Design Test

For this assignment I have been given a scenario and a set of guidelines for which to create a level. I have to create a first or third person playable level blockout that contains between 3 – 7 minutes of gameplay. I must be sure to do any blueprint coding that is needed for the level but I do not have to code enemy AI.

Scenario

The player, having just escaped from the previous section of the level must make their way through a level in order to escape something to a specific exit point. What the player is running from and where the player exits the level are  up to me provided they fit the theme of the level. I must also make sure the exit feels like an ending to the level.

Guidelines

My level must contain the following game beats: 

  • Enemy AI encounter
  • A change to the escape plan
  • Small puzzle the player must overcome
  • Low intensity moment for the player to catch their breath
  • Wow moment
  • Exit to the level 

Where or when I set the level is completely up to me as long as I make sure to answer all the requirements from above.

Top Down Design

In the previous level, the player has just escaped prison when the town was attacked. They had to run through burning buildings to avoid being recaptured. This level begins as the player has run through a burning town and reached the dockside, only to find that most of the ships have been destroyed. The player must manoeuvre across ships and floating debris in order to find a ship that is not damaged so they can escape the town. I started by drawing a top down design for the level. I later recreated this in UE4. I also added a few more damaged and sinking ships as decoration to form an environment to make the player feel tension for the situation.

Maya Ship Model

To create this level in I had to make a ship model in Maya and then import it as an FBX to UE4.

Respawn

After blocking out my level with ships, I had to create some form of punishment to the player for falling into the water. I decided to add a triggerbox around each ship the player would be climbing on and assigned each to an empty actor which was placed in the desired location of a respawn. Once the player falls into the water and makes contact with the trigger box, they will instantly be respawned where they need to be to continue.

Plan A Destroy and Enemy Encounter

For this part of the level, the player sees an undamaged ship in front of them that would be viable for the escape. However, as they run toward it, it is blown up by cannonfire from an enemy ship. This enemy ship then sails forward to block the player’s path. The player must use the cannons on the ship they are currently stood on in order to sink the enemy ship before they can fireback.

To make this possible, I had to create a trigger as the player steps onto the second ship. This causes a cinematic to play in order to create a wow moment. It then links to the Plan A ship to cause that to fracture itself as it is a destructible mesh. This gives the effect of an explosion from cannonfire rather than the ship disappearing as it would with a simple destroy actor node.

Then I created a trigger box in the ocean where the Plan A ship was so that the enemy ship can move there. This trigger also registers when the player’s cannonball makes contact so the cannonball can destroy the enemy ship.

I then blueprinted the cannonballs to fire upon an interaction with a triggerbox. These will fly toward the enemy ship using a lerp and will destroy themselves when they reach its endpoint.

The first part of the enemy ship was to move it forward. This proved quite difficult as this ship is also a destructible mesh and would tend to blow up on contact with, what appeared to be, nothing. With limited time left on my assignment and my stress with this part of the blueprint increasing, I created a delay on the movement of the ship so that the player has just enough time to reach this point in the level and trigger the destruction of the Plan A ship before the enemy ship sails in. (Not a reliable solution but something I hope to fix in the future.) The second part is a simple collision that means the destructible mesh will blow up when contact is made from the cannonballs.

Final Level Summary

In the previous level, the player has just escaped prison when the town was attacked. They had to run through burning buildings to avoid being recaptured. This level begins as the player has run through a burning town and reached the dockside, only to find that most of the ships have been destroyed.

They must run down a jetty and jump onto the first ship. They must reach the second ship by very carefully walking along the bowsprit and not falling off.

Once they reach the second ship they see a ship in front of them that is undamaged. The player decides to use this for their escape but, just as the player moves forward, the ship is blown up with cannon fire. The enemy ship responsible then moves toward the player and prepares to fire again. The player must utilise the cannons of the ship they are already on and sink the enemy ship.

With nowhere else to go, they must then jump off the ship and onto debris in the water. This forms a jumping puzzle where the player will have to move across the surface of the water on this debris before it sinks. They then jump to some masts that are just stuck out of the water and must jump from beam to beam to climb up to another ship.

Once on this, they must jump from the side onto the bowsprit of the next ship. This has crates piled up at the stern for the player to climb up to reach the top of the mast. The player must then jump between masts again to reach the only remaining undamaged ship in order to sail away and escape.