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Dragon Encounter

3rd Person Action Adventure

Work in Progress

God of War 2018 is the game that inspired me to become a game developer so I wanted to craft a level inspired by that world. One of my favorite moments in the game is the reveal of Fafnir the Dragon. I decided to develop a new entry for the Dragons Curse labor.  Throughout this project, I put a heavy emphasis on developing my use of metrics and my understanding of Visual Scripting. Aside from the Leviathan Axe system, which is a project I found on youtube, I was able to create custom Blueprints for all the gameplay systems.

Overview

Layout

Gameplay
In the level the player must free the imprisoned dragon using the Leviathon Axe to solve various puzzles and destroy the 3 totems spread around the map. There are multiple paths to follow and objectives can be tackled in any order. Throughout the level players will have various encounters with groups of enemies and mini bosses.

Design

PUZZLES

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I recreated a few puzzles found in God of War like the Gate puzzles and Nornir chest. I'm working on redesigning their implementations and developing new puzzles to include within the level.

COMBAT

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One of the original goals of the project was to develop my understanding of combat arenas. I crafted a variety of combat arenas of varying scale to test the player throughout the level. My next step will be to implement AI logics to further test and develop these spaces.

VERTICALITY

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I wanted to utilize varying forms of verticality in the level. To accomplish this I've made a mantle ability and climbing chains allowing the player to reach various heights. In the environment I used a mix of slopes and drop offs to separate the playable spaces.

Development

METRICS

I put a lot of effort into mirroring the metrics of God of War. After getting most of the scale measurements I put together this metrics playground to test movement and flow. Climbable heights are within 1-3 meters while 5-10 meter are drop down heights. Navigation slopes are ≤ 20° while combat slopes are ≤ 15°.

INITIAL WHITEBOX

In this iteration I focused on creating the verticality and setting up some of my sightlines. This is the basic layout of the level with objective placements and puzzles. I also spent a good amount of time creating a number of blueprints and systems for player interaction. This included most of the puzzles like the gate and Dragon totems and traversal systems like chains. A mistake I made in this phase was using blocks to develop the majority of the scene. If I were to do this again I would have started with using a landscape tool. This would have given the space a more natural feel.

ADDING MORE GEOMETRY

In this iteration I focused on expanding the geometry and the environment. I used a low poly asset pack and some proxy models I made to add a lot of detail and depth to the level. I also added some basic lighting to help with contrast. My goal in this phase was to round out some of the spaces and move away from the blocky feel from the first iteration. I made quite a few changes to the layout and adding a number of new interactions. I also made an interaction system and some traversal mechanics for the player so they could mantle over ledges. My next step will be to use a landscape tool to make the terrain more natural and add in some basic AI functionality to develop the arenas further.

PRE PRODUCTION

References
I wanted to base this level in one of the rocky nordic terrains found in God of War. This level is also inspired by a specific side quest in God of War so I heavily reviewed those levels to analyze their design style.
 

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Research
I was also able to connect some of the original developers of the game to get their input on metrics and design. There are also countless resources found in the GDC vault. I was able to review a few videos that talked specifically about the approach to designing levels in God of War. This is where a lot of my information on the games metrics came from.

Analysis
I took this project as an opportunity to work on documenting and practicing my analysis skills. During this process I learned a lot about the design style of these levels. It gave me a lot to work with in the development of my level. Specifically in how they frame objectives and use the environment to subtly guide the player.

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