Having never dived into the world of modular asset creation before, I decided to do some research into how artists and level designers work within this area. The GDC Vault has a great talk on this topic called ‘Fallout 4’s Modular Level Design’ (Linked below), it definitely helped navigate me towards the right direction, albeit there were mistakes I had to uncover for myself to truly know what the benefits of going modular were.
Within the first round of assets that I had created, the problems started to highlight themselves. I had created a door asset that suggested it lead to the bridge, except the bridge was going to remain locked. When the level design was updated and we needed the bridge, it meant the doors were unusable because they needed to be able to open. Ultimately this meant redesigning the asset to animate and fit on the pro grid correctly.
The issue that this highlighted for my work practice, was that when layout changes were made for functionality reasons, the models I was making were inflexible, they were not singular enough to be manipulated to compliment the change and thus they quickly became redundant.
At first I had to spend a considerable amount of time chasing my own tail, so to speak, correcting and editing the assets to fit into the updates. Nevertheless once they were updated and snapped together without clipping issues, it was understandable that if I had made them as singular units from the very start, I would not have wasted precious development hours. Moving forward, with asset creation and level design, I know that the more modular the assets are, the more malleable and reusable they are with unforeseen design changes.
You can find the very informative GDC talk, surrounding modular level kits, by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBAM27YbKZg