Stephen Mark Smith - Game/Level Designer

Weekly Reflection – 25/10/2019

This past week has certainly been one of those “back to the drawing board” weeks in terms of progress towards Project Stealth.

To start with, I’ve now opened a publicly viewable Taiga project using a Wiki for Design Documentation and a Kanban task board for tracking what I’m working on which should make tracking the project much easier from now onwards.

I’ve made a start on some new paper drafts for the revised level as well as placing older level design concepts into the new design documentation for Project Stealth. The older concepts were ideas for a mansion level that was scrapped after facing problems with large scale rooms in early development, a city level, some dividing into different districts, others just focusing on one segment of what would be a larger level.

Original idea of a Mansion level. This idea was scrapped due to the scale being too big in UE4.
City Level Rough Sketch
Older sketch using the layout for the slum section in the current prototype

After facing issues previously, such as performance problems taking place due to heavy lighting and oversized AI navigation meshes, as well as playtesting leading to players getting confused due to level layout not being thought out well in the previous level idea, I decided to create a few new level drafts which followed a more linear level structure which would allow for intends to lower player confusion while allowing me to follow a new, more professional approach to level design following the advice I got at EGX last weekend. The next few drafts attempt to refresh the city level concept and experiment with a new idea where the player has to break out of a prison complex.

A revised city draft
Jailbreak, a level where the player has to break out of a prison complex

While I’ve made a start, I’ll need to create a few more drafts before I can decide on a final level layout, which will be next week’s primary objective.

Ultimately, this week has given me a lesson to simply not rush my game designs and keep drafting ideas until I can make something cohesive out of the best elements of all the drafts combined.

I’ll write again on Monday with the goals and objectives for next week.