Speed is key in a small team. This is especially true for level art. Today we’ll go over the Cathedral Boss Arena, and how it went from concept to reality in 2 days time.

Level Art Update -- Cathedral Boss Fight

Concept

Our process begins with coffee and a sketchbook. Jot down a brief description. Sketch a bit. Make a checklist of assets.

Level Art Update -- concept

Level Art Update -- description & checklist

Blocking Out Stage

Block out the level in Unity using primitives. Play it a lot. And I mean a lot. There wasn’t much to this level, so this step went quick.

Level Art Update -- unity
Cubes in Unity

Use the OBJExporter plugin to get the level out of Unity and into the software package of your choice. Seriously, this plugin is amazing.

Level Art Update -- OBJExporter
OBJExporter

Level Art Goodness!

Repurpose, recycle, reuse where possible. Make all of the bad art less bad.

Level Art Update -- boxed organ
From cubes to organ

I do that until the level assumes its role.

Level Art Update -- Cathedral Boss Fight

Level Art Update -- Cathedral Boss Fight

Then step back. This level still has quite a way to go, but I feel it’s necessary to walk away for a short while. We’ve proven that it can stand on it’s own, has a distinct feel, and tells a little bit of story. Time away will offer better insight on changes/additions.

A few good practices:

  • I include similar props in the checklist, but only make one or two from a group. If I return later and see they aren’t needed, the time wasn’t wasted. If there is a better option, no work is thrown out. Their absence will be glaring if they were indeed needed.
  • Create starter packs for level art! A handful of props in an empty game object can be saved and dropped in a room for easy decorating. Duplicate the things needed, hide the things that aren’t.
  • Re-purpose textures as much as possible. Only 3 new textures were made for this level, the candle, the fruit, and the stained glass. A good library will saves more time than you can imagine.

Later on I’ll fix up the stained glass window, add additional tribute, fill out the space in the back, add more hanging things, and finalize the balcony section.

That’s all! Thanks for reading.

-a

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