Game Development Reference
Sketching out the level
To start with, you need some idea of what your level will look like. In a game development
environment, you will usually be given this "look" by your art director. As an asset arist or
level designer, you will take their speciicaions and drawings, and turn them into a 3D reality.
The level designer will already have thought about game-play, the level of difficulty, the
challenges to be contained in the level, overall look and feel, and perhaps the lighing quality
and sound. You will also have parameters to sick to within the whole game producion:
• Is the game set in the real world or fantasy or sci-fi?
• What's the date?
• Are graphics cartoony, realisic, edgy, dreamlike, happy, or dark?
• How quickly should the graphics render: low or high detail?
As well as many more.
Your job as a game arist, level designer, or asset modeler is to stay rigidly within the
parameters that you have been given and, having done that, to shine through with your
incredible arisic and modeling talent.
This chapter will show you some of the basics of level modeling and texturing—enough to
get you going, and start you of building games for your porfolio or to include it in your own
game. Game companies tell us that it's beter to have a few small and perfectly executed
examples in your porfolio than many large uninished or below-par examples. So, take your
own ime on this one, and add some of your own arisic lourishes as you go on, but stay
within the basic tutorial steps I've explained to you.
Do game artists need art degrees?
When researching this topic I looked at lot of job adverts to see what requirements gaming
companies look for in 3D modelers. One thing that surprised me was that all modelers
seemed to be called arists. Now, this may be my opinion, but I don't think that a modeler
or texture creator always needs to be that arisic. Rather, it depends on the game. Most 3D
games have a story that's based in the real world, and in a recognizable period of history that
is well documented for us, such as the Roman imes or the Wild West. Creaing assets and
levels for these worlds don't require high arisic ability to create objects from scratch—from
your imaginaion—because you can either go and see the object outside your own window,
or look it up in a book or on the Web. We're not recreaing the wheel here. It is, however,
necessary in many cases to have a good appreciaion of light, color, and form—subjects which
you can always read up by yourself or you can take an introductory art or photography class.