WEEK 4: LET'S MAKE A PLATFORMER

Hello again there! I hope you are doing well and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and following my progress! It's been a fun ride! :) We are now at week #4 of the course Level Design For Games on CGMA! Almost at the half mark as it is a 10 week course. For this week, we learned about specific challenges related to platformer games. Super fun lessons! 
ASSIGMENT 

Here are the requirements for this week's level: 
- Floating City Theme
- Use a new Character Blueprint for a platforming level
- Make a platforming block out (needs to require jumping!)
- Show off a stylised environment
- Create a sense of scale in the world
- Have a way to get back to the level if you fall 

Here's a little recap on things I wanted to improve or learn with this new assignment:
- Think a bit more about the placement of ennemies
- Have more interesting compositions
- Make stuff move ( I think this one will be interesting for a platformer) 

Now, let's work! 
LETS DO THE WORK! 

I'll do it a little different this week and I won't talk about each and every little things I did during each working sessions, but I will talk about a bit  of how this level came to life. 
1. BRAINSTORM / MOODBOARD & INTENTIONS
So first thing I did is to research some references and get my ideas in order. I start by looking out for cool refs, and then, I clean them up and make sense in all of this madness by asking myself some questions: 
Who - When - Where - What - Why - How 
Thank's to this video of Tyler Edlin, I recommend. Also, after listening to a lot of Feng Zhu's video on Youtube (particularly this one), I thought it would be a great idea to identify a main identity I would like to use for my design language. For this world, I choose the aesthetic of mud houses you can see in some African regions ( I think it can also be seen in other places but you get the idea). 

My cleaned up Mood board with all my favorite references and some notes

I decided I would go with an inspiration of 90% White Mud Houses and 10% Pond Inspired Floating Islands.

WHO: A Bug Catcher
WHEN: Magical time (No Time)
WHERE: Village in the sky
WHAT: Catch fireflies
WHY: To help light up the city!
HOW: By exploring the world and putting the fireflies you collect in lights
2. BLOKOUT & NAVIGATION
As we were working with a totally new character blueprint, I started by just playing around with the character and try to figure out how far can it jump , how high (not high at all!), can it crouch, etc. This character comes fro the Unreal Learning Kit so the fun thing was that they provide  a little map you can play and checkout all the components that can give you ideas. I also take this time to model a bunch of things I can use in my level and also download some interesting free models I could use from Sketchfab. I also take the time to play the level that was done by the instructor to find inspiration. 

Some things I modeled with the modeling tool in Unreal to help me build some kits.

Some models I found on Sketchfab that would fit my world. I tweaked some of them in Blender.

3. MAKE THE LEVEL / BLUEPRINTS & GAMEPLAY ELEMENTS
Here a little break down of how the level started to where I was able to push it in the end! 

First working session, my camera was not working and it was painful to work on this level! I worked on defining how high I can make my platforms.

Second working session, I worked a bit on the mood as I thought it was quite important so sell my idea. Also, I made a pickable firefly and some moving platforms.

Third working session, I expended the world and created all the islands I wanted to be able to visit. I started to add the wind trails to guide the player and I added some collectible chests.

Final level! This is the completed map with all my elements. I focused more on blueprints in the end, adding some text, some sound fx and feedback for the player to sell my idea.

All the different Blueprints I did for this level. Some are assets, some are widgets, a lot of different things to help me build all of this!

4. LET'S PLAY!
Here's a little video of my gameplay! :) 
KEY TAKEAWAYS

This level was definitely a challenge! I think that platforming games offer a totally different way of making levels as the previous ones we were doing during the course. It was a lot of fun, although I hate this character. The jump is really way too small and I think if I was to redo this level, I would check to be able to tweak the height of the jump a little so it's more fun to play! 
TO KEEP:
- I think having a little bit of mood sold my idea better!
- The fishes were a fun obstacle and the fact that I put them red is a clear sign for the player
- I loved working with sound fx for feedback and also I think my blueprints got better with visual feedback too!
- Moving stuff is cool! 
- Text really helps sell the story
- The compositions were nice

TO IMPROVE:
- Guide more the player with my level. I think it was a bit hard to know were I wanted you to go
- Make the caves a little wider for comfort
- Maybe use the waterfalls in some way
- Maybe having different things to do in the level
- Improve compositions in some areas, like when you talk to the fisherman, it would be great to be able to see the castle

TO LEARN:
- How to make a meter to know how much fireflies you have collected or how many lights you have lighten

I probably forgot many things I would like to improve upon, but it's a good start! I learned a lot on this one, as always. My brain is almost fried with all the new things I'm learning! :P As always, I have done a little video on Youtube if you want to check it out! 
Thanks for your time! I hope you enjoy following me on this journey! 
See ya! 
- Caro

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