TowerJam 002 Designing the tower and surrounding world

2016-01-18 7:54 AM

I started by designing the world around the tower because in my head I wanted the start of the game to involve the player approaching the tower in a fashion that shows how vast the tower is. To do this I have the player start a few kilometers away from the tower with the tower in view.

The world design involves the player starting in a small mountain peak town with the tower in a distant view. This is used as a beacon much like the north star to guide the player. The world will be designed to also guide the player and blocking geometry will be used where appropriate.

Here are the first two sketches I made to get a rough outline of the world :

Quick design of the tower splitting it up into its major sections.


Topdown view of the world (tower is in the center top)


Side view approaching tower :


After drawing this I began blocking out the world in the Unreal editor to quickly establish the scale and world size. Important to get that right as early as possible to reduce the pain of fixing scale issues later. As I worked onthe layout the world design began to change relative to my sketches. There’s many reasons this happens. One of the main reasons is that once I have something in 3D I can frame the world using the game camera in different ways and see issues I couldn’t see when only desgining on paper.

I will most likely go back and redraw the world overhead view again to reflect the new world. At that point I wouldn’t be surprised if the design changes again when I got back to taking a big picture view of the level. This kind of iterative and destructive design I find immensely helpful early in the project. This is the point where throwing out things that don’t work is the cheapest to correct so it’s important to make as many mistakes as possible.

Here is an in-editor screenshot of the world at the point this blog was written.


Finally I think many blog posts for this game jam will have a cliche shot of the player standing with the tower in the background


Tags: unreal4 tower jam