The 9th thing I worked on at Arkane is the one you've probably been waiting for, and I'm here to talk about it just in time for #Blocktober; The Clockwork Mansion of Dishonored 2.

For that, we have to start with the prototypes. 1/19

I created this proof of concept early in 2013, long before the map was greenlit to be included in the game, basically to say "yes this could be amazing" and "yes I should work on it." It did both, but it would still be over a year before the map was officially OK'd. 2/19
But sure, I could make a bunch of blocks animate however I wanted. What is possible using real level geometry? That's why I made this prototype. A bit less wild? Yes. But still clearly do-able. 3/19

That prototype introduced the idea of rooms that were moved around like cargo containers and slotted into place, making the map's layout totally dynamic, but without transforming rooms. I am glad we didn't go in that direction. 4/19
The map was originally to feature an area which we nicknamed the "rat maze". My prototype for it fully embraced the video game tropes of yesteryear. Nonsensical traps that killed you unless you had advanced knowledge or perfect reflexes? Check. 5/19

More rat-maze shenanigans. This stuff was really entertaining to design, but pretty out of tone with the rest of the game and our approach to level design. You may want to skip this one if you get motion sickness easily. 6/19

I also had to prototype how the robotic enemies would handle the transformations. I imagined them magnetizing to the floor and folding up. When in this state, they'd be vulnerable to hacking. (More potential motion sickness here.) 7/19

After nearly a year of working on other prototypes it was time to revisit the Clockwork Mansion and finally get it validated. I made a new version with fewer twisty rooms, and more emphasis on the "behind the scenes" areas. 8/19

At this stage I didn't imagine it looking like a mansion from the outside. There would be either an ominous superstructure around it, or it would be entirely underground. 9/19

So, it was validated! Meaning it was time to start thinking about the structure and layout of the map. I know some layout diagrams predate this one, but this is the earliest one I could find. 10/19 Very simple diagram for an early proposed layout for the Clo
Of course, it's me, so things didn't stay simple for long. You can see a lot of dead ideas in this diagram if you comb through it. (Feel free to ask about them.) 11/19 Detailed diagram of an early proposed layout for the Clockwo
I was really struggling to find a way to present this very three-dimensional space (it wasn't going to have "floors" in the normal sense) that also transformed. Here's another layout proposal and probably my 5th iteration on trying to document it. 12/19 Another attempt at visualizing the layout of the Clockwork M
The influence of the old Infocom maps is starting to be even more clear; particularly Spellbreaker, one of my favorites. 13/19…
I'm almost there with this layout. As I zero in on the final design, the proposals start to become a lot more restrained, more focused on doing a few things very well, rather than just throwing every idea in my noggin onto the page. 14/19 Diagram of the Clockwork Mansion layout, finally starting to
And here we are; the final paper map design before we switched to blockout. Amusingly we've also come full circle back to the simplicity of the first layout diagram. 15/19 Simple diagram of the Clockwork Mansion layout, resembling t
Sadly I don't have any graybox images or videos of the final layout design to share, but here is some pre-alpha Void Engine footage using a very early blockout kit used by level artist David Di Giacomo. 16/19

Before I wrap this up, here's a -very- early proposal for the player's interactions with Jindosh. I'd make diagrams like this for any complex branching narrative moments. This practice would serve me well as Campaign Designer. 17/19 Flowchart for how interacting with Jindosh could work.
And a more evolved iteration on the above, focused more on the player's physical progression through the map. 18/19 Another draft of the Jindosh Encounter logic.
Thank you very much for reading. I hope you found this peek at the prototyping and paper-map stages of this location enlightening. ☺️ If you have any take-aways, please share them. 💛 19/19
Reminder: To view the full-res diagrams (on desktop), once you open them, right-click and choose "view in another tab".

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More from @DanaENight

18 Aug
The sixth thing I worked on at Arkane was "Eminent Domain" for Dishonored's DLC, "The Knife of Dunwall". This is what we made instead of the very expensive Clocktower map. 1/14
It's known that this map was originally Dishonored's second prototype (vertical slice). The prototype was convinced as the most genetic Dishonored mission possible (which also make it a good marketing asset), so it was pretty easy to use it as a canvas. 2/14
This wasn't the first time we used parts of that prototype in the game. Galvani's estate (and the Art Dealer and Burglary challenge map) all used the mansion interior. Naturally I wanted a totally new Estate for Eminent Domain, with a critical change. 3/14
Read 15 tweets
16 Aug
I need to choose which head shot to use for conference profiles / magazines / icons / etc. I've narrowed it down to four but I am very bad at picking this. Can you help?

(Poll is in the next tweet.) (1/5) ImageImageImageImage
I honestly have no idea. (2/5)
Words of encouragement are also appreciated. I feel very anxious about using an actual photo of myself in any context. It took me a long time to get the nerve to look at these at all, and then again to narrow it down to these four. (3/5)
Read 6 tweets
17 Apr
The fifth thing I worked on at Arkane never saw the light of day. It was a map for The Knife of Dunwall set at our vista landmark, the clocktower. Before I get into my diagrams, here's some history. (1/12)
The clocktower was a fairly late addition to Dishonored. It gave Dunwall an iconic building that you could see from every map to give the world some continuity. But because it came in so late there were never any plans to visit it. So in the DLC, we wanted to go for it. (2/12)
Knife of Dunwall had a scope like an accordion. It started out very ambitious, but soon had to be dialed back, hence the cut. When the scope was later expanded to create what world be the Brigmore Witches chapter, it was too late to revisit this very expensive idea. (3/12)
Read 12 tweets
13 Mar
The first thing that I worked on at Arkane was The Flooded District, with Christophe Lefaure. Here's some of my early flow diagrams and paper maps, in no particular order. (Cont.)
Quick aside: Using the word "thug" to describe members of Slackjaw's gang is regrettable. It's weird seeing that word here. (Cont.)
This might be the earliest process image. Calling the hub area the "Bear Pits" was a little Thief homage. The whale slaughterhouse didn't make the cut, but that's a good thing. The version made for Knife of Dunwall was worth waiting for. (Cont.)
Read 15 tweets

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