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  • A Three-Level Short Story: Level Design In Die Young: Prologue

    [12.03.20]
    - Daniele Mascagna

  • Appendix


    Warehouse A


    (Click to enlarge)

    In this warehouse, you can climb and jump on the racks to reach the broken window on the top-left (highlighted by "god rays"). This path will take you to the roof of the warehouse, then to the upper part of the pipe-bridge (which is a good vantage point) and eventually to a medical container with lots of useful items.

    Warehouse B


    (Click to enlarge)

    In this warehouse, only the room on the first floor is lit. The door is locked from the outside, but you can see a loose air vent on the ceiling, suggesting a way through the roof.


    This is a classic example of a design trap you might fall into (like I did) when you are too accustomed to your game's "rules". Here I wanted the player to be able to peek inside the locked room, so I placed a window on one side. In Die Young, you cannot smash things, and this caused me to overlook the possibility of new players attempting to hit the window using their tools or weapons (ironically enough, I was more focused on making the glass stand out by using dirt and scratches!). When denying an affordance, try approaching it like you would in real life. In this case, a grill on the window would suffice.

    Container Yard


    (Click to enlarge)

    This area was designed to be a refuge space where the player can climb on top of containers to reach several vantage points and survey the surrounding areas (Fuel Tanks, Laboratory, Exit Gate). It is also a place where you can retreat to after you have been spotted by enemies, since the maze-like structure makes them lose your tracks. I needed several iterations to get this right.


    (Click to enlarge)

    This is a view of the Fuel Tanks area from a vantage point in the Container Yard. From here, you can see the two possible entries and a route that can take you to the roof of Warehouse B (eventually, also to the upper part of the Retaining Wall, using the elevator to the left); you might also spot a ladder on the right, close to the Laboratory's roof, leading to the control room on top of the wall.


    (Click to enlarge)

    Views from other vantage points in the Container Yard. From here the player can take their time planning different routes to get past the harbor. Should I open the exit gate using the control panel in the Watchtower? How do I get there? Can I jump from the roof of that building? How can I enter that building? And what about that elevator in the back? And those open doors in the Retaining Wall? Are they related?

    Fuel Tanks


    You can open the sliding gate of the Fuel Tanks enclosure to get the junkies and militia to fight each other. You can use this diversion to go through the area unnoticed, or to get into the fenced area, running through them. The fight is not scripted, but relies entirely on the enemies' AI logic, so it turns out differently every time.

    Laboratory


    (Click to enlarge)

    A graph of the Laboratory building. The building has three doors with padlocks that can be forced open from the outside using a crowbar (blue entries). The militia locked some junkies in. If you force open "Entry 3", you will find yourself face-to-face with these aggressive enemies (most people get a jump scare here). You can use this door or operate the shutters from inside the building (green exits) to also "unleash" the junkies onto the surrounding guards.


    (Click to enlarge)

    Top: a view from "Entry 1", the safest entry in the building; from here you can check the ground floor, take a peek at the lab room on the first floor, search the closet to the left, or go up through the air vent.
    Bottom: on the ground floor, there is a dead lab technician; by searching his body, you can get a key to the lab room, which holds several powerful items and a story-related document. Some other useful items can be collected when exploring the other rooms in the building.


    (Click to enlarge)

    Views from the roof of the Laboratory building. From here you may choose the "loud approach" (get the exit gate open from the watchtower, setting off the alarm) or investigate a possible "stealth approach" (using a secondary exit from the Retaining Wall).

    Exit Gate


    (Click to enlarge)

    When you open the exit gate from the watchtower, the guards will be alarmed and they will converge in front of it.

    Credits


    Lighting, Characters & Cinematics
    Paolo Pallucchi (Lead): ArtStation

    Environment Art
    Claudio Rapuano (Lead): LinkedIn
    Sacha Piedimonte: ArtStationLinkedIn
    Marco Di Luca: ArtStationLinkedIn

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