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Level 01 Test rooms

As a level designer on the Obsolescence project, my role on the first level was to create:

- Paper layouts to establish the player's course, and the progression  and teaching of mechanics

- Blockings in the game engine to test the readability of the environment and the clarity of the objectives
- Blueprint prototyping of the mechanics and scripted events of the levels

- The level art of the levels thanks to the assets created by our 3D artists

Through these steps, I took care of organizing several playtests in order to iterate on the levels with the player's feedback.

Level design

The first level consists of a series of lab rooms in which players must complete tests in order to certify that they are functional. This area teaches the basic mechanics of the game in a diegetic way in order to keep the players immersed.

The level design objectives of the first level were to present to the players:

1) Controls and cable mechanics

2) The self-destruct mechanics and the checkpoint system

3) The horizontal dash and its metrics

4) Standard boost and its metrics

5) Highfive between players

6) The endurance test

7) Foreshadowing the electric traps and their effects

Controls and cable mechanics

1) Controls and cable mechanics


The first test room teaches the basic controls and cable mechanics between the two characters in a safe manner. A screen shows the controls to the players in a diegetic way and a yellow line is present on the ground to guide the players and reinforce the fact that the factory infantilizes the robots.

Selfdestruction and checkpoints

2) Selfdestruction and checkpoints

The second room teaches self-destruct mechanics so players can at any time destroy themselves and respawn at the last checkpoint they crossed. This section is also used to show players that their death toll is recorded and serves as a highscore in the game (the goal being to die as few times as possible).

Horizontal dash and its metrics

3) Horizontal dash and its metrics

The first skill obtained by Terram is a horizontal dash with three levels of power. Its controls are displayed on a screen in the background. In order to gradually teach the metrics of this dash:
- The first obstacle requires minimal dash
- The second obstacle requires the intermediate dash, if the player uses the maximum dash, he can fall into the next trap

Initially, a skill was also given to the Aero robot, in order to avoid frustrations from the second player. After several playtests, I realized that it was particularly difficult to teach each player a skill and its metrics simultaneously and that it was easier for players to learn them separately. For this reason, the skill for Aero is teached in the next test room.

Standard booster and its metrics

4) Standard booster and its metrics

Aero's first skill is a booster, which allows him to lift Terram, thanks to the cable that connects them. In order to ensure that the player knows how to use it:
- The first obstacle encountered can not be overcome with the booster

- Its controls are showed on a screen in the background
- The second obstacle is crossed using the skills of both players

Players are therefore taught very early in the game that their cooperation makes it easier to cross certain obstacles.

Friendship test

5) Friendship test

In order to emphasize the cooperative aspect of our game, both players can congratulate each other with the highfive mechanic. The friendship test room is used to teach players how this mechanic works by showing the controls on a screen in the background and requiring the players to congratulate each other in order to unlock the next door.

Endurance test

6) Endurance test

The last room on the first level is special since it requires players to simply stay put for a very long time (10 minutes), while playing elevator music. The goal of this room is to get players to disobey the instructions and escape the room by the only exit present: a hole in the ground. From that moment on, the players find themselves behind the tests rooms, in the factory.

Foreshadowing electric traps

Foreshadowing electric traps

In order to teach the mechanics of electric traps, players encounter a dead robot on a trap on their way to the loading docks. This allows them to see the danger of these traps in a safe way before facing them. The players also learn for the first time that they are not the only robots of their kind.

Level art

Level art

The first level of the game consists of a series of retro-futuristic / brutalist lab rooms in which both players must complete a series of tests in order to verify that their two robots are ''functional''. Through the level art of this area I had as an objective to show that there had already been the presence of humans in order to supervise the tests, while leaving a doubt about their whereabout. The various overturned and abandoned objects, parts that seem never to have been repaired as well as several traces of blood, aim to give players clues about the chaotic past of the environment. This contrasts with the semblance of normality exuded by the robotic voice giving instructions and the screens present in the rooms. The omnipresence of cameras following the players as well as the constant presence of observation windows aim to give the player the impression of being constantly monitored by an entity.

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