Weekly Dev Diary #6 - Environmental tile system

Hello to all in the Deicides network,

I am environment artist at Hardwired and you can find me at our Discord channel as PBY. 

EVERY BEGINNING IS DIFICULT

 

It was 1995 when I encountered 3D software for the first time. I was amazed by what Imagine 3d and Lightwave could do.

I spent all my time and effort seeking to learn and practice 3D techniques. We were just a kids but it did not stop me from sharing my experience with my classmate Lukas (LKR). We spent a lot of time tinkering with code and graphics on old platforms like the Atari 800 and Amiga 500+.

Time flew by and with all the ignorance of naive kids we ended up forming a video game company. With a lack of experience and real commitment it ended as soon as it started, but we already had a taste of game development.

Much has changed over the years; life stepped in the way of my dream to make a living as a CG Artist and I moved into IT System Administration. Those were dark years...

Eventually the light came back and I returned to CG, initially as a hobbyist, and then as a professional in subsequent years. So life has come full circle, and myself and Lukas are working together again, on a project I myself would love to play.

TILE SYSTEM

 

We know that randomly generated maps are one of the "core pillars" of great action RPGs, so before we even started we did extensive research into how other games handle this. Our main goal is to balance randomly generated content and hand crafted areas. We don't want the maps to look too random with lack of style and control, but likewise don't want them to be too streamlined.

It’s no secret that Diablo (though it’s slightly older now) is one of the greatest games regarding style and polish. I really like how Ed Hanes explained their dungeon level design in the video below. It pointed us in the right direction when approaching environment creation.

We are creating a tile based system for building the environment. We will need at least 16 basic tiles for each environment kit and this should give us freedom to connect any given tile with others, when setting up a level:

pavel_tiles.jpg

 

More variations of each tile will give us more room to play and generate environments which look handcrafted but are also randomly generated.

Once all templates are ready we can start generating levels and see how it feels to walk around them, so we can adjust things before the main work on environments is done.

The next step is to work on complexity, add height differences for rooms and platforms and break square pattern of rooms and corridors, etc. when all of this is finished, I will start to populate white box tiles with walls and floors, as shown in the examples below.

 all assets are work in progress images.

all assets are work in progress images.

If you will have any questions, I am at our discord channel most of the time.

Thanks for reading and see you next time,

 

-PBY