What is the point in putting all of this hard work and effort into creating a group of assets if we can't show them off to their fullest potential? One of the biggest challenges at the moment is composing our objects to not only create a visually pleasing scene, but one that tells a compelling narrative. We have our main selling point, but how do we support this? To answer this question, we have asked ourselves these important questions:
A. How will the player approach the scene?
Luckily, we have left our environment fairly linear so we can easily guess where the player will be facing when they enter each area. This gives us a great opportunity to frame these shots with pieces of the scenery. For example, to enter the cloister area one must go through the gatehouse. Already this creates a frame around the player and focuses his view on the main aspect of the area: the statue.
Paint-over of Cloister Area
B. How will we support the scene?
To further cement the statue as the main selling point, we will arrange the supporting assets to compliment the subject. The pathway in front leads directly to the hero asset, The Gladiator, leading the player's eye, while the dark building in the background supports a strong figure ground relation for the statue. We will also add a flock of birds which will fly off in front of the player, to create the illusion of a living world. Simple, but it should be effective.
C. How will the composition guide the player?
Leading the player from start to finish is one of the main focuses for how we will compose each area. The worst thing level design can do is confuse the person navigating it. To solve this problem, we used a combination of paths and lighting to suggest where to go next.
This one is fairly obvious. By adding a contrasting coloured light in the distance, it creates a definite point of interest for the player to move to. Not only this, but by using a warm colour of orange, in contrast to the very cool blues and greens in the current environment, the player will be instinctively drawn to the source of the heat. Having a series of smaller, cooler lights leading up to this point lead the eye and further reinforce the composition. Here, the tree also acts as a framing device to the end of the chapel, containing the players gaze.
Lastly, choosing a good place to start the level was a challenge in itself. We wanted to have the Abbey in full view, to show the player the final destination and illustrate the journey to it. However, Just beginning with this shot seemed a little obvious, and lacked drama.
This shot also doesn't show how the abbey is perched on a cliff by the sea. So instead, we decided to start on a cliff side path leading up to this view, having more of a reveal shot. This was found to be much more effective.
So that should do for composition for the moment. Concepting and paintovers are one thing, actually matching this in engine is where the challenge lies. If you have any thoughts/critiques, post them in the comments below.