THE LOST CHAMPIONS
The Lost Champions is a 3rd person puzzle adventure where the player alternates the control of the 3 characters each with a specific ability used to solve the puzzles.
The Warrior can use his attack to break boxes and activate shrines, the Mage has the ability to generate a shield capable of blocking projectiles or allowing another character to stand on top of him while the Druid can jump freely to reach higher platforms.
The Champions have to solve 3 different puzzles in order to reach the extraction point and win the game.
Unreal Engine 4.23.1
Solo Project @ VFS
For this assignment we were given 3 weeks to deliver a polished level which contained 3 different puzzles. At first I focused on research, studying the specific abilities of each character, the jump distance and height as well as the already existing traps and platforms.
I then wrote down the possible uses of each ability and the way those can be combined with each other. My main focus was the type and difficulty of each puzzle: I first decided to create 3 puzzles with incremental difficulty where the player had a chance to first learn and then master the mechanics, but I decided to create 3 different puzzles using totally different mechanics. The reason was to push myself into thinking about more applications of those mechanics rather than just one.
Once I had the puzzles designed on paper, I moved to the engine where the level took form and I could test each puzzle. Feedback was a key factor for this assignment. Since I already knew how to solve each puzzle, I needed a fresh eye to try and solve each one of them and tune them accordingly.
Studying already existing puzzle games, I took inspiration from some of them and applied a method where the player can discover one mechanic and use it on each level with the addition of a different mechanic on each individual puzzle. This way, players know how that first mechanic works and can focus their attention on the rest. In this specific case, I used the pressure plates as the main mechanic: players learn that stepping on them activates something.
Ultimately I decided to create puzzles where players had to think a little bit out of the box to find the solution, an example being: the use of a pressure plate to change the colour of a portal to match it with the other one in order to activate it.
LEVEL DESIGN FACTORS
One of the first things I realized was the need for a small distance between puzzles. This is where I applied the Scale factor: since the player had to physically move each character to the new location, having to move long distances was annoying and ended up breaking the immersion.
The other factor I heavily took into consideration was the Function of each mechanic: since the players had just a small level to learn and master each mechanic, I used elements such as Elevation and Line of Sight to guide them towards the correct object to focus their attention on.