Role: Technical Level Designer
Genre: 3D Sci-Fi Action Puzzle Game
Editor: Unreal 4
Process: Level Design Document, Map Diagram, Whitebox, Gameplay Iterations, Aesthetic Pass, Testing, Iterations, Post Mortem
The Project (2022)
"Project Ascension" is part of a larger project called Project X which is a series of similarly themed sci-fi projects aimed at skill building in different areas of level design. The project currently includes Project Eclipse (a stand-alone game project built on a team at Dallas College) and "Project Ascension" (a solo-designed level in the game LIT, produced by The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University).
Project Eclipse showcases my ability to use modular kits and create newly imagined assets by combining existing assets together.
"Project Ascension" focusses less on aesthetics and design theory, and instead, dives deep into scripting fundamentals. 3D models were also developed for this project.
Stay tuned for the third project in the series which will focus heavily on level design theory and map design.
WHAT WENT WELL
I was able to successfully implement the scripting for my planned core game mechanics (laser beam activation, rotating conduits, laser projectile, wall targets that supplied power to the laser beams and conduits, level respawn, triggered actor despawning, main game menu with pause)
I was able to implement my planned stretch goals because I efficiently completed my core mechanics early. (wandering AI enemies, chasing AI enemies, multiple types of AI enemies, player health bar [UI/HUD], player shield bar [UI/HUD], environmental hazards, custom materials, triggered light effects, health restoration chamber, triggered audio, triggered camera shakes.)
EVEN BETTER IF
I focused almost entirely on scripting for this project. It would have been even better if I had put a bit more effort into planning a challenging level with more exciting gameplay.
The level area is pristine looking and bland. Although I did not have access to assets packs for this project, it would have been even better if I made the rooms more interesting and added more aesthetic elements to the walls and floors.
While the player does receive some cool feedback for winning, there is not a formal win screen that comes up upon winning. It would have been even better if I implemented a UI widget for the win screen or rolled credits of some sort.
WHAT I LEARNED
I learned a ton about gameplay scripting and UI in this project and it has helped me in later projects.
I also created some 3D models in this project, which was pretty new for me.
Perhaps, the most important take-away from this project was my ability to sift through the original code to determine how the base project worked before jumping in with my own ideas. This helped me to understand what each blueprint and variable did in the game before altering anything.
Projectile-based Target System
& Shield Bars with
Functional, Projectile-based Target System
The main goal of this project was to script a system where projectiles could power generators on and off in the level, and that those generators would power on other devices in the level. Devices included a health restoration tube and a colorful light beam that could be redirected towards conduits to open doors.
Functional & Dynamic AI Enemies
The second goal I had for this project was to allow the player to shoot at functional AI enemies. This was actually a stretch goal of mine that I achieved. AI wander every so many seconds in a radius. When AI see the player, they walk towards the player. On contact, they damage the player and the HUD flashes red with an image I created in Photoshop. I pulled in animations and the enemy skin from Mixamo. I duplicated the enemy, recolored the skin, and change the speed and damage to make a more difficult enemy in later rooms.
Responsive Health & Shield Bars with Regeneration Options
The final goal I had for this level was to include a working health and shield bar that worked along side enemies and hazards in the level. All in all, I had 2 enemies with differing difficulties, and fire hazards that could damage the player. Shields would be impacted first and would automatically regenerate a few point every second. Health could only be restored by entering into a health restoration tube that was powered on.
Inspiration: Project Eclipse
Made from BSP and mesh combinations.
Mod-kit usage, clutter, vfx, and lighting.
Kit-bashing, lighting, mod-kit usage.
Made from BSP and mesh combinations.
"Project Ascension" was a love letter to Project Eclipse in many ways; so, here I provide some images from Project Eclipse. The focus of my role on the Project Eclipse team was on mod-kit usage and baseline aesthetics, not scripting. Project Eclipse was lacking the level design theory I understand today, and a proper set-dressing pass to make the space feel more lived in. Still, I show this here to provide a reference to the narrative and aesthetic inspiration for "Project Ascension." In the future, it is my goal to marry the two project concepts into an inspired and fully realized game.