Friday, October 16, 2009

Creating Internal Environments: Part 2 Catacombs

Detailed Catacombs

In "Creating Internal Environments: Part 1" I discussed how I developed all of the parts to make my Catacombs for my game "Lost Kingdom". Now its time to put everything together! First I had to make sure all of my parts fit together seamlessly and looked good. Fortunately all it took was five walls and one pillar repeated over and over.

Catacomb Wall Pieces

I also had to make a bunch of caskets to fit in the walls and to scatter around. The idea is that a necromancer took over the city's catacombs and made a big mess wile creating a legion of undead. So some of the caskets are broken or opened.

Big Mess of Caskets

With all of the pieces and major decor finished, I had to make the level out of all of it. First I put all of the walls up where I wanted them and then put the floor in. The floor is just a block underneath each room. It took a long time to find a good texture to put on the floor. Nothing seemed to go with the walls and decor, so I severely modified a decorative floor I had hiding away in my texture collection. Gimp did wonders with it and with color correction and contrast enhancement I had the floor that I wanted.

Catacomb Walls and Floor

With the level layout done, I had to put in more detail like all of the caskets that need to go into a crypt. I have more stuff to put in such as lights, candles, and dead bodies. But those are not done yet and the bodies may not be put into the level until I am ready to put in the monsters.

Catacomb with Caskets

Filling the level with caskets took about five hours. Some are pulled out of the walls and some are broken all over the floor. Im quite happy with their arrangement, some of the rooms are such a mess that a player would walk in and go "OMGWTF happened here? And where are all of the bodies!?!" And then run around the next corner and get swarmed with zombies and skeletons.

A Big Mess of coffins!

It looks like something out of a Silent Hill game. Extremely creepy and satisfyingly dark natured. What will really set it off is proper lighting and some good creepy sounds and music! Another thing I will likely look into is making some blood to splatter on the floors and walls. I also need to place the light fixtures and candles around the level, but I will do that in IRREdit.

Wings3D is spitting and sputtering trying to cope with the size and complexity of this level. It has 211,888 polygons when it is triangulated and this is only two thirds of the level. You won't have to worry about that being high in the game though, IRRLICHT can handle that like its nothing. The last third of the level I will have to make in its own load cell, fortunately this layout makes it easy for me to do that. Once you have completed the first part of the level and have found the key, just find the right door and enter the second part of the level.

This is the first time I have made an internal environment and there are a few things to remember when making one. Scope is important. I would love to make a HUGE level completely full of details, however I don't want to spend a month on one area. When I do make a gigantic level I will use simpler pieces where I don't have to go back and put caskets in every wall recess. The more you componentize things, the quicker and easier the level will be to make. If you have an entire room completely predone it is easy to copy it and paste it somewhere else, then mess around with the decor or replace one wall to make it look different. And lastly keeping the polygon count of all of your objects low allows the level to load quicker and your 3D Editor will have less of a problem handling all of the geometry.