Wednesday, October 2, 2013

GSI Simulation: Part 1 - The Concept

So, looks like a brand new level design project is up on the docket. For now, I'm calling this the "GSI Simulation," so you can track this project using that title.

For a number of years, I've been involved in playing and teaching a table-top RPG called Shadowrun. This involved creating campaigns for my players to make their way through. One of the central concepts that I developed was the GSI - a fictional agency in the Shadowrun universe that works to protect the world from dangerous "hidden" threats. During the third campaign, the GSI came into the spotlight as a key location visited by the players. One of the missions even centered itself around moving through the various spaces of the building.

Of course, during a table-top game, it's all about describing locations and their features to the players, but for a while now, I've wanted to take this to the next step. Since I've already developed most of the layout of the building (and drawn maps to go along with it), translating this to a full 3D world "should" be a fairly painless task. But, for those who know me, there's no way I'm going to be leaving it there.

This new version of the GSI is going to be developed like a simulation for a new recruit in that players will be given a VR (virtual reality) guided tour through the facility. Along the way, various things could happen - maybe some bad code has gotten into the simulation and corrupted it, maybe it's being re-written while the player is inside, who knows - something to make the level into more of a "game" rather than just a 3D google map.

The first stage of the project is to get all the plans down on paper. I know that I'm going to be using UDK for the project, but this is also going to be a learning experience for me with 3DS Max - I want to make sure that the visuals come out the way they look in my head, and the best way to do that is to do it myself (instead of using pre-existing static mesh and textures). For the most part, this will be a challenge - it's been a long time since I've worked in actual UDK as opposed to custom editors, but once I get going I expect things will come back pretty easily.

Once the paper plans are done, the next step is to block out the level. Look for another post in the future when that starts up!

Link: Learn more about Shadowrun

Link: Learn about my course at VFS

Link: Browse the GSI database (User Name: Guest, Password: GSI)

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