Topic: Surviving as a level designer in a tight game of requirements-things that have been realized in 12 years through Prasian Electric Development
Lecture: Kim Ki-jin-Nexon Korea / Nexon Korea
Announcement: Communication, Level Design, Low Polly, Game Planning
Recommended target: Level designer
Difficulty: Unnecessary knowledge: Contents that can be understood even if you have no major or career at all
[Lecture Topic] As a game designer, the level designer, who works closest to the creation of the world, has used various tools such as PowerPoint, Excel, and Sketchup starting with pencils and paper to reflect his intentions in the game. How can you increase the creativity of the level designer to the extreme and effectively proceed with the level work?
In this session, I would like to share with you about 12 years of personal enlightenment on the importance of collaboration, as well as the methodology for effective level design planning and document formats. Also, how effective it was to introduce using low poly-level design, and how did you solve all the challenges in your practice? In addition, as a mediator and intermediate bridge of art and planning, we introduce specific practical use cases, images, and videos of what the level designer should play ultimately.
Level designers are essential for creating the world of games in game development. At first glance, level designers may simply think that they only need to define space and location such as hunting grounds and villages.
However, in order for a level designer to play his role properly, he needs a variety of abilities. For example, anyone can simply decide the location of the valley, the river, and the field, but a level designer is essential to melt a story and play experience on the game. Therefore, the level designer must have a sense of content, scenario lighter, and background artist, which is also due to collaboration. Game development is a series of collaboration and level designers work together with many departments.
For example, Combat Designer sees the first priority of the battle. As a result, even if the background is less beautiful, it is not a very important issue. On the contrary, it is the top priority for the background artist who actually produces the won, asset, and actually map. As such, the desired part of the development team is different. In the meantime, the role of the level designer is to balance and organize the work properly.
In response to the role of this level designer, Nexon Korea Kim Ki-jin, part of the part of the part, shared the experience in the development process, introducing the role and collaboration process of the level designer he realized.
■ Map design of Prasian Electric, to discover and resolve problems
In the early days of Prasian Electric Development, there was a great trial of 20 meters. At the beginning of the development, there was a long hill on a map, which was 20m wide 20m high from the ground. As expected, it was the best panoramic view of the hunting ground far down, but when I actually tested, the load was inadequate.
Obviously, it was a wonderful project in theory, but it wasn’t actually at all. Only then did the development team realized that many things were not actually verified at all, and they faced the situation that they were building content on a weak foundation. In the meantime, Kim Ki-jin, the head of the part, was also making it hard to keep the internal standards that had already existed. He cited that there is no problem if he does not actually verify it as an in-game test.
However, as the existing maps received bad evaluations, the maps made were so wide that they were so wide that they were so wide that the ground was visible, and the interior of the hunting ground was overly similar. As the situation and truth of the maps faithfully produced in the internal standards were revealed, the development team was in trouble.
At that time, the hunting ground of Prasian Electric was simply designed as a width. There was a lack of planning about how to fill the inside. As a result, I had to decorate the hunting ground without any information when working in the background. The embellishment should not be disturbed by the gameplay, so it was passive in several places, and as a result, it became an ant-cave that had a similar feeling in gameplay.
The size of the territory actually jumped, so it was boring to move because it was much larger than the spaces to enter, and it was confirmed that even the 20m high car that was put in the quarter view was not actually used. When I made a map in the background, it became a situation where I had to change it.
To solve this problem, the Prasian Electric Development Team tried to solve the problem of the Quarter View Task Force, which included programmers, level designers and artists. The team’s purpose was to set up new standards, even with both content and levels developed so far. Fortunately, strengthening density in Quarter View was a solution that everyone agreed. The time to use for verification is two months. Within this time, I had to increase the density of the map and to verify it.
The Task Force Team decided to actually make a map through the blender. The blender tool, which is easy to use, was able to implement the map in a short time in a low poly manner, which made it possible to determine whether the composition of the map was valid. The low polymap was the best ability to verify whether the composition of the map was valid so that the result of the work that worked yesterday and the result of today’s work could be a difference.
Through this, the Quar View TF tested how long it would be if the road was not 20m, and it was possible to check the test directly by testing how much the size of the territory could be digested. Simple but to be expressed is because of the low-poly character, which is definitely expressed, it is not much different from the actual imagination.
The level design method also approached the way to decorate the interior of the hunting ground more delicately with a large and small embellishment space. Through this, the artist was able to focus on production and embellishment without having to worry about the balance between embellishment and play space, and level designers can secure enough space for gameplay. Kim Ki-jin, the head of the part, recalled that it was one of the great harvests to secure communication aisles with art in the process of solving the problem.
■ Level design is fine, but not clear
Of course, not all existing experiences failed. If I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have known what was right or wrong, and the test was just late. It was a pity that if the map had been tested in the mockup stage through the low poly level, not waiting until the map was completed, it might have been able to find this problem faster.
In addition, the judgment of the leader group who recognized the problem and decided to modify through the Quarter View TF was also very important. No matter how much this quality is needed in the practitioner, it is impossible to complement it unless the schedule is released. The low-poly-level design using blender was effective, even though it would be able to share plans and show the results with rapidly made mockups.
As such, Prasian Electric has developed further with the clear separation of the embellishment space and the play space in the previous level design document. The hunting ground is displayed in a checkered pattern, and the pink embellishment and purple space are designed differently for each narrative setting of each land.
Of course, the division of labor was not effective from the beginning. The concept of embellishment space has an extremely ambiguous attribute, which is certain that the player cannot enter. It is also a space where won and background can be used at any time. However, due to the nature of the level mockup, the space became accurate in the meter, and even creative artists were impossible.
Based on the Quarter view of Prasian Electric, even if you plant trees in a 10m wide space, you can’t feel the ‘forest’. Therefore, it was necessary to establish a 35m natural background embellishment space, and this very large level will be created by mutual consultation between level designers and background artists. Since then, many rules have been established, and these rules have helped to reduce unnecessary communication.
He also said that in this collaboration process, he realized that the more detailed the mockup could hinder the creativity of the artist. It was not good for everyone to replace the mountain, rivers, wooden and castles, with high polygons. Too much meticulous level design did not make someone’s work easily, but made it meaningless.
Kim Ki-jin emphasized that ‘level design should be designed in a very detailed meter.’ Since the route is a play experience and narrative, the level designer has a great responsibility for the play space. However, the boxes on the play space are clearly not described in detail. It may be a tent or a bonfire or a luggage in front of it, but its location is expressed only as an orange box.
Although there is a rough concept, the design Look & Feel, which envisions it, stepped back to the artist’s subsequent authority. Therefore, he stressed that level design documents and mockups should be a kind of muse that inspires the background artist. If this is not composed, one side will be dragged to the other side, making the game play difficult, or on the contrary, the gameplay is comfortable but not so cool. This is what developers want to avoid.
Lastly, Kim Ki-jin said that it is a personal greed to fully design the map with mockups to make all gameplay and tests smoothly on the mockup to make the completion of any specific content system in the future. This means that after verifying the gameplay experience, it is a low poly-level design to contribute to the process of creating a high-quality quality map without trial and error when making a real map. And through this, so far