Level design can be an under-loved art form in gaming. But a new hashtag, Blocktober, aims to change that. Starting as a gamer/tech equivalent to #Inktober for traditional artists, the movement gives us a peek at how modern games are made.
It’s easy to forget how much labor goes into the polished, state-of-the-art graphics found in modern Triple A games. In a series like Uncharted, for instance, environment is a vital part of the player experience. If characters like Nathan Drake didn’t have dangerous settings to explore, there would be no games. In order to celebrate gaming’s unsung heroes, Michael Barclay, a designer at Naughty Dog, started up Blocktober on Twitter.
— Michael Barclay (@MotleyGrue) October 1, 2017
The term “block” refers to an early step in mapping out levels for games. Developers use rough shapes, which resemble building blocks, to create a first draft of the areas players will move around in. It’s a step in the creative process that is not often seen, until now.
Other minds in the gaming industry swiftly embraced the chance to share their creative process, sharing looks at iconic games in their infancy. Work from the design stages of games like Uncharted, Portal, Fable, and more are currently available for viewing through Twitter posts from various artists.
Additionally, Barlcay set up a dedicated Twitter account for Blocktober, which encourages sharing of works-in-progress for the sake of both reference and appreciation.
Here’s a few looks at blocked-out stages that stunned us:
— Liz Fiacco (@lizfiacco) October 3, 2017
— Mark Richard Davies (@Ninjafr4me) October 3, 2017
— Em Schatz (@thegreatbluebit) October 1, 2017
And of course, it wasn’t just Naughty Dog’s team that got in on the fun. Developers and employees from other studios, including the indie market, showed their work as well:
— Dot Operator (@dot_operator) October 4, 2017
Joining Blocktober fun! Haven Hills / Sunny Coast from Pako 2. First draft and where it is now:
— Morgan Treeman (@treemengames) October 3, 2017
— Jason Mojica (@generalvivi) October 2, 2017
— Blake Rebouche @ GDC (@Bigrebo) October 4, 2017
— Freyja (@Freyja_Design) October 4, 2017
— Peter Field (@Peter__Field) October 4, 2017
— Kynseed 🌱 Life RPG (@Kynseed) October 4, 2017
And who says gamers never go outside? These are just some of the many stunning designs that artists in the gaming industry are sharing under the Blocktober hashtag. We look forward to more as the month goes on.