Made in 2018 (1 week project)
First person shooter game
Created with Unreal Engine 4
Themes: Cyberpunk | Contrast | Violence
Pitch: A hitman has a mission which is to execute a high-level person named Janus in a futuristic dystopian society.
Varied guards will try to prevent him from reaching his target confined at the top of a tower.
Project: Janus is a level design project made in a week in which the player embodies a mysterious hitman in a futuristic universe. His last given mission consists of going to the top of a tower to assassinate an important well-known person, responsible for the dystopia caused between rich and poor in a megalopolis.
Designed with chosen contrasts to rhythm the level, the player is reminded of the differences between the two societies. The bloody fights progressively emphasize graphic violence.
"Don’t let anyone hinder your way and accomplish your mission."
As the player progresses, diverse elements come to rhythm his/her journey:
A semantic contrast which is represented by an alternation : poverty/wealth
The player goes through diverse zones of the megalopolis which alternate. One part takes place inside the tower where the rich live and the target hides, whereas the other part takes place outside, in the run down streets of the city. As the player progresses, richer visual and sound elements coat the zones of the tower to remind the player that he is getting closer to his target (green plants, noble materials, screams of his enemies...). The boss room has no elements to give a "sacred" aspect to the place.
A pictorial aspect which is represented by an alternation : cold/hot colors
This contrast develops the same way as violence is expressed throughout the level. The fights against the guards only happen inside the tower where reddish colors recall the graphical violence of the level. Outside, the player returns in the peaceful bluish rainy atmosphere from the slums of the city.
A spatial aspect which is expressed by a graduation of the density of the space
As the player progresses, the spaces of the different zones become wider (giving more space to fight) but less visually charged. It also reminds him/her of who he fights for, as the views of the city from the tower give him a view down on the density of the slums. Therefore, it represents a transition between small spaces rich in elements to big spaces poor in elements.
For more information on the making of this level, please refer to the PDF document just above.
In spite of appearances, rich and poor don't live in the same world.
The level design intentions highlight the determined contrasts between the two societies in an intelligible structural manner. The environmental colors and "neon" aspect help to give the "retrowave/cyberpunk" interest for the level.
Never underestimate the scope of a level. When I first started this project, the scope of the level was much bigger, but I quickly realized that I would never finish building it in less than a week if I didn't cut parts of it. Therefore, I adapted it mid-production to be able to still express my intentions and deliver it on time.
I learned that even building a small level already takes a lot of time: it is better to build chunks of it, test it and make changes on the paper level if needed. Building early also helps to have a better production time estimation.
Contrasts add big value to a level. Indeed, they give depth to a level, as they add better rhythm and storytelling which are more impacting for the player. To play with visual/sound elements, space, density, colors and so on are the tools to underline the different possible contrasts (pictorial, spatial and semantic).
I learned they are powerful tools for a level designer, as they can help a player to realize what were the main intentions behind its creation.
What I've learned...