Skyrim Level - Navmesh and...

Well, this was an interesting week. Monday I completed the navmesh for the level (a refreshingly mathematical task after all of that design and visual work). Tuesday, I received a job offer from a company I've been interviewing with. Now I will be packing, apartment hunting, and scrambling to be living in Seattle and ready to start on August 2nd. Words cannot describe how crazy and exciting this is (I still haven't processed it just yet). I'll provide more details here and my various social media channels once things become official, but it's big. Needless to say, this Skyrim project, as much as I've enjoyed working on it, will be on hold for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned.

Skyrim Level - On to Lighting

This week was my best week yet as I finished almost all of the rock and cave geometry (what's left is little nitpicks I want to smooth over), including the dungeon exit and the center of the cavern. The underground passage received a visual overhaul, and both the cultist quarters and the alchemy/torture room received proper cave geometry and clutter treatments. A rough pass was done on lighting to further give a feel for the space, and I'm starting to feel good about it now that everything is coming together.

In the coming week, I'll be turning my attention to optimization (setting up Creation Kit "rooms" to ensure proper loading), creating a navmesh, some FX work, and lastly getting some enemies in there! This is intended to be a low level dungeon so there will only be a handful of them, but I'm excited to get this level playable. 

Entrance

Underground Passage

Cultist Quarters

Cultist Alchemy and Torture Room

Cavern

Dungeon Exit

Skyrim Level - Filling In

ScreenShot24.png

This past week saw a ton of work that I can only describe as "filling in". Breaking the monotony in environments, continuing to mold and shape the organic cave formations, and giving overall visual variety on a macro level. One important goal that I completed was to ensure that any area that had a dirt surface can be reached by the player and is intended for traversal. To avoid visual confusion, if I didn't want the player there I covered the area with boulders and rocks. Now that most of the level is in place on a macro level, I'll be beginning the micro level tasks as I move room to room set decorating and adding/adjusting rock formations for desired sense of scale.

Entrance

Underground Passage

Cultist Quarters

Cavern

Skyrim Level - Visual Composition

Work continues as I further shape and mold the environment of the level. Most of the attention this week was placed on the main cavern, a little bit of the entrance (and the secret passageway from the cavern to the entrance that serves as the player's way to exit upon completing the quest), and the underground passage room. I'm starting to be happy with how the visual composition of the areas is turning out, as lots of edits in the last week were little things like moving entryways and exits and adjusting cliffs and waterfalls to create a more interesting level.

This week I intend to continue this process for the rest of the environment, and hopefully by next week I'll be ready to start populating the level with clutter to give it a bit more visual flair. This will be broad strokes though - ideally I will do the larger clutter, then navmesh, then enemy placement and testing, and then one final clutter and VFX pass. We'll see though, as this is a pipeline I'm not quite used to.

Entrance

Underground Passage

Cavern

Skyrim Level - Sanding the Edges

Cavern01.jpg

Lots of work done this week on the map. Since this is an organic setting, much of it requires sanding off the edges and forming a more natural looking environment. I'd say one of my main criticisms I have of my work thus far is that I too often think in "boxes", making some of my environments feel rigid. For my capstone, I strived to integrate more verticality to break the habit of staying on a singular plane, and with this project I'm looking to get myself thinking more organically. Additionally, I'm trying to design my environments to be more visually interesting in their composition. When a player walks into one of my rooms, I want there to be a clear foreground and a background, with elements in between. I won't master this now, or even ten levels from now, but I want to start getting better at this as soon as possible. 

Without further ramblings, below are some screens of my current progress. Some areas, such as the main cavern, have received more love than others (most of the smaller tunnels haven't received much attention beyond the original blocking). I'll be doing more of this kind of work in the next week. Apologies for the HUD, I forgot to disable it.

Entrance

Underground Passage and Cultist Quarters

Cavern