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


Melee Attack
4 Weapon Slots
Active Reloads
Vaulting Over Cover
Blind Firing
Points of Interest


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


Aiming - With Laser Sights
Shoot Whilst Moving 
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
Limb Shooting


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.”

 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.

Game Proposal Document