I have been given a brief in which I must create a top down level design based on my favourite scene from a film, TV show or book. I must use media influences in my design and decide which of a number of scenes will have the most engaging game play.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
When given this brief, this was the first scene that came to mind. The final battle in Return of the King is definitely one of my favourite movie scenes of all time! Aragorn’s speech is enough to give anyone chills and it really sets up the moment perfectly. It sums up the mutual feelings shared by the heroes and shows that they are willing to die to give Frodo and Sam time to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom and save Middle Earth from Sauron.
As much as I love this scene, I decided not to use it for my top down brief as it would be extremely difficult to create an interesting top down map. The battle takes place on the plains outside the Black Gate. This would essentially be a blank page framed by some mountains and an open gate at the sides when translated into a top down design. This would be very difficult to make into an interesting map so therefore I decided against using this scene.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Vol. 2
My second choice of scene for this brief was the opening credit scene in Guardians of the Galaxy – Vol. 2. I loved this scene for so many reasons, mainly its ridiculousness that Baby Groot can be carefree enough to dance around while the rest of the Guardians fight the Abilisk. I also really love the music choice in this scene and I think it fits the upbeat, comedic tones of the films.
Again, I decided not to use this scene either. As interesting as it would be to play as the Guardians to kill the Abilisk while having to simultaneously protect Baby Groot, the fight takes place essentially in an arena. With the exception of the batteries, a few crates and Rocket’s speakers, there really is no content to include in the top down design. Like Return of the King, this would be very difficult to make into an interesting map so therefore I decided against using this scene.
The Maze Runner
Concluding from my previous two ideas, I needed a scene with a more complex layout. I instantly thought of the Maze Runner. This is one of my favourite films ever and I realised that it would be perfect for this brief. I will be using the ‘Night In The Maze’ scene where Thomas and Minho must survive the night in the maze against the Grievers. This scene is amazing due to its tension. The pure terror of Thomas and Minho mixed with the soundtrack, the dark setting of the scene and the mysterious and deadly nature of the Grievers puts anyone watching on the edge of their seat.
The player would take the role of Thomas and would have to survive the night. The progression of the scene would allow the use of set objectives to achieve throughout the night, such as: hiding Alby’s body in the ivy and outrunning the Griever as the maze changes and the walls close in. A Five Nights At Freddy’s timed survival aspect could even be added due to the similar concept of surviving the night. The top down design would be extremely complex but would make for an amazing layout and would allow for multiple escape routes from the Grievers. This scene is absolutely perfect for the brief and I will definitely continue to work on this idea.
In the film, there is a scene where Minho, leader of the runners, shows Thomas the model he has created of the maze. I went online in an attempt to find an existing top down and, luckily, I found the image on the left. I then went on Photoshop and recreated this layout. The ‘Night In The Maze’ scene I will be recreating takes place in section 7 of the maze so this is the area I will be focusing on for the majority of my top down design.
The Maze Runner (2014) is a film based on James Dashner’s novel The Maze Runner (2009). The story is set in a post apocalyptic setting. Earth has been destroyed by a huge solar flare which triggered a deadly virus called the ‘Flare’. An organisation of scientists known as ‘WCKD’ or ‘Wicked’ dedicated themselves to testing young people and children who show signs of resistance to the virus.
The story follows a sixteen year old boy named Thomas who wakes up in an elevator with no memory of who he is. He soon learns that he has been sent to join a large number of boys (Gladers) who have also been sent to the same place. They have been put in the centre of a huge maze and have had to create a very basic settlement , rules and a society of their own, this settlement is called the ‘Glade’. While building the Glade, the boys continually attempt to find their way out of the ever changing maze. However, the boys can only explore the maze during the day as the doors to the Glade close at night and “no one survives a night in the maze”. The maze contains creatures called ‘Grievers’ which are half insect, half machine and are designed to kill the Gladers to prevent them from escaping. The Grievers sting their victims with a dose of the Flare in order to test the boys’ ability to survive the virus.
Eventually, the boys fight their way out of the maze and go on to escape and take down WCKD due to their inhumane testing. Their story continues into 2 more films, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.
During the film, the Grievers begin to sting the boys in the glade, during the day. One of the boys, Ben, is stung and becomes infected with the Flare, becoming a danger to the rest of the Gladers. He is therefore banished into the maze and left to the Grievers overnight. The next day, Alby, leader of the Gladers, and Minho, leader of the Runners (the boys who explore the maze) decide to run the maze to find any trace of Ben. While out, Alby gets stung and, in his weakened state, slows them down. They make to the final path up to the door but do not make it before it closes. Thomas, still curious about the maze, breaks the Gladers rules and runs out to meet Alby and Minho, making it out just before the door closes. Thomas and Minho manage to hide Alby’s body by suspending and burying him in the ivy that covers the walls of the maze. Thomas and Minho must then survive the night against the Grievers with no way back into the safety of the Glade until morning.
This ‘Night In The Maze’ scene is the one I will be using for this brief.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
FNAF is set in a restaurant, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The player takes the role of a security guard working the night shift at the restaurant. They have a limited amount of electricity to check security cameras, use flashlights and close the office doors in order to survive against a number of robot characters that come to life and become murderous during the night.
The game is centred around surviving the night so the time is constantly shown. I will adapt this idea to my level as it is also based on surviving until 6am. It is important for players to see how long they have left to survive so they do not get bored or demotivated during their play through.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, (who fight for peace through free will), and the Templars, (who desire peace through control). The story is set in present day following Desmond Miles, who uses a machine called the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor to find a way to prevent the 2012 Apocalypse. The ancestor is Assassin, Ezio Auditore Da Firenze, a nobleman in renaissance Italy. The game follows his quest to restore the Assassin order, and destroy his Templar enemies The Borgia Family.
The game allows the player to run away from enemies when engaged in combat. The player can become undetected again by breaking the line of sight with enemies and hiding within crowds of people, in hay bales or in store cupboards. I am planning on using a similar idea in the maze to escape the Grievers. Players must break the line of sight with the Grievers and hide around walls, under ivy or in shrubs.
Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild follows Link, who wakes up from hundreds of years of sleep to a voice that guides him on a quest to defeat his main enemy, Ganon before he can destroy Hyrule kingdom.
Breath of the Wild needs the player to locate a number of shrines. The player has a radar in the bottom of their HUD which emits a series of beeps that become louder and more intense the closer the player gets to a shrine. In the maze runner, the Grievers contain a mechanic key that unlocks the exits to the maze. This key emits a clicking sound that speeds up the nearer to the exit the Griever is. I plan on combining this idea with locating the Grievers. In my level, I will be using the Griever’s clicking sound to show players when the Grievers are nearby so the player knows to hide.
Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V is set in San Andreas, a fictional state based on California. The story follows three criminals attempting to pull off a series of heists on behalf of corrupt members of a government agency.
GTA V uses an aspect while in a police chase where, if police are looking for the player, the player must be aware of how loud their movements are. The map shows the police officers’ field of vision but also shows a circle around the player’s map marker. The louder the players footsteps, the larger the circle. This plays into how effective the player is at hiding from the police. I will be adopting a similar idea for the characters in my level. The players have the ability to sneak and crawl which will allow the players to remain quiet around Grievers. However, walking, running and sprinting will be louder and will attract the attention of the Grievers.
This level is designed to be part of a larger game based on the Maze Runner film. The scene covers the Night in the Maze scene and will allow the player a lot of freedom to navigate the maze as they see fit. There is no way to limit player movement if they are attempting to escape the Grievers trying to sting them.
First, the players are shown the scene where Thomas runs out of the Glade doors and the dialogue from the film, between Thomas and Minho occurs. The players start by the door to the Glade and must work together to hide Alby. They will have to carry him together (slowing them down) and they will need to find an ivy coated wall. They must then lift Alby by creating a pulley system out of vines in order to hide him in the ivy coating the wall. Both players will have to manoeuvre around the maze creating minimal noise. The players must then navigate the maze undetected by Grievers. They have the ability to sneak or crawl so when Grievers are near, players can remain undetected. The Grievers’ clicking sound can be heard faintly when one is near but this clicking will become louder and faster the closer the Griever is. If noticed, players must run through the maze in an attempt to break the line of sight with a Griever, they can do this by running to create enough distance, climbing ivy to reach the level above or sliding through gaps in the walls. Once the line of sight is broken, a player may then hide in small shrubs or under ivy in order to lose the Griever. If the players survive until 5am, a small cut scene will be triggered where a Griever sees Minho and Thomas. The camera will pan to the front of the players so the Griever can be seen behind in pursuit. The players must run as fast as they can to escape while the maze begins to change around them. They will need to slide and jump to avoid debris and shrubs while they run. They will be lead to a passageway within the maze where they must reach the end before the timer ends and the walls close on them. If they successfully reach the end of the passageway, a cut scene will play where the boys squeeze out between the walls while the Griever remains trapped and is crushed. The sun then begins to rise and Minho and Thomas run back to retrieve Alby’s body and take him back to the Glade.
The ‘Night in the Maze’ scene is based in section 7 of the maze so that is where my level is based. The level is also open to exploration. Players must navigate the maze in their own way and are not guided through the maze until the final section where a cinematic is triggered and the players must escape both the griever and the enclosing walls of the passageway. The path that I have drawn is the optimum route through the maze.