Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Level Concepts

I am currently working on a project for school making a simple level using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK).  The purpose of creating the level is to learn how to use UDK and its various tools, like Kismet and ScaleForm. With that in mind, I chose to do a single player level that would be a be a part of a larger game. I have completed a rough working level based upon the original concept and description below:

The objective of the level is to retrieve a mob boss' top secret folder from his office on the bottom floor.  In order to reach the office on the top floor, the player will have to first flip a switch in the basement. If they try to go to the office before the switch is flipped they will start taking damage upon entering the boiler room (Top Floor, large room). To get down to the basement they will have to go through a utility door, then through a secret door in the closet. Once you get down stairs you will have to navigate through a maze of cameras and crates to reach the boiler switch. The cameras will be oscillating so the player will have to time their moves accordingly. After you have thrown the switch you can safely go into the boiler room (after you get back through the camera maze). To get into the office door you will have to shoot a keypad until it breaks. Once it breaks you can use it to open the door. The folder will be on a desk.

During the development of this level there were changes that I made to original. Here is a list of the changes I made:

  • Switched the top and bottom floors, it is a more logical layout for a building.
  • Changed the layout a bit as I got a better feel for the proportions of the player-to-building.
  • Filled the ground floor with crates, more of a warehouse/unloading bay feel than an empty room.
  • Added a search function to help the player find clues.
  • Added a hidden room in the office.
  • Divided the boiler room damage into three parts of increasing damage (1st zone: -10 hp 2nd: -20 hp 3rd: -30 hp) instead of one large zone.
  • Reworked the camera maze to include safe zones where the cameras can't see you. I also changed  the camera type to heat sensitive as opposed to motion sensitive (due to technical errors I ran into getting the trigger volume to recognize the player in certain cases.) 
  • In addition to the above the player now takes damage if they are 'spotted' by the cameras.
  • Added a raised platform overlooking the maze to help the player plan their movements.
  • Added several dialog/popup windows using ScaleForm and Adobe Flash.
Some of these changes were due to technical difficulties encountered along the way, while others were added because I was ahead of schedule. How the layout ended up is below:

As you can see the building ended up being alot narrower than it was initially. 

I will be posting a video walkthrough of the level shortly. 

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