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CRIMSON DUNE

Fully Produced Tower Defense Level

I've been brought to innoloop as a freelance level designer/artist and have been tasked with producing a level for the demo of their game Rhythm Towers that would be showcased on Tokyo Game Show 2023

ABOUT THE DESIGN

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PROJECT BRIEF

RHYTHM TOWERS is a new and unique rhythm-based tower defense game. Taking place on a distant alien planet, you must use your rhythm matching skills to build up defensive towers in order to fight back mysterious hordes of creatures that will stop at nothing, to destroy the planet's rhythm core.

Featuring an original story, intricately designed music that is tied to the gameplay, satirical characters and intense, challenging boss battles. Experience the story-driven campaign solo or jam with a friend through couch co-op and online multiplayer.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS

- Designed multiple level concepts suitable for a tutorial level

- Sketched out a floor plan of the level and then iterated on it

- Created a greybox level with focus on entertaining gameplay and balance

- Balanced waves, types and number of enemies present in the level

- Fully decorated the level with pre-made assets and Unreal Engine plug-ins

- Iterated on the level until it satisfied the set requirements

- Presented my level to the director of innoloop for approval

INITIAL DESIGN

As my first action, I designed a side-quest based on the game's central themes of choosing your own path and actions which always have consequences, positive or negative.

 

Therefore, I crafted this quest to focus on the karma/reincarnation system the game revolves around by giving the player multiple different ways to finish this quest.

The quest idea started fairly simple, but after multiple iterations and revisions, it became more complex and rewarding for different playstyles the game has to offer.

GREYBOXES

Similar to the quest itself, the dialogue options had to account for different playstyles, and so I designed them to  each reflect different tones, attitudes, or actions. These choices ranged from peaceful negotiations to aggressive confrontations.

 

For each major choice, both in dialogue and actions, I also considered the immediate outcomes and long-term consequences on the game's world and characters to ensure that each choice has meaningful repercussions to incentivize replayability. 

Dialogue Branching Examples

LEVEL DESIGN

I started by thinking about the level's overall theme, mood, and key interactions and how to best match them with the quest's narrative. This information along with creating a mood board of reference images helped me conceptualize the level's structure and aesthetics, ensuring they aligned with the game's broader artistic direction as well.

 

I then created a floor plan of the whole area along with marking any NPC interactions, enemy encounters, and the main critical path. This design has then been through multiple iterations to ensure the pacing was up to the required standards.

EVOLUTION

Once I was satisfied with the level's layout, I started using the modelling tools within Unreal Engine 5 to create my level greybox out of simple shapes and placeholder models.

 

My focus was to use leading lines and lights to guide the players on the critical path, and also adding hidden areas and treasures to reward players for exploration.

 

Similarly to the previous designs, I iterated on the level until I was satisfied and the greybox met the requirements set by the design team.

FINAL VERSION

At the end of the Bootcamp, I showed off my creations to the company's designers, artists, and programmers.

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My pitch included a talk-through of the greybox, my thoughts explaining my design choices, and an overview of the quest and characters within.