Flight – Game Design Diary
Here is a little illustration from our original game design document. We had the concept that the player would have to fly up into the clouds to be able to recharge their life force. We wanted to have a layer of clouds that the player would have to fly into, but anything beyond that we weren’t sure.
A few weeks later I had this idea that wasn’t letting me go to sleep so I wrote it down in my sketchbook. I was going to create a skybox within a skybox, cutting a whole in the top that could be plugged with a bunch of cloud particles.
This is in the sky in the side view in Unity.
And the final sky in game.
As a part of gameplay we have the height for healing set at the bottom of the clouds. So it didn’t become necessary for the player to break the boundary and experience the sky. It was only the the few players who thought that there might be something more above the clouds that dared to venture higher. When you reach that height you lose perspective of the ground and your objectives below and you can just fly without worrying.
From working with the PuzzleBloom transition effect in the alpha build I knew that we were going to need the final designed level to be a field of many separate meshes. So before I could start on sculpting the level I would need to create a system for dividing the mesh that wouldn’t make me go crazy separating. I sketched this hex grid after looking at Civilization 5, which I think gave the map an interesting organic versus inorganic feeling that would work for the world we were creating. It’s a good structure seen in many strategy games and your local honey producers.
I first made a hexagon.
Which I then turned into this parallelogram. This would be the size of the final level.
This shape was important because then I could apply the multi-res subdivide modifier to make it ready to sculpt in Blender. It made me a whole lot of hexagons that I could base my mesh layout on.
Here is the level after I have finished sculpting it. I wanted to get the big round hills that are seen in the Nightmare Before Christmas. I figured the undulating surface would make it fun for the player to have to navigate over while flying close to the ground. I imagined little forests on the top of a lot of the big hills.
After the sculpting was finished I modelled the all important spiral hill. You can see all the hexes that will make it “easy” (read monotonous) to break up meshes.
At first I decided to group seven hexes together to form a little honeycomb pattern. It seemed like a good idea but then I realized it left me with over 500 separate meshes. 500 meshes that I was going to have to work with individually in Unity.
Not wanting to spend my life working on this one level I grouped three honeycombs together and brought the number down to 155.
Got a friend to work on the music for us, here’s a sample of what we have, he’s just working on making it longer and loopable right now, I’ll send the full track over to you guys or put it in the drop box when it is done : )
It’s got the whole creepy tim burton music box tune to it, and the wind sounds in the background i think really add to the effect since this is a game about flying.