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Old 11-11-2010   #1
Cue
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Default What's in a stage?

Posted by Spazzo on 05-03-2010 04:54 PM.

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Going from a concept to a physical and enjoyable stage isn’t always easy.

The difference between the concept and the stage itself can range from trivial (where the level was sketched out and replicated in a WAD editor nearly line-for-line) to grossly different (the level sketch was used as the concept’s foundation while the level itself was considerably altered), depending on the mapmaker. In either case, concept sketches are as beneficial to the design process as they are interesting to look back on and see where it all came from.

Continue reading after the jump to see some concept sketches of some of SRB2′s multiplayer stages. These sketches range from six months to over eight years old.

(Click on the images to enlarge them)

(Top to bottom: Meadow Match, Thunder Citadel) One interesting thing to note are the canned player abilities/attributes scattered around the maps. Two of these items actually made it into v2.0 under new names -- can you guess which ones they are?


Here's Sapphire Falls Zone in its utmost infancy, back when the stage was still symmetrical. Note the lack of a"sniper tower" at the bottommost part of the stage. It's astounding to think that such a simplistic and dated level can still be seen in SRB2's rotation today.


Here's Frost Columns Zone, an OLDC level that is being brought into the v2.0.5 rotation. The sketch is remarkably similar to the final level in itself, only a handful of minor changes were made in the development process. Japanese characters not included.


Perhaps the oldest sketch of the lot, this drawing of Nightmare Ring shares a lot in common with the layouts of both Midnight Abyss and Airborne Temple, 2 maps from past generations of SRB2 match rotations. If you can make any more sense of this diagram, then...you're lying.


Twisted Terminal (originally known as Roundabout Run) is one of the rare cases where the final level and the original sketch aren't carbon copies of one another. The original intention was for the main path to involve flipping your gravity and walking around the roof to get the enemy's base.



Here's an early look at what some of you might remember as Hydro Plant, and others as Chaos Space. This particular sketch comes complete with the flat (floor texture) names that were to be used.

More...
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Old 02-28-2012   #2
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Pardon my bump, but what the hell happened to this post on the site? I certainly thought it was a nice change from the usual blogpost content, and I put in a considerable effort into preparing it. It's not my only post missing, either...

Lame.
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Old 02-28-2012   #3
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A ton of the posts got borked when Cue hastily removed your account. I suspect this is one of them.
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Old 02-28-2012   #4
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I think it's really neat seeing this entire process. Just being able to get a little peek at understanding how someone else goes through the creation process is pretty amazing in my opinion. After seeing this I feel that my method of constructing stages was very lacking and without any real goals. Basically, my creation process was this:

I would see snippets of stages in my head, taking in the visual scenery and aesthetics, and then seeing it move in motion. I would then explore that little snippet in my head and see what would make that section interesting or unique. Then after that, I'd just build it. It seemed to work at the time, and I think it does for small sections, but I'd construct entire levels on this alone. There was no true continuity or entire layout, I'd just go one little piece at a time and figure out a way to try and make them work. There were no entire drafts before the actual map making. Next time I'm working on a level, I'll definitely try a more planned and precise approach. Thanks for the bump.
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Last edited by Ultimate; 02-28-2012 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 02-28-2012   #5
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When Cue deleted my account, all of my posts appeared under your name. I don't understand why it would have arbitrarily deleted select blog posts as well.

Note that the following are also dead:

http://www.srb2.org/2010/06/q-a/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/a-few-me...about-release/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/srb2-v2-...now-available/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/master-server-downtime/
My April fools posts are also missing.


Yet the following work:

http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/a-dev-tr...trinket-there/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/04/were-now-on-twitter/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/04/online-p...4-for-dummies/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/03/new-yout...layer-trailer/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/02/history-...ly-chronicled/

And so on and so forth.

It just seems a bit odd to chalk something like this up to database error, although I'm willing to accept that possibility.

EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post
words
You know, I was working on another blog post dedicated to seeing the progression of a map from revision 1 to release candidate...I was going to use ERZ2 and Twisted Terminal (since every single iteration of both map still exist), take screencaps from pre-determined coordinates, and show a timelapse of how the levels evolved from the ground up. I never got around to finishing it...but I still have all of the map versions, so who knows what might happen.

Last edited by Spazzo; 02-28-2012 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 02-28-2012   #6
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Well, just glancing at that, is it a possibility that all posts from after a certain date are lost, because that appears to be the most obvious pattern in your examples.
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Old 02-28-2012   #7
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So, I'm not the only one who sketches out the level a bit? The only exception is i actually draw them out in isometric view.

Here's a pic of the level I've been making. But trust me, this is all you'll get to see:
Spoiler:



Don't spoil yourself if you want to wait until it's done.
It's going to be for a level pack, and to be honest.. I'm quite proud of it.
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Old 03-05-2012   #8
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Erm, you guys don't try to sketch in perspective what the level even looks like when you're playing in it? I guess layout is more important for multiplayer than SP, but still.
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Old 03-05-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazzo View Post
When Cue deleted my account, all of my posts appeared under your name. I don't understand why it would have arbitrarily deleted select blog posts as well.

Note that the following are also dead:

http://www.srb2.org/2010/06/q-a/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/a-few-me...about-release/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/srb2-v2-...now-available/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/master-server-downtime/
My April fools posts are also missing.


Yet the following work:

http://www.srb2.org/2010/05/a-dev-tr...trinket-there/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/04/were-now-on-twitter/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/04/online-p...4-for-dummies/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/03/new-yout...layer-trailer/
http://www.srb2.org/2010/02/history-...ly-chronicled/

And so on and so forth.

It just seems a bit odd to chalk something like this up to database error, although I'm willing to accept that possibility.

EDIT:



You know, I was working on another blog post dedicated to seeing the progression of a map from revision 1 to release candidate...I was going to use ERZ2 and Twisted Terminal (since every single iteration of both map still exist), take screencaps from pre-determined coordinates, and show a timelapse of how the levels evolved from the ground up. I never got around to finishing it...but I still have all of the map versions, so who knows what might happen.
Nope, no posts were deleted, I pretty much remade the account and moved all the posts to the new author. Nothing should have been deleted, so if something went missing it was some other altercation.
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Old 03-05-2012   #10
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Clearly someone didn't want my posts on the front page. Huh. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-06-2012   #11
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Personally, I don't really use this method at all. I simply create a vision in my head of what I want some of the highlights of the level to look like in the actual game, and then tinker and tinker until the actual product looks as close as possible to my fantasy. From there, I just improvise, letting the level take me where it may.

This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone who is highly acquainted with my levels. The downside of this method is that my alternate paths often end up looking blatantly tacked-on, since I haven't explicitly planned for them until I start making them.

However, I do sketch things out a bit when I'm working on designing my pet project (the one that's keeping me so distant from the SRB2 community right now). But even then, I don't sketch out detail in the actual levels...I sketch out the structure of the entire world, and how all the levels connect to each other.
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Old 03-07-2012   #12
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I only sketch certain parts of my maps. The rest I just build off of my head.
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Old 05-29-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cue View Post
Perhaps the oldest sketch of the lot, this drawing of Nightmare Ring shares a lot in common with the layouts of both Midnight Abyss and Airborne Temple, 2 maps from past generations of SRB2 match rotations. If you can make any more sense of this diagram, then...you're lying.
I actually CAN make sense of this diagram.

The numbers in each sector represent what kind of specials will be used for the sectors. These numberical references do NOT follow tag values in DB though. A number means that sector will have that kind of FOF in it. 4/6 means it will use specials 4 and 6, while 4-6 means it will use specials 4 through 6. The extra letters are there to help define sectors that are too spall to fit the numbered specials they are entitled to. the AR means an Automatic Ring placement, while the SR stands for a Super Ring placement. The little "a" shows on which FOF each item will be on. A Super Ring will be on FOF 4, an Infinity Ring on FOF 16, and a Random Monitor on FOF 2. This special placement can be seen in 1.08's Midnight Abyss. This fact is bolded because it's a layered thing placement and can be fussed up very easily. The arrows however represent springs, in which this placement is not seen in either Midnight Abyss nor Airborne Temple. The "P" in the upper right corner of the map is actually a "D", just rushed and not well writ. There are also some "A" symbols beneath the heavily bolded Automatic Ring placements on the 4 cross-path sectors, and additionally appear to be the "Columns" seen in both Midnight Abyss and Airborne Temple. The outer ring of 0/10 suggest that the outer ring was a death pit, but may also have something above that death pit, like some water or an additional FOF. There what appears to be a "5R" in the center of the top left area of the map. It's actually a badly written "SR".

Well.. There you go.
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