So today I stated my blockout ideas for the playable area of the rooftop. Key points to consider are interest. To add interest i wanted to use varying heights of rooftop. This would also add areas were enemies would be able to spawn to ambush the player as you walked around corner etc. Keeping how long we had to do this in mind. I didn't want to make the area to large, but have enough space for the player to move around with ease when confronting enemies.
I also started to make quick blockout models of assets and place them around in areas that would give enemies and the player cover when in fire fights etc.
I blocked out many shapes for the floors and felt these two worked nicely together. Granted they are just squares, but as I wanted apartment block style buildings. This is the shape I found most of them to be when looked at pictures of them online. So I wanted to keep true to this with my scene. The first screenshot shows my first idea coming together as I added some of the assets I wanted in my scene. To add verity I decided to have to building that would be accessible by having planks of wood joining them. The smaller building would be the starting area and the player would move on to the larger area. The smaller building was also higher up to prevent the level feeling flat.
The first problem with this was even with the assets added to take cover behind, I didn't think there was enough area for cover. Even though I wanted to keep the rooftop small, another problem I had with this is that if felt too small.
From the above shot you can see I also added the connected building I had planned to include. This would add interest to the skyline and also give a sense of scale to the area. It also added a subtle story element as it will resemble apartments. This would have been an area the player would have just come from before breaking out onto he rooftop.
Some of the lights will be on in some of the rooms to break up the lighting and the fire escapes also add interesting shapes to what would otherwise be a flat wall.
I decided to move the smaller building as this would add a corner of a building that could be hidden behind. Then have the player come form the connected building onto the small roof and have steps down to the larger area. This was closer to the idea I had in my head but I felt it still had some issues. I felt I added more interesting gameplay but took away from the visual side. It also didn't solve the problem of making the area slightly larger.
In this last blockout I did, I felt I included all the design elements I wanted to achieve. Still with the intent to improve the area this was as far as I felt I needed to go with this stage.
By moving the small roof to the bottom of the large area I had added the corner building that enemies could spawn behind just as the player reached the rooftop. The original small area would now be double in size to add more assets to take cover behind. This also would allow me to keep the gap were an ally way would be to allow the player to jump or walk across the two buildings and add more visual interest.
I feel really happy with this layout in terms of size and interest. but I still feel I need to make some minor adjustments. But nothing I wont be able to add as I build the level at a later date when I get a better feel of how the level looks when I'm able to run around in the UDK editor.