We are now at week 2 of the course "Level Design For Games" on CGMA. 
After the last assignment, there was a couple of things that I wanted to keep in mind for the next one. If you haven't read my first blog post or watch my first video, I invite you to do so so you can really see the improvement I made each week! Or just keep reading! 😊
This week, we learned more about how each level designer have kind of their own style when doing block-out. We talked about where is the line between level design and level art and how to plan out your level. We also talked about how to research and integrate some important details to sell your idea, like architecture or specific compositions. A key takeaway from the lessons for me was: 
"Add as much detail as you need to sell your level idea"
During the Q&A, we talked also about how we can find inspiration in games that we like and something the instructor said really stuck with me. The idea was that when you are in research mode for your game, think about those things that you love, and then try to think about these 3 things:
1. How can you imitate this thing that you love
2. How can you iterate on this thing that you love
3. How can you innovate on this thing that you love
I think I will definitely keep this in mind when doing either levels for this course, or any piece of concept a want to make in the future. This feels like a good mantra to write on a post-it somewhere in your workspace! 
WEEK 2 ASSIGMENT
For this week's assignment, we had a couple of rules to follow:
- Theme: Ancient Egyptian Tomb
- Build a linear space with something important at the end of the level
- Start identifying key shapes to use and think about the story taking place in the level

Here's a little recap on things I wanted to improve or learn with this new assignment:
1. Bigger interior spaces that are more easy to navigate
2. Use red as a danger color, other interactions or safe space use a different color
3. Learn how to make text prompt to add story or indication to the player
4. Learn how to do some interactions (with keys or collisions)
5. Have a better rhythm, a little more fun with the navigation (adding jumps, crouch, etc)

So with that, I started to brainstorm and came up with this idea:
WHO: An adventurous Librarian!

WHERE: Egypt (Ancient) - The Tomb of The Old Librarian (The first person to have written the texts of The Book Of The Dead)
WHEN: Around 1920
WHAT: She wants to find The Book Of The Dead
WHY: She wants knowledge, she crave knowledge! Like any bookworm really, right? 🤓
HOW: By exploring the tomb of The Old Librarian, and also making book offerings (you receive books and scrolls through the level, but you need to give some too)
SESSION 1
On session 1, I didn't do much in Unreal. I started to think about how I wanted this level to feel, what was my story and where could I put some text adding elements for the player. I also did some vey rough sketches to help me wrap my head around some things but I mean, it's really random doodles to help me think.
SESSION 2
On session 2, the flow of the level didn't change that much. I dived into blueprints and learned how to make text prompt on the screen so I can share some info with the player. I also started to dive into interactive objects, like how to use a key to interact with something (spoiler, I didn't get it in the end, I'm still working on it), and also some interactions with collision to toggle lights or things like that. 
SESSION 3
On session 3, I refined the flow a little, adding all the important spaces I needed for my level to make any sense. I made sure I had enough room when crouching, enough room to run around freely too. And I added a little jump challenge at the end. The problem I have with this jump is that I did not make a death fall trigger or something of that sort for the played to die and respawn. This is something I think I will want to do in the future. Also, I ran into a weird problem in Unreal. I kept hitting the Alt+H key by accident (because of Blender habits) and for some reasons, it made my project crash. Every time I was recovering the project, my generated assets I did with Unreal modeling tools were gone. Like really gone. Out of the projects, never to be found again. This is something really weird that I will need to fic in the future because I lost a ton of work that I needed to do all over again during session 4. 😭
SESSION 4
During session 4, I took the time to finish all I wanted to do (almost). At least all I thought was important for the level. I added some life to the rooms, learned how to do simple blueprint animations to trigger the doors and the statue. And I added some texte here and there to add story and explanations through the level. It's not perfect, but it was my first time using blueprints! It was pretty fun and challenging! 
KEY TAKEAWAYS
Overall, I think I did an good job with the theme and there are some elements I really like that I think I could push further.
I did not have the time, but I wanted to do some mini shafts where you could pickup some more books. Those shafts would have been the burial sites of people of great importance to The Old Librarian. 
TO KEEP:
- The moody lights 💙
- Using color lights to indicate the magical elements through the level (the blue lotus and blue lights)
- Having story through the level is fun and helps me have a purpose for things

TO IMPROVE:
- More consistency in my interactions 
- Play more with the ground and the ceiling to add variety
- More navigation interaction (use more the jump, the crouch etc.)
- Have less empty spaces. Have something to do often so it's not just walking. It can be text, it can be puzzle, whatever keeps the player engaged
- Having a way to get back to the level if you fall away from it in prototyping
- Having a comeback from the tomb chamber to the main level (how do you get out of this place?)
- Bring the world to life even more!

TO LEARN:
- Make a pickable element (either by turning the visibility off or any other way)
- Dig more into blueprint to get more familiar with those
- Learn how to trigger something only once (so I don't end up with flickering lights for exemple)
- How to fake/prototype puzzles
- Learn how to use animations that are a little more advanced then just 2 keys

Also, if you are more into videos, you can check this out! 
Thanks! See ya!
- Caro

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