Shipyard Stealth Level

Level Design Toolbox (Singleplayer, Stealth)

Mechanics
Player can crouch
Player can sprint
Player can shoot 5 times (Silenced Pistol)
Player cannot move bodies

Environmental Level Rules
3 Levels of height (half-cover, full cover, 2x full cover)
Containers as main model.
Use of mostly rectangular models.
Create moments where the player can rest and overlook the next situation.
Create distinct areas.
Provide the player with multiple options to approach the problem.

AI
Continuous Patrol
Semi-Continuous Patrol (First stationary then transitions into a continuous patrol)
Stationary

Extra’s
Crane Button

Introduction

This was the second level design I’ve made, this was a level for a concept stealth game. The premise was that you only had a pistol with five bullets and that’s it. Your goal was to pass by all the guards and eliminate the target.

The setting for this level was a shipyard, and so I used containers as my main building block for the level.

This time I’ve learned more about level design and wanted to divide the level in smaller segments. I also looked for safe spaces to give to the player so he has time to form a plan. I found out that is crucial to stealth design after the research I did.

Design Goals

My goal was to give the player around three options at all time so the player can form his own path past the enemies.

I wanted the enemies to be mostly patrolling to make it clear and predictable for the player so he won’t feel cheated.

With the placement of the patrols I wanted to eliminate shortcuts the player could take but also give him enough timing windows to allow him to slip through.

Tools Used

– Sketchup Layout
– Sketchup
– Unity

2D Layout

When starting out this design I focused on a single element that I used to create the border of the level. This single element was a container which is most often found in a harbor.

I divided the level in to a vertical and horizontal part. After that I divided the vertical part into four different areas which could be filled. I used the containers to divide up all these areas.

I wanted to make sure that the player always has multiple options to maneuver. The player first has to choose whether he has to move left or right but always has to go through a central point to get to horizontal part.

To avoid that the player skips a part of the map and just moves to left towards the boats, I force the player to there right to press a button which allows him to get to the target.

To make sure that the player doesn’t get bored and has to play the same part again, the environment changes and he gets to approach the same area from a different angle.

Player Progression Through the Level

The player first gets to see the target arriving from a distance and then has to follow the target, the target is always on the move so this incentives speed but the player also has to be careful not to be spotted.

The natural progression for the player is that he arrives at the start on the bottom, and then either moves left or right which then converges in the middle.

The player than has to move to the most right part of the map to open up a container to allow him passage to the docks.

A couple of guards then start moving making the way different from the first time he passed through it.

The final challenge is when he is passed the now moved container and pursue the target.

Player Options

When the player arrives at the first part I introduce the player to a certain type of enemy that first stands still and afterwards moves, this allows the player to make sure he can plan for the different kinds of enemies.

Afterwards I try to give the player two paths he can take, left or right with each option I give the player multiple ways to avoid the guards. Throughout the level I find it important to keep offering the player multiple ways to move through the level.

3D Layout

After working on the 2D layout, it was time to move it in to a 3D layout. This means taking in to account the different heights that are at play.

I wanted to separate it into three different height levels. Behind the second and third level of height the player is safe from being seen when standing. If the player is crouching he is also safe from being seen behind a first level height object.

This meant also taking in to account the different sight lines the player and the guards have. I wanted to make sure that there weren’t too many unfair sight lines. My priority was that if the player was spotted, that he always knew where was spotted from and that it didn’t feel unfair.

Unity Implementation

For the Unity implementation I only made the first part of the level. I made sure to try and recreate it as perfectly as possible. I found a night setting working the best as you then see the lights of the guards the best. Thus giving you a better perspective where the guards are and where to move next.