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Description

A third-person adventure-inspired level. Features both stealth mechanics and combat encounters.

Breakdown

  • 4 weeks project

  • Unreal Engine 5

  • Scripting enemies and player shooting

Top-Down Map

A sketch that I would later use with a combination of PureRef to create a blockout of the stage.

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Level Flowchart

Design Techniques

5 second rule

All climbing interactions jumping and obstacles that involve geometry will take a maximum of 5 seconds before it is finished. To make sure that flow is maintained.

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Funneling before reveal
 

Before revealing larger areas or objects of importance I scale down the area the player can move to finally reveal the object or the new area they have entered.

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No return
 

After the player has finished in one area I place a large dip in geometry to prevent the player from backtracking and giving the player a sense of being done with that area.

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Multiple approach
 

The map presents multiple approaches to an objective. This is to promote exploration as well as give the player a sense of freedom.

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Directional geometry/ Guiding lines
 

The stage features geometry that will lead the player. This is to ensure the player has a goal and that said goal is visible to the player.  

In this example, the player walks into a broken house and there is a path on the grass leading up to the broken wall, the right wall is rotated towards the opening to create a guideline.

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Style of play
 

The player can approach every combat encounter as well as objectives as they wish. This is to promote different styles of play and elevate the sense of replayability for the player.

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Combat Encounter A

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Flow overview
 

This area will be the first area the player will encounter enemies. This area is very open in directions and enables the player to take multiple approaches to reach their objective (the large building on the right).

Enemy placement
 

In this encounter, enemies are placed either near the entrance points of the large house to the right or in exposed areas. This is the first combat encounter so there are also fewer enemies to ease the difficulty in the beginning.

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Cover
 

This area features cover that will enable you to move swiftly from side to side with no worry of being spotted. This area is player friendly in the sense  that it gives a great amount of cover.

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Interior
 

The interior areas are mostly transitional spaces and their purpose is to move a player from one end of the house to the other. There are enemies in the houses but fewer than outside.

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Combat Interior B

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Flow overview
 

The interior of the boat house. It features elevation changes, jumping obstacles, and a greater challenge of both stealth and combat. Enemies are closer to the player and being shot from above is very likely. The first objective of the map can be acquired next to the drawn arrow (the red cube next to it). 

Enemy Placement
 

As mentioned before this area will take verticality into the gameplay. Enemies now have guards on balconies and walkways. There are enemies on top of the boat as well as in the hallways. The reason for the placements of these enemies were to get them closer to the player and introduce elevation.

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Cover
 

There is a common cover the player can find but now the cover is further apart from each other and it's riskier to move from one to another. This is a way to increase the difficulty for the stealth player.

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Combat Exterior C

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Flow overview
 

The last combat encounter features a river splitting the play area in two. The player has to navigate to the circle you see above and this area will transition outside again.

Enemy Placement
 

The number of enemies has now increased again and their patrol paths are bigger. Some areas now feature cover for the enemies as well. 

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Cover
 

Here cover is an observational tool. Players will use the bushes to hide in a location to scout and then expose themselves to reach either another bush or a piece of cover.

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Interior
 

The interiors here are destroyed and nature has started to take back the area the buildings once stood.

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Interior line of sight
 

The interior line of sight attempts to line up the exit points of the building to objects of importance for example the houses to the right of the image both line up so the player can see their objective.

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Final thoughts

When looking back at the project I would have most likely created another pass on the blockout and refine the levels visuals to tell the player better what environment they are in and make some game object a bit easier to see with the help of composition.

The hardest part of this project was guiding the player and making sure they know where they are supposed to go. Previous designs have been strictly linear so diving into a non-linear experience was a challenge. This resulted in me doing more research on how to guide the player and bread crumble.

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