This week, I learned that DVNC plans to apply for an Epic MegaGrant with MagiGunner, so finishing an MVP as soon as possible is our goal. So of course, this week was focused entirely on level and environment design for MagiGunner.
For the most part, I finished selecting and organizing assets from the pack that we are using. This took longer than I expected because I had to sift through many assets – taking into consideration which ones will be used for what level – but I think that doing this thoroughly was a good idea because having a solid foundation and a better understanding of the pieces that are going to be used will speed up the process later on, and leave less room for error and inconsistency.
Early in the week, I started out by working off of the drafted level that Vince gave me, experimenting with how the assets fit together and creating the starting room. But as I was doing that, we continued to iron out the design of the game and the direction that we want to go in, in terms of narrative and aesthetic. As we talked more and more the picture became clearer and we eventually reached a consensus, deciding on a story and how the environment will complement it. In light of this decision the scope of the project changed: we modified the gameplay loop, as well as the level/environment progression – having unique, linear levels instead of procedural, room-based levels like we originally intended. These unique levels will be Sewers, Catacombs, Prisons, Cathedral, and Courtyard.
The Sewers, being the first of the levels, was the one I designed this week. I spent half a day coming up with the sequence of areas within the level, as well as their rudimentary layouts. This was quite a fun challenge because when designing the level I had to keep in mind that we want to limit playtime to around 15 minutes, so I had to consider how long each type of area/room would take to complete, and based on that, how many of each type to have. I also have the constraint of what assets are available to me in the pack, which limits what I can come up with for room layouts moving forward.
Funnily enough, between all the levels we have planned, the only assets that are not included in the pack are dedica
ted sewer assets, so this first level will require the most creativity on my part. But despite all of that, I am excited to have the responsibility of level and environment design.
One thing I am particularly excited about is the boss room. Thus far, the levels and areas that I’ve created – even for other projects – don’t really compliment the gameplay. However, Vince told me that bosses in MagiGunner will be the kinds that have unique interactions with their environment, so I’m psyched to see what I can come up with!