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Process of "Choco"

Feel free to click through the images and see some notes!

Main focus: Environment/Level Design

Concept Art

The first concept was drawn by another teammate.

The original vision for Choco was to make it an open-world collecting game like "Banjo-Kazooie" while having a soft-shaded aesthetic like "Tunic". Once I created a small "island" to get a sense of the system, we built off of it in the first sketch to determine the remainder of the world and how they flowed between one another. Once we were satisfied with the end result, I went through and refined the design for future reference on approximate height and distance when building the rest of the terrain. 

First Area - "Start"

Progress shots of the "starting" area where the player starts

For the starting area, the team agreed the player should start at a small beach and make their way upwards. Using the egg collectibles, I placed them around selectively in groups of 3-5 so it would incite players to follow. This proved to be pretty effective in subtly guiding the player around without having to prompt textboxes everywhere.

This area actually came before the concept arts, as it was mostly just me testing out the tileset system and getting a grip on sculpting. The team ended up liking it so much that we just built off of it as shown in the previous images.

Second Area - "Snow"

This is where the puzzles start to ramp up at.

As one could see in the screenshots, this entire process is done completely by hand, one block at a time. Think Minecraft but on a larger scale. These blocks are separated into layers following the y-axis (i.e., "Offset 0", "Offset 1", etc.) which make it a lot easier to build. Since this is an isometric game, the structures are entirely hollow and built on a certain angle to save time rendering in all of the chunks as the player moved.

This time around, rather than building upwards, I chose to build downwards towards 0 (y-axis) since it would faster connecting both areas together. It was definitely much faster, since 90% of the workflow required only one type of block for this area. I tried my best to mimic snowy mountains going up.

Third Area - "Mountain"

Progress and inspiration shots for the mountain.

Mountains were definitely complicated to sculpt, especially by hand. Had a lot of difficulty with the terrain and just making a "realistic" looking mountain at the very least. My first attempt looked too bland with one type of block (snow-capped stone block), so I ended up making a full snow block (purely white). After scrapping the original few attempts, I managed to create a good mountain formation that the team and I were satisfied with. I have Minecraft to thank for the inspiration!

I left in my scribbles when I was trying to figure out how to seamlessly attach the two areas together, since we wanted a staircase going up. I tried extending the stairs out a bit so they were not "perfect" (red). The yellow was space I was confused on, but this eventually became a small clearing for a puzzle later on.

Fourth/Fifth Area - "Evil Islands"