18 August, 2010

Little City Double Update!

I've been without home internet access for a bit, so this post is a double update to include back content. So long, Starbucks, and thanks for all the internets.

Here’s the very first concept work done in Illustrator:

(Click image to enlarge)

This establishes a very basic layout. It isn’t meant to be a readable map yet, since there’s no scale or significant content. It’s a springboard for brainstorming.

I’ve been switching between pen & paper and Illustrator to help flesh out the space and environment. Seeing the actual environment in some form helps change my perspective and keep creativity flowing.

(Click image to enlarge)

I wanted to experiment with the skyrails around the central tower. Birds-eye isn’t the player perspective, but it’s helpful in creating basic global level flow. I decided I wanted the player to enter the tower via a skybridge connecting to a nearby building. Working backward yielded a sequence: ride the elevator up to the skyrail terminal, get on the tracks, fall from one skyrail down to the other, follow that track inside the building and get to the roof. At this point, the “why” isn’t important. I’m approaching the “how” just to have some content to bounce off of. If this configuration doesn’t fit the story or gameplay it can still be changed in the design phase.

Back in Illustrator, things are getting a bit cluttered with building details and the skyrails:

(Click image to enlarge)

My solution was to change the tone of overlapping objects to indicate their elevation, darker objects being higher up. This de-emphasizes unimportant buildings but also provides a physical cue our brains, which expect farther objects to be lighter due to atmospheric haze. It’s a small detail, but helps readability with no extra work. Thus, the basic area map is finished.

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