Blue Volta has changed its face and little by little we are reviewing all the environments to adapt them to the new gaming style. The main difference on a visual level is that we have slightly changed the point of view, making it more similar to a classic platformer: with a character that runs and jumps on platforms, it has been a forced choice. Playing areas will therefore be wider and more developed in length than the point and click version.
How do we design a Blue Volta level? Until not long ago, the whole process was pretty much random. But now that we’re grown ups we have something I can call workflow!
First, I work with Luca to make a list of mandatory elements according to the game design, everything that is fundamental for the narration and is linked to that particular environment. Once we have the list, I start drawing some basic sketches. This phase is the one I find the most fun and creative, it is the moment in which the world of Blue Volta takes shape and acquires concreteness.What you see above is a sketch of Dafne’s house. Dafne is not wealthy and lives with her grandmother, so I thought of a small house where she can’t have a room for herself alone, so her bed stays on a mezzanine. I also wanted to build a little multi-level environment, which makes the house more interesting to explore. Everything at this point would normally pass in the hands of Sergio, our level designer, who based of my drawings defines the platforms and the structure of the level. In this case it was not necessary because it is a really small setting.
Using the sketch as a reference I begin to draw all the elements of the scene and to define the details. I tend to keep as many objects as possible on separate layers, so that in case of second thoughts, things are easily adjusted. Then we switch to colouring.
There is another technical matter that I have to keep in mind: I must avoid placing too close to each other the objects which Zeno can interact with. Since there will no longer be a mouse pointer, Zeno will only be able to observe objects that he approaches, and having several of them grouped together in the same place would be a problem because there is no way for the player to select which one to look at.
When everything is in place I add a final touch: lights.
And here it is, ready to be explored!