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unc92sax
11-12-2012, 06:53 PM
Here is a detailed description on how to keep the art and theme of a level top-notch.

There are many ways you can begin with a level. I always start out with the gameplay elements (Always spend a good amount of time making gameplay as fun as you can, because this is the most important element of any level), and then I go back through the level to create an artistic theme.

I will give you some suggestions for keeping your art and theme top-notch.


Firstly, choose a theme and atmosphere.

Themes and Atmosphere


Always choose a good emotional theme to go along with what you want the feeling or story to be. (Like Dark, Happy, Sad, Cold, Funny, etc.)




Choose an environmental theme. (Such as the woods, future, winter, summer, a house, etc.)




Once that is chosen, choose a background to go along with the theme. (Remember to edit global settings if needed.)




Also choose a song that goes along with the emotional theme of the level.



After the theme is chosen and you have created an atmosphere to the level, choose the visuals and art.

Visuals and Art:



Begin by choosing materials that best suit the theme of the level. (Use a variety, but do not over-do it.)




Choose a good set of stickers and decorations. These should go along with the theme as well.




These should be properly placed throughout the level until it is appealing to the eye. They should not obscure the view of the player either.



Now you may begin adding Visuals (stickers, decorations, materials, etc.) in the proper places.

Proper Placement of Visuals:


Begin by editing your level. Addding your own personal style, as you please. (If you are good at layering, do it. If you are good at lighting, do it. Etc.)




Corner edit and have some variation to visuals. (But keep the same theme.)





Never let up on visuals and be consistent as you create. Levels that begin beautiful and end rushed and visually lacking leave a bad lasting impression.




Mess around with lighting. I can't stress what an impact lighting can make on aesthetics.




Hard to explain this one, and it all comes down to personal preference, but I advise to keep things "small" when creating highly-detailed levels. What I mean by this is, if you want things as realistic as possible, keep things generally life sized and proportional. Are flowers really the size of a person?




Always utilize Game Cameras. I never have my Sackperson wandering about without a Game Camera directing their view of my level. Changing perspective this way opens up new decorative opportunities and can help alleviate clutter.




Also in regards to the clutter, try and keep the path that your Sackboy follows generally clear and unblocked, with the majority of the detail around him rather than in his way. Make sure his path is clear and visible.




Another personal preference: this is LBP, so don't be afraid to show some of LBP's "signature gameplay elements". I do not like creators blocking checkpoints, decorating/re-sizing score bubbles, etc. Plain bubbles look fine on their own, and checkpoints and other core LBP mechanics need to be recognizable by the player.




Be. Consistent. Please. And feel free to spend forever perfecting your visuals. It pays off greatly.




Spend time on this, and get it as perfect as you can.




Also, try to come up with your own original ways to give scores. (Score giver, etc.) Give score bubbles and checkpoints some decoration if they are not too ugly.



By the time you have followed all these instructions, you'll be able to have a visually stunning level that has great thematic material and your own style...


I will update this occasionally. So leave feedback on anything that needs adding or fixing.

Night Angel
11-13-2012, 02:51 PM
I am a huge proponent for wonderful visuals, but I do appreciate your first statement involving gameplay. (Gameplay is definitely the most important asset regarding any level.)

I agree with nearly all of the points except for a couple in the quote box. I would advise being as original as possible regarding LBP's gameplay elements, however. A well-designed and/or handmade checkpoint outshines a stock checkpoint anyday. Additionally, I have an infatuation with stickering all of my gameplay bubbles and it can really add to the level's theme or atmosphere. Just try to be as original as possible, and your design and visuals will truly shine through.

drewsefske
11-13-2012, 04:01 PM
Very good tips!

I might add that point bubbles aren't the only good way to give points since LBP2 came out!
You can easily make a grabbable or player-sensing object that fits the theme of your level and gives points using a score sensor. It is a great way to give points and keep a consistent visual theme. Just make it disappear when the player walks in front of it or grabs it, and it keeps people actively involved in trying to get the highest score, which adds more excitement to the level!

I'm not saying point bubbles look bad, of course! Let us just say, for instance, that you were making a medieval themed level. A shiny point bubble may be good as a wizard's crystal ball, but something like a coat-of-arms emblem or a gold coin might better suit your theme than a point bubble! Think creatively, and people will say "That's a clever idea! This level is pretty good!"

RJA00000
11-13-2012, 10:07 PM
I am a huge proponent for wonderful visuals, but I do appreciate your first statement involving gameplay. (Gameplay is definitely the most important asset regarding any level.)

I agree with nearly all of the points except for a couple in the quote box. I would advise being as original as possible regarding LBP's gameplay elements, however. A well-designed and/or handmade checkpoint outshines a stock checkpoint anyday. Additionally, I have an infatuation with stickering all of my gameplay bubbles and it can really add to the level's theme or atmosphere. Just try to be as original as possible, and your design and visuals will truly shine through.

Again, those couple points were just personal preferences. I guess my message was poorly conveyed, as what I mainly wanted to get across was regarding consistency and objects being recognized by the player. For example, covering up checkpoints, although not my favorite method, could work very well. But in order to be done well the "makeshift checkpoints", so to speak, should be instantly recognized by the player and used the same throughout. You want the player, whether consciously or subconsciously, to see a checkpoint and recognize what it is. Same goes for the bubbles.

I guess it all comes down to the level though. The creator has to critically think about their theme and judge what would most fit in.

Y'know, you could always edit that point to better reflect this if you wanted to, unc92sax. :)

koltonaugust
11-14-2012, 01:14 AM
Again, those couple points were just personal preferences. I guess my message was poorly conveyed, as what I mainly wanted to get across was regarding consistency and objects being recognized by the player. For example, covering up checkpoints, although not my favorite method, could work very well. But in order to be done well the "makeshift checkpoints", so to speak, should be instantly recognized by the player and used the same throughout. You want the player, whether consciously or subconsciously, to see a checkpoint and recognize what it is. Same goes for the bubbles.

I guess it all comes down to the level though. The creator has to critically think about their theme and judge what would most fit in.

Y'know, you could always edit that point to better reflect this if you wanted to, unc92sax. :)

Of course there always exceptions but the list still provides a collection of guidelines. Good job/thanks, unc/rja, for putting it together!

doggy97
11-16-2012, 03:47 PM
Żou are asking about visuals

Now you make tutorial of it? Hah! Funny

VelcroJonze
11-17-2012, 06:18 PM
I would rather play a level with fun gameplay, than one with beautiful art and boring gameplay.

I like platforming and bubble chains. ;)

If a level is not fun, no matter how pretty it is, what's the point?

One thing I have learned though, if you want to please the player, you need to have a nice balance of the two. :)

doggy97
11-17-2012, 11:15 PM
I would rather play a level with fun gameplay, than one with beautiful art and boring gameplay.

heh.. sounds like me :p

yugnar
11-17-2012, 11:25 PM
I would rather play a level with fun gameplay, than one with beautiful art and boring gameplay.

I like platforming and bubble chains. ;)

If a level is not fun, no matter how pretty it is, what's the point?

One thing I have learned though, if you want to please the player, you need to have a nice balance of the two. :)

That's extremely correct. Anyway, visuals are at least as important as gameplay. If you make a two-material-and-no-decorated level with excellent gameplay, people will most likely quit before experiencing the actual gameplay. :D

jaffakree503
11-29-2012, 08:46 AM
this is all very good. i'd add that one thing that really made creating in LBP 'click' for me was when i started using the grids. it just gives that extra attention to detail look, particularly in areas where materials join.

unc92sax
11-29-2012, 11:06 PM
this is all very good. i'd add that one thing that really made creating in LBP 'click' for me was when i started using the grids. it just gives that extra attention to detail look, particularly in areas where materials join.
That's true. I use grid all the time, because it's so similar to the PSP create mode. Its just easy for me to use. Also the corner editer. Because there was no gridless brush in PSP, so you ended up corner editing EVERYTHING...

nysudyrgh
11-30-2012, 04:25 PM
How contradictionary. A few weeks ago you made a thread how averyone does his visuals. :P

doggy97
11-30-2012, 06:14 PM
How contradictionary. A few weeks ago you made a thread how averyone does his visuals. :P

I said that already! :kz:

unc92sax
11-30-2012, 07:51 PM
How contradictionary. A few weeks ago you made a thread how averyone does his visuals. :P
I asked those questions so I could compile the answers with my own and make a tutorial.

nysudyrgh
11-30-2012, 08:59 PM
I said that already! :kz:

But my post had more fancy words. :kz:-er

doggy97
11-30-2012, 09:23 PM
But my post had more fancy words. :kz:-er

But that is just UNFAIR!

; A ;

Schark94
12-12-2012, 09:41 PM
Nice guide, Unc! :D
However I’m using different methods. :3

- First, before I even start creating, I’m always planning my level. So that I exactly know what story and characters will the level have, what gameplay will there be, what style will I use, background, music, objects, decorations, etc. So I’m drawing out my first area.

- After I got all that I need, I can start creating. The first material I always use is basic cardboard, probably the best material ever made. After that, I can easily choose the right materials and place some stickers and decorations.

- I always try to be original as much as possible since people don't want to see something that was already made by someone else. Create something fun that will keep the players entertained.

- I always test my level few times and search for bugs before publishing. If there’s something that I don’t like – I just change it, no matter how much time it takes. I have a golden rule that I always follow: “Don’t publish your level until you get fully satisfied of what you have created”.

Remember that good visuals isn't the most important thing.

- Schark <3

Coezzy
08-16-2013, 08:49 PM
Nice thread and good advice, thank you for posting this :)