Expressive Environment

Can a space tell a story? Can architecture be expressive? Can virtual environments be something other than arenas for battles or frontiers to explore and conquer?


Create an expressive environment you can explore in first person.

Start from the assigned theme but connect it to something not purely fantastical (a biographical aspect, historical research, a non-gaming reference, a current issue),

The experience should last about 1 minute.

Focus on the atmosphere and the experience of moving through space.

Try no not set a completely linear path for the player.

Give it a purpose/conclusion, it can be about finding an exit or an object.


Download the template from here



You’ll be assigned a random theme, you don’t have to interpret it literally.
Avoid tropes (eg. Hell as a lake of fire and full of red demons) and give it a twist or a connection to some.

The temple of _
Monument to _
Alien Ruin
Memory palace
The _ factory
A retelling of _ (story adaptation through environmental storytelling)


What are non-fictional elements, reference, events, that you are interested in and that could related to this space?
What is the emotional and mental state you want to evoke in the player?
What are some visual and spatial strategies you can use?
How do you enclose the environment? How do you deal with the limit of the space?

Develop your theme into two paragraph statement.


As research play 3 of these games based on your theme and direction. Post a 2 paragraph response or analysis for each of them (not a review).


Read this chapter from Robert Yang’s WIP book about level design: layouts

Make a top down sketch of your space
Draw a map of your environment explaining all the pathways and the things a visitor will encounter.
If there is a story or bits of environmental storytelling, write them down
You can put everything in a miro board so we can talk about it. Example 1 Example 2


What’s a blockout? Check out #blocktober

Read the Level Design Book chapter about blockouts

Environment Art

This is an unorthodox process but it’s the fastest way you can add color and texture to an environment.

Create materials with polycam import them following the process below

If generation doesn’t work you can download BORING textures from these sites and go through the same process:

Remember: use found assets with caution, only if they are generic items, and don’t let them dictate your project’s aesthetic and content.

Interaction (without coding)

Adding sounds

Physics (basic)

Building your game