LEVEL DESIGN PORTFOLIO

"Manny's Best Friend"

Bridge to Manny's Cabin; Free Rover from the raiders!
 

Fast Facts

Role

Genre

Editor

Platform

Process

Level Designer

3rd Person Shooter; RPG

Creation Kit

PC

Level Design Document, Map Diagram, Whitebox, Gameplay Iterations, Aesthetic Pass, Testing, Iterations, Postmortem

The Project

"Manny’s Best Friend” is a single-player, Fallout 4 quest that takes the player to a secluded cabin in a heavily wooded area northwest of the Commonwealth of Boston in 2287. The player meets Manny at Red Rocket and accepts a quest to rescue his dog, Rover, from his cabin that has been seized by raiders. The player travels to a new location, rescues Rover, and traverses the dangerous forest before returning Rover to Manny safely. This level is teeming with raiders, rad roaches, blood bugs, and other hazards, while providing players the opportunity to use their skills in lockpicking, hacking, and stealth."

 

Level Design Trailer

Design Goals

 

Open World
Feel

 

Dynamic
Combat

Conveyance

 

Images & Involvement

Aerial shot of multiple paths

My intent was to create a seemingly sprawling open world while also locking the player into a linear path to complete the level. I achieved this through creating side and alternate routes while gating the player at specific areas. 

One major goal I had for this level was to convey goals well to the player. I knew it would be challenging with this level but I was able to utilize techniques such as framing, contrast light, and movement to grab the player's attention. I took extra care to ensure the player could navigate the same in the dark hours. Even the side path across the lake is well lit to show the player a point of interest to check out.

Framing the cabin
Framing the cabin; Showing a side path
Color and Light contrasting

Even in the dark, I took extra special care to ensure that enemies either created silhouettes or they were well lit. I did this though light backgrounds or paths, light fixtures or firelight, and through less busy backgrounds or ground.  

I was able to create dynamic combat by using various triggers in the level. For example, in this video, the player clears the bridge of raiders, frees a dog from a cage in the house, and when they exit, more raiders have come from the forest to attack the player. 

Conveyance: Glowing Mushrooms
Conveyance: Mushroom patches

Conveyance was a huge priority for me in this level. While the player can take many paths, there are certain areas they must go to proceed. I tried to use color, light, and shape conveyance to show the critical path when ever possible. In these photos, the player will see glowing blue mushrooms at night showing them the critical path. In the day time, the mushrooms are still there, and the dog runs down this trail with an objective marker on his body. 

 

What I Learned

I learned quite a bit while working on this project. I am newer to combat encounters, balancing, and scripting, and this project took a bit of work to get right. I also used scaled-up rocks to assist in sculpting my terrain in my whitebox process, and then I underestimated the amount of time it would take to replace these so, they didn't get replaced. What I did not account for was the texture stretching due to my scaling.  Textures look different in the editor then they do in the game. I am learning more and more every day how important it is to do only a little bit of work, then test, and to keep that process going or the entire project. Also, don't scale textures unless the change is tiny and doesn't ruin the artistic quality of the texture.