More Magigunner this week! Or Spellshot, rather. During the week we decided – considering the new, darker approach we’re taking with atmosphere and story of the game – that Magigunner felt a little too light-hearted. We brainstormed a few new names and voted on our favorite ones – Spellshot happened to be one of mine!
This whole week was almost entirely dedicated to getting the base layout of the Sewer level complete. Up till about Tuesday, I was going about it by creating each room to completion before moving to the next. But because Nick and Vince decided that they’re going to bring Spellshot to game conferences that are happening before the end of the 90-day challenge, all deadlines (including my own) were pushed up. So, halfway through the week I changed my approach to the ‘pass method’ (not sure what the actual term is): instead of fully completing one room before moving on to the next, I create the absolute minimum for all rooms then go back and do multiple ‘passes’ through the level, making necessary changes along the way. A ‘pass’ is loosely defined (by myself) as when you go through the entire level and only add one type of thing where applicable. You go through the level and complete the pass, before going back to the beginning and doing another pass of another type of thing. For example: At the end of last week I completed the base pass, where I added just the floors and walls for each of the rooms. On Monday, I will start a ceiling pass, where I add ceilings to all the rooms. Once I’m done with that, I move on to a structure pass, where I’ll add all the pillars and railings. I’ll probably have done multiple passes before the level is done! There’s a lot to add: environment effects, lights, and decoration – to name a few, and these will probably require sub-passes because they’re pretty big categories.
The ‘pass method’ is probably the normal way of doing level creation in game development, most likely because it allows for iteration and constant improvement to the design of the level. It’s especially fitting to Spellshot and our close deadlines because it means the full layout of the level is completed very early. My previously mentioned approach of completing each room before moving onto the next – while being good practice for getting familiar with the different pieces in the asset pack, and allowing me to get a glimpse of the final aesthetic of the rooms early on – was relatively slow. This not only affected my progress but indirectly caused a roadblock for Vince, who needed the full layout of the level complete to start implementing game systems and mechanics.
Aside from level creation and changing the name of the project, another significant thing I did this week was setting up the music for Spellshot. Being an indie company with a smaller budget and network, we have to rely on personal contacts much more than larger companies do. That’s why I am lucky to have a brother who is a professional musician! I showed his game music portfolio and a few of his songs to the guys at DVNC, who liked it very much. We signed him on, and are currently waiting for a sample of the Sewer track! Stay tuned!