J.Conlon Summer 2014 Level Design Portfolio

This post contains three exciting level designs I created as a part of my digital portfolio. I wanted to showcase two short videos with a 3D First Person/RPG perspective, and also my forthcoming Tower Defense/Strategy game, “Red 3030”. Please turn the volume up! The first video has creative audio narration that describes level flow, while both have original music I composed.

On top of that, I am including a few important screen shots and information that describes the choices players can make on the missions in the first video. It showcases top down views of the map layout, to better understand how scripted mission events occur. Please watch the video before reading below, as the video is a better introduction to how the level flow and mission would be scripted in the map. Think of the information below as an appendix to the video.



The idea of this map is to have a fun, interesting level where the player decides how straight forward they want to complete the task at hand. The goal is not clear right away, so impatient or trigger happy players may just kill the wild boar that show up right away. However, players that wait to communicate with the NPC Man on the roof opposite their position, will receive an objective to fry up the wild boar with gasoline (that he provides) and bring back the meat for him for a reward. In the vein of “Fallout 3”, that and most decisions are up to the player, who could do anything from take the cooked meat back to the NPC Man, keep the meat, or keep the meat and kill the NPC Man.


With that in mind, please take a look at the screen shot above to notice that there are two ways for the player to reach the NPC Man (marked by a stick man symbol) and try to understand his objective better. One is by walking inside the fence-line of the smaller building the NPC Man is standing on (see the star symbol on the map), while the other route would involve running across the small bridge (marked with a target symbol on the map), then toward the NPC Man. There is spatial opportunity for the player to avoid disturbing the pack of boar. The bridge is perhaps an “obvious” choice by way of its symbolic structure (crossing a bridge), but actually there would be a higher chance to disturb them due to their proximity to the bridge steps. The goal isn’t to simply dissuade players from killing boar right away – that’s a choice some players are bound to make. But the design goal for the mission is a game flow and area conducive to the player taking a stealth route if they so choose. In other words, the game wouldn’t be programmed with a hyper-sensitive pack of wild boar that attack the player right when they enter the area. The game would be programmed to have AI less sensitive to player movement than normal, to avoid the pigs detection – giving a greater probability to completing the mission without killing the pigs with traditional weapons. (ie- Per the NPC Man’s request, frying them up with gasoline after trapping them in the caged area).


Post Apoc’ Rock is a map that has multiple paths and outcomes depending on the players chosen style of game-play. Interestingly, the one style of game-play that will not be rewarded is “Rambo Style” play. The reason is – I didn’t want players to unrealistically break rules of this “game universe” by running into the front door of a relatively large bandit encampment and somehow killing everything. In my mind, this map occurs more early in the player story, therefore weapons afforded to the player aren’t past a strength of something similar to a decent pistol, ok shotgun, and maybe a low level machine gun with limited rounds available. This will require the player to think about how they might enter the base, or perhaps prod them to ally with the bandits – even if temporarily. To seal the deal, I placed huge turrets around each major entrance, and also pens of vicious dogs and troops. This map is urging players to use one of a few stealth techniques to enter the compound. How they end it all – whether they make friends or enemies is up to the player – as one choice is to turn the turrets on the bandits later and kill everything in sight. Finally, you can note the scale of the bandit compound in the map screens below – which I hope would give a sense to the player this isn’t some little ram-shack village they can run n’ gun into


There are three choices to enter the compound. First, they can walk to the entrance during the day, and attempt to join the bandits as a mercenary for hire. In this case, the player would actually need to wear bandit clothes from an enemy they killed in the wasteland – or find a body I placed near a trash can, denoted by a smiley face symbol on the map above. This is the least complex way to enter the compound, but will lead to many mission branches afterwards.


The second way the player can enter or investigate is to climb some vegetation into a building (See star on the screenshots above). If they enter the building, they will have the chance to change into bandit clothes, and act like they are a part of the encampment, or they will be caught. If they are caught, players have the choice of using their speech to get out of the predicament a “best way” or using normal speaking alternatives that lead to different possible outcomes. If the player changes into bandit clothes, they will have the same mission objective opportunities if they entered during the day – but they might get one additional weapon or item from the bandits (to reward the player for choosing a more difficult way to approach the map).

The final travel point into the bandit base is for the player to use their lock pick ability at a gate (only at night), then investigate the compound. The lock pick area is shown by the Key symbol in the screen shots above. If the players uses lockpick ability, but gets caught, they have the same speech opportunities as if they climbed the vegetation and entered the building. If the player doesn’t stray too far from the entrance, they will notice a power generator and computer terminal inside a small shack. This is the guts of the compound. In this room, the player can either destroy the power generator, which will make all the turrets and lights turn off. Then, the player would have a fighting chance to kill all the bandits. If the player chose to hack the terminal, they could first utilize “Emergency Protocol A” to take over the turrets, which would shoot all life forms in the area. Then, the player could enlist “Emergency Protocol B”, which would cause the turrets to self destruct so they wouldn’t shoot the player after leaving the safe keeping of the computer terminal room.

If you have any questions about my demo reels or the levels explained above, please contact me:
jeremiahconlon (AT) gmail (DOT) com


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