• Mike

MA Multiplayer Games Design: Researching Environments and Visuals

Well, well, well.


Is it time for more updates? ⌚ I guess it is! The title of this post pretty much sums up what I'll be writing about, but in case you've missed it - this is going to be about my research into environments (with some visual stuff on the side to go with it)!

 

Locations to Match the Gameplay


As the current plan is to go ahead with the British Bulldog idea, it means I need to set a tone for the arena in which the players will be playing in. Just like last time, I used Miro to help me gather and organise my thoughts about different types of locations which could be done. The most notable thing that came out of all this was that we want a bright, colourful arena that gives a sense of light-hearted fun.


Also worth noting that the same environment will probably become quite boring after prolonged play (considering we may have 20 players playing at once), so I'm thinking that the environment can change slightly every 2 rounds. The reason its 2 rounds is because the players would have crossed back and forth in that time, which also means that the players get some time to figure out the map. Changing between every round would make it hard to learn the lay of the land, which may make it anti-fun.


Since its hard to see, I'll zoom into the different sections and give a quick run down on my thoughts:


  • Beach

The beach struck as a potential environment early on since beach levels in games are (at least in my mind) some of the more memorable locations. They're always bright and colourful and are associated with a fun time thanks to the summer vibes they give off. Since the tide naturally creates and destroys pathways, this seemed like a promising setting to include a changing environment.


  • Takeshi's Castle / Total Wipeout

This is the other location which came to me alongside the beach. Although it might not be strictly a location, the idea of using the layouts of Total Wipeout courses or Takeshi's Castle ones seemed like it would be possible to be very creative without needing to be too restricted by the logic of the environment. A beach would need to have all the natural components (sand, waters, palm trees, etc.) but here, I can be wacky and make up the rules - much like how Fall Guys does for their levels.


  • Stadiums

This was technically the first thought I had before I wanted to explore different settings, but the obvious thing to think about is a stadium or a similar secured arena. The playground game is played on places which have a natural arena to them, like a small football field or a tennis court with the net down, so this would be a straightforward choice. I can look to add in changes that emerge from the floor, a bit like what happens in some Pokémon gyms in the TV show where the floor opens up to reveal unique terrain.


  • Ball / Play Parks

Since the idea is based on a childhood game, I tried to think of some childhood locations that may have potential, and this is one of the ones which sprung to mind. It ticks lots of boxes: its fun, its colourful, it has a nostalgic feeling to it, and its in a similar vein to the Total Wipeout one. We can include some "the floor is lava" elements by turning the balls in the ball pit into the lava, so any runners that fall in would have been "caught" and join the bulldogs.


  • Piratey

This one could be trickier to do but I think has promise. The thinking behind this is I can look to add a sense of adventure into the mix by setting it on an abandoned island with some pirate vibes. There can be weak bridges connecting segments of the level, abandoned buildings to try to weave your way through, and I can look to have features decay and become destroyed after prolonged use. Similar to how the water wheel breaks free from the church and sends the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean back to the shore.


  • Other / Non-specific

This is just a small collection of random ideas and thoughts that crossed my mind, but may be a little out there for this project. They come from different games that I've either played or heard of and draw inspiration from some of their gameplay elements or their level designs, but are not as fleshed out as the other environments that have been noted.


  • Low Poly

This one isn't a location or environment, but just an argument for using low-poly assets in the project. Low poly assets are often free and the good thing about them is that nearly all of them can work together, even if they are from different artists (well, more or less they can work together!). They also fit really well with the fun, light-hearted vibes that I would like to create!

 

Closing Thoughts


So yeeeaaaah, that's pretty much it! I'll be going through these ideas with my developer in the upcoming week and once we decided on which one seems like the best environment to work with. After that, I can start sketching out some rough level ideas on paper before going into Unity and boxing things out.


That covers this week, so thanks for reading, and catch ya next time - buh byyyeee! :)

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