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A First Person Shooter


"On a mission to steal a valuable artifact from a wealthy and corrupt company, our protagonist is scouting the facility proper to find a quick way in."

This is a stealth shooter experience with focus on
combat areas and tight in-door gameplay.

The focus of the design has been on
player agency and being able to use many different methods and ways of progressing.


Developed over: 5 weeks half-time
Software: Unreal Engine 4, Blender, Krita
Assets from: "Blocking starter pack" by Xavier Loux
Inspired by: Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 4, Counter Strike: Global offensive




As a level designer i value being able to make quick iterations. The earlier in development big changes are made, the less time will be lost. Because of that, i try to make as many sketches, do quick blockouts and write down as many ideas as i have early in development; this way i can easily get a grasp of the project and what i want to do before getting into the nitty and gritty of it. 


Designing with pen and paper early in devolopment helps me get a good understanding of what i want to do and how i want to design my levels. For this project i wanted to build a good level flow early in pre-prod that i could be satisfied with before going into actually building the blockout. I tried making the paper overviews easy to read and understandable so that anyone that looks at it can see what i want to accomplish or what needs to be improved upon.


Final paper overview before blockout

Sketches and overviews from pre-prod


Top down overview of the finished level


Rough blockout

This is the first thing I do once I open up unreal to work on the project. I take the largest areas from my paper overview and quickly block them out to get a feel for the scale and area. I didn't put much time into the rough blockout since I would be working a lot with in-door spaces.

Refined blockout

When making the refined blockout for this project I mostly wanted to build out the in-door areas to start working on combat spaces and sightlines. I thought this was the most important part since I was doing a First Person Shooter. This is also where I test the metrics so that playing in the space feels good.


Moving into whitebox I want to prepare the Level as much as possible for testing and gameplay. It is in whitebox I add all the final essential scripts and gameplay elements. I also worked more on detailing the buildings, adding a few simple meshes and making sure things like cover metrics and sightlines feels good.


Playtesting is in my opinion the most important part of designing a fun level. I myself playtest throughout the development process and I also use the help of my classmates to get as much feedback as possible.

One example of feedback I got from a few people was that more options to enter the buildings would be good so that the
player can chose depending on what playstyle they have. I then added a few more entrances and paths the player could take to enter the buildings, this in turn gives the player more agency.




This overview represents the first building the player will go inside. In here they will gather information about the location of the artifact and that it is infact locked up inside a safe on floor 2. The player is then tasked with turning off the power further into the facility.


This overview represents the second building. Here the player will need to find a passcode to unlock a door and turn off the power to the facility so that the safe can be unlocked. However turning off the power will trigger more guards to the facility.




For this level I decided to use the classic 3-act structure to build the flow. While I want to give the player a lot of agency to approach the level in different ways, I also want a structured design that can easily be followed and understood by the player. Inside this structure of 3 acts the player can make their own decisions and choices and while it follow a clear path they chose how they follow it.

3-Act structure

ACT 1 - Setup

The first act is about introducing the player to their mission and giving them the lay of the land. I've done this by starting the level (quest) at the top of a construction site with a vantage point over their objectives. I also introduce them to their weapons and the zipline mechanic.

From the vantage point the player can establish their goals and
plan their route.


Act 1.png

ACT 2 - Confrontation

In the second act the player is tasked with infiltrating the building and locating the hidden safe. They now have to confront the enemies and figure out a way to get to the desired location. The player has multiple ways to tackle this obstacle, stealth, force or a combination of both as well as many paths they can take to get to their goal.

At the end of this act there is also a
twist with the player needing to turn of the power in order to access the safe.



ACT 3 - Resolution

In act 3 the player has a new task, turn of the power. The twist introduced in act 2 presents a new challenge that resolve in act 3. 

After the player has cut the power to the facility more guards are alerted and the player will have to navigate through a
larger challenge and retrieve the item that is in the safe.

After the player has picked up the item in the safe they need to make their get-away escape in a vehicle parked close to the starting location. This loops the player back through the level.



Player agency & Multiple paths

Establishing player agency means giving the player a sense of freedom and multiple choices. For this piece I made 6 different ways to tackle the start of the mission depending on what type of playstyle you as a player have.

This gives the player a chance to figure out a
plan of attack before engaging with the problem presented and choose what steps to take to complete their objective.


Establishing shot

I made use of a large establishing shot early in the level to give the player some initial mid-term and long-term goals. This also incentivizes the player to plan their approach and gives them room to think about what to do next. It serves as an initial presentation of the area for the player.

Establishing shot.png

Long-term goal

Medium-term goal


When making a shooter game i find that it is very important to put a lot of thought into the sightlines that the player and also AI will be able to make use off. This is as important because we want to set up good engagements where the player feels the sightlines compliment the engagement area. Here is an example of how i used sightlines and implemented them in areas where i thought they were needed.



I wanted to have a large focus on discoverability instead of findability. This makes it so the player makes an active decision to seek out and explore on their own instead of making it to obvious for them. This engages the player in the environment and makes for a more interesting experience.

Discoverability (2).gif


Making good and usable cover was a very important aspect of the design for the level. I made ample use of both half and full cover as well as "no-mans-land" areas throughout the combat areas. Mostly having short distances to cover but also some longer patches of no-mans-land in the more open outside areas.




As a Level Designer i find scripting to be an excellent tool for making simple gameplay quickly and to be able to test and make the levels more alive.




AI spawner




After i turned in this assignment i felt that i could have done it better. The spawning of the AI felt random, the placements of some key locations were hard to find and seeing that the player had to do them in a certain order it could've been made more obvious where they were.

Another aspect of the level that i think i could have been improved upon in an updated version would be a better climax at the end. Right now all that happens is a text pops up and it fades to black. I think it would leave a much better impression if something more epic happened after or during the players escape.

With that said i am quite satisfied with how the project turned out. The areas feel interesting to explore and the design choice of discoverability instead of findability worked well with the stealth mechanics. 

The combat design could definitely have been improved upon but it was an area i did not want to spend a lot of time and effort on perfecting. And in hindsight i believe that was a good decision since i probably wouldn't have been able to polish the design of the level as much.

I did have a lot of fun making this level. I was playing Cyberpunk 2077 at the time and it was fun discovering good design in the game for inspiration and making it my own in this level.


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