With the closed beta of Sandbox Box Interactive’s medieval sandbox MMO Albion Online scheduled to kick-off this November, the development team has released an insightful blog, covering the intricacies of map design for its ambitious cross-platform (PC, Mac, iOS and Android) online universe.
Level design is at the very core of the Albion Online experience. In the latest blog How a Map for Albion Online is Designed, by Sandbox’s level design team, they discuss the process required to achieve three goals of level design: balancing, entertainment and visuals.
The process begins with a rough sketch created according to several design rules outlined in a requirement sheet. The next step is to build a map template into Unity, where the level design team sketch the terrain, hills, lakes and important landmarks to get a decent visual representation. Once the rough map is imported, it then undergoes several stages of design, from marking the positions of key landmarks to creating height differences and making the map feel “alive”.
With all details in place, the map is then exported to a 2D display “world editor” where it is connected with other Albion maps. Afterwards, it is imported into one of the development builds for further testing and balancing. For a small map, it takes the design team 35 hours from turning a rough paper sketch into a fully realized world in the Albion Online universe. Albion Online’s maps go through vigorous testing, so they are as detailed and balanced as possible, which is imperative for a well-designed game map.
About Albion Online
Albion Online is a cross-platform medieval style sandbox MMO. The free MMO offers players an extensive character customization system with no class restrictions, a completely player-driven economy and dynamic PvP battles. The action of the open game world revolves around sieging, claiming and defending territories. Albion Online will be released as a free-to-play title on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android in Q1 2016. You can find more information on the website at http://albiononline.com/.
About Sandbox Interactive GmbH
Sandbox Interactive is an independent development studio founded in January 2012 and is based in Berlin, Germany, currently employing 25 full-time and 9 freelance programmers and designers on their cross-platform sandbox MMO Albion Online. Sandbox Interactive follows the belief that the creation of your own world and interaction with other players are paramount to entertainment – and, that these ideas are truly brought to life in the sandbox genre. With Albion Online, they are making a game with compelling gameplay and the player’s experience squarely in the foreground.