Blocktober, Blocktober, the month of October...
Blocktober is an event that begins October 1st and ends October 31. For the entire month you can see level designers, game environment artists and game designers share their blockouts for how they start creating level designs and game environments.
In October 2017, Michael Barclay a game designer from Naughty Dog started the hashtag on Twitter to honor blockots. Because, "level blockouts are art".
Here is everything you need to know to get started for Blocktober in October.
Blockout is one of the most important beginning phases of your level design and environment art creation.
Other terms used for blockout are blockin, whitebox, blockmesh, greybox but they all mean the same thing.
Blockout is a process where you use primitive geometric shapes (cube, sphere, cylinder, planes etc.) to block-in your level designs, game environments and game art assets.
Your goal must be entirely focused on blocking-in the layout, shape, establishing size, scale, proportions and composition of your environment and if creating a playable level you also must focus on playable space, flow, pacing, gameplay implementation, scripting so you can begin playtesting.
Blockout's purpose is NOT to finish a level or game environment, NOT to make it pretty, NOT to texture, NOT to light and NOT to detail. Nothing is final in your blockouts and your blockouts will change.
The blockout phase often starts very rough and messy. You have to be flexible and being able to change things around working the whole map, determining the scale and size of your creation.
Remember, use simple geometric shapes and placeholder geometry. You want quick iteration and updates.
As you work, iterate, update and refine, blockouts will eventually become the frame or the skeleton of the level, game environment or asset that you will use to build upon and ultimately finish.
Blockouts become your foundation.
Anyone can start, participate and share their blockouts with Blocktober. Before you do, decide what you are going to work on.
Stand-alone game environment (one scene, one location, not playable but could be explorable):
Level Design (playable level):
Game environment assets (modular asset, hero asset, props):
Diorama (self-contained) object, set, prop (no background):
Where to look for Blocktober blockout ideas:
Many artist are very busy and don't have the luxury of taking the entire month or even a week to work on blockouts for Blocktober so they share their previous work, going deep into the screenshot archives. It can be completed work such as blockout phase and final level comparison or unfinished blockouts.
Here is a blockout and final work of "Raye Street House" in Source Engine:
Or, you can start on something new and post your work as you go.
I recommend for the entire month of October you just work on blockouts. Put yourself into the energy of the community - all working on the same thing. Immerse yourself into Blocktober.
Blocktober work ideas:
You don't have to complete your blockouts or get them into finished state. Remember, blockouts are an iterative, creative and explorative process.
After October is done, you can take the level, stand-alone game environment or game assets into completion. If you worked on multiple blockouts, choose one to focus on and get it done.
I recommend the "Abandoned House" tutorial series to see how the entire process was used from blockout to final environment.
You can use any game engine, any level editor and any 3d software - new or old. It doesn't matter. Although you have match what you are trying to blockout, to the tools that give you what you need.
After you begin and you have something to show - post it on Twitter with #blocktober hashtag.
You could also post on Instagram with the same #blocktober hashtag but only as secondary. Twitter is where you will see most of the action.
Your month of October is Blocktober!
Blocktober is a big Twitter community event in October where a lot of artist share their blockouts. But, if you missed it you don't have to wait an entire year for next October. You can follow the same guidelines in this tutorial for any other month of the year.
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