Level Designer/Scripter

Design

Click on the rooms to move through sections!
 
DESIGN GOALS
 

Using the environment and scripted sequences to tell the story

  • During the first half of the level, players live the story almost entirely through the environment. Each room in this area tells a different story involving a mysterious creature that lurks in the shadows. A guard lays dead on the floor of a room, in a pose that shows him trying to reach for his gun. A distant guard runs into a small room, only to drop dead five seconds later. A shadowy figure grabs a C.EL.L., violently throwing him into the wall with superhuman strength. All of these events create a sense of fear on the players, that culminates with a face-to-face encounter with the shadowy creature.

Building an oppressive atmosphere

  • The first half of "A Long Night" is a horror-based experience, where players have to stealth their way through an abandoned building. Dim lighting, along with eerie sounds and malfunctioning bulbs create an atmosphere that reminds of old games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill. To add to the unsettling feeling, players start the level with not bullets, which makes them feel defenseless against any entity hiding in the shadows.

Creating memorable scripted sequences

  • "A Long Night" is full of memorable scripted sequences. From the moment the lights go out and players encounter the first Ceph, to the shocking crashing of a gunship right in front of the players, players enjoy shocking scripted sequences that show the scale of the ongoing Ceph invasion. 

 
AREA 1 - THE ABANDONED BUILDING
 
  • Area 1 is a storytelling-heavy area, that introduces players to the setting and nature of their mission through a dark, horror-based experience. In this area, players have no bullets, which allows them to pay attention to the environment. In Area 1 players are unaware that they are seeing a small fraction of a much bigger event, a full blown attack of the Ceph on the island. It is not until Area 2 that players get to go outside, and witness the size of the Ceph invasion.

Area 1-1 : Creating the atmosphere

Area 1-1 is a narrative-oriented area.

  • The first area of the level sets the mood for "A Long Night" by creating an oppressive atmosphere where players feel defenseless against a Ceph that lurks in the shadows. Players start the level inside a ruined building controlled by the C.E.L.L., with no bullets, and a cryptic objective: "Rescue the hostage". Players quickly realize that they are not the only ones in the building, as a creature has started slowly killing the C.E.L.L. in the building.

 

Although the building looks abandoned at first, players quickly realize that it belongs to the C.E.L.L.

The area's atmosphere is inspired by survival horror classics like Silent Hill or Resident Evil.

  • To create the horror atmosphere, Area 1-1 uses a combination of environment storytelling and scripted sequences. Every room that players enter tells a different story. In the first room, for instance, players find the body of a man that seems to have died violently. The feeling of defenseless is also enhanced by the fact that players don't have bullets, which forces them to be cautious and avoid enemies at all costs.

The lighting gives Area 1-1 an eerie atmosphere, that makes players move with caution.

Every room in this area tells a micro story related to the Ceph attack.

  • Since the beginning of the level players have only heard sounds of the Ceph. The end of this area escalates the tension through a scripted sequence, where players see the shadow of the Ceph while it kills a guard. The scene is not only shocking, but it also makes players feel like the Ceph is getting closer to them.

This area puts more stress on players by making them feel 

Area 1-2 : A moment to relax

Area 1-2 introduces stealth-based combat as a transition from the story-oriented beginning.

  • After the intensity of Area 1-1, Area 1-2 gives players a break by introducing combat in the level. Although live enemies increase the challenge, they also give players some time to relieve tension. Players still don't have bullets in this area, which forces them to take an stealthy approach. The level layout helps players overcome the combat challenge, always providing a safe space or cover that players can use to take the enemies one at a time, if they are patient.

Combat in Area 1-2 is purely stealth based, so players need to be careful not to be detected by the C.E.L.L.

Area 1-3 : The Encounter

In Area 1-3 players finally face the Ceph that has been following them since the beginning of the level.

  • Area 1-3 serves as a culmination of the atmospheric build up created during the previous two areas. In this area, players finally find the hostage's room, which contains a maze of boxes that blocks the players' view. Through the empty space between boxes, players can see snippets of the wall behind the hostage. This creates suspense as players cannot see the chair, just the area around it. When players finally get to the chair, they find out that the hostage has been dead all along.

Through the space between boxes, players can see the area surrounding the hostage, but not the hostage himself.

A tragic revelation is waiting for players as soon as they reach the hostage's chair.

  • The abandoned building section ends with a confrontation with the Ceph that has been haunting players from the beginning of the level. As soon as players reach the hostage, all lights in the building go out, and they hear the sound of a window breaking. When players turn around the next corner, the Ceph is waiting for them. This encounter not only culminates the story arc of the abandoned building, but it also prepares players for what's waiting for them outside: an ongoing Ceph invasion.

A dead hostage is the players' smallest concern.

 
AREA 2- THE ISLAND
 
  • Area 2 takes players to the outside, where they realized that they are on an island under Ceph attack. Several scripted sequences keep players interested and give them a sense of urgency to reach a extraction point and get out of the island. This area doesn't lose the dark atmosphere of Area 1, but it is more oriented to combat than environmental narrative. 

Area 2-1 : Completing the mission

Map of the first half of Area 2-1.

Map of the second half of Area 2-1.

  • Area 2-1 is a training ground to prepare players for the final combat section of the level. This area brings players to a much cleaner, modern interior, with more C.E.L.L. patrolling the premises. The interior setting gives them plenty of cover, as well as hiding locations to stealthily kill the C.E.L.L. guards.

Although players are still indoors, the building in Area 2 is in much better condition than the one from Area 1.

  • Area 2-2 finally lets players see the outside, putting their goals on sight. Through windows and balconies, players can see the heliport were they ultimately have to go. In addition, players see the devastating effect of the Ceph attack in the island through action-filled scripted sequences, which increase their sense of urgency to complete the mission that brought them there.

 

Action-filled scripted sequences give players an idea of the magnitude of the Ceph attack.

Through balconies, player can see where their next objective is.

Area 2-2 : The final combat

Area 2-2 map

  • The final part of the level takes place outside, where cover is harder to find, and players are vulnerable to attacks from multiple points. Area 2-2 offers a final combat challenge, where players need to get to the extraction point while fighting both the C.E.L.L. and the Ceph at the same time, something that they haven't done before. 

The last section of the level happens outside, while the Ceph are attacking the island.

Players need to be careful since cover and ammo are not as easy to find in this area.

  • Scripted sequences give players the impression that the attack on the island is escalating, motivating them to reach the extraction point as soon as possible. A final battle ensues right as players are approaching the end of the level, where a dropship drops a brute in front of the heliport. The battle serves as the level climax, providing an exciting end to the players' journey to get out of the island.

As players are about to reach the extraction point, a dropship appears from behind the island mountains.

A last battle with the Ceph provides an exciting end to the level.

© 2019 by Jorge Montolio

CONTACT

Skype: jorge_montolio

Jorge Montolio
Designer