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James Light

Underworld Based Dungeon Crawler Level

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For one of my Masters modules at university we were tasked with creating a level that would go into a dungeon crawler style game. This included designing from scratch all ideas behind how the level would be, as well as making systems to allow for smooth game play such as a quest system, combat and anything else we though should be added to give a fulfilling player experience in our levels. I decided to create a level based around the idea of the Ancient Greek underworld, more specifically the worst aspect of it that was Tartarus. From here I was able to pull a lot of research in the form of text and images to give myself an idea of how it is generally represented before designing my own version of it. I created simple floor plans before utilizing Unreal Engine 4 to build the level on a basic level using free assets from the Infinity Blade packs available on the Epic Marketplace. From here I then worked on game play before moving onto aesthetically pleasing aspects such as particles, user interface and assets found from Opengameart.org. 

An early milestone was the development of a trap and puzzle. I feel like I could've been a bit more innovative here with my designs. The trap is a destructible pot which will cause damage in a radius which grows before dissipating based on the Greek fire myth, as well as inspiration from Game of Thrones for green fire. The puzzle is opening a door by finding orbs and placing them in the correct pedestals. From here it was a matter of completing the game play for the next milestone as well as a full block out. Instead of a block out as mentioned previously I used the assets available to me to build the basis of the level without adding in any extra scenery or environmental extras just yet. The game play felt a little clunky thanks to the animations and combat not matching up perfectly, as well as the lack of fading walls at this moment.

Since then I feel I have really been able to up my game by improving the combat to match with animations along with sounds and particles. I've implemented a quest system with 2 available quests which can be obtained by interacting with NPC's in the level marked by a quest sign. This information can be see in the top right with some user interface. There are common enemies strewn around thanks to the use of Mixamo and some simple behavioral tree set up for moving around and attacking. As well as this I was able to purchase a Cerberus model and give him a breathe fire ability but stops his movement providing chance to root the boss and attack freely if you react quick enough. Other than this I also included some basic currency and shop system for upgrades to the players stats and many additions to the scenery in and around the level.

I have since built this level in a playable format and will post a link so that anyone that would be kind enough can play through it and perhaps share their thoughts and criticisms with myself. Whilst the module is over I am happy with the progress this project has driven me to achieve and will be continually trying to improve it so any and all critique will be appreciated. I am fully aware it's nowhere near perfect but in a matter of 8 weeks I have made a base foundation of game play systems with art, UI, sounds, AI and one medium sized playable level. I have also produced 2 minute trailer to show off certain aspects of my level and system and will share here for feedback also. Thanks in advance to any advice, thoughts and critique you might be able to throw my way.


Google Drive link for packaged project - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1coxC9WJOcBXy86zmd9SpAQUDESk5ZSGS

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It looks extremely good. I wish the materials (especially the units) had much higher contrast though - it's often hard to distinguish foreground from background elements in the videos.

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