Voice of the Monolith

 

Platform

PC

 

Engine

UE4

 

Team size

4 Designers,

4 3D Artists &

2 2D Artists

 

Production time

4 weeks

Post mortem

 

Design goal:

 

We wanted to make a game where the player felt the urge to explore the world and find try to find out what hade happen through environmental storytelling.

What could have been done better:

 

We over scoped with a camera system that took too much time to set up in the levels. This led to a lot of lost work hours because of blocks in the level design pipeline and unnecessary rework. We used a camera system that change camera dependent on where the player was in the level. We thought this could give the game a more cinematic feel and guide the player in the levels. With the power of hindsight we should have considered what we can do within the deadline and not what we would like to do.

 

What went well:

 

We realized halfway through the project that we did not have the time to make all the 3d models. We decided as a group that we needed to make the lab level smaller and I had to "kill my darlings" and remake my level to work with the props that we did have. In the end we missed a few story beats, but we managed to make a small variant of the of the lab level.

Main Menu

 

I worked together with the 2d artists to make a concept of the main menu. We wanted to show the monolith in the background towering over the small town. The goal was to make the player curious about it and try to reach it.

This was very helpful and saved a lot of time in the level design. The end result was similar to the concept but we did not have the time to create the boat so we decided to just have the character sit on the pire.

 

I scripted the main and pause menu so it would listen to gamepad inputs. I also made a fade in and fade out function to mask the restart of the level. I also put in a restart level button in the pause menu if the player for some reason would get stuck so they would not need to restart the game.

 

Puzzle prototype - level

 

When we started with the puzzle design I worked out story boards with the 2d artist. When we had a few concepts, I made a puzzle prototype level where I could test the different mechanics and see what types of puzzles that could be implemented in the levels.

I made a seesaw blueprint to make some simple puzzles. A physics constraint was used to create the pivot movement. I did make one end heavier, so the player would not get stuck if the wrong end fell to the ground. I made comments directly in the viewport to make it easier to place the blueprint in the levels.

Here i used a ladder blueprint, that we could not use because we did not have time to make ladder climbing animations, to make a new puzzle where the player pushes down a plank to walk over to the other side.

Lab level

 

In the first iteration of the lab level we wanted the player to explore around the lab first to find a way in. The plan was to have a small level inside the lab where the player could find out more about the world. I made a quick mockup to get a feel of how the way to and out side the lab could look like.

 

Later I reworked the level, so it could work without the lab props because we had to prioritize other parts of the game. Our plan was to place the lab closer to the monolith and use damaged walls from the monolith area to make a hole in the side of the lab so we only showed a small broken part of the lab.

 

I collaborated with the 3D artists to get the most out of the finishing polish on the level. The result was a small variant of the original idea. We missed a few story beats but managed to keep some content for the game.