"Aperture Sciences - Plano"

Aerial view of level

Fast Facts






Level Designer

1st Person Shooter

Source / Hammer


Level Design Document, Map Diagram, Whitebox, Gameplay Iterations, Aesthetic Pass, Launch

The Project

“Aperture Sciences – Plano,” a foggy, single-player level, takes place in the Aperture Science universe within the middle of the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 timeline. In this action-oriented, first-person-shooter style level, the player has been tasked with opening the main gate to the facility via logic puzzles while clearing the area of Combine soldiers through combat at varying angles of verticality with SMGs so that the Resistance can gain control of the facility and protect the refugees travelling with them.


Gameplay Trailer


Design Goals








Images & Involvement


I created an overview map and separate detailed maps with scale for each area that I designated. I utilized Draw.io to create the maps. I tried to use color to dictate which height level the area displayed. Critical path, ammo, health, and cover are all depicted.  

I wanted to create interesting combat moments involving verticality. In the photo, The player shoots down at enemies. Later in the level, the enemies have the height advantage when the player exits the building. 


Once the player manages to get outside of the building, I designed the enemies to respawn in areas the player had previously travelled through. In this example, enemies spawn on the roof the player was looking down from prior.  

I  made solid efforts to convey goals to the player. In the image, the player can see the helicopter (animated) which helps the player understand where they need to go to finish the level. You can see this helicopter from every area of the map.


In the image, I was teaching the player how to open simple gates that I programmed. Around the next corner, the player would need to solve a simple puzzle with colored lights to open a door, and later a main gate with a combination puzzle; for the more complex puzzle I used a math counter. 


What I Learned

This was the first level I made in a professional level editor using level design theory and techniques. I learned a ton from this project, especially how to implement logic programming and combat into a scene. I had some challenges with this project involving void leaks, lighting and shadows, and some minor scripting bugs, but all in all it came out rather well for my first attempt. If I were to do the project again, I think I'd make the puzzle a little more challenging. Reviewing the project in retrospect, there are a ton of visual adjustments I would make as well.