Welcome to my Profile Page here on ModDB. I love games, I love almost any genre and I LOVE developing stuff. I guess you could consider me to be an old skool gamer, there's just so many games I have played and you know what? It's just awesome. Hope your stay is a good one and drop me a line or two I love interacting with the community. Live life to the fullest, follow your dreams and make damn sure you have them. ;)

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2 comments by joure on Sep 24th, 2013


An Evolution In Detailing

Hi, it's me again. A few days ago I started to cover Contagion via my own personal dev-blog. I didn't really know what to write at the time but I did know I wanted to write about my personal experiences. The pitfalls and whatnot. Today's topic is detailing.

In this blog I'll be using a level called Aurora Estates (cx_AuroraEstates) as an example. I've learned a lot of technical stuff from working on this map but I'll refrain from any techy mumbo jumbo since I'm not writing a tutorial here. The fact that this map has been in production for over a year should give you an idea of the amount of time, work and dedication that goes into each level. Mind you that it's not the only level I've worked on. That would be insane, but I treat my levels as works of art, and as a good wine, it tastes better in time.

There are a few rules I go by when creating a level. One of them is telling a story through visuals. It's a simple rule that a lot of designers use. I constantly ask myself questions about the place that I'm are creating. What is the story behind this area? If I add a painting that's slanting on the wall I ask myself: how did this happen? For instance one of the houses in my suburbs map is chuck full of little visuals like that.

A couch has ben overturned creating a barricade between the people that where there and the zombie(s). You'll notice some bullet holes in the wall next to it. The owner of the house probably shot at a zombie and he missed? Then on the other side from where the shots would be fired there's a bunch of blood on the wall. Oh my, was that the person's blood? Did a zombie get him? Good chance that's the case.

My second Rule I use is that adding just enough detail to a map in just the right places without overdoing it. This particular rule can be very tough to implement because on one hand there's my imagination and on the other hand there's a very real limit to what I can do. I believe that detailing should be done with a good amount of thought behind it. For instance, when I add, let's say, a simple trash can I can just simply put it there and be done with it. Which is totally okay.

However, if I just put the same trash can everywhere then it looses it's appeal and it then becomes just another prop. So, after I place it I rotate the prop around it's z-axis a little so that it feels like someone put it there. In the real world, people don't really care how a trashcan is placed on the street when they put it out. They won't measure it and make sure it's on a perfect 90 degree angle. So let's say I put a second trash can in the level. I place it there and also slightly rotate it, so it also looks like it's been placed there by someone.

Fine, done, I got my two trash cans in there but wait. I'm making a zombie game right? During an outbreak no less !! There's a good chance that someone could be running away from a group of zombies trying to survive and he ran around that particular street with my trashcans and accidentally knocked one of the cans over. And there you go, I added a little story behind my simple trashcan that probably no one would ever guess, but that's ok. That happens in real life just the same.

And this brings me to my third rule. Very, very little people will actively think about their surroundings like this when they play a game. And you know what? That's totally fine. I'm merely painting a canvas here. It's my job to make them feel emersed in the game and when people are not complaining about these kinds of things it means that all these small little details combined created a strong enough atmosphere for people to get lost in. Also, there is an unspoken context to that knoecked over trash can. The player is well aware that there is a zombie apocalypse underway. They clearly understand that situations like these can easily take place and I do not need them to verbally or audibly provide them with a context, it's a given. The player concentrates on having fun and he or she emerse themself in the level without much or any effort at all because the visual design was strong enough for them not to be bothered by a lack of atmosphere. And this is one of my many responsibilities.

Next I want to show you how a good level gets better over time and why I am so gratefull of my boss that he permits me the time to go back on a map and still tweak, add and change things to make it better.

So here we have one of the earliest incarnations of the suburbs map. There's not that much detailing going on and the lighting is, well, there...

The lighting started to take shape thanks to input from the rest of the team. We all throw ideas at eachother all the time and we all thought that dusk was a good choice.

It looks okay, not really refined enough, but it's a start. Then we tried another approach. Early dusk. I worked very hard on getting a more reddish and yellow color tone to work. I liked it a lot, but we felt that it just didn't work out, not for this map at least.

So we shelved it and went on to initial idea. I worked my ass off on this one and everyone felt that this is what the map should look like. The atmosphere is great for a zombie game and it just felt right. This is how the map now looks and I'm still very proud of it.

So there you have it. A little more back story to the Aurora Estates map. I hope you enjoyed it and I'll try to come up with some more interesting topics. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Now I'll go back to work, cause i'm crazy busy with our Kickstarter project and our impending release of the game.

(originally posted on Pixlbit)

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Post comment Comments  (30 - 40 of 82)
freredarme Dec 22 2009, 1:19am says:

@Joure : Look on the discussion on TeamGT, you have a message :D

Bye bye ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
chicken2112 Jan 13 2010, 9:27pm replied:

he winked cuz he thinks ure cute

+3 votes     reply to comment
joure Creator
joure Nov 30 2009, 1:43pm says:

For those curious about TeamGT. I made a small post about the team here:

It's being authorised at this moment, but it should be up in an hour or two.

I'll probably expand upon it at some point, since it is a very small read as it is right now.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Visorak06 Dec 14 2009, 1:08pm replied:

Thanks for the article, it's pretty informative.

+1 vote     reply to comment
RocKRebel Sep 8 2009, 10:44pm says:

I know youll probably take this as spam but... if there is a beta how can someone join? I mean I just want to know... its not like im asking this to see if I can join since... well... I fail at life !

-3 votes     reply to comment
joure Creator
joure Sep 14 2009, 10:04pm replied:

ehhh, well. Saying you fail at life isn't gonna grow much sympathy tbh mate. To get into a mod team it requires you to show atleast some dedication, and some self respect at that.

Let people know WHY you could help out, what part you're good at when play testing games/maps. You will never get into any mod team, atleast not in my book, playing on peoples sympathies.

Also it requires some luck at that. Right now I simply am in no need of beta testers at all, but I will announce the need of them, when I get to a releasable state.

Anyway, you're not spamming since you just posted one comment, and you're not being abusive or saying anything inapropriate. So we're all good.

Again, what defines for you "failing at life" ?
They say truth lies in the eye of the beholder, but then again. Any beholder might have his or her own view on what truth, and thereby justice and all that means.

Meaning that failing in life for one means creating video games, while for others it could be playing them. I could say drinking coka cola light is failing at life, since aspertane is being used in almost any diet beverage, and eventualy you're body will break down. Failing life all on it's own.

So again, I'd dare ask what you think failing at life means...

Way to go make unnecesary long posts again Joure, gj .... **** talkin in third person, soz.

+2 votes   reply to comment
takos_360 Sep 27 2009, 9:49am replied:

Oh my...
How can you be bothered to write that long comments? xD
You remind me of my friend, Chris, when your writing like that. Heh
But back to that comment, i totally agree with what you sayd about the whole life thing. Its different for everyone.

+1 vote     reply to comment
RocKRebel Sep 16 2009, 5:17pm replied:

Well dont know how to explain... lets just say... ehhhhr... god damnit DUDE !

-1 votes     reply to comment
1337FeRReT Oct 21 2009, 7:19am replied:

I think he covered every opportunity for you to say anything. Probably would've been better if you hadn't.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Armageddon104 Sep 3 2009, 1:19am says:

happy b-day!

+1 vote     reply to comment
joure Creator
joure Sep 14 2009, 10:05pm replied:

Thanks mate, I know this reply is way overdue, but I apreciated it, so again, thanks.

0 votes   reply to comment
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