Learning to Blockout

Painting with Shapes

For our first assignment, we based the opening composition on a painting by Henri Matisse. The impressionist style helped us grasp the concept of using blocks/simple geometry like brush strokes in a painting. Goals:

  • point of interest in the opening frame
  • paint with shapes
  • give identity to the space

The Narrative

After a barrage of cannon fire, enemy ships approach the shore. The player must get to the town hall to help the townspeople protect their island.


Focusing the Player

This time the goal was to lay out the starting position of the camera by creating a composition that presents multiple options for the player. Goals:

  • create a point of view composition
  • canyon environment for inspiration
  • focal points should demonstrate potential gameplay options for the player

The Narrative

In search of his missing friend, the lone hero tracks a group of bandits to a deserted canyon town. Upon arrival, the hero finds his friend’s hat on a spike and the silhouette of a body hanging in the distance.

The white hat on the spear and the body hanging in the distance set up a mystery for the player. The jagged rocks framed under the bridge provoke a sense of danger. The arches in the mid-ground provide a couple of options for the player to explore. But not before descending into an occluded space that makes the path ahead less certain.

Mapping Districts

One of the more challenging assignments during the Level Design course was to create a small town with unique districts. Figuring out how all the spaces connect and giving each space its unique identity is something I really enjoy. I wanted to make each district feel different not only through visual methods but with the gameplay as well.

The main districts include the mining site, commerce, lower-class residential, upper-class residential, the church, and the fort.

Risk vs Reward

This level contains 15 coins for the player to find. My goal was to find a good balance between risk and reward. Using traversal as my main mechanic, I hid coins throughout my map in places that the player would suspect to find a coin. At this point in the course, I was also trying to incorporate previous lessons, making it a priority to have a strong identity for each space and to create compelling compositions.