Lost Granddaughter

Level Designer

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Development Info

Responsibility

Downloads

Game: Dying Light

 

Genre: First-Person Shooter Role Playing Game (FPS/RPG)

Developer(s): 1

 

Engine: Dying Light Developer Tools (Chrome engine 6)
 

  • Research

  • Concept and Documentation

  • Scripting (AI Encounters, Mission flow)

  • Environment

  • World Building

  • Lighting

  • Gameplay Flow

  • Environmental Storytelling

  • Playtests & Iteration

The Level Design Document

The Side Mission

Overview

Level Summary

"Lost Granddaughter" is a single-player level and side mission for the game, Dying Light (FPS/RPG). The main objective is a retrieval mission, where the player explores a part of a city, followed by sewers to find a person and some medicine for the mission giver. The level loops itself and utilises the core mechanics of the game, which are gunfights, close combat and parkour.

Level Design

Design Goals

  • Create a level designed for intermediate players of Dying Light, with a beginner skill tree.

  • Learn the Dying Light Developer Tools (Chrome Engine 6).

  • Implement a 3 act structure (Setup, Confrontation, Resolution).

  • Give the player the tools that he needs to progress in the level.

  • Use motion, lighting, composition and SFX to guide the player through the level.

  • Create a level divided with an outdoor and indoor section.

  • Create an immersive, coherent and suspenseful experience.

Design Overview

Nodes maps - Structuring the level's flow

Macro node Map

Micro node Map

Maps - Level's distribution and critical path

Walkthrough & Pacing

   1. Talk to Yonka

>    The player just appeared in the level and has to find Yonka (NPC), he will tell him to find his lost granddaughter who was going to the sewers’ survivor’s camp to find some medicine but hasn’t returned since a long time.

 

   2. Reactivate the city's generators        

>    The player has to find and activate two generators to enable the electricity in the district and unlock the sewers’ gate.

 

   3. Find a way to the old survivor's camp in the sewers

>     The player enters the sewers, confront zombies, traverse a first parkour room, continue to face zombies crowds and fight a Goon.

 

   4. Find the granddaughter

>    The player is inside the sewers’ survivor’s camp and has to find the granddaughter and turn her dead body on the side.

 

   5. Take the Antazin

>    After turning the girl’s body, the player will find some Antazin (Quest Item) and takes it.

 

   6. Find a way out

>    The player has to find a way out the sewers. He will arrive at a vertical parkour room then he will come in a rocky cavern giving him an elevated vista upon the city.

 

   7. Survive

The player continues through a big pipe that will break and fall into a disturbing pool leading to a bigger arena where he'll confront a Volatile.

 

   8. Return to Yonka

>    The player follows a final big sewer pipe leading toward Yonka's house and has to talk to him explaining that his granddaughter is dead.

Pacing curve and gameplay beats

Green: Roaming section, where the player explores an area and kills zombies.


Blue: Parkour room, where the player will be focused on jumping and climbing.


Red: Intense encounter, where the player will confront a boss or a mini-boss.


Yellow Hexagon: Mission Objective also present on the maps.

Details

Elevated lines of sight - Show an overview of the scene

Here elevated lines of sight are used to give players some information about the space he is in as well as navigational choices and a direction toward their goal. I give the player the ability to plan on how he wants to go to his objective.
 

Level's window - Give the player a sense of progression & a feeling of immersion in the level

I used small windows to give the player a sense of progression in the overall level as well as a new perspective on the city from a new point of view.

Confined lines of sight - Focus player's attention

I used confined lines of sight to subconsciously help player's focus toward the next objective location and direct him on the level.

Here, the arc is framing the mission's giver location.

Parkour - Reinforcing  gameplay mechanics

The first section is a tiny open world where the player is placed directly above the confrontation giving him the sensation of dominance and freedom of navigational choice.

The first parkour room into the sewer increase in difficulty since if the player fails, he falls into the lethal surface and dies.

The second parkour room is bigger and vertical with a hidden alternative path.

Electricity - Teaching electricity and water surface behaviour

I used electricity coupled with water to create a lethal surface. To introduce this element safely, I placed a zombie in front of the player line of sight during an animation where the camera is locked when unlocking the second generator's activation.

Lighting - Using Lighting to guide Players

I used lighting to subconsciously, guide the player toward a path.

Here the light comes from a corner directly highlighting the path.

Loop - Looping Back to the mission giver

The layout of the sewer loops back to the mission giver to make the level more efficient.

Pipes - Visual language and guide the player

I used yellow pipes inside the sewer section of this level to indicate the main path for the player's mission since yellow is the most visible colour of the spectrum.

I also used blue pipes in the sewer section to indicate a secret path leading to looting like ammunition or a medikit for example.

A final slide - Subverting player's expectation

This level utilises big pipes to move the player, but during the last tube, she breaks and makes the player fall into a disturbing scene that he didn't anticipate.

Scripting

Final encounter - The level's climax

To create a panic event, I detected the player using triggers and enabled tense music, and AI spawners.

Postmortem

What went right?

  • Guide player without necessarily the need for HUD markers, with the use of lighting, motion, and FXs.

  • Using the modular kit to create buildings.

What went wrong?

  • Stepping outside the grid with a modular kit proved to be a challenge.

  • Sometimes I was distracted by adding aesthetics element into the level, especially at the start and waste time that could be used in level design iteration, so task prioritisation could have been better managed. However, this did help me get a sense of what the level will look like and place environmental storytelling elements.

  • The initial scope of the level wasn't feasible which resulted in multiples complete redesign of the level. Redoing from scratch multiple times this level greatly helped me to understand what the level wants to be, and iterate on the mission pacing.

What have I learned?

  • The Dying Light Developer Tools (Chrome 6), and its scripting language to implement the mission's flow and call event like AI encounter.

  • Working with a modular kit to create an immersive and coherent environment.

  • Colour contrast to help the player navigate the level, and afford certain types of actions.