Avara K’Davra: Level Design
My brother and a good friend invited me to do some level-design for their game. So, I learned a bit of Unreal Editor and got to work.
It was meant to be a demo, but we also wanted it to function as the first of several levels for the final game. My brother had already completed most of the level, and he offered for me to fill some of what remained. So after outlining everything as-it-was and proposing a structure for the remaining sections, I got to building.
My brother had created all the assets and the set the overall visual theme. I’m always impressed with his design skills, and I don’t think he believes me. But in general, I would take the assets he had already created and arrange them to match my intended design.
My section centered on a single puzzle. A boat carried the player from the right along an underground river, which ended at a waterfall and a large room. Ruins and broken technology conveyed its history, and a hole centered the floor and drained what the river deposited there. The player would disembark, descending the waterfall into the room. Then, over the course of several adjoining rooms, the player would figure out how to plug the hole and allow the river to fill the space. At the end of the puzzle, the river continues onward past the section and out of the map. This would allow the player to grab a necessary powerup and move upward into the final section.
The section that stood out the most for me was the large room. The hallway in the back brought some nice lighting to an otherwise dark area and, because of it being perpendicular to the player’s movement, added depth. But since there wasn’t a good waterfall mesh to start with, I attached a water texture to different rock meshes and stretched them into a waterfall-like shapes. I also abused the existing meshes to make the walls and pillars oversized, and neither turned out great. In the end, my brother replaced some of those with bespoke pieces, added some mist and other waterfall effects, and with that brought the whole space together. I think we all agreed that when our powers combined, it was our best work.
In the end, though, my contributions weren’t what they were looking for, so we parted ways. Better to save the relationship than to force either of our preferences.