I’m currenntly working on a zombie shooter/survival…something game. I don’t have a solid idea for the environment yet, so I make it up as I go. I think I’d like to have different themes for each level. Like, one map set in a rural small town. Another map in a big city environment. And then maybe the suburs. But anyway, I decided to start with designing a rural midwest small town.
The problem is that I’m swedish, born and raised in Sweden. We have cute small towns here too, but the architecture and overall design looks nothing like an american small town. If you’re an american reading this post, you’re probably very confused as to why I would attempt to build something that looks american when I could easily build a swedish looking town. Swedish people typically watch american movies and series. And we also play american computer games. We’re so used to watch anything like that in american settings that it, for example, even feels kind of weird to watch a swedish action movie. It just looks “wrong” somehow. A zombie outbreak game set in a swedish environment would look utterly weird to any swede. Whereas movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes makes complete sense to us. It’s an american pop cultural influence that can’t be compromised.
For the record, I’ve done some road tripping through the US. I’ve passed through small dusty towns in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. I’ve seen those towns, but I still don’t have the “feel” for how they are built. I’ve mostly based my design on memory, movies and googled images. So far built two blocks. American small towns typically have tiny stores side by side as you pass through them. Maybe a church and a gas station. Then they just end and you’re in the middle of nowhere again. I made an attempt to make little stores next to each other. My question is…what’s typically behind those stores? Parking lots? Trees? Apartments? I’d be so grateful if I could get som creative input on how to make my town look reasonably real. I mean, I guess I could just place a huge mall on the back side of each block but that’s not whan an american small town looks like.
Here’s what I’ve done so far. You may laugh if you want to, it’s ok. To my defence, the models are still very rough work in progress.
The “main street”. One block on each side of the road with stores.
And what would the average american expect to find on the other side of each row of stores?