K3LVN
3D Action Platformer

Project Overivew

Team Size: 19 members multidisciplinary team

Genre: 3D Action Platformer

Setting: K3LVN is a sci-fi action platformer where you play as an experiment trying to escape a space station lab where they’re being imprisoned. Through changing their state of matter, they can stick, jump, and roll their way to freedom.

Time frame: 9 months (Dec 2021 to Aug 2022); An average of 15hrs per week.

Software: Unreal Engine 4.27, Maya (for proxy level art), Perforce and Jira

My Role: As one of the four level designers on the team, I was given the complete ownership of the development of the ‘Foundry’ level. My responsibilities included:

Drafting level design documents with level overview maps and asset lists.

White boxing / Blockout of all the levels that formed the Foundry.

Creating UE4 Blueprints for several platforming challenges.

Rapid prototyping of blockout levels to test various mechanics developed by the programmers. This iterative process included designing and building action blocks to find the most fun and challenging platforming sections.

Fully set dressing all the areas in the foundry using asset packs and assets made by the art team, to support environmental storytelling.

Lighting all the levels (work in progress).

Using Level Sequencer to created scripted events and movements.

Jump To

Foundry Playthrough


Designing levels for state-changing mechanics: All of the areas in the Foundry were designed to facilitate state-changing mechanics of Kelvin. You are able to switch between the Liquid, Medium and Solid States at any time in the game.

State Functionalities:

  1. Liquid (gel) State: You are able to crawl on certain surfaces.
  2. Medium (default) state: You are able to jump, double jump and stick to certain surfaces.
  3. Solid (rolling) state: You are able to roll around as a ball.

Each platforming section was designed to be completed with a particular state and this is clearly communicated to the players. However, some sections can also be completed with different states. For example, the Laser Room section was designed in a way that players can turn into the Liquid state to carefully tread around the moving lasers. But this level can also be cleared in the Medium (default) state by simply timing their jumps around the lasers.



Iterations

The foundry level had a few design changes over the period of development. Initially the foundry consisted of just one big room with all of platforming sections in it. This version of the foundry served as our team's vertical slice of the game.

My goal was to design a level that could accommodate all three playable states with at least 10 minutes of gameplay.


Level Sequencer

 

Gameplay: The cranes, pipes and the pipe-rings were all animated in level sequencer and using UE4’s Sequence Recorder.
[The two sequences in the video above were designed for prototype purposes and are not part of the final gameplay].

[Screenshot above is one example from various level and master sequences made for gameplay prototypes]


Context: Players see this movement just as they open the door of this room. The idea is to convey that a creature (that they have been after throughout the game), has caused damage and escaped through these windows. 

 
 


In this example, the server crashing into the window creates a new path for the players, and requires them to switch states to be able to climb up, into the vent.

Process: The movement of the two Server-static meshes and the overhead monitor screens falling over were recorded using UE4’s Sequence Recorder, and later edited inside the sequence editor. Electric sparks were added to the end of the sequence.


Blueprints

Use ctrl + scroll to zoom and right mouse button to move around the blueprint graphs down below

Click on FULL SCREEN to see the full blueprint logic

'Toggle Laser' is a function that toggles a laser ON and OFF. I used this function to make the gameplay challenging, by toggling the lasers periodically in a pattern. This encouraged players to read the pattern and switch states (their body form and size) to get past the lasers. I have also made the blueprints for the pistons in the background. [The laser and other particle effects were made by our tech artist and


I used UE4’s timeline functionality to move and rotate lasers for one of our platforming challenges. All of the variables can be easily changed on each of the instances of these lasers, making them all move differently.


The emissive intensity value on the material of the light fixture also changes along with the flickering intensity,
so it looks like the light is actually turning on and off.