Beautiful games require beautiful scenes – a vista that takes a player’s breath away as soon as they walk up to it. However, much like anything in 3 dimensional space, it becomes increasingly difficult to control what the player sees. How do you make the player see a beautiful or important piece of the game before moving on to discover the space?
Realising that this was lacking from the design of my current level, I decided to examine the composition of the best screenshots I had taken from Far Cry 4.
This place is important
The primary compositional element here is the line created leading towards the temple. The pathing and the placement of the prayer flags direct the player’s eye towards the temple. The temple’s location atop the mountain also solidifies it as a place of importance. The man-made stone face of the temple contrasts the natural environment drawing the attention.
Leading the player
This leads us to the next important element, especially when trying to attract the player to a particular piece of architecture, the weenie. The tower in this picture uses vertical lines to draw the player’s gaze up. The very act of looking up immediately emphasises the tower as a goal for the player to get to.
Place of reverence
This image’s relevance lies in the atmosphere it conveys; the colour is muted and the texture of the room is hazy with smoke. The table in the centre has been cared for, the incense and candles indicate that this is the most important place in the room to observe. The rhythm also makes the centre of this room somewhat ominous; the fact that the player does not have a full range of view past the wheels serve as a warning to the player that something might jump out should they investigate this place of reverence too closely.
Not of this world
The very selective colour pallet of red and yellow tell us that this is likely not something in the real world. The colours are vivid and the dancing leaves help to create a sense of mysticism. The fog in the background encourage the player to move forward to investigate.
Someone was here
Personally, I like this one the most because of the balance, it brings in perfectly the rule of threes. The prayer flags, roof & the doorway direct the player into the little temple. The negative space further helps to draw the player’s attention inwards. While by far not the most remarkable temple in Far Cry, this one stuck out because of how this solitary little structure directed the player up and into itself.