The Grid Snaps Podcast

GSPC Episode #34: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Part 2: Rob and Kip discuss Nova Braga Airport

September 1, 2018

In part 2 of Grid Snaps' series on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Rob and Kip take us on a design deep dive of the Nova Braga Airport playspace. What makes this a great place to sneak, shoot, and fulton extract soldiers? Rob and Kip also explore many great level design and environment art processes and techniques, in one of the most info-packed episodes to date!

Topics Discussed:

1. How real life events are used for the game and level design, re: Africa at the time of The Phantom Pain.
2. Contrasting the "trench" technique in older games (used to obscure long draw distances in outdoor environments), versus topography in a modern open world game.
3. Negative and positive space in level design.
4. Using the fences as a clever way to limit entrances to the airport.
5. The difficulty curve of the game: hard at first, but not so hard as to make one stop playing.
6. Adaptive difficulty in the game.
7. Theorizing about what the whiteboxing phase of this design was like.
8. How Rob and Kip, working together, might have approached desigining this environment.
9. Whiteboxing techniques from various companies and studios.
10. Making sure you aren't fooled by simplicity in a whitebox.
11. How Nova Braga airport has a lot of great design, despite it being a relatively simple in architecture.
12. In level design, things often start complex, but get "baked down" to simpler forms because they work better.
13. How players can easily "mentally map" the area.
14. Giving level designers proper recognition for their work, which the Phantom Pain does with its credits for each mission.

Here's the hilarious "real life Metal Gear" video Rob and Kip referenced.

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