Shroud of the Avatar On-the-Fly Level Creation and Map Design

Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar

This week, Portalarium Technical Director Chris Spears used input from the community to creates a playable map, start to finish, to be included in Pre-alpha Release 6!

It was decided to create a PvP map, featuring a volcanic crater that has become partially filled with water to form a swampy basin. He discussed bordering, to contain the level, using elevation changes, sky and fog, or tree walls, and entrances/exits to the level.

Map flow is important, not just in adventuring areas, but also for PvP. Richard Garriott has previously noted his theory of 4’s within a level; 4 points of interest, 4 people to talk to, 4 encounters, etc. Some of these are important for a PvP area as well.

First, he creates a heightmap in L3DTto create the general layout of the level. These allow the layout to be quickly and easily realized, without a lot of overhead, and can easily be edited, modified, and tiled with other heightmaps to create larger areas. L3DT is a simple program that lets you design terrain; there is a free version, but the Pro version has a 90-day trial but is not very expensive ($39).

Next, he brings the heightmap over to Unity within the TerrainComposer plug-in. Using the layering tools in that plug-in, textures can automatically be applied based on height. After some tweaking, changing scaling and textures, we actually get to watch him play within the new scene.

Despite losing some video and only having audio due to some connection issues, this is a great learning tool for prospective Unity designers.

Watch the Tutorial!

Chris shows off how to create a level from scratch, with some great examples of how to do things within Unity. The full video is one hour fifty minutes long.

Resources

Here are links to some of the tools that Chris discusses during the video:

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