Jonathan G. Mann
// LEVEL DESIGN
/ ACTION-RPG PROTOTYPE
Create a level for a 3rd person character.
Practice known tools and push them further.
Learn new tools.
Code basic scripted event and translate them in Blueprints.
Iterate. A lot.
Dark fantasy setting.
Keep the scope small.
Minimum of 3 scripted events (camera, puzzle or environmental)
Paper sketches > SketchUp 3d plans > Unity Probuilder layout > Unity functionnal protoype > Unreal 3rd person character > Unreal BSP layout > Unreal Blueprints functionality > Unreal replace BSP with meshes > Unreal lighting, post-process and polish
First sketches and SkecthUp plan
Probuilder layout in Unity: Underground
My goal is to create a simple linear map layout where I will be able to integrate scripted events and light puzzle elements.
I also want to play a little bit with verticality, that's why I separated the exterior environments in three parts, all at different height. I also want to make sure that the player can look up or down at the other exterior sections from the starting point before going underground.
In the undergrounds, I want to create a straightforward experience where the player sees interest points clearly, but needs to find another way to get there, as they're blocked. The verticality in my level allows me to create a passage under the starting area that leads to the inaccessible area the player saw before. The key unlocking the main gate can be found in that room.
After unlocking the gate, the player will need to go through a long corridor where I want to implement a scripted event of some sort (skeleton falling, rumbles), to set the mood of what`s to come.
The last exterior section will consist of an arena where the player will need to eliminate hostiles before arriving at his final destination, the temple, which is a landmark you can clearly see from the starting area.
One of the reason I didn't want to create a intricate layout is that it's my first time using Probuilder. Also, I want to be able to concentrate on the dark fantasy mood when I get to Unreal.
I quickly setup a 3rd person character and started to work on replicating my SketchUp plan. Haivng a playable character, I was able to verify my metrics rapidly. So The first thing I adjusted was the corridor width and height. While more than enough for the character to go through, I realized that in a video game environment, I needed to make more room for the player/camera to navigate without compromising the claustrophobic nature of the undergrounds. I will be able to keep the player restrained with the props I will be using in Unreal later.
Next step will be to complete the undergrounds with the last stairs and corridor leading to the final section of the map. While it is intended that the gameplay is pretty straightforward, I fear that it could be a bit dull. I will try to play with verticality more and maybe open up the middle into one big room where it`s easier for the player to see all the clues that he needs to get his way out of the undergrounds.