Level Design practice
Unreal Engine 4.21
- Grayblocking with BSP on Unreal Engine 4
- Pacing, framing, and global shapes
- Simple Blueprints (Water material, Emissive material, trigger & door, dialogs system, simple interaction)
- Rought lighting/textures
Objective: Find your target and steal his keycard.
Action/Adventure, TPS, 3D fictional game.
I started this level to train my level design skills on UE4. The project is simple: a grayblock level with simple shapes, the first layout of lighting (guiding the player’s eyes) and some textures and materials to help to visualize the level. I draw different maps and layouts of the level I want to create, with the different paths and basic shapes for obstacles and walls. I build it step by step in Unreal Engine 4, starting with global volumes than adding main ways and architectural guidelines. I test my map multiple times to assure the different ways, objectives, and options are clear. Details and smaller blocks are added on this first base. Lighting is an essential tool to guide the player, I set some basic lights in the level.
Walkthrough & Macro Nodes
- Enter the baths
The player begins at the reception of the baths. As the VIP area is a forbidden place, he/she has to enter through the main way, after the lockers. This is the first place visited by the player and he/she can already different size NPCs around the place (it’s a sci-fi lore, there’re a lot of species besides humans). Following a large stair, the player arrives at the main baths.
- Talk to the bartender
Directly in front of the lockers’ stair, the player can see the first objective: an available NPC at the bar, behind the giant rocket engine used for the steam. The player crosses the first part of the baths to talk to the bartender, an old friend. The bartender gives the player the quest objective (steal the keycard!) and some information (the target is in the VIP area).
- Unlock the maintenance corridor
Once the objective is given, the player can walk across the baths and try to reach the second area, the VIP one. Guards are blocking the way in. A small maintenance corridor exists at the extreme right of the baths. To unlock the corridor, the player has to go upstairs, on the walkways, using a large stair near the bar. After a brief exploration, the player uses the control switch to open the maintenance corridor, a short ladder allows the player to reach the corridor from here.
- Find your target
At the end of the corridor, the player has to push some box and stuff stocked here. He/she has now a global view of the VIP baths. The VIP exit isn’t available until the player has reached the objective (steal the keycard). From this perspective, the player can see the private baths, and one of them is more lit than the other ones. The main target (a local mafioso) of the player is in this private room. Unfortunately, there’re guards protecting the occupied private baths. The player has to find an available and under repair bath. A trapdoor is opened in the bottom of the empty bath, the player uses the ladder below to pass one floor down (to the basement).
- Go to the basement
A dark corridor links all those under-baths-passages and goes along private baths. It allows the player to get close his/her enemy and to listen to the target speaking with someone, revealing where the keycard is (with a henchman on the bleachers at the back of the VIP area). Following the basement corridor and visual repairs, the player arrives at the back of the VIP area, below the bleachers.
- Steal the keycard
Following the under corridor, the player will arrive at the end of the VIP area, behind the large bleachers. After climbing behind those bleachers, the player can steal the keycard near the henchmen sit here.
- Leave the place
Once the keycard is stolen, the player has 2 choices: continue to explore the basement and discover a hidden trap door or turn back and get out of the basement by the same way he/she has arrived. Once on the main floor, the way is clear to leave the VIP area through the VIP exit.
Flow of the level
Screenshots from the player view
Key elements to guide the player
First Paper Design & Layouts
Moodboard for architecture, lighting, and atmosphere
This map takes place in a fictional TPS sci-fi game. Those public baths are common into big cities and spaceport on the ground (planet or moon). The baths are generally built in the buildings’ basements. It’s a mix of rusty metallic architecture and big ponds of water. Clients can be humans and other alien races, installations are adapted to them. An old rocket engine is used to create the heat and the steam for the whole installation. Recycling part of ships is common in this universe. A garbage space lore. 🚀