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Gadgets, 3D, and Open Space

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Okay,  I am new to level design, and I want to make a game which allows the player to use a plethora of traps, tools, and abilities in order to advance further into the game.


I am having a lot of trouble trying to come up with levels that would make use of all those gadgets, but at the same time give a suitable amount of difficulty (I want a hard game) for the player to work against.


The problem is, I wanted to make a game where you have the following tools:


-Something to break certain walls.

-Bear traps

-Trip wires

-Chemical explosives activated remotely

-The ability to interact with electronics

-Actual electronic traps that would be unlocked very late in the game

-Infrared vision that slowly regenerates


The following problems:

-Basic needs: food, water, sleep

-Escaping the island

-No guns


And I want to provide enemies that would challenge the player enough to depend on those tools in order to not die. To make things simple I think starting with strong, fast melee units and eventually moving up to ranged units would be the best idea.


Anyways, I am fairly weak in designing levels based around wildlife and nature. I don't want a linear path, but at the same time I don't want a large, empty field. I have been looking through some other games that featured wildlife, and I find that in order to get large, cinematic spaces they ended up with long, linear pathways or large fields.


And in my experience, invisible walls are extremely unsettling and ruin the experience of the game. Just looking at my first few times playing Uncharted 3 reinstate that fact.


So, I want to make a game which provides levels that are interesting, and not straight hallways or fields of grass, rocks, and trees.

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You want to make an open world 3D game that uses gadget to progress within it. This sound like Metroid or Zelda with out the action mechanics of shooting and sword fighting. The items you listed above don't seem to be items that are used in the heat of a moment so I'm assuming you want to encourage the player to plan their next move. Prehap you could make a game about strategically bringing down strong holds across a big map with each strong hold holding a special rewards.


Now on the topic of stopping the player from leavng the island. Personally I would spawn a shark, a giant octopus, and some wierd swimming abomination to chase the player back to land. The creepiest music would play, and a red sign would display on screen saying "RUN!". I like to fuck with people so this is as tamed as I could get my "stop the player from leaving" idea. Hope it helps

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Hmmm.... all your tools are prepatory/reactionary, as in you set up a trap and then manipulate the AI to fall for it... But then it seems you want the player to move forward through enemy territory to progress?

Honestly it kind of sounds like a 3d lode runner with more traps. Sounds fun.

Sounds like you would benefit from a whole bunch of individual boards/maps, rather than try making it it open world or a continuous adventure game. Kill all the baddies, exit appears, figure out how to get to exit.

Not entirely sure what 'Large cinematic spaces' is supposed to mean (Set peice maybe?), but you definitely need to go the large field/arena route.... However the very nature of your game should keep it from being an large empty space.

Go a little deeper in things like items that let you break certain walls, like items that let you climb, glide from high places, etc, and the act of designing an arena around using those traversal mechanics will inherently turn an empty field into a 3d playground full of visual engagement, geometric/spatial mind candy... And then of course your baddies will be adapted to and from that environment.

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You're going in the right direction with the tools. Equipping the player with multiple means with which to progress is a great way to make your game feel expansive right off the bat. You mentioned wanting the game to feel large and cinematic, there are a few ways to do that, each with varying levels of success. In my opinion, Skyrim does this very well. Initially, it may seem like Skyrim's map is an open sprawl, spreading out in every direction, boundless and untamed. That's because it is, but there's more to it than that.


Take a look at this map:




You'll notice that everything is connected by rivers, streams, or the coastline. This isn't a strict rule by any means, but it is a major component of the map design. Players want open spaces, but they also need guidance, and that's where the rivers come in. Each river is accompanied by a road, which the player can travel upon, meeting several semi-scripted enemies along the way. (Bandits, trolls, spiders). While this system is useful, it's not all of what makes Skyrim's map design so great. The second component is contrast. When you go into a dungeon in Skyrim, all of the "You can go anywhere" stuff changes. Yes, you can go anywhere you can see, but you can't see much, since you're underground. You're guided into a linear path, encountering specifically placed enemies and loot locations, all until you pop out the other side, back into the boundless world of Skyrim.


Skyrim is not a perfect game, but it's got that sense of epic scale right by combining freedom, guidance, and contrast to make the world seem even bigger than it actually is.


That's all for now, so have a nice day! 

Edited by Solokeh

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