Evolution of a Map

With large amounts of work being done on The Ethereal Plains as of late, foremost among them has been mapping. Lots and lots of mapping. So as a bit of a side blog amidst the game development, I decided to show how I go about my environment mapping.

For this example, we will be looking at Alma Pass; a mountain-esque pass the player must go through to reach the town of Alma. As with all level design, both 2D and 3D, I follow the same basic steps:

  • I begin by blocking out the vast majority of the terrain.

  • I then focus on the underlying details, such as dense grass, paths, dirt, and major tress.

  • For the final step of the visual presentation of the map, I fill in all of the remaining detail work. Here is where the map gets its final layer of flowers, bushes, and miscellaneous details such as stray grass.

  • After the visuals of the map are completed, all that is left is to populate it with events. These usually include monsters (since I am not using random encounters in my game) and transfers (for the interior cave I have on this map).

If this were a more story-centric locale, I would also include the necessary scripted events and scenes to play out on the map. But since this location just serves as path to the next town, it is essentially complete at this point.

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