Tutorial: Imagining the arena

Welcome in the part 3 of this tutorial designed to help you to do racing tracks for SuperTuxKart.

If you haven't read yet the part 2 it's recommended to do it before reading this one.

The goal is

  • Imagining the arena
  • Creating an architectural concept for the stadium
  • Imagining the playground

Composition of a map

Now before jumping into work It's important to clarify a few point. Let's break down what constitute a map. I will take for example the Gran Paradiso Island to explain different area in maps. Remember even if it's a track and we are building an arena both are very similar. There is roughly 3 area in a map.

The playground area

The green zone is called the playground area. It's the area where the player can drive during a normal race or a normal battle. It's the only part where the player can go (without cheating and or enabling artist debug mode)

  • The area is highly detailed
  • It's the only area where the player can go
  • There can be secret area. But if it's intended to be able to be discovered by the player then it's the playground area

The Surrounding area

The blue zone is called the surrounding area. This area isn't accessible by the player

  • It's a bit less detailed compared to the playground
  • The transition between the playground and surrounding should be as smooth as possible. The area shouldn't be too different from the playground except players can't go

The landscape area

The red zone is called the landscape area. Just like the surrounding area it's not accessible by the player

  • Everything is very low poly and minimalist
  • It gives a sense of depth and makes the world appear bigger than it really is
  • The player shouldn't be able to see the tricks used (like simple 2D trees or fake mountain).

The frontier between the playground and surrounding should be very clear. The player should ALWAYS know where he/she can go. In Gran Paradiso Island you can see the separation with a small wall and palmtrees and heavy vegetation where the player can't go

Concept art

Now we know what kind of area there will be in our Arena. We can start to paint/draw/create concepts :).

Creating the Arena

Since the whole playground will be rougly enclosed in the Arena It's a good idea to draw a concept for the arena.

As I said in the previous tutorial we want to create a unique building for the arena, we should create something never seen before and that will act as a landmark.

It won't be a generic stadium but THE STADIUM of LAS DUNAS.

  • The stadium must something "never seen before"
  • The stadium will be associated with the city of Las Dunas
    • Hopefully when we will show it for the second time to people they will remember the city, SuperTuxKart, Las Dunas, etc.
  • The stadium must have a view of the outside when you are inside

So now, let's take our pencil and paper and draw some ideas. A good rule is to make at least 9 different concepts to force yourself to be creative. They don't have to be perfect, just rough sketches to put your ideas on paper.

I made several tests. Let's analyses them to see which one we will take

  • Picture 1
  • Picture 2
  • Picture 3

I started by a flower shape similar to a lotus, but I think it's not related to Las Vegas / Los Angeles. That concept will be better for a stadium in an Asian country.

The second concept is similar to a horseshoes. It might be funny to remember the "old west" horse races.

The last one is similar to a wave or sinusoid with a giant blimp hovering the stadium to hold the screens in the middle.

A /* TODO put here the 10 pictures */