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Base Design

Block Out


Key Designs

Abandoned City


This project, part of the Introduction to Level Design course, involves creating a level with multiple paths for the player to explore, with many intersections for the player to choose from. We were prompted to utilize the Level Up Toolkit developed by ETC students to craft the first level of this adaptation.


The setting for the level Abandoned City is in a futuristic world where robots have taken control, and humans are attempting to reclaim their territory. Players step into the shoes of a hired mercenary assigned the mission to infiltrate the fortress constructed by the robots and regain control over the city. The level is designed to emphasize player choice, featuring multiple paths and intersections for the player to choose their own adventure.

Abandoned City.png

Level Demo



Project basic settings



Tool Used

Unreal, Level Up Toolkit




1 Month

My Role

Level Designer

Base Design

Initial design as the backbone of the design process

Paper Design

The initial design of the map envisioned a city divided into three small islands, each offering distinct gameplay experiences for the player. However, due to time constraints and a desire to enhance the overall player experience, Area 2 was removed during the block-out phase. This decision was made to concentrate efforts on refining the remaining two areas, ensuring they provide a greater variety of options and a more polished experience for the player.


Rough Map Side View

The map presents players with two key areas: Area 1, a fallen cityscape characterized by abandoned buildings for the player to explore, and Area 3, a fortress designated as the final destination. To reach this ultimate goal, players are provided with multiple routes, enabling them to choose paths based on their individual play style or spontaneous instincts. This design approach fosters a dynamic and personalized gaming experience, allowing players to shape their journey through the level according to their preferences and in-the-moment decisions.


Block Out

The block out of the level

City Area

The player begins at the city entrance, encountering a camp of human forces rallying to reclaim the city. Crossing a barrier wall marks the start of the adventure within the city. Multiple paths and crossways provide strategic choices, with two distinct routes leading to the final fortress, the ultimate goal of the mission.


Fortress Area

The fortress area intensifies the challenge with stronger enemies and a formidable final boss guarding the player's ultimate goal. There are two entrances that lead players into the fortress, offering diverse paths that eventually converge toward the final confrontation with the boss.



Highlighted crossways where the player is given a choice

First Choice

In the initial enemy encounter, players face their first choice: continue along the street or confront a  mini-boss to access an elevator. Notably, playtests reveal that players who enjoy combat often opt for the tougher challenge, viewing it as a rewarding and skill-intensive shortcut. This dynamic choice not only caters to varied playstyles but also offers a shorter route for skilled players seeking a more challenging and fast progression.


Fight or Flight

If the player chooses to proceed along the street, they will quickly observe multiple enemies scattered along the path to the fortress. At this point, players face another decision: either engage in combat and fight their way through, or turn left to explore an alternative route. This decision, occurring right after the player's first encounter, allows them to make a choice based on their playstyle. The timing of this decision, following the initial encounter, provides players with basic knowledge of their combat capabilities, influencing their subsequent choices in the level.


The Market Area

Opting to avoid combat leads the player to a safe zone devoid of enemies, allowing them to choose a direction based on their exploration preferences. The fortress has consistently drawn the player's attention as an apparent target, potentially influencing their decision, especially since the right path brings them closer to the fortress. However, the player may also spot a green recovery platform offering a chance to heal from previous combat damage. Choosing the left path allows for a more extensive exploration of the map, unveiling additional aspects of the narrative and providing a deeper gameplay experience.


Collapsed Buildings in the Ocean

If the player chooses the left path in the market, they will encounter another crossroad inside one of the buildings. However, this is a concealed path designed to reward exploratory players. The fallen buildings, visible from the beginning of the game, might have piqued the interest of some players. Those who are keen on exploring every possibility in the level might attempt to find a way onto the buildings. This hidden path is crafted in a manner that goes unnoticed during normal gameplay, revealing itself only to players actively seeking it out. Choosing the above path will lead the player to the collapsed building while continuing moving forward does not.


The Broken Bridge

Returning to the street previously mentioned, if the player chooses to confront the enemies directly and head straight for the fortress, they will encounter a broken bridge. At this point, the player faces a decision: either turn back or attempt to jump across. However, attempting the jump leads to an inevitable failure, resulting in the player's demise and ultimately redirecting them back.


Whether the player decides to turn around voluntarily or is redirected by the respawn system, they will notice a window path leading into a building. At this point, players have the option to either enter the building or return to the street and explore a previous path.


Secret Path

If the player is unwilling to turn back or desires further exploration, they may discover a hidden path under the bridge. This concealed route leads the player directly to the island housing the fortress and also unveils additional narrative elements within the game. This discovery provides a rewarding experience for players who opt for a more adventurous and thorough exploration of the level.


The Giants

If, during gameplay, the player refrains from entering any buildings and focuses solely on exploring open areas, they will eventually face the last option before reaching the fortress: whether to confront the giants directly or enter a building. This presents another choice for the player based on their playstyle. Opting to go straight for the giants is a significantly shorter path but comes with heightened risk compared to the safer alternative of navigating inside the building. This decision adds strategic depth, allowing players to tailor their approach according to their preferred style of play and risk tolerance.


The Fallen Skyscraper

No matter which path the player chosed before, if they were not able to find the secret entrance, the only way to get to the fortress is through the fallen skyscraper. 


The Final Choice

Upon reaching the final fortress, the player encounters the last crossway before facing the ultimate boss. Here, the player must decide whether to enter the glass house, teeming with enemies, or proceed directly to the final fortress. While this choice might initially appear straightforward, opting for the left path proves more unforgiving than the glass house. Surprisingly, the enemies inside the glass house are relatively weaker compared to the formidable guards positioned behind the fortress wall. Climbing up onto the wall and immediately encountering a giant guardian creates a feeling of surprise and challenges the player. This intentional design choice, although increasing the level's difficulty, aims to infuse a dynamic and unexpected element into the player's experience. During playtests, some decided to turn around and take the glass house path, while others chose to confront the heightened challenge head-on.


Key Designs

Key design aspects that enhance the whole experience

Weapon or Not

Inspired by the concept of accommodating player choices in games like Dishonored, I've integrated a similar approach into my level design. Although initially blocking the player with a wall before the first encounter ensures they obtain the staff in the camp, those who seek alternative paths can find a side door allowing entry without the staff.

No Weapon.png

Every area in the level is meticulously designed to enable climbing over walls without the staff, and each enemy encounter features alternative paths for players to navigate sneakily. This design philosophy aims to offer players the freedom to choose their playstyle, enhancing the overall flexibility and adaptability of the gaming experience.


Vantage Points

Several vantage points have been strategically placed throughout the level to serve as guides, providing visual cues for the path leading to the final fortress or enabling players to plan their movements strategically before entering areas with enemies. These elevated viewpoints offer players a valuable perspective, encouraging thoughtful navigation and enhancing the overall tactical experience within the game.


Visual Guidance

Numerous pathways within the level are intentionally designed to lead directly towards the final fortress. This deliberate arrangement aims to provide players with a clear sense of progression as they navigate through the level, ensuring a coherent and immersive journey towards their ultimate objective.


Spatial Awareness

In tackling the challenge of a sizable map, my focus is on crafting distinct landmarks that serve as reliable guides for players. These landmarks, including the fortress, the fallen skyscraper, the spinning tower, the main streets, and the starting camp, intentionally form a triangular pattern across the map. The purpose is to create memorable and easily recognizable structures that linger in the player's mind, providing a constant frame of reference for their position. The ultimate goal is to instill in players a heightened awareness of their relative location, leveraging these key points to seamlessly guide them toward their destination.

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