Video Game Level Designer
Above are a few of the best images taken to present the project. My responsibilities for what you are seeing included creating the level layouts, lighting the spaces, creating a majority of the props, and placing many of the gameplay features such as objects on the puzzle and enemy locations.
RADIANT DARK BETA
The BETA version of Radiant Dark acted as a proof of concept. It had a different art style but was a complete game start-to-finish containing roughly 5 hours of gameplay to new players with a massive facility to explore and 27 puzzles to solve.
We decided later to scrap this and go for a less experimental artstyle. We also removed the energy feature. Though it was more unique than what we ended with, and I think it has more potential to be interesting and fun, it was causing a technical challenge with all lighting needing to be dynamic and a gameplay problem with the ability being confusing; the team could not step up to that challenge and make it work. Nonetheless, the BETA version represents the gameplay we wanted more faithfully, while the version above represents the AAA quality art we were aiming for.
In addition to combining all the puzzles and buildings into one large interior space, we also made the intro very short, so the player only has a few moments in the exterior before they are placed into the game; previously, it took nearly five minutes to get into the first building and really begin playing.
This new layout was not without its numerous issues, however. Many players still felt lost in the, still quite large, facility. Over the following weeks, I would make many cuts to the scale; this generally involved removing extra rooms and hallways, blocking areas that weren't needed from the player, compacting some of the larger spaces, and making a big decision to make the game completely linear whereas before the path the player took through the game was determined mainly by which puzzles they could understand and solve at the time.
Among those changes, I also made a few changes that allowed the player to navigate and know where to go more easily. I blocked off sections of the map with colored key cards and doors, I created puzzle chains for more linear progression, which helped the puzzles give a better feeling of accomplishment, I placed in emergency doors and lights which opened or lit up to guide the player to the next set of puzzles once they completed a chain, I created aurora arrows which pointed to the next puzzle to make sure the player at least knew the general direction they had to take to make progress. I opened up sections of the map with windows and balconies to allow for foreshadowing.
LEVEL DESIGN - CONCEPTION
Radiant Dark is a project with two distinct versions. The first, as seen above, is an environment art piece that experiments with detailed, realistic visuals and the idea of the player using a tool to interact with enemies and the world. The second version acts more as a proof of concept and can be seen below.
Since our goal of this version was to create amazing art, we decided to skip the sketches and go straight to blocking out exciting spaces. Most of these areas were either cut or heavily modified by the team's lead artist to create more stunning artwork.
While our lead artist built the architecture according to the greybox, I set off to create the props that would populate those spaces. I created a kit for the labs, offices, caves, and lobby.