Adding Variety to Level Design
Variety keeps things interesting and organic. This can be as simple as combining prefabs or assets and creating new ones to have unique pieces that you can mix and match in a variety of ways.
Objective: In this article, I will show you how simple it is to diversify your level by using prefabs and repurposing assets. If you’re a kid that grew up playing with legos(or you still assemble them now), you’ll love this approach to level design!
Note: For this example, I will be using sci-fi assets from Filebase.
In this example, we are repurposing floor assets to create varied walls.
Note: I’ll be using shortcuts to speed along the process.
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- Select a floor asset to use as a wall.
To repurpose the floor asset, there are a few things we need to do:
- Rotate the Floor Asset to stand as a wall.
- Create an empty Game Object and reset its Transforms, this will set all the values to an unaltered state. The transform is reset so that when you enter Pivot mode, you can see the widgets at the bottom center. This makes manipulating our wall’s position a lot easier by setting it in perspective to its base.
- Make the Floor asset into a Child of the Empty Game Object. This combination is our first Wall (Wall_01).
→ Level Design Tip: It’s best practice to name your assets in the following format: assetName_number → Wall_01. This makes your assets, especially bulk assets that tend to be repeated across a scene, easy to locate and organize.
2. Now, it’s time to make our wall taller. You can add height by selecting more floor assets and stacking them on top of each other.
→Level Design Tip: To make the height more visually apparent for the player, using lighter tones at the top and bottom of the wall, while using darker tones in the middle accentuates the natural heigh of the object.
Note: In the next article, I will be discussing more tricks to add height to your level design. It might sound silly, but following interior design tips can actually improve how you design your levels.
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Using Assets to add Variation
Now that we have our first tall wall, we can duplicate it to create our second wall (Wall_02). This time, we’ll be adding more assets to create more unique details for Wall_02.
Note: After duplicating the first wall, you should save it as a prefab: Create a project folder → Name it prefabs → Drag and Drop Wall_01 here.
4. To add variation, we’re just going to drop in some more floor assets to our scene. The power of assets allows us to repurpose their use in a variety of ways. Here, we’ll be using them as accents and unique details for our wall.
→Level Design Tip: The easiest way to accomplish this is by selecting the asset you wish to modify from your Scene or Hierarchy, then dropping the new asset into it as a child. This makes it so the new asset inherits the transform properties of its parent so we don’t have to manually place it on the correct asset or rotate it. You can unparent the asset after you drop it in, but it will remain a Child of the Wall_02 asset.
Note: When combining objects, if they are clipping too closely, you may see some stripes across the objects. You can fix this by scaling or moving the object to mitigate clipping.
→Level Design Tip: Keeping a light background color while in the early stages of level design might be helpful to notice areas where your assets are not connecting properly.
It might be a simple variation, but I wanted to keep things simple for the sake of the example. These designs can go as complex and imaginative as you like. The methods and techniques described in this article can be extremely versatile — I was able to create an entire sci-fi lab using them as a basis.
In the next article, I will talk about how I created a Sci-fi lab room using the same methods! Give me follow for more Game Development Documentation and for my future articles on Narrative Design!
Note: After duplicating Wall_01, you should save it as a prefab. Create a project folder → Name it Prefab, then drag and drop Wall_01 to it.