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Project Update 1.0: Title Unknown
Goals, Process Observations and Level Schematics


This will be the first in hopefully a very long series of updates detailing my progression through a personal game design project from absolute nothing to completion. This initial update will focus on an early technical concept piece and related notes as well as outline my current process, plans for the future and observations of what I’ve learned while getting to this point.

Initial Concept

Since graduating from college a few years ago and moving into the workforce, I have in my off-time been attending game developer interest groups, meetups and conferences while further educating myself to both design and business methodologies within the game industry; Alongside this, I have been slowly creating a detailed design document while I concept a new multiplayer first-person shooter independent project and intend to incorporate what I have learned and what I am continuing to learn along the way into it’s design and production. Having felt I’ve spent more than enough time planning I feel I am ready to begin initial detail concept work an as such am creating this blog to document and archive the process.

Level Schematic: A Work-In-Progress

Now that I’ve outlined my goals, creative direction and process methods I’ve decided to first thing I need to create is a technical schematic or blueprint of the first prototype level in my game world which I will then use to create the initial blocking for the level in a game engine. My initial design plan for this level is to utilize key areas within on map to define and control player movement throughout the level as part of a progression mechanic: i.e. specific starting zones (pre-engagement area/spawn), progression zones (control areas/flags) and primary object/secondary objective zones. Each progression zone I have denoted as a numbered control area counting from 1-on from an attacking players perspective. Each control area breaks down into multiple sub-control areas, their layout and number determined by the flow of the level design.

Each control area will have a unique layout and artistic style from one-another while maintaining believable story cohesion; This is to say that each control area will play to different strategies and tactics for the player while borrowing specific elements from one another that are unique that level. My initial concept consists of 1 pre-engagement area, 3 successive primary control areas and their individual sub-control areas followed by a final objective. As it stands my schematic uses color to differentiate sub-control areas vertically, and upon labeling will include a key to better understand key points and identifying features within the schematic.

I’ve included some rough schematics from my journal for posterity and documentation, in them you can see small notes and basic abstract design methods I’ve used. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of my design work is done on paper, which has allowed me to write and draw new ideas at any time of the day wherever I am quickly and messily which I absolutely suggest to anyone pursuing similar efforts.

Observations

Many people will tell you to just get to work, that spending too much time on your concept design or writing in the beginning can ultimately stifle your productivity, I feel however that spending ample time, when you have it, to thoroughly outline your project goals and design documentation allow you a much smoother road ahead. Admittedly I have taken quite some time creatively to get to a point where I feel I can be constantly productive day-to-day instead of just iterating and reiterating the same designs over and over, but that for myself at least I feel is just part of learning to be productive and finding the motivation to do so. Schedules, for me have been a huge help, knowing exactly when I have time to create, document or blog allows me to properly budget my time for other tasks and increases my day-to-day productivity which in-turn makes me a happier, healthier person knowing that I am capable of sticking to something from beginning to end; But only time will tell whether or not this remains the case for the next year or more with this particular project.

Further Progress

Next week I hope to be able to finish this first control area and establish a labeling methodology for this and future schematics for both myself and anyone that might care to actually understand what they’re seeing. Also I will try and flesh out my blog formatting protocols and techniques so I can more accurately and attractively portray these updates as well as hopefully incorporate additional social networking options to further advertise these efforts. It is my plan to make these updates every Sunday evening, however I anticipate this will change as I flesh out my process.

I hope whoever comes across these updates will keep checking-in, any feedback you might have can be directed to my contact page which is sent directly to me or feel free to post a comment below.

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