SEVERANCE, BLADE OF DARKNESS

Bigtruck's pages

Updated July 10, 2005

HOME PAGEREBEL ACT DEVELOPPERS > FERNANDO DEL AMA

 

Level Designer: Fernando Del Ama

I started to work at Rebel Act in 1996. I had just finished my courses in the Architecture School in Madrid in those days. Then I heard about "Blade". I had no experience with video games, but it wasn't any problem because we wanted to create something new; nothing like any videogame made before.

Click to enlarge!This is a picture from the Levels Editor (Led). It's the plan of the Ice Fortress, one of the last levels in the game. The ice fortress is probably my favorite, because this was the first one I finished. I have totally designed six levels and the tutorial.

Actually we (the level designers) are now finishing every single detail, like textures, enemies, objects, lights etc. When this picture was taken I was trying to reduce the polygons on the screen in order to increase the frames per second and make it more enjoyable.

I could say lots of things about the Led. At first it was difficult to work with it because it's different to any other editors. It has its own rules and only when you know these rules you can start making good levels. For example, rooms are created by digging in a solid world, which makes it hard creating columns or stanchions but better for making exteriors and open spaces. We can place any object modeled in Max into the level, and dynamic lights are linked to those objects. If these objects have the same textures as the level it will be difficult to see the differences, because the lights and shadows affect in the same way to walls, objects and characters. Adding special characteristics to a level, as water, is different. We must add the water to the levels by writing a few script lines.

The first step is to think out the general style of the level. We have many locations and we tried to make them as real as we could by choosing good textures and an appropriate architectural style. The Led is the tool we use to create the room and adjust the textures to any wall. But the room is not finished without lights and objects. Then I place the enemies checking if it's necessary to place items (life potions, weapons, shields...) to make it easier. At last I place the sounds by using ghost sectors with the Led, but sounds can also be placed by script.

Texturing the levels is the most time-consuming part. To make a good texture for the game takes days of hard work, and even if the texture is good it must be adjusted in brightness, contrast and colors... for every different level. After years of hard work, all the levels have the same quality.

There are many things to take into account when designing a level. It's not only a question of the level, but also of where it is placed in the context of the game. The only limit, in how large a level can be, is our imagination and how it will affect the gameplay. We're trying to make them in a way so that most people will be able to finish a normal level in two or three hours, excluding the secret areas, but they could be as long as we want. You also have to know that the compiling time increases a lot if the level has more than 3000 different rooms, but it really depends on the computer.

Most of the time we have been working on one Monitor. Now we are using two, but this is not strictly necessary. With the led, which will be made available, you can make both single player levels and multiplayer levels. You will also be able to to add 3rd party objects modeled in max, textures and etc into your designs.