Blocking out a map (or blocking in, as they say elsewhere) is one of the best parts of level design, because you get to create new space, new rooms, new places, entirely new areas and plan the basic layout of the map, all the while pondering how the player will move through this new world later on.
Here I’m doing the next indoor part of e1m1rq, the Slipgate Labs. I’m chiefly trying to connect the two entrances that I left open at the end of the last stage – a main entrance (marked in the plan) and a secondary entrance at the helipad, from which the player can explore an additional new area containing a couple maintenance type rooms – warehouse, generator, pumps, server farm – before arriving at the main entrance area just the same.
From there on, I go around in a sort of circle via the bridge to the nailgun room and the slime pool that were transplanted from the original map (a sort of signature area, to me) and into an eventual very different interpretation of the original’s spiral ramp room. I guess I’ll add another outdoor area off to the side because I’ve been daydreaming about a certain kind of setpiece for… years now, actually. 🙂 I’m not telling what it is yet.
“Excavation”. Yeah, you read right. That’s the part where it goes off on a tangent again, reinterpreting the original more than recreating it. But that’s half the fun. I have that part largely planned in my mind ever since pineapple and me did that chainmap. I’ll probably build that room in an external map and slot it in later.
Needless to say, there will be tons of useless detail piled on once the layout is finished. But for now, a few brushes arranged in the room, just like staking your claim, is actually the most flexible approach. The entire new area could actually be tested ingame very quickly – it fits easily into the big box I use to seal the map, which is peeled back and thus not visible in the screenshot, but I could compile and run around in this in a matter of minutes. Sort of a sandbox approach to mapping.