Lights Orb

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First person runner

PC
Team of 8

October 2019 - June 2020

Unreal Engine

Level design and game design

The project

Lights orb is a student project made during my master 1 year. It is a first person view runner, where the player has to run through a  simulated city of neons as fast as they can, activating mecanisms using their orb on their way, to place themselves first on the leaderboard.

One of our main objective for lights Orb was to keep it simple. If we ended up being 8 at the end of the project, we began as 5, with no artist in the team. That meant that we could not plan to create too many features, since we wouldn't have had the power to make them.

Lights Orb was the first project I worked on exclusively as a Level designer.

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Level design

In Lights Orb, the player can throw an orb to activate certain mecanism scaterred on their path. They can then recall the orb to their hand, making a shockwave when they grab it. This shockwave activate special type of mecanism if it touches them. Those are the only 2 special actions in Lights Orb, both linked on the same input.

Aside from the orb, the character is able to run, jump, climb ledges and slide. The orb also makes them faster, and lighter, meaning they can jump farther than without the orb.

My job on this project was to build 3 levels for this controller, each introducing new mecanism, in a unique layout.

To plan which level would introduce what mecanism, I made a TLPM matrix, to make sure all levels had an appropriate amount of discovery and practice, while giving the player a feeling of mastery in a level of about 5 minutes for an experienced player.

My biggest challenge on this project was to make 3 different levels without the help of an environment artist to help me build them. They had to feel different, look different, all with the same assets and same colors.

To achieve that, I had to work mainly on the spacial contrasts of my levels. Each level has a different layout : the first one simulate small streets of a city, with small building surrounding it.

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This level also often make the player walk directly on the ground, to emphasize on the "small streets" feeling.

The second level was thought to make the player gradually go up. It begins on the roofs of buildings the height of the ones in the first level, but end on a gigantic tower that hint what the third level will be.

The third level is the one taking place on the highest buildings of the game. In it, the player will have to jumps huge gaps to leap from one building to another, while barely seeing the ground.

In Lights Orb, the character has 2 different state : with the orb, and without the orb. Those 2 give different advantages, like being faster with the orb, and being able to climb ledges without it. More importantly, each state gives the player the ability to activate a different type of mecanism.

With the orb, the character can throw it on receptacles to activate them as long as the orb stays on them. WIthout the orb, the character can recall it back to their hand, creating a shockwave and activating antennas around them for a few seconds.

My whole level design process was to create a exeprience that would flow nicely between those 2 states.

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If a situation asks the player to throw their orb, then the next one will ask them to recall it. This is the sentence I kept repeating myself whilel building the levels.