Level Breakdown: Factory

After finishing Fort Diamond (previous level I posted about), I began thinking about how I could re-work the interior of the base. I decided to simply make a new level based on the idea of it being completely indoors. Rather than being another military base, I decided on this level being set in an old factory. As with Fort Diamond, this level is meant to be played in the Firefight and Horde modes in Halo and Gears of War.

First Floor Layout

Before I started any work in Unreal, I started by sketching out my basic idea for the level. The level is comprised of two floors. The ground floor consists of several rooms on the sides of the floor, with a few large pieces of machinery in the center. Since I didn’t have any assets to use as placeholders, I blacked out out where the machines would be. In the level itself, I simply walled off the sections where machines would be. There are two staircases in the southern corners of the room to take the player up and down the floors, as well as three elevators. The idea of the lower level is to be a dimly lit room with lots of corners. This offers the player many opportunities to sneak up on enemies, but also means that enemies may unexpectedly creep up from around a corner.

Second Floor Layout

The second floor, reached via the stairs of elevators, has a completely different atmosphere. The platforms are a series of scaffoldings that the player walks between, with railing preventing the player and enemies from falling to the floor below. This area is very well lit, and does not have any walls obstructing visibility. The walls along the platforms are high enough that the player can duck behind them, but there are no walls to hide behind while using the walkways connecting the scaffoldings. This means that while the player could travel between the scaffoldings and attempt to fire on enemies from the ground floor from the railing, they will be exposed while doing so. It will also be hard to see enemies from top because of the walls, dim lighting, and machinery obscuring the player’s vision.

Screenshot 1

Here is a shot of the boxed out level in Unreal. The difference in lighting between floors can be seen from here.

Screenshot 2

This shot was taken from the southern end of the top floor, where the player enters and exits via stairs.

Screenshot 3

Since this was a boxed version of the levels, I used different placeholder texture to differentiate between the assets on each floor.

Screenshot 4

Screenshot 5

Screenshot 6

The block in this shot is a stand-in for where elevators would be placed in the level. There is a second block lined up with this one on the ground floor for all three elevators.

Screenshot 7

This shot shows the lighting difference between the top and bottom floors. The idea is that the player is never quite sure of where enemies are lurking on this floor.

Screenshot 8

Screenshot 9

From the ground floor, it is possible to see enemies moving around on the scaffoldings. However, firing at them from the ground floor would be very difficult.

Screenshot 10

This boxed out version of the level is lacking props to populate the rooms that the player travels between. The lighting effects are also considered placeholders that simply serve to capture the idea of the level.

Screenshot 11

Screenshot 12

Currently, it is more difficult than I would like it to be to keep track of the player’s location on the ground floor. This is most likely because the placeholder walls and blocks all look the same, offering no context clues as to where in the level the player is. The absence of props and dim lighting exacerbate this problem. The level is also using very primitive lighting to get the basic idea across, but it would need to be redone if this level were moved on to production. I enjoyed experimenting with lighting for a completely indoor level, will most likely try to do something like this again in a later project.

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