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Abandoned Mill Town | Action-Adventure | 2023

About

Genre: 3rd Person Action-Adventure Quest 

Software: Unreal Engine 5, Krita
Project Type: Solo Project
Development Time: 4 Weeks of Blockout and 4 Weeks of Events Scripting (half-time)

 

Acknowledgement: This is a remake of the “Learning Level Design with Patrick Haslow” course project,  with some of my design and modifications.

Imported Packages

My Role: Level Designer, Technical Game Designer

My Responsibilities

  • Developed level blockouts for a third-person action-adventure quest, prioritizing player engagement in exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving

  • Crafted engaging combat spaces by strategically positioning hostile NPCs, covers, and vantage point within the level

  • Balanced the level pacing and game rhythm to create a dynamic gameplay experience

  • Established a cohesive environmental narrative by thoughtfully placing structures, buildings, and props throughout the level

  • Produced modular static mesh proxies as as essential development assets for an iterative level design workflow

  • Scripted gameplay events via Level Blueprint framework, character mechanics, and interactions using Unreal Blueprints

  • Implemented scripted 3D sounds in the level to provide feedback to the player 

  • Illustrated digital 2D level layouts using Krita to guide the overall design vision

Pre-Production

1

          Setting           

  • Abandoned milltown 

  • Nodes and Landmarks: Mill Building (Waterwheel Sawmill), Town Hall, Mansion, Worker Houses, Store, Saloon

  • Paths: paths include different elevations to make an interesting exploration experience as well as guiding the player.

  • Edges: The town is located in a valley surrounded by mountain range and a river

2

         Narrative        

  • Player is on a quest to seek revenge on bandits who occupied the town. 

  • The level serves as a story chapter within an overarching game story arc.

  • The level conveys narrative moments through environmental storytelling and scripted events.

3

   Player Experience   

  • Exploration

  • Puzzle solving (Key/Lock mechanic)

  • Combat (sniping, close-range combat, and stealth)

  • Duration of Play: 10 minutes

Inspiration & References

I gathered reference images on Pinterest boards.

Level Layout

I sketched the 2D top down layout of the level using Krita.

Player Objectives

  1. Reach and cross the bridge

  2. Defeat the enemy in the mill building

  3. Extend the bridge

  4. Start the mill machinery and bring power to the bridge by finding the missing gear wheel

  5. Explore the building and find the foreman workshop key where the missing gear is in

  6. Explore the houses and find a crowbar

  7. Defeat enemies outside the Town Hall and get into the building

  8. Defeat enemies inside the Town Hall and retrieve the foreman keys

  9. Return to the mill building from the back of the Town Hall

  10. Return to to the foreman workshop to retrieve the missing gear wheel

  11. Return to the gear machine and restart the power of the mill

  12. Extend the bridge by interacting with the bridge’s switch

  13. Cross the river

Milltown_Layout6.png

Level Flow & Gameplay Beats

1. The first gameplay beat is going to introduce things, allowing the player to see the objectives, barriers and edges.

Starting from the edge of the river, as the player walks up the curved path, they find their objective, which is to reach the mansion across the river. The player also has a view of a bridge and a mill building.
a. 

  • As the player gets closer to the mill building, they see the town’s gate which is locked, the road that is blocked by a tree, and a store to the left. 
     

  • The player has the option to explore the store which involves the environmental narrative of a raided place after the bandits took over the town.

2. The second gameplay beat includes exploring the mill building, where the player finds the gear machine, and a closed door to the foreman's office.