I am happy to report that I came back from my depressing state of lack of productivity with a ton of progress made in the last week. After writing my last blog post, I began to really worry about the size and scope of my level and whether or not I was going to be able to finish it in time for my August 18th deadline. It became clear that I was going to need to scope the project, and the time to do that was now or never. To brainstorm about how to best do it, I pulled up several campaign levels from the game in the editor, checked their map dimensions, and played them. And while a did a lot of this when I first started, I could derive so much more information from it now that I'm familiar with the editor's tools. After doing all of that, I found my approach for scoping the level. Here is what I came up with:
- The level will now take place earlier on in the game, specifically preceding the mission "The Evacuation".
- This will allow me to keep unit variety and player abilities to a minimum. As fun as it is to give players tons of these things at their disposal, the time it would take for me to learn to balance all of these within the confines of a level would be too much for this project. I will still utilize Ghost units, however (see below for details).
- There are now two colonies (and therefore two bases), instead of 3.
- This was done not only to slim down the size of the map, but to lighten the loaded of the triggers and scripted events needed.
- The playable space on the map has been reduced by about 1/3.
- There was a lot of open space in my original design, and the more I looked at the Blizzard stock maps the more I realized that that was not how their levels were designed. Not only does this change make mine fit with theirs better, but it also should be easier to design and play better too.
Taking parts out wasn't the only thing I was doing over the last week, however. A massive overhaul of the level's terrain, the setup of all of the enemy's bases, and the addition of variety of new set decorations are easily apparent. Additionally, rather than having players train Ghost units, they now must find them at two different locations on the map in order to add them to their numbers (see their locations at the image set at the bottom of this post). Not visible, however, are the work I did in the editors trigger system. Simple victory/defeat conditions, team assignment, initial objectives, dialogue transmissions, and a few more have all been completed as well. When it gets to be in a little bit more playable state, expect some GIFs and/or video of the level in action. For now, check out the below images showing the difference between three weeks ago and my current progress (note that 90% of the work was done in the last week).
I'll leave you with another image set that shows a little bit of an up close view to some of the level's areas. Here's to another productive week!