Questions I Always Ask Myself
What game mode do I want to go with?
Base UDK Experience (No mode – FPS camera)
What is the objective, the premise of the map?
Artistic Expressive Piece – illustrate vacancy of the digital world
What is the aesthetic going to be?
Scrolling code, holographic platforms, avant-guard materials that
create definable solid geometry – this will be consistent with the aesthetic of
What is the size of the map, will it support the flow/balance/gameplay?
The size of the environment will be fairly large, and will take the viewer roughly 10-15 minutes to complete. This is a purely interactive aesthetic experience, therefore there will be no defined gameplay involved. The flow will vary based on the sub-sections of the environment (for example, SPAM DISTRICT will be somewhat cluttered and confusing).
How will affordance play a role – is it already apparent in the game itself?
Affordance within this level is minimal, because everything is touch-based triggers, and there is only one switch (at the end of the experience). However, an individual walking throughout this environment will notice different materials for doors, and will be able to identify them.
What’s the spacial agency going to be like – crowded, or slightly congested or super open?
The spacial agency for this map will be considered ‘super open,’ to express the “Vacant lack”. There are long open platforms that guide the individual to different sub-sections of the environment. However, each section will vary slightly based on theme.
The topdown for this level is incredibly straightforward, because it does not involve dynamic gameplay, and most of the architecture of the level is static (except some InterpActors such as doors, and turrets). I wanted this piece to be simplistic, and easily guided. Therefore, the player works counter-clockwise around the focal point of the level (the server tower within the middle). This focal point makes it easy to identify where the player is, and where they are headed from district to district.
‘Bump Offset’ nodes for Material creation within UDK is not only vital to creating layered normal mapping for existing maps, but can be incredibly imperative to layering holographic images (such as panning code) to create depth. I actually found this out from experimenting, and by also watching a video of someone creating the green Matrix binary animated Material.
Having a pure black background for your base TGA textures is incredibly useful, and provides crisp and clean Materials using the ‘Alpha Composite’ mode for Material creation within UDK. In previous projects, I would always use an existing Alpha channel embedded in my base textures for Materials. I am not sure how this would affect real-world based textures, but it works incredibly well for holographic and font.
RECYCLING is your friend; yes it can be incredibly useful and help you to achieve multiple dynamic Materials within a day’s work. I actually recycled many of my base textures, and layered them in a multitude of ways to create a large quantity of Materials to be used within the level.