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posted by Chimeray in this thread:

http://www.mapcore.org/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=17115

The subject is making a lay out for your map, thought it to be insightfull. :)

The goal is never to make a detailed blueprint, at least for me, I think in blocks, structure.

You marked the overall structure of the map quite well but detailed the town a little too much I think. It all depends on the stuff in your head though. If you've got no specific ideas then structuring a town on paper is a good exercise to get the creative juices flowing. Don't rely on it too much though cos it'll likely change quite a lot once it's in 3D.

Therefore I usually never detail every street/house more than neccesary cos it ends up being a waste of time. But like I said, if the idea was not yet in your head then drawing often helps you get ideas and visualize it.

On a random sidenote, sometimes I add moodboards to different areas, not always neccesary though.

I usually mark/scribble way more on the map than you do, I see almost no gameplay. But perhaps that's only because it's not for a specific game?

I'm thinking combat scenario's, progression (bridge that opens at a certain point in time for instance), puzzles, dragon here, ambush... That kind of stuff.

I take it it's meant to be somewhat open world-ish since it's an RPG? Even if it is a semi-open game then they often block certain paths to the next areas by a certain progression element, a key is missing, a troop of orcs is blocking the end of the road and you can't pass it until you finished Quest X. These are structurally very important. Right now I see a very isolated map, not tied into the game as a whole. I see no start, no end.

I also draw the player path if there is one, a sort of visual timeline so to speak. Depending on the structure of the game the player might have a quest that requires him to venture into this new area, towards the town for instance. That would be the start. The end is not marked either (going to the new area).

Ask yourself if this is ready to be shown to other people, this is a tool for yourself but more often than not you'll have to share it at design meetings, show it to your art director, ...

Is it missing key elements that are important for these parties?

As far as the actual layout is concerned I notice the player will have to use the same roads quite a lot, so you better plan for some shortcuts/interesting transitions or the experience will become quite stale. All this feedback is from a level designers point of view though, not sure how far you'll want to go with the concept since you're not actually gonna create the gameplay.

So it depends if you wanna treat it as a fictional "level" or rather as just an artsy area. Just my 2 cents ;)

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Hi folks! I'm looking for a website that has building references, not in the visual sense but structurally speaking... what different types of buildings consist of. A cross section if you will... For instance in a supermarket you have the shopping area (duh) but then what most people don't see unless you work there is the cooling areas, where they collect and store supplies, etc. An office building has ventilation maintenance thingies and other kinds of stuff you usually don't come in contact with...

I had a book when I was a kid that I found very interesting but that was more about exotic structures like a spaceship, submarine, etc...

The reason I'm asking this is because this is, at least for me, very valuable information. I mean, how many of you have been in a nuclear plant or even less special places and know what's behind that door, behind the scenes?

Definitely would be helpful for level designers. Not necessarily in the sense that we can make better authentic places (although important) but rather just to have more stuff to work with.

Knowledge is power! :)

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Hi folks! I'm looking for a website that has building references, not in the visual sense but structurally speaking... what different types of buildings consist of. A "vertical slice" if you will... For instance in a supermarket you have the shopping area (duh) but then what most people don't see unless you work there is the cooling areas, where they collect and store supplies, etc. An office building has ventilation maintenance thingies and other kinds of stuff you usually don't come in contact with...

I had a book when I was a kid that I found very interesting but that was more about exotic structures like a spaceship, submarine, etc...

The reason I'm asking this is because this is, at least for me, very valuable information. I mean, how many of you have been in a nuclear plant or even less special places and know what's behind that door, behind the scenes?

Definitely would be helpful for level designers. Not necessarily in the sense that we can make better authentic places (although important) but rather just to have more stuff to work with.

Knowledge is power! :)

I know exactly what you mean, I had books like those as a kid. I believe they were Dorling Kindersly books. They did a series on Star Wars stuff like this:

15%20Yavin%204%20Rebel%20Base.jpg

32%20Emporers%20Throne%20Room.jpg

AT-AT%20Cutaway.jpg

And some more here: http://www.stephenbiesty.co.uk/gallerie ... opter.html

However, I don't know of one for buildings in particular... Let me know if you find anything, I'd find that sort stuff fascinating.

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I mean, how many of you have been in a nuclear plant or even less special places and know what's behind that door, behind the scenes?

Due to the nature of my job I happen to come in a lot of places where most people never come. It's funny though, in some places I sometimes think "djeez, this could just as well be Half-Life or Quake or whatever in real life" :)

Here's an example:

575096_10150893864326100_586212479_n.jpg

What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that if you want to know something about a specific place you could ask me ... who knows maybe I've been to such a place already :) (as well as others). If possible I could provide pictures as well.

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I'm a rigger in telecom, so I often have to work in tall towers, (abandoned) factories, hospitals, churches, rooftops, airports, ...

I'll see if I can put up some more pictures for download :)

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Guys I'd like to ask a question here rather than start a new thread.

What are you views on 'copying' vs 'Inspired' from a level design point of view?

I'm not talking Zynga copying (that's just overkill). I'm talking rough layouts and perhaps settings or locations levels take place. For example I want to start a new small level design project. I'm no environment artist, So I often look to existing concept art or existing games for a setting or style. I like the design and architecture of the Citadel in Mass Effect, yet when I start looking at images, I feel like I'm just 'copying' what I see in both layout and visual terms, sometimes without realising it.

The positive response to Jean Pauls new TF2 map based on Avalanche has got me thinking how many other level designers do this. Do you believe this is evidence of lack of imagination or skill within a level designer, or is actually showing their ability to use others work to influence their own for a better result, thus showing skill?

Are these feelings of 'copying' actually inspiration?

Cheers

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though i would never tell anyone it's a must in learning how to make things, copying can be a useful tool for a novice to force oneself into speaking a language they don't yet understand, but do have the ability to mimic. it would be the goal with that intimate experience to then come to understand things over time and in hindsight (often without even being immediately conscious of it)... and use that and your other experience as an integrated body of information when confronting future design problems--and otherwise leave mimicry behind. no idea comes out of the void. it is always related to other ideas from other people. figure out how far you need to go to understand them and don't be afraid to use others' ideas along the way as long its in the name of ultimately adding to those ideas (or chipping away at them, as the case may be).

some people come into a situation with the ability to understand a design language on sight, and therefor could rightly skip the copying phase and go right to integrating, compartmentalizing, or co-opting it (or whatever you want to call it). just depends what you have a knack for in the first place, i guess.

the true punch to all of this, and let's say it's a portfolio question in this case, is to move on from a copied scene into one that demonstrates how you've fused that idea with your own innate intelligence about things. the best work is work in which you can read solid and knowing reference to the language(s) being employed, because they're part of a bigger contemporary and historical conversation about things.

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