Environment Planning

It’s time for me to wear an environment-design hat. Or at least get one fitted for my head.

I’ve just barely gotten up to speed with Unity, so I don’t have much gameplay code written for Awareon yet. We needed a sandbox to play within, so grey-boxing levels for testing has taken priority. Now that we have some roaming space, I’d like to make it pretty. I’m tired of staring at a grey grid.

Nelg is on a business trip to Vegas (the lucky sod). While he’s working so hard and Nin is knee-deep in animation training– I figured it would be a good time for me to dip back into Blender again and make some visual content. Objects. Textures. Materials. That sort of thing.

I’m not much of a 3D artist, but I can fake it. Becoming more comfortable with 3D software means I’ll have a better dialogue with the artists. Plus I hate not being able to do something with my own hands if I need to.

I have at least 4 distinctive styles for areas of our game, buried in my head. I can describe those to an artist (that’s worked well for characters so far), but my ideas for environments aren’t too complex, so I’d rather do a show-don’t-tell. Okay I’ll tell a bit.

Here are brief descriptions of 2 environment types I have in mind. Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to put up screenshots of these as I progress:

Industrial Engineering: The starting decks of the Norship that Char will wander through will be part of her _”home turf”._ She’s a robotics engineer, so these are decks with workshops and a general sense of construction and production. To convey that sense, I want to use wide support beams, thick metal girders and big pipes of plumbing leading off to who-knows-where. Bots will be the main NPCs in these areas, so there will be wide ramps (instead of stairs) and large floor areas. Variations of these areas will be run-down, with dripping rusted pipes and steam vents.

Greenhouse Security: Our Security / Caretaker faction performs both guard duties and vegetable production, so their areas will have a combination of security desks and greenhouses. Lots of glass and chrome, plus the glow of force-fields blocking key hallways. These guys are neat freaks, so everything is polished and clean, plus really well-lit. Some classic sci-fi corridors, because I just cannot resist that stuff, it makes me smile.

In level design, interesting geometric shapes help direct good flow. So I’m keeping that in mind while I work on these environment examples. My emphasis will not be on fine detail, but overall feel and appearance-at-a-glance.