All right, thanks everyone for the feedback, so far we have this:
I briefly checked your comic (I have lots of work lately so I can't dive into it right now) and it is indeed seems very similar to my works in several places, I'll try to write some feedback once I'll have a free window.
Yes, this is pretty much my working pipeline because it allows me to work with story logic, graphics and pacing at the same time, perhaps there is more effective way to do it? For me it serves my purposes perfectly but I'm always down to learning new pipelines.
Well, the general idea is quite simple – I’m using sci-fi hi-tech structures as dungeons for quasi fantasy characters to go through, they are derived from from semi-abstract maps from DOOM 1 and 2 but with details from 3 (obviously less detailed because I’m not exactly a large gaming company but still) which serves its purposes perfectly well and as strange as it may sound, they are a lot easier for me to construct than typical medieval fantasy dungeons (I’ve made a couple of those too but so far I like my primary construct). So I know my general theme very well and I know how to work with it but the problem comes up when I’m trying to dive into specifics.
Hm-m, technically it’s possible but I’m not sure if this is applicable in my case because my environments mostly derive from their initial purposes, for example, my current build has underground garage, living sections, research labs, reactor areas, processing plant and some other technical areas which doesn’t exactly correspond to any particular challenge, my environments “live their own life” the same exact way as they do in DOOM 3.
There are several key point like that already planned out but in order to implement them I still need to construct my environment first.
Pha-ha, well, given, ahem, the adult-oriented nature of my project this is basically the main key aspect of the whole thing so technically it’s already there.
What is the dungeon? Why was it built? Who built it? Why is it full of monster? Why is the important item there? What does the item do? Why do the heroes want to get the item?
Noosphere is a derelict research and refinery complex built specifically for processing special minerals, it was built by long-gone nation and Noosphere was a key part of their demise, now it is inhabited by monsters which are basically minerals fused with technology and dead tissue, a result of a catastrophe and an outbreak, an item is actually a number of different items related to that incident so it’s hard to explain in one bit and my characters need these items in order to contain these monsters.
Actually this is exactly how I’m trying to treat my environments, like I’ve mentioned before, my primary source of inspiration is DOOM 3 where entire complex lives its own life and tells its own story.
The general goal for characters is very simple – investigate the area and stop monsters from coming out of the complex but the whole thing gets more complicated in execution; it doesn’t make planning any easier, in fact it adds a whole extra layer of complexity.
In my case it looks much more like pile of Legos where I have most of the pieces I need, I know perfectly well how to operate them and how to create new pieces if necessary but whenever I try to actually assemble something in particular I always end up with another pile of pieces.
That’s what I’m doing right now, I have assembled and reassembled my build like eight times already and it still feels wrong, I have dozens of rooms, machinery and auxiliary details scattered all over the place and they won't come together.
I’ve been looking at DOOM maps since 1995 so I have a perfectly good image on how I want my work to look, feel and flow but I just can’t reproduce it. All of my favorite levels feels perfectly balanced and structured while my own stuff feels like maps from Quake 2, in other words, as a pile of rooms bunched together, just like in Q2 (which feels like an obstacle course designed specifically for the player to go through rather than a living environment) it doesn’t feel natural or live.
In general this is correct but in my case this is exactly how it’s done because I don’t need any particular “bird”, I need to construct, so to say, a spacecraft which should strongly resemble a bird the same exact way vertibirds from Fallout resemble dragon flies.
..Which makes me subconsciously copy what I see instead of creating my own because I’ve been doing that at work (I work by technical assignments) for fifteen something years so it’s nearly impossible to me not to do it hence why I’m trying to avoid using references directly.
One of my favorite techniques as well but unfortunately it’s too random to be reliable, I do that all the time but unfortunately it doesn’t always do the job.
Yes, I see that you have a lot of planning but how do you choose how this particular hall or street should look in general? I get it that you have some specific plot-related details in there but what about the general assembly - which buildings to use, which cars, where to put pedestrians and so on? How do you design a bar which doesn't serve any particular purpose?