Core Decay level design update #3

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s about time for a new update on Core Decay. First of all I want to apologize for the lack of updates. In the last few weeks I have been very busy setting up a number of scenarios for a brand new Core Decay trailer.

One of the scenario’s for the new Core Decay trailer I’ve been working on

Making use of various concept art

In this update I want to talk mainly about the progress of the Blacksite map and the importance and use of good concept art to create new areas. I’ll explain the reason why concept art is so important to me and which concepts I specifically rely on to help me bring Blacksite to life.

Mapper’s block

Anyone who has ever ventured into the world of level design undoubtedly dealt with the so-called “mappers block” at some point. I used to experience that regularly when I still had to release my first levels. It’s only during the last two years or so that I really started looking for ways to avoid this. If you are someone who, like me, likes to live stream his level design sessions, you can’t really afford a mapper’s block because if you suddenly have to start thinking about what you want to do during your live stream, it can become dull pretty fast..

I am sure that the real pros may have other and better ways to avoid this and I certainly do not want to claim that this method is the best but I do know that this works well enough for me to successfully complete my maps.

Movies & games

When I have a specific theme for a map in mind, I first try to search for concept art about the map’s main theme. In the case of Blacksite I mainly searched for terms such as prison concept art, cyberpunk prison and futuristic holding cells to name a few.

Some ideas based on the gritty and dark prison environment found in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

I also heavily rely on films and games that feature similar locations or buildings. Given the heavy rainfall on Blacksite, I partially based certain areas on a real classic: Aliens. Since Blacksite is a combination between a facility where dark experiments take place and where test subjects are being detained, I also looked at a game of which a large part takes place in a dark and gritty prison environment. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay immediately occurred to me. Of course I don’t want to make exact copies of the locations you find in these films or games but I do base my designs loosely on some screenshots or images that I know would fit into my world somehow.

The rainy setting would fit perfectly with the landing on LV-426 in the Aliens movie

I have experienced that this is really a method that works for me and although this is probably nothing new for the more experienced level designers, I still hope that this article has been somewhat helpful for people that just want to start out making levels and get plagued by the dreaded mappers block.

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