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  • Level Design Analysis: Oxenfurt In The Witcher 3

    [09.15.20]
    - Eduardo Tassi

  • Managing Spaces & Verticality

    I can easily say that the biggest challenge for this project was managing verticality. In level design, vertical spaces give another layer of depth to your design and really make the difference in creating a compelling space. In the Oxenfurt level though, verticality was everywhere, the entire Island was designed based on this principle, giving a great sense of wonder to the player. For the same reason, analyzing and managing each vertical area was a big challenge, one that I was eager to accomplish.

    As you can see from this screenshot, the level starts really high, where the main access point is accessible only by a bridge. The level develops downhill, gradually converging to the main square and the city center. In green, you can see some of the landmarks visible from almost any position of the island.

    CD Projekt Red team did an amazing job in creating an immersive level, the city is divided into very clear spaces: There's the Main Square with the Auction House, the Mansion of the most notorious Whoreson Junior located in the very center of the city, the Academy, the Harbor and so on. The great beauty, though, lies in between each of these areas where the player can completely get lost wondering about all the different passages and secondary roads that eventually will all lead into the different points of interest listed before.

    While blocking out it was really important to always keep an eye on the overall structure and composition of the level. In the left layout above (the beautiful layout from the right was taken in-game) you can see there's a subdivision between main and secondary roads, establishing the metrics of the main road early on helped me to form a clear vision for the overall scale, length and width of the level, doing this allowed me to have a better sense on how to manage all the different secondary roads.

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