Video Game Level Designer
CITY FINAL IMAGES
A heavy emphasis was placed on verticality and navigability when laying out this city map. Despite the oppressive, concrete surroundings, we wanted players always to know where they were but never find the navigation boring. The city was constructed in layers, and each began to take on a unique gameplay feel, so the city was more like 2 or 3 levels all in one. Thanks to this, players found the level an exciting place to be.
When Zero Day evolved to a smaller, more focused scope, I got the pleasure of creating a GDD to help align the team on the new design and goals for the project. My goal wasn't to create a comprehensive list of every mechanic and metric but to explain the main features of the game and how they worked together, providing examples and detail where needed. Please keep in mind this is incomplete.
The districts focused on themed multi-block segments of the city, each with various objectives, enemies, loot, and other activities. Through testing, we found 150x150m was ideal for making each district feel large and complex enough for players to strategize without feeling so large that it was out of scope for our team.
CYBERSPACE DESIGN BOARD
Cyberspace posed many challenges across all departments; considering it was our primary USP, these issues had to be solved. I worked closely with the product owner, tech lead, and art director to develop a Cyberspace design that was elegant and easy to read but felt deep and powerful. The answer was deemed the Node System and sought to simplify Cyberspace to connecting nodes and completing simple minigames for consistent interactions; we would then allow players to choose the result of those actions through their build.
The layout of the city at large was a series of concentric circles with a tower in the center; this design helped players orient themselves and navigate quickly. We also split the map into segments and planned to give each a unique theme to improve players' understanding of their location further. However, this large map needed to be denser to support the gameplay, and I began to design individual blocks; each would serve a tight and exciting experience. No matter where players and enemies were, there was room for memorable encounters. As we explored this idea, we realized that this large city was out of scope and presented some fundamental design challenges, so we restructured our approach to the levels.