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Little Lizard Studios - Week 5 and 6: QA and Levels

Last week, I was unable to get a chance to do my blog post, so this is a blog post of my last two weeks.

So first, let's start with week 5.

To start off, I decided that level 1's nest placement was too easy and the area of level 1 was very flat. And so, I decided to do two main things - mess with nest placement to make it more challenging and add some areas of different elevation for the player to traverse.

Level 1 area update

And so, as seen above, I made a lounge in the back area, and placed a nest behind a pane of decorative glass, forcing the player to go into a tighter space to destroy the nest. This opposes several of the other nests that are in more open areas and can be taken out from afar and proves as another challenge.

I also added some areas like the two on the left and right there. They are small changes in elevation to make the area generally more interesting to traverse without breaking up gameplay much, instead functioning as decorative changes in elevation more than anything.

I also finished an update with level 1 assets, which meant replacing the last of the old assets with new ones. Now, level 1 is completely updated, and only needs to be updated based on QA results.

Level 1 with updated assets

I then edited level 2 to try to make the area flow better and be more interesting. Before, the areas were fairly flat, so I decided to add some more small verticality.

Back left side of level 2

I first started with the bottom lounge area seen in the picture above. I did similar to what I did in Level 1 with having it function as more decorative as opposed to changing gameplay much.

I then created the top lounge area as well and gave it a bit more functionality. The elevated nest makes it easier to destroy from a longer range, as opposed to the other nests in the level that you have to be closer to to destroy. On top of that, the height of the area allows the player to see most of the rest of the map, including where all the enemies can come from. However, the player would still be backed up to a wall, so it doesn't provide as too strong of an advantage, nor is it a place the player can remain for long.

Update on dining lounge in level 3

I also edited this small dining lounge to make it a bit more interesting. Before, it was just rows of tables and chairs, and felt a lot more stiff than the rest of the environment. So, I iterated upon it and changed the area to make it more interesting.

Stage and dance floor in level 3

I then also added some details to the walls with the long orange and red trim along the walls. The colors of the trim corresponds to different areas in the level so that they can be even more differentiated from each other and feel like truly unique areas within the top floor of the level. It also breaks up the tall black walls of the perimeter of the area a bit better so it's more interesting to look at.

And, on top of it all, I made the corruption a bit less organic based on feedback, to better juxtapose it with the organic environment.

Lastly, we did some QA on the levels. I've received good feedback in that the areas seem good to traverse now. However, level 1 has proved to be more difficult than level 2. It seems to be due to how much smaller the level is overall, making it so the player has less area to run away. And so, I'm going to be messing with some of the nests primarily to not overwhelm the player as much.

And now onto week 6!

For the time being, while we are trying to get things into Alpha, I am focusing on creating new levels. I want the basis of all 5 levels we are creating to be in by Alpha, so that from there I can just work off of them and we have a fairly good feel of what all the levels will look like, feel like, and play like.

And so, rather than polish and finish the second level, I focused almost completely on level 3.

When creating level 3, the first thing I wanted to work on was the centerpiece to the map - the stage and dance floor.

Level 3 dance floor and stage

I started with this for a few reasons. One reason was because I was just inspired from reference images I was looking at. In level 1 and 2, the dance floors were fairly bland, with them just being squares in front of a stage.

Reference Image of a fancy dance floor

The odd shape and surroundings of this dance floor seemed really interesting to me, and so I built off of it with the meshes we have available. I also wanted to create an interesting stage, as opposed to the rhombus-shaped ones I've created so far, and I wanted it to be part of the centerpiece and draw the player's eyes even more than the dance floor itself.

Entrance view of an updated level 3

By having the stage be near the center of the player's view, elevating it, and making it grand, the stage will hopefully draw the player's view right off the bat and create an awe moment when the player enters the level.

After creating this centerpiece, I focused on then making this more of a level. I wanted to vary this area as well to make it truly different than the prior levels as well. So, rather than creating one floor on top of another floor, I wanted to create multiple floors at different elevations to put the focus on verticality.

View of the multiple floors of level 3

And that brought me to the current state of this stage, which is still being updated and iterated upon. I want to focus on multiple paths of movement to traverse the area, so that it still feels like a fairly open environment even with the multiple levels. I don't want the player to feel like they have to follow a linear path to get from one place to another, which they still have to in this current version, but that will be changed.

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