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When and if I do land a job as a real level designer, one of the obstacles I’ll need overcome is my lack of planning ahead. It’s worse for me because I’ve been producing digital media (music) for many years without ever planning ahead, and now I am used to that. A new employer though is going to expect me to be able to describe what I plan to do in minute detail. This means I need to learn how to plan what I’m going to do, and stop creating things on the fly. For now, creating things on the fly is natural because I’m still learning how design and assets interact. For instance, I could not create a map taking place in Korea unless I planned to create a pile of my own assets that would properly represent that setting. That said, my goal is to continue moving in the direction of pre-planning, and of personally creating whatever assets are lacking for my plans.

For now though I am sticking with what already exists and trying to use it in the most creative way possible.

A new map idea I’ve been working on is called “The Warrens.” It is essentially an impromptu “zombie-shelter” created by linking existing buidlings and passages into one enclosed base of operations. The idea is that, perhaps 10 years after the original zombie outbreak, the survivors have created their own bases by comandeering strong buildings and connecting them to each other via passages. In all cases using existing passageways as much as possible.

The end result is an unpredictable warrens of stores, wine cellars, sewers, and isolated patches of nature connecting them all. Semi-urban areas have been taken over by trees and grasses by this point, resulting in a patchwork contingenecy of tunnels, mine shafts, sewer access passages and broken cellars that extend from the city centers to the suburbs.

There are so many new gameplay possibilites inherent in such a scenario: separated survivors who must find each other, escape runs, supply runs punctuated by scenes of consolidating the security of existing passages, etc.

For now my main goal is just to finish a few levels before moving on to such increasingly complex ideas.

More to come.

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