Monday, 12 December 2011

Game Level Document


Game Level Document

Overview

The level was inspired from this passage from Soul Drinker, the first book in the Soul Drinker series by Ben Counter.

The battle depicted in the passage occurs on what is a star fortress which is best described as a small death star, but rather than being a strong fortress with the aim to protect its inhabitants or precious possessions. The Space Marines have just join battle with their battle brothers and are aiding in the battle against a thousand strong mutant horde. Along with them is Sarpedon, a psychic capable of creating illusions to attack an enemy’s morale.

“The Hell. A weapon subtle but devastating, striking at the minds of his enemies while his brother Marines struck their bodies. In the swift storming actions that the Soul Drinkers had made their own, it bought the seconds essential to press home the assault. It worked up-close, in the guts of the fight, where a Soul Drinker delighted to serve his Emperor.
Three of Givrillian's Marines, more than used to Sarpedon's conjurations after years of training and live exercises, pointed bolter muzzles over the mutants' makeshift barri­cade and pumped shells into the fallen, blasting fist-sized holes in torsos. Several more Space Marines knelt to draw beads on the hordes of mutants thrown into confusion by the sudden collapse of their front line. Shots barked out, bod­ies dropped.
A tentacle flailed as its owner fell. Something with skeletal wings jutting from its back was flipped into a somersault as a shell blew its upper chest apart.
Sarpedon stepped over the defences and swung again, swiping a worker/soldier in two at the waist as he tried to scramble away. Givrillian appeared at Sarpedon's shoulder, his bolter cracking shots into the backs of fleeing enemies. Assault Marines leapt past them and sprinted towards the mutants ranged towards the back of the hub. Tellos's armour was slick with black-red gore.
A hand clapped Givrillian's shoulder pad - it was Luko. In an instant the two tactical squads had joined up to form a fire line and chains of white-hot bolter fire raked around the Assault Marines, covering them as they did their brutal work. Some mutants survived to flee - most died beneath the blades of Tellos and his squad, or hammered by the fire from Givrillian and Luko. Their screams filled the hub with the echoes of the dying.
The enemy had broken completely and the spectres of the Hell strode amongst the panicking mutants as the Marines slaughtered them in their hundreds.
It was how the Soul Drinkers always won. Break an enemy utterly, rob him of his ability to fight, and the rest was just discipline and righteous brutality.”


Mechanics

 Morale – Enemy out number and outgun the player and are well dug into makeshift fortifications, the player must demoralize the enemy by unleashing the hell, restricted by a cooldown or energy bar of sorts, and killing enemy leaders or figures such as large hulking mutants detailed elsewhere in the book where they are either assassinated or duelled to the death as quickly as possible.

Codex Astartes – As you are a high ranking officer you are able to command several squads across a large area to attack simultaneously or flank enemies. Whilst planning out what to do, the player’s character will get to safety by ducking out of line of sight and the world will slow down. Whilst this happens the camera will centre on the character’s head and a mini ma will appear, with squads detailed by badges or insignia, flashing read if under attack and muzzle flashes to show which direction they are firing. Player must use flanking manoeuvres and tactics to win. 

Gravity – As the station is a sphere and maintains a natural gravity all walkways will appear upright when in relation to other areas they will be upside down or curved at odd angles. This will cause the player to get around different obstacles and make navigation into unknown territory difficult.

Active Environment – The station is under attack and constantly shifting as pillars are destroyed creating cover, areas are decompressing causing a sudden suction of air, throwing off aim, doors are being locked and sealed as the enemy tries to reduce your movement and as enemies use cranes to smash or lift your cover, making you vulnerable.

Genre – Sci-Fi FPS with squad play and minor RTS elements


Playable Characters

There is only one playable character which is Sarpedon, a Space Marine commander, a bioengineered super soldier with powerful armour and weaponry. He is the commander of this section of the assault and as such is a high ranking officer, therein the player is able to give orders to squads such as suppressing fire, revive and assault. Sarpedon is also a psychic with the “Hell” ability allowing him to summon hallucinations to scare the enemy and damage their morale and cause them to turn and flee, which is when they are at their weakest. In order to use his psychic abilities however Sarpedon must holster his weapon, making the player slightly vulnerable, and draw his Force Staff which amplifies his psychic abilities, allowing him to use them.


Enemies/Allies

Enemies- Enemies encountered are mutant rebels who are guarding the space fortress. There are 3 enemy types within this level.

·         Firstly, the Squirmlings, are the smallest and weakest enemies who will attack with melee weapons or their own mutated limbs or claws. They also die very within seconds of sustain fire from 1 boltgun, so they die very easily.

·         Then there is the basic enemy unit called Drones, a ranged enemy with moderate health and damage with varying ranged weapons.

·         Finally there are the larger, tougher enemies, Brutes, which would order the smaller mutants. As they are significantly big, they prefer melee weapons and so can be taken down with focused attacks.

Allies – In this level your allies are fellow Space Marine battle brothers, with similar weaponry and armour. There are 3 types of allies.

·         Firstly there are the Tactical Marines, which are with the player from the start. They are moderately armoured and armed with standard Boltguns (30-round assault rifles with explosive ammo). They are primarily a ranged unit and they’re main role is to support the player.

·         The second ally within this level is the Assault Marines, similarly armoured to the Tactical Marines only they are a melee specialist class and so are armed with chain-swords and bolt pistols as opposed to Boltguns. Their main role is to assault units and to take the brunt of the mutant horde, as they are able to effortlessly cut through them.

·         The third ally is Telos, the Assault squad’s squad leader. As the squad leader he is able to take more damage and deal more damage as he is a close combat veteran and is equipped with a pair of lightning claws (a pair of razor sharp claws with electricity pulsing through them). Telos also has a duel special ability which he uses automatically, giving him the ability to duel with a Brute and take it down, damaging the enemies’ morale and causing them to flee into each other, making them a lot easier to kill. However he must have his assault squad clear enough mutants so Telos can perform this task without being hindered or interrupted.


Key Events

·         As the player approaches the second door of the level, a brother marine will inform the player that the enemy do not know they are there yet.

·         After the player has completed their first objective, which is clearing the upper area of hostiles, a directional camera will backtrack to the large locked doors that lead into the vehicle bay and they will open with 15 more Drones and another Brute rushing out to investigate.

·         After reaching the elevator a cutscene will play, showing the Assaullt squad pinned down and losing marines to enemy fire, indicating next objective, to regroup with the Assault squad.

·         Upon reaching the assault squad a short dialogue will queue as Sarpendon and Telos exchange information about the enemy and how great their numbers are. An objective marker will appear at the level finish area, where the elevator to the next section of the hanger is. This is not a cut scene as the player will still be in combat.

·         Throughout the level enemies will continue to assault the Assault squad, putting a time pressure to the player, although rather than a timer appearing the player will easily notice how the mutant is getting closer and closer to the squad and also from cries for reinforcements.

·         Upon level completion a cut scene occurs, seeing the squads going up the elevator into the next area.





Sunday, 27 November 2011

Level Design

Here is a quick sketch of my level design, just to give me an outline of what needs to go where.


I then added grids to  the image and began to properly layout my level keeping scale the same and ensuring I had straight lines.

Here is the result, first floor


and the ground floor, which is mostly just a hanger bay

Game Level Design Inspirations

I've looked at layouts of certain Star Wars ships as my level occurs on a sphereical space station, similar to a death star only a lot smaller and no where near enough fire power, but more as a fortress to guard certain artefacts.


Craft within space have limited room and so my level designs will feature a simlar style of layout, where each tiny bit of space betweens walls is used to almost give a cramped feel.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Additional Visual Research

A closer look at games of similar genre, in this case, Sci-Fi FPS with the possibility of some cover.


Killzone Series



Star Wars : Republic Commando

Challenges Within Other Games

Gears of War 3


Mechanics

Sprint
Aim
Grenades
Melee Attack
4 Weapon Slots
Active Reloads
Executions
Ammo
Cover
Vaulting Over Cover
Blind Firing
Points of Interest
Interact
Revive


Challenges

Pinned Down In Cover
Player and/or squad could be pinned down be a Troika Machine Gun turret or other ranged deadly foe and are forced have a member of the squad flank round to either left or right and take on the enemy from an alternate angle.

Invulnerable Enemies
Some enemies encountered are only vulnerable to deadliea weapons such as the Hammer of Dawn. In which case the player must lure which ever foe they are dealing with, such as Beserker, into the open sky so that they can kill it with the satellite weapon.


Dead Space 2

Mechanics

Sprint
Interact
Melee
Aiming - With Laser Sights
Shoot Whilst Moving 
Reload
Directional Indicator
4 Weapon Slots
Zero Gravity Areas
Vacuum Areas - Limited Air
Status - Cause Enemies and Objects to Slow
TK Gun - Dead Space's Gravity Gun
Stomping
Limb Shooting
No HUD


Challenges

Right Weapon For The Right Moment
The player may be walking down a corridor and enter a larger area with the Plasma Cutter equipped, the game's version of a pistol. Resident Evil 4 veterans will always use this as the standard weapon to conserve ammo for the more powerful weapons. He may then run into the larger area and be attacked by lots of small fast moving Xenomorphs and woud be killed as he would be firing upon lots of fast moving enemies with an overpowered, slow firing weapon. The right weapon would've of course been the Pulse Rifle as it is a rapid firing weapon with a high fire rate and low power per round, suitable for dealing with lots of weaker enemies.

Vacuum Areas
Some areas within Dead Space 2 are in a vacuum and you will normally not have enough air to make it through the area, especially if you are attacked by Xenomorphs. Therefore the player must navigate around the area quickly whilst also remembering where he saw where he could get more air into his suit, otherwise he will only suffocate and die, limiting the player as to how he plays the game as he must reprioritise and palce getting more air at the top.

Assignment 2 Moodboards

The first, looking at heavy industrial influenced look such as factories and vehicles within the Star Wars' original trilogy



The second, looking at a more dark gothic look that is commonly seen within the Warhammer 40k universe and as my book is 40k it made sense to take a look at it.



It can be seen that similiar architecture is found within the Gears of War Series

Monday, 14 November 2011

Level Design Text Based Work


Passage from Soul Drinker, the first book in the Soul Drinker series by Ben Counter

The battle depicted in the passage occurs on what is a star fortress which is best described as a small death star, but rather than being a strong fortress with the aim to protect its inhabitants or precious possessions. The Space Marines have just join battle with their battle brothers and are aiding in the battle against a thousand strong mutant horde. Along with them is Sarpedon, a psychic capable of creating illusions to attack an enemy’s morale.

“The Hell. A weapon subtle but devastating, striking at the minds of his enemies while his brother Marines struck their bodies. In the swift storming actions that the Soul Drinkers had made their own, it bought the seconds essential to press home the assault. It worked up-close, in the guts of the fight, where a Soul Drinker delighted to serve his Emperor.
Three of Givrillian's Marines, more than used to Sarpedon's conjurations after years of training and live exercises, pointed bolter muzzles over the mutants' makeshift barri­cade and pumped shells into the fallen, blasting fist-sized holes in torsos. Several more Space Marines knelt to draw beads on the hordes of mutants thrown into confusion by the sudden collapse of their front line. Shots barked out, bod­ies dropped.
A tentacle flailed as its owner fell. Something with skeletal wings jutting from its back was flipped into a somersault as a shell blew its upper chest apart.
Sarpedon stepped over the defences and swung again, swiping a worker/soldier in two at the waist as he tried to scramble away. Givrillian appeared at Sarpedon's shoulder, his bolter cracking shots into the backs of fleeing enemies. Assault Marines leapt past them and sprinted towards the mutants ranged towards the back of the hub. Tellos's armour was slick with black-red gore.
A hand clapped Givrillian's shoulder pad - it was Luko. In an instant the two tactical squads had joined up to form a fire line and chains of white-hot bolter fire raked around the Assault Marines, covering them as they did their brutal work. Some mutants survived to flee - most died beneath the blades of Tellos and his squad, or hammered by the fire from Givrillian and Luko. Their screams filled the hub with the echoes of the dying.
The enemy had broken completely and the spectres of the Hell strode amongst the panicking mutants as the Marines slaughtered them in their hundreds.
It was how the Soul Drinkers always won. Break an enemy utterly, rob him of his ability to fight, and the rest was just discipline and righteous brutality.”


Mechanics
 Morale – Enemy out number and outgun the player and are well dug into makeshift fortifications, the player must demoralize the enemy by unleashing the hell, restricted by a cooldown or energy bar of sorts, and killing enemy leaders or figures such as large hulking mutants detailed elsewhere in the book where they are either assassinated or duelled to the death as quickly as possible.

Codex Astartes – As you are a high ranking officer you are able to command several squads across a large area to attack simultaneously or flank enemies. Whilst planning out what to do, the player’s character will get to safety by ducking out of line of sight and the world will slow down. Whilst this happens the camera will centre on the character’s head and a mini ma will appear, with squads detailed by badges or insignia, flashing read if under attack and muzzle flashes to show which direction they are firing. Player must use flanking manoeuvres and tactics to win. 

Gravity – As the station is a sphere and maintains a natural gravity all walkways will appear upright when in relation to other areas they will be upside down or curved at odd angles. This will cause the player to get around different obstacles and make navigation into unknown territory difficult.

Active Environment – The station is under attack and constantly shifting as pillars are destroyed creating cover, areas are decompressing causing a sudden suction of air, throwing off aim, doors are being locked and sealed as the enemy tries to reduce your movement and as enemies use cranes to smash or lift your cover, making you vulnerable.

Genre Sci-Fi FPS with squad play and minor RTS elements

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Game Level Design Group Work

Firstly we looked at other games that featured similar layouts, dimensions and mechanics that the game level design must have.





Level Breakdown

We divided our level into four primary sections, and discussed the features that would be introduced in each, in order to create and maintain a hold on the players interest.

·         Main Assembly 

The player take control of Baz, a disgruntled elf working in the tyrannical Santa’s toy factory. Having had enough of working all year, he takes his newest toy, a state of the art whip and sets off to escape the factory.
The main assembly is mostly an exercise in timing and learning to run and jump. The player is introduced to using the whip to pull and move inanimate objects. The will encounter conveyor belts, crushing machinery and moving cranes and platforms. The player will use their whip to move industrial lasers to cut through doors and enemies, pull boxes down to form platforms, and swing between platforms.

Finally, the player gains the electric whip power up, which they use to power a generator. This generator powers the end of level elevator, and the player takes it up to the factory roof.

·         Rooftops

The rooftops continue in the same vein; however they introduce new mechanics in the form of chimneys. Chimneys can spew out dangerous chemicals, needing careful timing to be passed, or gusts of air which can be used to reach otherwise inaccessible platforms. The consequences of failing are now much higher, as Baz will die if he falls off the roof. The electric whip power ups can be used to charge lightning rods and power up the way forward. At the end of the section, he jumps down a skylight into the next section.

·         Packaging

The player must now make their way through packaging, dodging exploding xmas presents, more complex conveyor belts and angry enemies. The electric whip is needed to power generators, and the player is introduced to the second whip power up – the fire whip. This can be used to burn through wooden obstacles and set off alarms to distract enemies long enough for Baz to sneak past. Fire Alarms also open fire doors, which allows the player to move to the final section of the level, the Loading Bay.

·         Loading Bay

The loading bay is the final section of the level, and includes all of the things found so far, and is the final test before the player is considered to be into the game proper. New enemies and more complex platforming provide an increased challenge. Finally, the player finds and steals Santa’s sleigh, making their escape to LEVEL TWO.