Hi everyone! Today we're sharing another "Behind the Scenes" article that shares our process of what went behind making the village area in the Path of Kami Demo.
The village area is a traditional Japanese village, featuring a variety of traditionally styled houses, dirt roads, and abandoned ground shrines. This is the second area you’ll encounter in the Path of Kami Demo. You’re introduced to puzzle mechanics (pressure plates and spirit keys), along with some minor fire and collectible puzzles. From here you get access to a hub area that branches out to the Waterfall, Cemetery, and Deep Forest areas. (Deep Forest area isn’t included in the demo but will be in the prologue!)
First we started out with doing research on rustic Japanese villages and the different types of architecture we could reference. We grabbed lots of information and images to put into an inspiration dock for moodboards and references.
We started with doing level design on paper, mapping out how big the area is going to be, planning out the puzzles and visually representing everything in a mockup. In this phase we outlined the critical path the player would take along with side paths and put together a gameplay minute document. This is a design document that outlines step by step how the player would go through the paths and when they would encounter puzzles (ideally) and the time it would take to do each step. We also included the possible amount of spirit fire the player would have to account for puzzles.
In addition to the gameplay minute we outlined and documented each puzzle in the village area and what steps would be needed to complete them, also sharing outcomes such as collectibles or spirit keys!
Puzzle Implementation + Blockout
Once everything was documented we implemented the designs through our puzzle manager system to get everything working with placeholders. Our Level Designer, Brandon Yuan, blocked out the area with primitive shapes and box brushes to help us get a feel for space, where puzzles and environment pieces could go.
We worked with a concept artist, Pamela Pizarro-Ruiz, to put this together visually so we could use it for reference for props and environment art to reference for final art later on.
Working off the concept we built additional props and assets to include in the village area. We still need to add more but it definitely looks a lot more lively!
We’re still adding more and looking into adding more interactivity in the environments but this gives you an inside look at how the village area came to be so far.
We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes view on the development of Path of Kami! We currently have an alpha demo out now on itch io and gamejolt, check it out if it sounds like your cup of tea! Please consider sharing or donating to our crowdfunding campaign if you like the game!
Thanks for tuning in!