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The Modular Level
Design of Fallout 4
Joel Burgess & Nate Purkeypile
Bethesda Game Studios
Modular Kits 101
We’re Doing a Sequel!
● Original Talk: 2013 @ LD in a Day
● We’ll show URL on the end slide
● Today’s Talk:
● Recap Core I...
Who We Are
● Nate Purkeypile
● Environment Artist
●The tall one
● Joel Burgess
● Level Design
●The one talking right now (...
plus
DLC
plus
DLC
plus
DLC
Bloodrayne
2
Aeon Flux Metroid
Prime 3:
Corruption
TESIV:
Oblivion
Fallout 3 Skyrim Fallout 4
S...
Bloodrayne
2
Aeon Flux Metroid
Prime 3:
Corruption
TESIV:
Oblivion
Fallout 3 Skyrim Fallout 4
Shivering
Isles
Mehrunes
Raz...
Who We Are
● BGS as a studio
Technique
Context
Process
Studio & Game
Goals
Culture
Values
Priorities
What Came Before
Daggerfall (1996)
Morrowind (2002)
Bloodrayne 2 (2004)
Bloodrayne 2 (2004)
Oblivion (2006)
Fallout 3 (2008)
Fallout 3 (2008)
Skyrim (2011)
Skyrim (2011)
Skyrim (2011)
Fallout 4 (2015)
Modular Kits 101
Fundamentals
● Begin by Defining Footprint
Slide taken from 2013 session
256
2
5
6
256
5
1
2
Fundamentals
● Begin by Defining Footprint
● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling
Slide taken from 2013 session
Fundamentals
● Begin by Defining Footprint
● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling
● Build Within Footprint extents
Slide taken from 2013 session
Fundamentals
● Begin by Defining Footprint
● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling
● Build Within Footprint extents
● Pick a...
Fundamentals
● Begin by Defining Footprint
● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling
● Build Within Footprint extents
● Pick a...
Techniques
● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits
Slide taken from 2013 session
Fallout 4 – GNN Plaza
Techniques
● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits
● Local Snap Parents aka Custom Grids
Slide taken from 2013 session
Slide taken from 2013 session
Slide taken from 2013 session
Techniques
● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits
● Local Snap Parents aka Custom Grids
● Pivot-And-Flange kits for organic are...
Slide taken from 2013 session
Slide taken from 2013 session
Always Look Forward
● Be willing to experiment w/Process
● ...but be deliberate.
Preparing for the Future
Fallout 4 Family of Kits
● Retail
● Institutional
● Church
● High-Tech
● Industrial
● Public Space
● Steam Tunnel
● Cave
●...
Allocating Time & Attention
Retail
Institutional
Public Space
Neo-Classical
Office
High Tech
Church
Steam Tunnel
Cave
Hous...
Kit-Building Overhead
● Each Kit is time-consuming to create
● Lead Time
● On-boarding
● Iteration & Maintenance
Studio Allergies
● Identify Time Sinks
● Avoid Redundant Work
● Get to Playable Faster
Consolidating Like Kits
● Retail
● Institutional
● Church
● High-Tech
● Industrial
● Public Space
● Steam Tunnel
● Cave
● ...
Consolidating Like Kits
● Retail
● Institutional
● Church
● High-Tech
● Industrial
● Public Space
● Steam Tunnel
● Cave
● ...
Kits as Solutions
● What problem does a kit solve?
Allocating Time & Attention
“Building”
High Tech
Industrial
Church
Steam Tunnel
Cave
House
The Institute
Other
Shack
The Building Kit
Fallout 3 Office Kit (2008)
The Building Kit
● Traditional Construction of Varying Types
● Unified Workflow across kits
● Standard Sub-Kit Types
● Roo...
Piece Granularity
Breakdown: A Corner Piece
● Old System: Export from 3DS Max
● Lots of redundant work
BldWoodPSmHall2Way01
See 2013 talk for more on naming conventions
Breakdown: A Corner Piece
● Old System: Export from 3DS Max
● New System: Editor/Pack-In
BldWoodPSmFlrOnly01
BldWoodPSmWall01
BldWoodPSmWall01
BldWoodPSmWallCorner01
BldWoodPSmCeilOnly01
Higher Granularity
● Break Wall/Floor/Ceiling Groupings
● More Destruction Flexibility
● Kit Interchangeability
● Flexible...
Workflow For LDs
Granularity & LD Workflow
● More Flexibility
● More Time-Consuming
1
2
3
5 9
6
4
7
10
11
12
8
13
14
15
16
17 18 19 20
Old Way = 20 Objects
New Way = 123 Objects
Preserving Workflow
Old Way
New Way
Preserving Workflow
Pack-In Prefab
Exploded Granular
Importance of Kit Readiness
● Kits are cornerstone
● Front-loaded in art schedule
● Graybox quality early
● Visual Iterati...
Intelligent Dependencies
● Iterate Accordingly
● Level Design 5-Pass Iterations
● Discussed in 2014
Pass 0
Concept
Pass 1
Layout
Pass 2
Gameplay
Pass 3
Content
Complete
Pass 4
Polish
Core Kit
Is
Usable
Layout
Is
Reliable
First Pass (June 2012)
Final Version (Nov 2015)
Kit Priorities
Kit Elements
● Hero Pieces
● Utilitarian Core
● Variants
Taken From 2013 Talk
GENERIC
REPEATED
Generic = Versatile
● Common pieces are flexible
Your Unsung Heroes:
Prioritizing Pieces
1. Utilitarian Core
2. Variants
3. “Hero” Pieces
Unblocking Work
● Minimize LD roadblocks
● Get Real Use Cases ASAP
● Allow Maximum Time for Visual Iteration
● LD: Use Pla...
Kit Variation
Building Kit Variants
● Brick
● Colonial
● Wallpaper
● Wood Panel
● Bare Wood
● Deco
● Concrete
● Unique
Bldg - Brick
Bldg - Brick
Bldg - Concrete
Bldg – Bare Wood
Material Swaps
● Only changes the textures.
● Not an architecture change.
Material Swaps
● Even more mix-n-match
● Takes very little time to make new ones
Other Kits
Let’s Create Kit X
● What is unique feature/problem of X?
● How Does it solve this?
● How Does it compliment other kits?
Industrial Kit
Utility Kit
Wasn’t really worth it
● All that we cared about were the pipes
“Glue” Kit
● Mix-and-Match kit usage
● Utility kit as “Glue”
● Works well to join separate kits
● Fictionally, Functionall...
Steam Tunnel Kit
Deco Kit
Roof Trim
Main Tiling Body
Lobby Trim
Lobby Level
Foundation
Interior/Exterior Transitions
● Able to move freely between the two
● No longer a load
Building Boston
Modular Workflow & Boston
● Fallout 3’s Washington DC
● Cloistered Neighborhoods
● Separate from Capital Wasteland
Fallout 3
Authenticity vs Accuracy
Authenticity > Accuracy
Process
● Coastline & Scale
Process
● Coastline & Scale
● Skyline
Importance of Skyline
● General Skyline Shape
● Establish Anchor Buildings
● Determine Relative Placement
● Provide Orient...
WIP Screenshot circa March 2013
Final Game Screenshot (2015)
Pre-Launch Fan Analysis (2015)
Process
● Coastline & Scale
● Skyline
● Thoroughfares
Bandshell
MIT
Fenway
Park
Copley Sq
State House
Faneuil Hall
Process
● Coastline & Scale
● Skyline
● Thoroughfares
● Neighborhoods
Process
● Coastline & Scale
● Skyline
● Thoroughfares
● Neighborhoods
● Ownership
Process
● Coastline & Scale
● Skyline
● Thoroughfares
● Neighborhoods
● Ownership
● Iteration
Hard Living
● Tons of hurdles had to be overcome
● Encounter Pacing
● POI/Exploration Density
● Combat and Detection, Enem...
Optimization
Gameplay Pacing
Encounter AI
Modular
Workflow
Ability to React
● Fallout 3: Isolated
● Easy to Reshape & Adapt
Can we
support an
alternate
route?
Sure.
Ability to React
● Fallout 3: Isolated
● Easy to Cut & Reshape
● Fallout 4: Interconnected
● Everything Had to Fit
● Requi...
Modular
Workflow Optimization
Gameplay Pacing
Encounter AI
Grab Bag!
Plug & Socket System
Plug & Socket System
● Predefined “Socket” holes
● Compatible with several “Plug” pieces
● Maximize Flexibility for transi...
Sockets
Plugs
Kit-Based Destruction
Wall Holes
● Problem: Visual Quality vs Repetition
Wall Holes
● Solution: Mix/Match
● Lots of small pieces
● Multiplicative effect
Platforms
● Problem: Ceiling/Floor Damage
● Solution: Tile-friendly “Free” platforms
● Useful option for demanding cases
●...
Dynamic Destruction
● Per-Piece Destructibles
● Kit-Compatible
● Location Specific Damage
● Simple Physics Simulation
Decals and Greebles
● Large “Gross” Decals
● Simple but very useful tricks
● Useful to obscure kit patterns
Cracks
Gross, Mold.
Greebles
Rust Stains
Tool: Layers
● Just like Photoshop
● Very useful, especially in complex scenes
● Huge time saver
Tool: Mouse Wheel Swap
● Ctrl+Wheel: Quickly Replace Selection
● Embracing Existing Workflow
● Another huge time saver
Helper Markers
● Alluded in 2013
Wall Edges
Ceiling
Markers
Doors/Holes
Prop Kits
The Machine Kit
● Large core library
● Greebles, Fins, Tanks, etc
● LD Blocks Space Functionally
● Artist Handcrafts Machi...
Conclusion
Understand Your Team Priorities
Understand Your Game Priorities
Thanks!
● Modular Level Design of Skyrim (2013)
blog.joelburgess.com/2013/04/skyrims-modular-level-design-gdc-2013.html
● Iterativ...
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4
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GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4

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Originally presented by Joel Burgess and Nathan Purkeypile at GDC 2016, this presentation expands on the 2013 "Modular Level Design of Skyrim" presentation.

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GDC 2016: Modular Level Design of Fallout 4

  1. 1. The Modular Level Design of Fallout 4 Joel Burgess & Nate Purkeypile Bethesda Game Studios
  2. 2. Modular Kits 101
  3. 3. We’re Doing a Sequel! ● Original Talk: 2013 @ LD in a Day ● We’ll show URL on the end slide ● Today’s Talk: ● Recap Core Ideas from 2013 ● Updates & Examples from Fallout 4
  4. 4. Who We Are ● Nate Purkeypile ● Environment Artist ●The tall one ● Joel Burgess ● Level Design ●The one talking right now (hi!)
  5. 5. plus DLC plus DLC plus DLC Bloodrayne 2 Aeon Flux Metroid Prime 3: Corruption TESIV: Oblivion Fallout 3 Skyrim Fallout 4 Shivering Isles Mehrunes Razor Point Lookout Operation Anchorage The Pitt M. Zeta Dawnguard Dragonborn
  6. 6. Bloodrayne 2 Aeon Flux Metroid Prime 3: Corruption TESIV: Oblivion Fallout 3 Skyrim Fallout 4 Shivering Isles Mehrunes Razor Point Lookout Operation Anchorage The Pitt M. Zeta Dawnguard Dragonborn
  7. 7. Who We Are ● BGS as a studio
  8. 8. Technique Context Process Studio & Game Goals Culture Values Priorities
  9. 9. What Came Before
  10. 10. Daggerfall (1996)
  11. 11. Morrowind (2002)
  12. 12. Bloodrayne 2 (2004)
  13. 13. Bloodrayne 2 (2004)
  14. 14. Oblivion (2006)
  15. 15. Fallout 3 (2008)
  16. 16. Fallout 3 (2008)
  17. 17. Skyrim (2011)
  18. 18. Skyrim (2011)
  19. 19. Skyrim (2011)
  20. 20. Fallout 4 (2015)
  21. 21. Modular Kits 101
  22. 22. Fundamentals ● Begin by Defining Footprint
  23. 23. Slide taken from 2013 session
  24. 24. 256 2 5 6
  25. 25. 256 5 1 2
  26. 26. Fundamentals ● Begin by Defining Footprint ● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling
  27. 27. Slide taken from 2013 session
  28. 28. Fundamentals ● Begin by Defining Footprint ● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling ● Build Within Footprint extents
  29. 29. Slide taken from 2013 session
  30. 30. Fundamentals ● Begin by Defining Footprint ● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling ● Build Within Footprint extents ● Pick a Pivot, and stick with it.
  31. 31. Fundamentals ● Begin by Defining Footprint ● Be cautious with Non-Uniform Tiling ● Build Within Footprint extents ● Pick a Pivot, and stick with it. ● Use Standardized Transitions
  32. 32. Techniques ● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits
  33. 33. Slide taken from 2013 session
  34. 34. Fallout 4 – GNN Plaza
  35. 35. Techniques ● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits ● Local Snap Parents aka Custom Grids
  36. 36. Slide taken from 2013 session
  37. 37. Slide taken from 2013 session
  38. 38. Slide taken from 2013 session
  39. 39. Techniques ● Use Layered Inserts w/Base Kits ● Local Snap Parents aka Custom Grids ● Pivot-And-Flange kits for organic areas
  40. 40. Slide taken from 2013 session
  41. 41. Slide taken from 2013 session
  42. 42. Always Look Forward ● Be willing to experiment w/Process ● ...but be deliberate.
  43. 43. Preparing for the Future
  44. 44. Fallout 4 Family of Kits ● Retail ● Institutional ● Church ● High-Tech ● Industrial ● Public Space ● Steam Tunnel ● Cave ● House ● The Institute ● Neo-Classical ● Office ● Vault ● Quarry
  45. 45. Allocating Time & Attention Retail Institutional Public Space Neo-Classical Office High Tech Church Steam Tunnel Cave House The Institute Other Shack
  46. 46. Kit-Building Overhead ● Each Kit is time-consuming to create ● Lead Time ● On-boarding ● Iteration & Maintenance
  47. 47. Studio Allergies ● Identify Time Sinks ● Avoid Redundant Work ● Get to Playable Faster
  48. 48. Consolidating Like Kits ● Retail ● Institutional ● Church ● High-Tech ● Industrial ● Public Space ● Steam Tunnel ● Cave ● House ● The Institute ● Neo-Classical ● Office ● Vault ● Quarry
  49. 49. Consolidating Like Kits ● Retail ● Institutional ● Church ● High-Tech ● Industrial ● Public Space ● Steam Tunnel ● Cave ● House ● The Institute ● Neo-Classical ● Office ● Vault ● Quarry
  50. 50. Kits as Solutions ● What problem does a kit solve?
  51. 51. Allocating Time & Attention “Building” High Tech Industrial Church Steam Tunnel Cave House The Institute Other Shack
  52. 52. The Building Kit
  53. 53. Fallout 3 Office Kit (2008)
  54. 54. The Building Kit ● Traditional Construction of Varying Types ● Unified Workflow across kits ● Standard Sub-Kit Types ● Rooms ● Halls ● Stairs, Railings, Platforms, etc.
  55. 55. Piece Granularity
  56. 56. Breakdown: A Corner Piece ● Old System: Export from 3DS Max ● Lots of redundant work
  57. 57. BldWoodPSmHall2Way01 See 2013 talk for more on naming conventions
  58. 58. Breakdown: A Corner Piece ● Old System: Export from 3DS Max ● New System: Editor/Pack-In
  59. 59. BldWoodPSmFlrOnly01 BldWoodPSmWall01 BldWoodPSmWall01 BldWoodPSmWallCorner01 BldWoodPSmCeilOnly01
  60. 60. Higher Granularity ● Break Wall/Floor/Ceiling Groupings ● More Destruction Flexibility ● Kit Interchangeability ● Flexible layouts ● Less Dependence on pre-determined combos
  61. 61. Workflow For LDs
  62. 62. Granularity & LD Workflow ● More Flexibility ● More Time-Consuming
  63. 63. 1 2 3 5 9 6 4 7 10 11 12 8 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
  64. 64. Old Way = 20 Objects New Way = 123 Objects
  65. 65. Preserving Workflow Old Way New Way
  66. 66. Preserving Workflow Pack-In Prefab Exploded Granular
  67. 67. Importance of Kit Readiness ● Kits are cornerstone ● Front-loaded in art schedule ● Graybox quality early ● Visual Iteration throughout dev ● Focus on “Trustworthy” Kit functionality
  68. 68. Intelligent Dependencies ● Iterate Accordingly ● Level Design 5-Pass Iterations ● Discussed in 2014
  69. 69. Pass 0 Concept Pass 1 Layout Pass 2 Gameplay Pass 3 Content Complete Pass 4 Polish Core Kit Is Usable Layout Is Reliable
  70. 70. First Pass (June 2012)
  71. 71. Final Version (Nov 2015)
  72. 72. Kit Priorities
  73. 73. Kit Elements ● Hero Pieces ● Utilitarian Core ● Variants
  74. 74. Taken From 2013 Talk
  75. 75. GENERIC REPEATED
  76. 76. Generic = Versatile ● Common pieces are flexible Your Unsung Heroes:
  77. 77. Prioritizing Pieces 1. Utilitarian Core 2. Variants 3. “Hero” Pieces
  78. 78. Unblocking Work ● Minimize LD roadblocks ● Get Real Use Cases ASAP ● Allow Maximum Time for Visual Iteration ● LD: Use Placeholders to Prove Need
  79. 79. Kit Variation
  80. 80. Building Kit Variants ● Brick ● Colonial ● Wallpaper ● Wood Panel ● Bare Wood ● Deco ● Concrete ● Unique
  81. 81. Bldg - Brick
  82. 82. Bldg - Brick Bldg - Concrete Bldg – Bare Wood
  83. 83. Material Swaps ● Only changes the textures. ● Not an architecture change.
  84. 84. Material Swaps ● Even more mix-n-match ● Takes very little time to make new ones
  85. 85. Other Kits
  86. 86. Let’s Create Kit X ● What is unique feature/problem of X? ● How Does it solve this? ● How Does it compliment other kits?
  87. 87. Industrial Kit
  88. 88. Utility Kit
  89. 89. Wasn’t really worth it ● All that we cared about were the pipes
  90. 90. “Glue” Kit ● Mix-and-Match kit usage ● Utility kit as “Glue” ● Works well to join separate kits ● Fictionally, Functionally, Cosmetically
  91. 91. Steam Tunnel Kit
  92. 92. Deco Kit
  93. 93. Roof Trim Main Tiling Body Lobby Trim Lobby Level Foundation
  94. 94. Interior/Exterior Transitions ● Able to move freely between the two ● No longer a load
  95. 95. Building Boston
  96. 96. Modular Workflow & Boston ● Fallout 3’s Washington DC ● Cloistered Neighborhoods ● Separate from Capital Wasteland
  97. 97. Fallout 3
  98. 98. Authenticity vs Accuracy
  99. 99. Authenticity > Accuracy
  100. 100. Process ● Coastline & Scale
  101. 101. Process ● Coastline & Scale ● Skyline
  102. 102. Importance of Skyline ● General Skyline Shape ● Establish Anchor Buildings ● Determine Relative Placement ● Provide Orienting Elements
  103. 103. WIP Screenshot circa March 2013
  104. 104. Final Game Screenshot (2015)
  105. 105. Pre-Launch Fan Analysis (2015)
  106. 106. Process ● Coastline & Scale ● Skyline ● Thoroughfares
  107. 107. Bandshell MIT Fenway Park Copley Sq State House Faneuil Hall
  108. 108. Process ● Coastline & Scale ● Skyline ● Thoroughfares ● Neighborhoods
  109. 109. Process ● Coastline & Scale ● Skyline ● Thoroughfares ● Neighborhoods ● Ownership
  110. 110. Process ● Coastline & Scale ● Skyline ● Thoroughfares ● Neighborhoods ● Ownership ● Iteration
  111. 111. Hard Living ● Tons of hurdles had to be overcome ● Encounter Pacing ● POI/Exploration Density ● Combat and Detection, Enemy AI ● Performance, Occlusion, Sightlines ● Iteration and Metrics ● Everything took longer than expected
  112. 112. Optimization Gameplay Pacing Encounter AI Modular Workflow
  113. 113. Ability to React ● Fallout 3: Isolated ● Easy to Reshape & Adapt
  114. 114. Can we support an alternate route?
  115. 115. Sure.
  116. 116. Ability to React ● Fallout 3: Isolated ● Easy to Cut & Reshape ● Fallout 4: Interconnected ● Everything Had to Fit ● Required More Layout Flexibility
  117. 117. Modular Workflow Optimization Gameplay Pacing Encounter AI
  118. 118. Grab Bag!
  119. 119. Plug & Socket System
  120. 120. Plug & Socket System ● Predefined “Socket” holes ● Compatible with several “Plug” pieces ● Maximize Flexibility for transitions
  121. 121. Sockets Plugs
  122. 122. Kit-Based Destruction
  123. 123. Wall Holes ● Problem: Visual Quality vs Repetition
  124. 124. Wall Holes ● Solution: Mix/Match ● Lots of small pieces ● Multiplicative effect
  125. 125. Platforms ● Problem: Ceiling/Floor Damage ● Solution: Tile-friendly “Free” platforms ● Useful option for demanding cases ● Highly Flexible
  126. 126. Dynamic Destruction ● Per-Piece Destructibles ● Kit-Compatible ● Location Specific Damage ● Simple Physics Simulation
  127. 127. Decals and Greebles ● Large “Gross” Decals ● Simple but very useful tricks ● Useful to obscure kit patterns
  128. 128. Cracks Gross, Mold. Greebles Rust Stains
  129. 129. Tool: Layers ● Just like Photoshop ● Very useful, especially in complex scenes ● Huge time saver
  130. 130. Tool: Mouse Wheel Swap ● Ctrl+Wheel: Quickly Replace Selection ● Embracing Existing Workflow ● Another huge time saver
  131. 131. Helper Markers ● Alluded in 2013
  132. 132. Wall Edges Ceiling Markers Doors/Holes
  133. 133. Prop Kits
  134. 134. The Machine Kit ● Large core library ● Greebles, Fins, Tanks, etc ● LD Blocks Space Functionally ● Artist Handcrafts Machine Swap
  135. 135. Conclusion
  136. 136. Understand Your Team Priorities Understand Your Game Priorities
  137. 137. Thanks!
  138. 138. ● Modular Level Design of Skyrim (2013) blog.joelburgess.com/2013/04/skyrims-modular-level-design-gdc-2013.html ● Iterative Level Design Process (2014) blog.joelburgess.com/2014/07/gdc-2014-transcript-iterative-level.html @JoelBurgess @NPurkeypile

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