Ladders ledges rocks and grass floating island colour

Floating islands – Speed sketching indie game environment concept art

Here is another of our 16x sped up videos of a floating island being created. This pencil sketch is filmed from start to finish showing concept art for part of our platform game environment. Continue reading “Floating islands – Speed sketching indie game environment concept art”

Rough pencil sketch platform game level scanned from moleskin notepad.

Demo 2D platform game level video and sketches

Here is a scan from a rough sketched drawing in a moleskin notebook. We have a few that are dotted about in the studio to capture ideas for parts of environments, platforms, objects and characters that we are pulling together for interactive apps and games.

Digitally painted watercolour over sketched platform game level drawing.

Being a simple sketch, we spruced it up a bit with some digital paint. We use a custom pencil and custom brushes in PhotoShop to retain the hand-made traditional art look.

We have already created several prototype pencil-drawn games using a game engine we wrote a few years ago. We will get round to doing some basic screen capture compilation videos of these, as a special treat for you guys, maybe!

Rough pencil sketch platform game level scanned from moleskin notepad.

Here is a super-early demo screen capture video of the hand-drawn demo game level drawing from above. It’s very basic compared to what we are now working on, but sowed the seed for us to create a more epic project. The rusty acoustic guitar riff we played over the top was just to add a bit of atmosphere to the demo footage.

Detailed hand-drawn platform game level design process.

Here is a complete commission for the level design of a platform game. I have produced a detailed reference for 3D modelling and texturing in 3DSMax for use in the Unity-developed game.

Squared grid level design process for collision map platforms

A grid-check is done prior to the final rendering. This is done with a transparent map of the platforms in the level over a grid. This helps to check the structure and map of the platforms, and helps to prevent in-game mechanics and the overall level design from breaking the gameplay. On a basic level this could be something like: Player gets stuck in a ditch and doesn’t have a high enough jump to get out.

User research

On a lean budget and tight time constraints, a bare minimum for user research should be to play-test the draft level design. Player/user feedback is then closely analysed to help improve the level design through iterations until the team are satisfied that it works well and is fun to play. Following this, the level is given the green-light for final artwork to be created.

Pseudo 3D Level Design

This is a pseudo 3D platform game level, which has a 2D-platformer feel, but a 3D parallax environment. Think game genres similar in camera-orientation to Shadow Complex, Ori and the Blind Forest, or the Rad Rodgers Kickstarter project.

The creative work and overall level design here is for a prototype. The storyboard and script are in constant development by the main game development team I am working with. This script also doubles up as a game design document which includes a specific set of game mechanics, some of which help the player to control the main character.

Release on iOS and Android

The puzzle-adventure will be released on both iOS (iPad and iPhone) and Android tablets in future. The head office for the production team of this game (and others) is in Hong Kong.

Below I have stitched a composite scan together in PhotoShop. The fully-rendered pencil drawing is drawn in pencil across three A3 sheets of smooth Canson Cartridge paper. The paper weight is approximately 200gsm.

Level design final pencil rendering composite for a platform game.
Pencil rendering of a platform game level design
The level includes, amongst other things: magnetic lava rocks, wooden ladders, gnarly trees, and some nice grassy platforms.