I decided I should probably finish my whitebox before anything else, which proved more tiresome than I thought. It mainly just came down to positioning the same few boxes over and over, but I'm glad it's done now, as it means once my modulars are complete I can just place them in more or less the same locations. The next step is putting it in CryEngine so that I can walk about and get a feel for the level, but for now I'm pleased with the layout. I did change a few things about it from my initial plan and had to think about structuring certain areas (the tram ride makes a lot of geometry become more visible than it would have been, meaning the whole city basically needs to be modeled rather than just what's visible). One area I changed was changing the exit in the circular platform from being completely opposite to being on the left of the entrance bridge. This was because Dan mentioned to me that it looked too straight beforehand and didn't feel that natural for a typical city construction. It also started to build way too much to the right so rotating it brought it back to the centre.
Here I start to place in something from one of my earlier concepts; where there is a plaza much higher up in the city. I feel this is what really helps the city feel more vertical as it's more than just tall buildings, it's an entire other shopping area above traditional level. Getting the player here using just stairs would mean I would have to model an awful lot of alleys, so I started to plan out where the tram route would go from here for a quick but scenic route to the top. Below is the rough path for the player to take. I may make some more split paths to make it a bit more dynamic, but as the genre I have chosen is MMORPG, and this acts as a hub for the player, a linear path will be fine for the time being.
Time to do some paint-overs at last! Going to focus on concepting some more this week, as I do want some nice 2D final pieces alongside my finished level when this is done. As mentioned before, I'm going to London on Saturday to visit Chinatown and just generally get some more textures and whatnot to use. I'll begin my modulars next week and will probably take a fair while making them as perfect as possible, as they will obviously compose around 85% of my level. I keep worrying myself that I've made it too big, but hopefully finishing the modulars and placing them in will quell those worries.
I've also been reading up on CryEngine 3 when I've had time, basically just trying to learn a few tips and tricks, such as learning about the supplied CryTools, which automatically create and name proxies for you, something I'm sure will come in handy when considering CryEngines very long and awkward export process.