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Introduction

Base Design

First Building

Second Building

Prison Factory

Introduction

This project was created with the premise of reimagining the classic game Dishonored in a 22nd-century futuristic setting. We were prompted to utilize the Level Up Toolkit developed by ETC students to craft the first level of this adaptation.

 

In this level, players will familiarize themselves with basic abilities, world settings, and the game systems. We are tasked to recreate the Prison Escape scenario from the original game, where human guards have been replaced by cameras and machines. Instead of a sword, the player wields a powerful Staff, enabling them to traverse gaps and scale towering walls.

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Level Demo

Gameplay

Overview

Project basic settings

Platform

Windows

Tool Used

Unreal, Level Up Toolkit

Team

Individual

Duration

1 Month

My Role

Level Designer

Base Design

Initial design as the backbone of the design process

Before we started to block out the level in Unreal Engine, we designed the level on paper based on our own play through of the original game and the documentation of the Level Up Toolkit.

Listing Interactions & Movement

To gain a better understanding of the potential level design achievable with the Level Up plugin, I started the process by creating a list of player interactions and movements within the toolkit. Since this is the first level, meant to act as a tutorial, the idea was to include a wide range of mechanics to make sure players get the hang of it. The marked red 'Xs' is me tracking the introduced mechanics in the design process.

Listing Interactions & Movement

Rough Map Side View

I created the initial draft of the side view for the overall map, featuring a simple design in which the player navigates from the left building to the exit on the left side of the map. While there are multiple methods available for player traversal within the route, the map primarily offers a single designated route towards the goal. The primary objective is to utilize the first building as a tutorial, introducing players to various mechanics, and the second building as a stage to test their acquired skills with increased challenges. In later iterations, the second building was cut down into a tower to decrease the scope.

Rough Map Side View

First Building

The tutorial building

The first building is the tutorial area where the player will first encounter different mechanics. It has three floors, each with a goal I want to achieve. The player starts from the third floor to the first floor and then proceeds to the next building.

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3rd Floor

This is the start of the level. The main purpose of this floor is to teach the player the basic movements and showing the player the final objective through the first look out of the building windows.

Iteration

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Empty and hard to see what is in the next room

More visual guidance and a see-through window for the player to time their movement before entering the room

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Hard to see where is the safe zone, high difficulty without meaning behind

Bigger area to see the room layout and visual guidance that indicates the safe area for player to stand

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Goal not obvious, easy to miss

The tower can be seen easily and leads the eyesight down to the platform

2nd Floor

The second floor offers obstacles that can only be passed with more advance movement such as climbing, sliding, and dashing. The main objective of this level is to teach the player more advance mechanics and also start to build some world settings mainly trhough the L shaped hallway with strange visuals in the glass room.

Iteration

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The ceiling path is hard to see and playtesters though they were just decorations. The gaps between the platforms are frustrating without teaching valuable mechanics

Barrel stacks visually guide the player while the camera blocks the door, leading them to climb up to the ceiling. This path can only be cleared with crouching movement, ensuring player skill development.

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Insufficient space for the player to anticipate and react to the fast camera movement caused confusion. Players attempted to fit through the narrow gap between the racks and the ceiling, which proved unsuccessful.

Since the camera remains stationary, the player realizes the need to explore alternative routes. Smaller gaps between rack levels eliminate them as options.

1st Floor

The last floor of the first building is where the player will get the staff. The staff offers the player a more powerful jump to climb up higher obstacles. this floor is mainly to introduce the player to the staff mechanics and objects in scene that can interact with the staff such as the hanger.

Iteration

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Staff is not intuitive enough for the player to pick up without guidance

Using a pair of hands visually presenting the staff to the player with lights and the stand as a guidance encouraging player to interact with the staff

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The camera moved way too fast, making it tough for new players, especially in a tutorial level

Two options for the player to consider: one involves speed, and the other is a ceiling path previously introduced

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The distinction between the two paths is unclear, and they lack substantial significance in terms of choice.

Improved visual cues for the two distinct paths: one demands precise timing between conveyor belts, while the other involves well-timed long jumps. Additionally, only one of them leads to a hidden route.

Second Building

The challenge building

In the second building, players face a series of challenging obstacles. The initial design featured a camera that moves up the building chasing the player. The player must apply the mechanics learned in the first building and scale to the rooftop.

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Second Building Side View

The second building is divided into four phases, each with a distinct purpose and emotion state

Side view of the tower

Iteration

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The initial paper design proposed a camera chase, but it couldn't be implemented due to toolkit limitations. As a result, players had to restart from the bottom after falling, leading to considerable frustration.

The presence of a large hole on the bottom floor increases the risk of player death, offering a similar challenge to what a chasing camera would have provided. This also led to less frustration when falling off platforms. The windows also strengthen the present of the goal

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The initial tower was excessively dark, featuring several challenging jumps that led to a notably high death rate.

Adding additional lighting and adjusting the platform distances improved the overall experience, making it smotther while maintaining the challenge.

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The path is hard to see and the awkward spacing between the hangers made the jumps difficult without adding any meaningful gameplay value.

The cameras improved visual guidance and added complexity to the hanger jumps by requiring additional skills. Additionally, the spacing between the hangers was set at an appropriate distance for a standard jump.

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