PolarityShift

One-day level design challenge (First Person)

This is a one-day challenge I did for a first person game. I was tasked to design the first introduction to the level where you don't use your abilities a lot but gives a first introduction to some of them.

The setting of the game is a post-apocalyptic environment where the world has been covered by a dark mist on the ground, leaving only the rooftops of the cities free of said mist.

Game Mechanics: Base mechanics are walking, running, crawling, jumping and stealth takedown with some expanded movement options like a double jump, air glide, ledge grab and wall climb (in designated areas).

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Level overview.
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The entry point of the level, with the objective framed in the distance.
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Planks are spread out like breadcrumbs leading the player through the critical path.
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Every short section of the level has multiple paths you can take.
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Hidden pick-up reward for exploration.
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The only enemy in this first section can be avoided, or engaged to gain access to a collectible.
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The level is surrounded by non-accesible buildings to give the player a sense of scale of a broken world.

In this early part of the level the focus is on letting the player have some breathing room and not have to worry too much about hazards and enemies. The main player experience goal is exploration and freedom of movement and not so much stealth and combat. Any exploration the player chose to do will be rewarded with a collectible item. The game space is designed like a web with several points of interests with multiple paths to take in order to reach them.

As soon as you enter the level you see your goal (the golden sphere-like object) in the distance above everything else, framed by the buildings on either side of the player's view.

The barrels and planks on the corner are angled to make the player want to look to the left first and when looking left the player can see a breadcrumb trail of planks and debris leading towards the critical path from this point and onward through this section of the level.

If the player look to the right there is a less inviting scenery with a big tank blocking most of the way and a huge building in the background blocking any interesting view intended to make the player less interested in going in that direction. But should the player choose to explore and go to the right, there is a pickup to be found on a ledge hanging out from the building.


The player is immediately on the left introduced to the first mechanic "jumping" where you first have to make a low jump and then a bigger one where you need to grab a ledge to progress (marked with blue). The red area on the right of the jump signifies a death zone filled with burning debris, introducing the player to death should you jump down.


Every game space has multiple paths the player can take to reach its goal.


In the top-down view we can see the different paths a player could take. The black path is the most direct path to the next level and the orange path is the exploration path.

In the part of the level guarded by an enemy you have four different options to you. You can:
A) Take the difficult black path and directly jump across the chasm. (difficult)
B) Take the red path and attack the enemy head on. (risky)
C) Take the orange path and sneak up on the enemy from behind. (safe)
D) Take the yellow path, climb up on top to either attack the enemy from high ground or use your glide ability and avoid the enemy completely.
Inside the door by the enemy is another collectible. You need to engage with the enemy to get it.

The final part of the level is a series of easy jumps climbing up some scaffolding and finally jumping off the roof in the spot marked by yellow planks gliding to the next section of the level.