I was going to post about powerups, but instead I’m going to talk about a few of the levels in this post and the next, before winding it all up with a discussion about the game, the engine, and where this is all going, including a new project.
In this post I’m going to show the evolution of a level, using a single scene from it’s initial version, through multiple iterations until the new version in the new generation. The level I will demonstrate is Dm-Dynamo, a small circularly looped level with two vertical tiers. The level was initially created in the Spring of 2006, at a time when I was making an artistic change(big surprise) in the levels, going from a Quake 3’ish style, more to a UT2k4’ish style. Mostly that had to do with the fact that I was at the time playing UT2k4 a lot, and fascinated by the super hi-tech look of some of the levels. One particular level, Dm-Irondiety blew me away by it’s complexity, so I sought to create a level in Alien Arena to try and achieve something of similar quality and style(I fell woefully short). I started by creating a hallway that was patterned somewhat after Irondiety…
I then started to come up with some ideas to make it a little more interesting, such as a grate in the middle of the floor, a lower level on the outside of the room, and adding the loops at either end of the hallway to create a unique layout.
Two years later, I overhauled the level, changing one of the walls using different architecture and new textures/palette. It was looking less like the level that inspired it by now.
Fast foward four years, and a few minor updates such as light beam shaders, new weapon pads, and a few texture changes to keep it current with the rest of the game.
Another four years later(my how time flies!), and the level gets it’s second “major” overhaul, and looks almost completely different.
Complete texture/palette change, much of the brush architecture replaced with static meshes, and taking advantage of new engine features such as cubemapping, decals, shadowmaps, as well as adding considerably more detail to the scene. Many other things were tweaked such as clipping brushes and replacing doors with open archways for a more fluid game experience. All of the updated maps received similar treatment, and in the next post I will run down the roster of DM maps with an image from each and a description of the map.