Anyway, you're doing it wrong, the level must be shaped around a story and not the other way around.

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13 hours ago, FrieChamp said:

giphy.webp

 

Well yeah really, I mean that's not the way I see how LD should be done, but I guess that's the standards nowadays, let's just put a player in a big open area, put some barns here and there just to fill the thing and call it done.

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