Game Development | Zone 24 Dragon’s Lair

in Game Development2 months ago

Dragon's Lair.jpg

Dragon’s Lair marks the last zone I’ll be making for quite some time. With the one after it being a zone for a boss battle and already complete. Dragon’s Lair had some special meaning to me as I wanted a zone for the player to battle dragons. It includes a lot of wide-open chambers with a high ceiling that will be filled with dragons later on.

With the kind of fights, this zone will be having it by no means will be a quick one to complete. Someone rushing in here once I work on AI and get some dragons in will have a fast fiery death. It will also market one of the hardest non-boss zones for the player to farm till the end game is worked on far in the future.

I created a central branch that goes up several inclines that has many cavernous rooms forking off from it. With how big the dragons will be in here I choose not to spawn in a bunch of building debris since they would be towering over them and I did not want to create situations for the AI to get stuck or have to get around.

One of the first things I considered was I did not want to go overboard with making this zone too huge right off the bat. I could always add to the landscape layer as I went. These fights are expected to take longer than usual so giving myself too much space to work with at the start could lead to an hour or longer to run zone later on for the player

Dragon's Lair working on the landscape layer.png

I spawned in one of the dragon models I’ll be using along with some walls to give myself a point of scale I would be working with. The dragon I might end up scaling up later on when I work on AI and other parts before I populate the zone with them. For now, it served its purpose.

The entryway into this zone was something I played around with a bit longer than I was expecting to spend. I had a couple of different concepts on how I could do it that would further have an impact on the rest of the zone.

First iteration of the zone in area in Dragons Lair.png

One of the first iterations was having a ramp that would take the player deep up in the zone. It would also have two side ramps going off into their chambers where a bunch of dragons would be downwards.

A failed attempt.jpg

Needless to say, I just was not happy with the results I was getting. Even after making a few adjustments and spending further time to polish it up a bit. I ended up scraping it going down below the base landscape layer.

Further working on the entry way in Dragon's Lair.png

I ended up doing nothing fancy. This is an example of less is more and even more so it’s less work. I kept there being a side chamber on both sides. Instead, they would just be at the same elevation as the landscape layer. The middle section taking the player up a hallway that had some forks for them to explore.

Entry way in Dragon's Lair.png

Overall I’m rather pleased with how the first section turned out. Later on, I added in some of the missing landscape layers on the right.

Working on a hallway in dragon's lair.png

After that, I was off playing with different elevations, making hallways that lead into other chambers, and so forth. I even played around with the landscape layer material a bit.

This is one of those zones I did not take many screenshots as I was going along. I had spent far too much time thinking about and redoing the entryway a couple of times. Once I got into my groove I went for it without further interruptions.

Overview of Dragon's Lair.png

At some point, I did stop to take this screenshot. I was playtesting the run time to go around the zone itself. This was around eighteen minutes. That being around the target I was looking for I removed from adding a fourth section and creating a tunnel hallway that players run off towards the end.

Working on lighting settings in Dragon's Lair.png

After that, it was time to work on lighting. I added in quite a few light importance volumes along with post-processing. Finally, I added in a celling as well. I have a general feeling that the majority of my zones have that I do with lighting.

With this being a giant cave network I also added in some fog with a deeper blue color to add some coldness and depth to Dragon’s Lair after my first light build. Before that, it was lacking some of the feelings I wanted this zone to have.

While I’m not going to have decaying building structures and a bunch of other things to catch the player's eye scattered throughout the zone. I was also not going to leave things rather dull-looking either. I loaded up a foliage brunch and added in quite a few mushrooms.

adding in a foliage in Dragon's Lair.png

I also took the opportunity to add stalactites to the ceiling. I do prefer to have stalagmites as well on the ground. I know the dragons will need quite a lot of space to move around in and did not want to impede their ability to navigate the area later on. That would create too many opportunities for ranged players to get them stuck on something and get easy kills.

Player spawned in Dragon’s Lair.png

Once everything gets added in with the player I just love how it turned out. The lighting itself was built at a prevue quality for the time being. When I am certain I am done changing anything that could affect lighting that needs to be rebuilt which could take a day of computing time.

Final Thoughts

Dragon's Lair entry with a dragon and lighting.jpg

I’m quite thrilled to have this portion of world-building now done with 25 zones in my game. This also means I’m moving onto heavy parts of game development soon that I don’t have much experience with. I’m sure there will even be days where I miss spending hours doing nothing but placing down torches to light the scenes.

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Screenshots were taken and content was written by @Enjar. Screenshots are from Unreal Engine 4.

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