Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tom Purdue -- Level Design Examples

Battle Bows Level Design Example

Battle Bows is a cooperative VR Archery Tower Defense game where you protect your castle from invading balloon enemies

For the first update of Battle Bows, I was tasked with creating a level design that would feature four main enemy doors instead of two. Crafting a complete level of Battle Bows meant the following also needed to be considered:
  • Bringing interesting verticality with ramps, bridges, and ruins
  • Congruity with ramp, bridge, and ruin themes from the original design
  • Ensuring all external pathways ended at the two doors into the castle
  • Adding towers and buildings where enemies could pause, exit from, and hide behind
  • Ensuring there were interesting pathway loops to build tension and enemy pileup
  • Completing outer pathway connections to each other
  • Completing a Boss Pathway that circled the entire castle
  • Finishing with more side pathway connections
Fleshing out the Winter Keep Level Design

The level was first set up using a series of PowerPoint images to accomplish this. This was then reviewed with the Design Director and artists to ensure the concept and the greybox level could be created from the design. 

During the greybox phase, I asked the artists to scoop the level upward on all sides so the castle was sitting at the bottom of a bowl-like valley to help bring even more verticality to the level. Two artists then coordinated with me while finishing the level's visuals to completion, adding pockets of trees, craters, fencelines, skyboxes, icebergs, and more.

The final Winter Keep environment for Battle Bows

I then mapped out dozens of enemy pathways, hidden targets, and exploding barrels during the greybox phase and on into the polish phase until the final product was completed. 

Animal Cove Level Design Example

Animal Cove is a cute match-3 game where you work through the story of your mysterious island while beating match-3 levels.

Being that Animal Cove is a Match 3 game, a set amount and percentage of colored pieces were assigned for each board to fall from the top as matches were made. Each level in the game combined Mechanics and Objectives in an interesting board shape.  

A few Unity thumbnails of a small handful of Animal Cove levels I created

Each level of the game would feature one or two different objectives and mechanics combined together. As a level designer for this game, I created hundreds of levels that used the following objectives and mechanics:

  • Match pieces
  • Break Boxes
  • Collect Coconuts
  • Free Chickens
  • Open Treasure Chests
  • Drop Starfish
  • Unearth Tikis
  • Match Totem Pole Faces
  • Crack Oysters
  • Discover Shells / Remove Sand
  • Break Colored Boxes
  • Lead a Hedgehog to the exit
  • Pop Balloons
  • Crack Lava Rock
  • Free Sea Turtles
  • Harvest Meadow
  • Match Tiles
  • Break open nests
  • Capture Squids
  • Pop Hermit Crabs out of the sand

  • Untie Ropes
  • Ignite a Fireworks Box
  • Harvest Mushroom Logs
  • Unroll Beach Towels
  • Break the Amber
  • Slide through Teleporters
  • Avoid Bees
  • Match along a Conveyer Belt
  • Ignite a Line bomb
  • Pop bubbles
  • Exploding Blowfish
  • Shoot Rays from Electric Eels
  • Match along Inflatating Intertubes
  • Remove Pesky Vine
  • Open a Butterfly's Wings
  • Match through walls
  • Wait for falling Tides
Playtesting, Metrics, and Peer Reviews were all used in adjusting the final levels to ensure balance.

Just for Fun Level Design Examples

Outside of work, I also like working with VR games that allow you to build levels, such as Dreams VR and Synth Riders. 


Tipa said...

I would have loved to have played Battle Bows.... so much hard work went into it, and the streamers seemed to enjoy it.

Stingite said...

Good news is that Battle Bows should still be around for a long time. Rumor has it that another company has picked up the game, but I don't think any official announcements have been made.

Tipa said...

Chance of a PSVR2 port?

Stingite said...

We laid the groundwork. Guess that will now be up to the new company!