Monthly Archives: April 2018

Blogtober

Blocktober

I thought it was finally time to write up a quick blog post summarizing the amazing response #Blocktober received last October. Hopefully this also serves as a nice way to remind people to start collecting up stuff they want to share this year!

We got some awesome coverage of the work on display from news sites and it spawned a lot of discussion on level design forums like MapCore.

Gamasutra

“Ever wondered how level designers plan out vast, sweeping levels without getting lost in a labyrinth of their own making? Well, thanks to the Blocktober hashtag, all your dreams are about to come true. “

Polygon

“This is a stage of development we’re not often able to see”

Gamesradar

“Naughty Dog starts #blocktober by showing off Uncharted’s bones, more devs join in”

Blocktober: a beautiful insight into how game worlds are built

Mashable

“Game developers on Twitter are sharing what their games looked like mid-development”

Waypoint

“Game Designers Are Sharing Naked, Unfinished Levels for “Blocktober””

80.lv

“Level Designers Reveal Early Stages in “Blocktober” Hashtag”

Our own David Shaver even took Blocktober to GDC this year…

Personally, I loved seeing everyones work whether it was professional or personal, recent or past, veteran or hobbyist. It was all really inspiring and I hope the exposure helped everyone improve their skills and maybe grow a bit more appreciation for the art of level design.

After talking with many developers it seemed that getting exposure on the working practices of level designers was hard to come by. There is such a broad spectrum of what is considered “level design” and every studio has a different way of operating, but if Blocktober showed me anything it’s that the core fundamentals of what is expected from level designers seems to be consistent.

That being, that while blockouts form much of the basis of our output, level designers are also expected to be the glue between all departments in a studio (if you’re a one person team you are also the glue between you and…you). Someone recently described level designers to me as the stewards of the game. When you own a level, no matter how it is represented, you don’t just own the geometry but you have to consider every single element that goes into it. While Blocktober was able to showcase the enormous talent of level designers and their ability to create spaces, the elements we see in screenshots only show a small portion of the discipline. This is why I think it’s so important to gain visibility on work that isn’t just of artistic merit, but also displays clear intent and function for a huge range of games. The level of skill on display in the work people shared with this daft wee hashtag was phenomenal and they showed that it takes a great amount of experience to be able to focus on the elements that are truly important to your game while also creating spaces that covey your intent.

This is also why I enjoyed seeing blockouts for past works. I know there was some expectation that people should tackle #Blocktober like #Inktober (by attempting a blockout a day (I tried myself, it’s tough!)) but I think what we gained from seeing blockouts of works we have experience playing is of enormous value. As I said, the artistic side of blockouts is only a small part of the whole picture and so being able to see early blockouts for games like DmC, Gears of War 4, Titanfall, Deepest Ocean, Q.U.B.E. 2 and everything in between, knowing how they feel to play, is a fantastic source of knowledge.

I do want to give a shout out to Jasper Oprel (@jasperoprel) for actually completing one blockout a day and then combining all that work into a dungeon you can explore here…http://oprel.work/games/templo/

The response to Blocktober was immense and I’ve had the enormous privilege of seeing level designers light up when discussing it and looking forward to it continuing. Thanks to everyone who contributed and made that possible, it’s truly amazing and I hope people engage with it again this year.

Originally I was going to do a “my favourite posts” blog, but I think there were too many to be able to do that. So instead I’ll just sign off by saying remember to follow @BlocktoberLD for all the #Blocktober tagged goods and get prepping for October 2018!

Cheers.