Happy #blocktober, everyone! Seen this hashtag come across your social feed and not sure what it's about? The idea started with Naughty Dog's Michael Barclay tweeting that "level blockouts are art," along with a picture Barclay says he mocked up to practice his skills (so don't bother poking around the image for clues about The Last of Us 2). Take a look:
#Blocktober is not just about low polygon counts or showing off unfinished games. Specifically, it refers to "blocking out," the process of creating a very early version of a game's level or environment. It doesn't have any textures, and will often feature minimal lighting or colors. It's meant to give programmers a sense of scale and progression so that everyone can see how Captain Hero McGee (or, in Naughty Dog's case, Nathan Drake) will move through the space.
Other devs quickly joined in, sharing level blockouts from games like Overwatch, Titanfall, Gears of War 4, Dead Space 2, Payday 2, and many more. It's pretty cool stuff, since we don't typically get such a good look into a game's environments or levels when they're this early in development. You can see several below, and more by browsing #blocktober on Twitter.
Personally, I really enjoyed the look at Seraph's blocked out prototype, because watching it in motion goes to show how much art can change a game. But regardless of which games you see popping up in the month of #Blocktober, it's fascinating to see how games come together, and I think it makes the finished product seem all the cooler.