3D Level Design

The following will describe the levels of the game. Initially the game is quite linear, but the intention is to also make a few different endings later on if the player takes a different path.

This page acts as a game design document. It will give you an idea of how to design your game. Once you develop the assets, then you can use your game engine to “play” with it.

The story so far

The game is about…

  • a detective named Benjamin (Ben) or Natasha (Tash) who doesn’t remember who he/she is and has to find his /her identity
  • members of an underworld syndicate are out to get Ben / Tash
  • the object of the game is to beat the underworld syndicate
  • members of the SWO (Secret World Organisation) help Ben / Tash out
  • time and space can be controlled (ie. teleported to another year or century, and teleported to another room or map)
  • Ben / Tash has a possible love interest (could make both worlds collide)
  • Ben / Tash will have flashbacks to try to regain his memory
  • there will be some puzzles to solve along the way – clues to Ben’s / Tash’s identity
  • there will be some comedy elements built in

The story so far in detail

To get some direction, I will try to outline the story in full. Then I will come back and make changes if things do not work with the game.  The game should be made to be fun, but at the moment, some of the plot will sound more serious.

Since this is an adventure style FPS, it will be a linear story to start with. Then I will add some parts where the player can explore and fall into another time or room. Note that the story will be probably be more detailed as the game is made. Also there will be objects to collect along the way.

Here is the story in order:

I have broken up the story in levels. Then I can build each level separately.

Level 1

Ben / Tash wakes up in the alleyway as per the opening scene:

“In a dark alleyway somewhere at night, you lie unconscious, stooped over the curb. You stir slowly, feeling dizzy and a throbbing headache emerges. You rub the back of the head and say “What the heck?” You can’t remember who you are, where you are and what you are doing here. You look at the night sky and see you are surrounded by buildings and filthy rubbish dumps. A street lamp flickers on and off nearby. You feel for your inside pocket and pull out a flashlight. You instinctively put it back inside your long coat. A shiver runs down your spine as you are cold and notice that it’s lightly raining. Thunder is heard in the background. You get up and stagger out of the alley, not knowing what happened to you.”

Level 2

He /she roams around the city looking for clues. He /she meets someone that gives him/her some direction to go into a cafe. The person looks familiar, but he /she can’t remember why. Ben/Tash then goes into cafe – it is raining outside. He /she sits down at the window seat and orders a cup of strong coffee and some food. He/she hears a beep and something vibrate in his/her coat. He/she pulls out the mobile and sees the message “We are coming to get you!”. He/she sees a shadowy figure in the corner of the cafe. The waitress comes up and gives Ben/Tash his bill. She slips in a matchbox cover. It says “Electronica Club”.

Level 3

Ben/Tash gets up and leaves the cafe. He/she roams around the city and finds the “”Electronica Club”. He/she sees a big bouncer and door girl. She asks him/her for their ID. Ben/Tash fumbles for his/her wallet and shows his/her drivers licence. He/she then goes into the club – the music is very loud. (option – if he/she goes on the dancefloor, make them do some dance moves). He/she goes up to the bar and orders a drink. Someone taps him/her on the shoulder. He/she turns around to find three shadowy gentlemen looking at him angrily. Ben/Tash makes a run for it, the men chasing him/her through the dance floor. Ben/Tash travels to the back of the club, and finds a door. He/she opens it. All of a sudden, he/she is teleported into an arcade game place. (If Ben/Tash runs out the front door, the men end up catching up and grabbing Ben/Tash – game over or maybe go to their hideout and escape).

Level 4

In the arcade game place, Ben/Tash notices that no-one is following him/her. He/she is disoriented, hearing the arcade machines playing in the background. He/she investigates the machines, and finds a playable game (I could make this a 2D mini-game). He/she puts a coin in the slot, and finds that as he/she plays the game, suddenly a screen appears with his/her picture on it. A clue is given – “Look for the SWO”. If Ben/Tash doesn’t play a game, he/she may go to the counter and ask for change. The young man at the counter will whisper in his/her ear – “Look for the SWO”. When finished, Ben/Tash goes outside.

Level 5

It is now daylight. He/she sees a park and a bench. He/she is tired, so he/she lies down for a nap. If he/she doesn’t lie down, maybe let them examine the park and then fall down asleep after a period of time.

Level 6

While he/she sleeps, he/she dreams about an element of his/her past. It is very hazy. Ben’s/Tash’s dream consists of people laughing, then he/she is at a police station as a detective trying to solve a mystery. Ben/Tash can walk around the station. He/she goes to his/her desk, and sees his/her badge, a photo of a woman/man and some case files. He/she has a file about the “Syndicate”, a secret underground organisation. Suddenly he/she is in a dark interrogation room, sitting in a chair with a light swinging above.

Level 7

When he/she awakes on a park bench, he/she spots a newspaper. He/she looks through it, and sees an article about people going missing and an underground organisation that may be responsible. Ben/Tash gets up and walks around the city. He/she notices that a black car is following him/her. He/she keeps walking, then suddenly the car pulls up and two men get out. They bundle Ben/Tash inside the backseat of the car.

Level 8

The person in the back seat starts talking. He mentions that he knew you before and to be very careful. Initially Ben/Tash thinks that he/she is safe, but the car doors lock and the person starts to laugh. The person mentions a few people, the SWO and shows Ben/Tash some information. The car stops at a red light. Ben/Tash tries to open the door with no luck. Ben/Tash pulls down the window instead as it’s open just a fraction. A white car pulls up and then a person comes out. The person from the white car throws something. Gas is everywhere and Ben/Tash (and everyone else) blacks out. The player sees Ben/Tash being transported to the white car and it then speeds off into the distance. (or if Ben/Tash didn’t wind down window, car could transport Ben/Tash to the Syndicate hideaway or game over if Ben/Tash cannot escape).

Level 9

When Ben/Tash awakes, he/she is now inside someone’s house lying on a bed. Ben/Tash gets up and goes into the lounge room and sit on the couch. Ben/Tash sees the white car is parked out the front from the window. The keys to the front door open and a couple walks in. At first Ben/Tash is worried. They greet Ben/Tash and talk about a little of the SWO.

The chat is cut short as gun fire is heard and bullets fly. All of a sudden their guests are dead and Ben/Tash need to escape the house. Ben/Tash notices a small device on the coffee table and picks it up, then makes their escape into the bush land surrounding the house. (or Ben / Tash get captured or shot).

Level 10

Ben / Tash wander around the bush land until he / she approaches a large city.

This level will be an open world where Ben / Tash will wonder around completing puzzles and will eventually find out their true identity. Once they know who they are, then the player can wonder around the open world completing new missions for the SWO.

Game Map

This is a rough map (bubble map) of the rooms so far in the game below. You can plan on having enemies by marking it out on the map. You can indicate NPCs and items of interest for the game.

This could be an example level map based on the scenario above showing the gameplay with enemies that the player will engage with. The actual game could differ, but it’s an initial start.

Game Assets

Once you have the story, you can break each part of the story into game assets that are needed.

It is a good idea to do some rough draw concept art first to get an overall look for each part of the story. Get some reference images from the Internet to research how each item will look. Then create the 2D and 3D game assets using your software (eg: Photoshop, Maya, etc).

Also create a folder structure for your game assets. I have created one below.

The additional level menus will show you how I created the game assets for level 1, level 2, etc.

Game Engine

Once you have all your game assets created for a level, the next step is to import the assets into your game engine and test it out. You might need to modify it until you are happy with the level.