We have some big changes going on inside Stage 3: Azaria's development. Today we'll tell you about the changes in the level design and the main objectives of the map, which are two of the most important aspects in the game. While we are changing our level design drastically, we believe it is for the best of the game; after all, it's you who are going to play it and we want you to have thousands of hours of fun with our games!
Let's begin by sharing information about the world of Stage 3, and the location where the battle takes place.
The universe of Stage 3 is composed of multiple families fighting for power and respect. Each one of these send their members to endure harsh training so they can become members of one of the following factions: Heiron Alliance, Viridian Resistance and Sanctum Order. Which are the main power holders in the continent. The families are recognized by the talent of their members, so the most respectful of them have very powerful members.
The Heorogan's family is the strongest in the kingdom and they possess a castle that is strategically positioned to gain advantage of the resources on their land. While controlling Azaria you will have to face Eolica Heorogan, whose army is composed of Heiron Alliance and Sanctum Order members, while trying to protect the castle's main gate.
The battle takes place in Heorogan's Castle territory and it's surrounded by giant floating islands that connect each other via magical artifacts. Before creating the art of the game we must make sure the level design has a new flow and the player finds it engaging. Let's take a look at some of the islands the player can explore.
This is a 3 layer island, with height differences, designed so the player can keep track of the lower levels of the island by going to the edges. It has multiple paths to the objective on the second layer, so enemies wont be that predictable from where they will come from and they will be able to adapt to obstacle spells.
Objectives are situated on the topmost layer with spawning knights on the lowest layer and wisps on every level. The cover has been placed on the first and second level so the player can fight on these areas better.
The second island has 2 entry points for knight enemies and keeps the objectives on the middle of the map. The player will need to go to the lower levels to secure a second objective, leaving the main objectives exposed to the topmost spawned enemies, keeping the player always moving on the map.
The main area is kept mostly symmetric but with some natural cover objects to make it interesting and fun.
A bridge island, it is used by the enemies to teleport between the main islands Has 3 entry/exit points and bridges that connect them, these bridges can be disabled by the player temporaly. Allowing the player to manage the waves of enemies coming at them. It has minimun cover and its not designed to be an area to fight enemies.
Modularity in art
While the game designers are focusing on making the game and levels fun, the art team is focused on trying to tell the story by creating the characters and how the world will look. At this stage, it is important to focus on modularity and the visual language that the models will translate to the player. Different forms and silhouettes give different feelings. For instance vertical lines give a sense of stability like the pillars of Greek columns or other architecture elements; while horizontal lines give a sense of peace, just like watching the ocean when there is a sunset.
When working on games, it is important to be as efficient as possible. You never know how the assets you create are going to be used in the game so the best you can do is to create pieces that by themselves don't make much impact but together can create something interesting. This is the beauty of creating worlds in games and it's where your creativity shines!
These are some of the pieces we are using to create architecture for Stage 3:
These simple pieces may seem that they won't do much impact in the world, but these are some of the combinations that can be made if used creatively:
As you can see, just by using six 3D models we can create a wide range of architectural elements. When these combined with the power of materials in Unreal Engine, the possibilities are endless! If you want to know more about how we are using materials to create art you can check our article here.
We hope you enjoyed reading the article and learned more about how we are creating our games! That's it for this week newsletter, there are more awesome content coming up soon so stay tuned. If you wish to ask anything about the game or about the development don't be shy and let us know by the comments below. Until next week!