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Level map Design and Asset Creation

About: A project on Level Design planning and creation of a level in a existing prototype game inside UE4. Along with the creation and implementation of 3D and 2D assets.


Software Used: UE4, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk 3DS max


Platform: PC


Duration: 3 Months

Mood-board with images of map designs from Alien Isolation station Sevastopol and maps designs from Deus-Ex human revolution.

Description and Planning: 

My objective was to design and create a 3D level and combine it with my final year AI prototype project. Along with creating 2D textures, graphics and 3D assets using Photoshop and 3DS max. 

I first began planning the level inside Photoshop by researching existing maps in Sci-fi games similar to my prototype. As I wanted to create a space station level I heavily looked into the game Alien Isolation by Creative Assembly, looking at their maps blueprints of the Sevastopol station. 

Design Plan and Progress in Engine

After researching I began creating a first draft of the general layout of the map using the mood-board images as inspiration to my design general layout. With rooms, corridors and small areas for the player to transverse in like areas on a space-station.

 

 

Grid top-down view of the basic map layout

3D view of maps/levels progress in engnie

Graphics

I then created different faces with different emotions for the AIs mood system. To be displayed on in-world widget electric screens throughout the level. These will help to communicate to the players when the AI is reading their interaction with world. Along with whether the AI has decided to trigger a certain behavior which will affect the player.

 

 

Happy Mood used at the start of the game

Cheeky mood displayed to the player when the AI has set a trap/ triggered a behavior that will hinder the player

Anger used to represent when the AI has seen the player or when the player disturbs the scene/ plays well against the AI

Sinnister/sadistic Mood used to represent when the AI has run a dangerous behavior or is trying to scare the player

Completion of Level plan and Creation

After finishing creating the graphic mood faces. I then continued work on my level map plan adding a design for ventilation systems, that connect up different rooms and allow the player to escape through them if being chased by the in world AI. Also planning where I will place spawning areas for key codes, turrets and scenery physics objects.

After designing the plan I then created the ventilation systems and placed the different object and scenery throughout the map.

 

 

3D model and texture creation

After finishing the map I then created the 3D assets inside 3Ds max. For each of the 4 symbol and code keys. Along with models for the automatic door, containers, health and ammo packs.

I then imported the background and screen effect textures I had made in Photoshop and created animated panning material for use on pickup objects and see through windows in the level.

 

 

Screenshot of the animating laser screen material inside UE4.

Screenshot of the pickup key models and other interactables in 3DS max.

Screenshot of the code screen texture inside Photoshop.

Implementation of Design and assets

 I then imported each of the 3D assets, adding pre-existing materials to the symbols materials and the material instances I had made for the code models to each key.

I then placed each of the  assets and physics  according to the earlier design plan, with some tweaks. Along with using the free materials pack UE4 offer for the textures on the walls and floors around the scene.