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Bounds Of Steel

The Project - Bounds Of Steel
  • My Roles: Level Designer, Gameplay Designer

  • Time: 2.5 Months

  • Team size: 6

  • Tools: Unity, Github, SteamVR, World Machine

  • Date: 2020

About:

BoS Is a hectic Hero defense game where the player must defend a facility against an unending horde. In BoS clever tactics and clever use of the terrain is what will keep you alive.

VR 

Player control

Mech/Tech

VR:

Full immersion, no premade animations to reload or dodge, it's all up to you. With VR the player can really feel like they are inside the mech taking the fight right to their foes.

Player Control:

Be the one in control. In BoS, Every system is fully controllable by the player. If you want to change something then do it.

Mech:

All the mechs system and diegetic and are designed to allow as much control over the mech as possible. This allows the player to react and adapt to each new encounter as they chose.

Fästpunkt 1

Gameplay Design

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Player power is key in BoS. The player has 100% control over their mech and decides how to wield it against their enemies.

Trying to make the game as immersive as possible was what I built the game around. I wanted the player to get that feeling of awesome you get when watching movies like Pacific rim or Evangelion. The player should feel badass and powerful while fighting. Not only because of the heavily armed mech but because of how they use it. The mechs system is designed to offer great effects when the player uses them but forgiving enough to not so the player doesn't feel punished for misusing or forgetting to use them in the heat of the moment.

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To get this feeling of power I designed the system around player interaction. With VR I could let the player slam on the overcharge, letting them feel the adrenaline flow as they hear the great machine react to their actions. 

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This idea of having no animations handle actions affected all of the systems in the mech. Letting the player directly affect all of the more visible systems helped make the player feel in tune with the mech. This system led the control to be easy to learn but had enough variability so there was plenty to master.

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The controls are built around accessibility. Keeping this in mind I implemented features to do this. The controls snap back to a preset location if you drop them, so it's always easy to find them. The power controls are made to be easy to reach and dragged. A system to limit the player's line of sight was also implemented to counteract the biggest issue VR has.

Simulation sickness.

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Level Design

The Level in BoS is designed to give the player multiple ways to engage the enemies while also keeping each engagement zone contained.

The map needed to be big enough for players to have time to come up with tactics and use their ranged advantage while also being compartmentalized to keep sightlines controlled and FPS high.

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Compartmentalized Design

Design pillars​

  • Reality-based

  • Multiple engagements opportunities

  • Clear combat zones

  • Performance-minded

Each section of the level was designed with the idea in mind that they could be easily replaced or removed quickly without breaking the entire map. To achieve this I created the sections as hubs with a few set rules to make sure the flexibility in the creation process was kept.

The first section, the main entrance

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This area has two purposes. Having scarce terrain be overwhelmed by monsters to create a feeling of the oncoming doom. And secondly to give the player a large open area to test out the mech's weapons from a safe distance.

The Second section, Bunker Isle

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The bunker island is the first real defensible location the player access to. The player is guided up to the top of the bunker at the start of the level to get a good overview of the enemy's spawns.

The area is the first that really offers multiple ways to engage the enemy. The area has 3 clearly marked paths the enemies and player can take and each path can be engaged either from the side or from above. The area is designed to provide good sightlines while keeping the player safe.

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The Third Section, Assembly

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The Assembly is a large three-story structure. The structure acts like a line of sight blocker allowing for easy occlusion culling to keep the performance high. The area also helps gather enemies to give the player a slight breather where they can really thin out the horde.

The enclosed space of the corridors in contrast to the open space they connect to serves to make the horde appear more overwhelming as the large forms fill out the width of the corridors.

The area also allowed me to use verticality to extend the level and create openings to the other areas to allow for tactical repositioning.

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The fourth Section, Shipping

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A vertically large open area where the player has the opportunity to fire down at their foes. The clean sightlines from the top allow the player plenty of opportunities to fire both while advancing to push back and while retreating to secure the main base.

Cover to dart in and out of and fast traversal by simply jumping down encourages fast mobile gameplay 

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The entire location is overlooked by the main base. Located high up It has easy access to any section of the map either by manual movement or a teleporter that connects the entrance to the base. 

Fästpunkt 2
Bunker Isle
Third Section
Shipping
Fästpunkt 3

Creating a lot out of a little

Becouse of short time and a lot of work I alleviated the artists work by taking assets they had given me and combining them in different combinations to create new props in the game.

For this generator for the energy doors I took an explosive barrel som crane parts and pipes to create something that could fill the roll. This flexibility allowed me to quickly react and populate the level when the artists where pressed for time, creating a more visually distinct level.

Level variations

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The first two versions of the level were based on more of an open world. The larger canyons and valleys were intended to allow for constant movement and more of hit-and-run style gameplay.

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The level changed from this due to time concerns, as it became clearer what systems would be completed in time a more linear map would complement the gameplay more by focusing the action.

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The first version of the lane map.

Built more upon being unique in length with fairly simple routes but each area having its own flair.

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The second version of the lane level.

The large structure at the bottom which was planned to have a wastemanegement wibe was removed. So was the trench that came after it. This was to tighten up the level and it's focus. The removal of these areas saved in on a lot of unique assets that would have been needed.

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