My position: Lead Design and Level Designer
Team size: 10
Developed by: A four week project during my time at Future Games
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Genre: 2.5D platformer with depth
- Jump and Stick to everything to navigate the environment
- Collect seeds and explore an abandoned research facility
- Vertically focused level design
Play as a small slime carrying the last flower on earth. Jump and stick to the environment to avoid hazards and explore the mysterious place you find yourself in. Maybe you’ll even reach the surface.
Mondi is a school project. me, and nine other students made in four weeks in the Unreal Engine 4. The Milestones we hade to meet to pass the course was Environmental Storytelling, Destruction and Exploration. I was lead designer and level designer. I had to be really aware of where i placed every asset and platform. Since we had a semi-fixed camera I had to work alot with composition and framing. Making levels without a waypoint and trying to tell a story without a single word of exposition was a stimulating and fun challenge. I really enjoyed making these kinds of levels.
You start in this glass vat. To exit the vat you have to use the jump and stick ability. So there is no way you can exit the first screen without learning the essential mechanic. The place you start is also highlighted in blue. this will be a consistent through the game.
Here we introduce two new things. the ability to stick to levers, and the collectible. the lever i highlighted to make it almost impossible to miss, and if you want to pull it. the most obvious route is through the collectible.
this is poster, as of this moment it will probably not mean much to the player. but to the curious player. thoughts might begin to stirr..
There is another collectible. The player just picked up a collectible and hopefully noticed the highlight at the top of the left corner. the player has one of two seeds. and the second one is now in sight.
If the player really didn’t get that they are supposed to pull the lever, we put in some GUI text just to make sure.
After pulling the lever the lights in the room will flicker and turn on, and few boxes are highlighted (yes, the same boxes where you earlier saw a collectible)
The light on the lever has now turned from red to green.
The path to the end of the level is now highlighted with both the lamp and the collectible. The End of the level is also highlighted in orange. This will be consistent through the game.
We again that the place where you came from is highlighted in blue.
A collectible is placed to show the intended path forward.
Another collectible is placed far back in the level. this is not only to show the player that they can move in the far depth of the levels, it also shows that we encourage it.
We try to keep the collectible in frame for as long as possible in case the player doesen’t notice it immedietly.
The intended path of the level.
A collectible to confirm that the player is on the right path
The intended path to again show that we encourage the player to move both forward and backwards in the depth of the levels.
A pillar is placed to tell the player that they shouldn’t continue moving right.
A collectible close to the liquid, so if the player wants to make a daring jump, they wil be rewarded for it.
the ending is highlighted in orange, once again to enforce the consistency that the end of the levels will always be orange.
Beginning of the level
A Collectible in the foreground, once again to encourage the player to move around in the depth and explore how to get there.
A place for the the player to rest and recharge it’s jumps, but the pipe is also turned to the right to give a sense of direction on where to go.
these two objects functions as both platfroms and arrows to give a sense of direction.
A collectible to make the player curious, and is there something on the wall there?
A Collectible to confirm that you are on the right path
we keep the other collectible in frame for as long as possible so the player notices it.
When walking on the lamps, one lamp will break and fall down on this table with the player on it.
The monitor and flipped cupbard shows the intended path forward.
A lamp creates a bridge to the table where the collectible and poster is.
The collectilble and poster is once again in frame.
Story snippet: There is a poster where the letters “WAR” stand out, and a picture of a nuclear explosion.
In the next level we introduce moving platforms, these platforms takes the shape of malfunctioning drones. The first one we encounter just moves up and down. it’s easy to read, and it’s predictable.
When jumping on top of the drone, the player will find itself on top of a few lamps hanging around the room
The ending is in sight, it’s on the left side now however.
The lamp shows the most logical path forward
The lamps in the background is similiar in structure and placement to the lamps in the foreground. This both makes sense, and it foreshadows that maybe the player will move along that path later in the level. (there is also a collectible placed on the middle lamp, to communicate to the player the they can actually walk there)
When walking along the lamps the player will encounter another drone. This one moves in depth however. It also “bonks” into the vent every time, this is both to give the drone personality, and to help the player anticipate when they can jump on/off the drone saftely. it’s also used as a foreshadowing technique since the player hears the “bonk” before they see the actual drone.
The intended path to progress in the level
A monitor that hints that there might be something in the foreground.
The path that the drone takes.
A collectile is placed to reward the exploration
The intended path is clearly in view, and the drone hovers close to it. It is also slightly highlighted.
The path you came from
A collectible hidden inside the pipe, a book is also placed to make sure the player doesen’t fall down in the fallen vent that we visited on the last picture. The hole here is to break up the walking. it’s a long walk (or slither might be more fitting) and the jump here is to break up the pace a little.
A pipe that leads up, also slightly highlighted.
Intended path forward
A reminder if the poster the player saw not too long ago. it’s also a slight forwshadowing to something else. if the player has keen eyes, they might see what’s behind the poster.
A collectible is placed to draw the player here
Another path that the player are free to explore, though it won’t lead anywhere.. yet.
The place where the player previously came from.
Here the player is forced to wait for a drone that hovers around, it makes a good framing for the story snippet
Here the player is reminded of the “WAR” poster, but they are also presented with a new one. It seems to be some kind of science equation sheet.
A collectible to assure the player that they are on the right path.
The place where the player previously were.
A view down the stage. The player sees where they previously were, and also sees how far they’ve come. This is to make the player feel a sense of acomplishemnt.
Two table and a bunch folders creates a path to the right.
A view back at the stage. The player sees where they’ve just been and the paths that the were presented with.
A lever on the wall, I wonder what the player is supposed to to.
The lights on the lever and on the other side of the wall are similiar. They are also within the same frame, even if they are on each side of the room.
Vent that the player can walk across.
If the player decides to pull the lever, both the lights on the lever and the wall will turn green, and a door will open. and to really pronounce that a door opens, we added a steamy effect, so the door is hard to miss.
Story Snippet: A poster of a couple of shapes with red crosses drawn over them. the fifth one seems to have a green cricle around it. It kind of looks familiar, doesen’t it?
Folders seems to make a good walkway, and it makes sense to have them on a shelf.
Once again, even thought it’s pretty clear at this point. We put a collectible in the beginning of the last level to pronounce that the player can move in the depth of the level.
The chair and the pile of folder shows the indended path
If the player remembers, that’s the poster from the very first screen, alongside another poster.
Folders seems to be a very good walkway. Their colour also stands out, which makes them easily visible.
Folders! Well, from what you’ve experienced they are pretty good walkways. You should totally walk on these.
The poster is still in frame, as usual, this gives the player time to notice it. If the player notices it at all that is.
A collectible to highlight the intended way. It looks like your supposed to head straight up.
The drawers is there both as decor, but also as a resting point for the player if they run out of jumps.
The chair draws the eye of the player, both because it’s red and it constrasts with the environment. But also because it a chair in a vent, very high up. It’s not often one sees that
The chair is to highlight the intended path. Since the path is quite unconventional.
Since the path is quite unconventional, we place a collectible here to assure the player that they are on the right path.
Where the player came from.
A soft fail, in case the player wouldn’t jump on time.
Foreshadowing to where the player might head next.
Here we try to make the player question if they really are alone in here. If the player jumps on top of the drone, the drone sways a bit and a part of a window enters the frame. The glass is distorted so if you move past it, the objects behind it also becomes distorted. This is the first time the player is presented with a humanoid silhouette. And we wanted to make the player wonder if they were alone here or not.
Vents that lead further up.
A humanoid silhouette placed to try to spook the player.
A couple of folder lies on the window edge to tell the player that there is no glass on this window.
A collectible to assure the player that it is on the right path.
Final Story snippet. Here we present all the cards. We see a newspaper that spells “DEATH” and the scientific equations, that has something to do with slime and flowers. We also present the hazmant suits (so there were no human in the window, just a suit).
The camera pans to highlight a platform that glows orange, symbolizing the end of a level
The posters are still in frame, so the player gets time to notice them.
If the player decides to jump into the elevator. A glass capsule will close on top of it. And the elevator will ascend. The camera slowly pans up toward the elevator and slowly zooms out. this is to accentuate how far the player ascends and that the player is deep underground. The black void outside the elevator shaft is black because we really wanted to highlight the elevator.
After ascending with the elevator, the player emerge somewhere. There is no ambient music, there is only the sound of the elevator and then silence.
A doorway to clearly frame the player and to show the only way out.
a metal threshold to hide the ground and to make the player believe they are still inside the facillity.
If the player decides to leave the elevator and exit the room, the camera will pan to the left and closer to the ground. This is to reveal the big endless dessert and to make the player feel small. After walking out into the sun the players flower will sprout and after a while the game will fade to black. The Ending is left up for interpretation.