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What’s in a stage?

Spazzo - May 3, 2010

Going from a concept to a physical and enjoyable stage isn’t always easy.

The difference between the concept and the stage itself can range from trivial (where the level was sketched out and replicated in a WAD editor nearly line-for-line) to grossly different (the level sketch was used as the concept’s foundation while the level itself was considerably altered), depending on the mapmaker. In either case, concept sketches are as beneficial to the design process as they are interesting to look back on and see where it all came from.

Continue reading after the jump to see some concept sketches of some of SRB2’s multiplayer stages. These sketches range from six months to over eight years old.

(Click on the images to enlarge them)

Concept Sketch

(Top to bottom: Meadow Match, Thunder Citadel) One interesting thing to note are the canned player abilities/attributes scattered around the maps. Two of these items actually made it into v2.0 under new names -- can you guess which ones they are?

Here's Sapphire Falls Zone in its utmost infancy, back when the stage was still symmetrical. Note the lack of a"sniper tower" at the bottommost part of the stage. It's astounding to think that such a simplistic and dated level can still be seen in SRB2's rotation today.

Concept Sketch

Here's Frost Columns Zone, an OLDC level that is being brought into the v2.0.5 rotation. The sketch is remarkably similar to the final level in itself, only a handful of minor changes were made in the development process. Japanese characters not included.

Concept Sketch

Perhaps the oldest sketch of the lot, this drawing of Nightmare Ring shares a lot in common with the layouts of both Midnight Abyss and Airborne Temple, 2 maps from past generations of SRB2 match rotations. If you can make any more sense of this diagram, then...you're lying.

Concept Sketch

Twisted Terminal (originally known as Roundabout Run) is one of the rare cases where the final level and the original sketch aren't carbon copies of one another. The original intention was for the main path to involve flipping your gravity and walking around the roof to get the enemy's base.

Concept Sketch

Here's an early look at what some of you might remember as Hydro Plant, and others as Chaos Space. This particular sketch comes complete with the flat (floor texture) names that were to be used.

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