Delaney King

Delaney King



Quick #gamedev tip continued on from here: We usually talk about games as having several "biomes".

Artists make all the assets for a biome, and the level designers build everything from that. This results, usually in a homogenised space that isn't interesting to explore. Once you have wandered for a few minutes, you basically "get it" and stop really finding the space fresh.

I found during my time on mmogs, that what made spaces explorable is hitting pockets that are distinct within the general theme. So what I started to do is set up biomes as a folder heriarchy, with zones as folders within. The rule is, you can use assets from parent folders...

But you should avoid using assets from two childs of the same parent. So you may have a "Dark Forest" biome folder, and within that "AncientGraveyard", "Swamp", "Shores", "Mountains" and "Dungeon". You won't find swamp assets near the shores, but you will find "dark forest"...

...assets through all. Dividing up your biomes into zones and zones within zones gives the player a sense that whatever is around the corner may be different, and not just the same things.

Even if you reuse assets like models and textures for all folders, the prefabs/blueprints you place in these folders are styled for that specific area. Again, it's a structural abstraction, and a guideline to level building or auto generation- not a solid rule.

So as your character enters the Dark Forest, they are introduced to the general themes of the biome, such as pine trees, ferns, no grass and darker blue rocks. As they move through the forest, areas start to bring in variations such as scorched trees and mushrooms...

Within the same biome, you find areas with stripped strees, rapid streams with salmon, bear caves and rounded rocks... then as you traverse it you come to a misty still area with large ferns, tall trees and woodpeckers. Further still, an ivy choked area with ancient ruins.

All the same biome, but you have a sense of travel and a sense of location.

I hope this helps. :)

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