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    This is a sophomore environment project for the Game Art and Design class of 2015. The theme was centered around the idea of an aztec city or vil… Read More
    This is a sophomore environment project for the Game Art and Design class of 2015. The theme was centered around the idea of an aztec city or village. Although props were a collaborative effort involving the whole class, each student was assigned to design, light, and set dress a map of their own using the pool of props made my the class. Read Less
My finished aztec dinosaur level! See below for the development process.
Concept art!! 

I put a lot of heart and should into the experience the player would have throughout the level. The small red "X" (left side) is there the player begins. They exit a dark cave- drawn to the light since there's nothing else to see. Upon emerging they are clued off that they are somewhere in the mountains, on a dirt path. 

The player makes their way down the winding dirt road (giving them a chance to get used to the camera and movement controls) which leads them to an aztec archway made of stone. This clues them into the kind of culture they're approaching, and in case they mistakenly assume they're in present day I threw in a small shield and spear leaning to the side as a reference to what tools the locals are still using.

All environmental clues thus far have no mechanical needs and hence can be completely absorbed simply by walking towards them and looking. After passing this archway the player reaches their first aztec house with a gate blocking the way- this confirms to the player the time period and culture of the environment while also requiring them to take action (learning the action button) by opening the gate so they can proceed.  

What's this now? HUGE eggs? What is this a dinosaur egg farm?? No way to tell for sure, but at least for now we've established something is a little different about this aztec world... Now the player crosses the bridge, seeing maybe more houses across the way... Nothing else to do so let's go in that direction. Sadly this part was ultimately removed from the level because we couldn't program a ladder to work. This part was supposed to allow the player to learn how to use a ladder before and after crossing the bridge- the final product replaces the whole lowered bridge and ladder ordeal with simply an expansive bridge across the gap which makes more sense anyway. 

While crossing the bridge a ray of sunshine beams down to the player's left, drawing their attention towards what looks like more houses and a huge golden temple- the player now has a "wonder" of sorts to reach, something drastically different than the rest of the environment that coaxes them to find a way to reach it. Fortunately for the player there is still only one way to go so that's the way they shall take. 

By this point the player has finally reached the rest of the village and is engulfed in the heart of the environment. There are houses, pots, baskets, animal skins, dinosaur eggs, blankets, etc.- the player gets a full wiff of what this world is supposed to be like. 

Ahead on the path at the edge of the village is a huge golden statue of a stegosaurus, the player is easily clued in by now that dinosaurs have some importance and presence in this world. Getting closer they are finally united with the pyramid they saw earlier and with nothing to stop them they are free to climb up the steps. Once at the top they can look out to be greeted by the sight of pterodactyls soaring in the distance, with faint caws. The player has now seen living proof of the dinosaurs which still exist in this world.
The finished layout in UDK using BSP. 
Here I drew over the map to establish the placement of certain general features in the environment. You'll notice a lot of changes from my original plan- all made to accommodate time schedule and our team of student's lack of experience with the Unreal engine.
PLEASE FORGIVE THESE PROPS. Done in 2012, not amazing, but charming I hope :-) 
Some nice shots of the final environment. 
Thank you so much for checking out my project! Hope you liked it. This is another old project so comments and criticism may not be constructively relevant anymore, but are always welcome and appreciated.