THE DWARVEN FORGE
Level Concept + Level Greybox
As a big fan of the Orcs Must Die games by Robot Entertainment, I have decided to create a series of levels for the 2nd instalment in the franchise to display my thought process, design skills, and how I can take a concept into a fully functioning level.
ABOUT THE LEVEL
Dwarven Forge was created with the intent of making a level that is focused around lava and having fun pushing Orcs around into it.
It has also been designed to be well suited for the Dwarven Guardian unit the players unlock as they play the game. In theory, this level would be placed right after they unlock the unit, inviting the players to try them out.
Once the design process began, the roster of the already existing levels served as a guideline of the Robot Entertainment's style of design, which was used to create a level that is both familiar to their style and experimental at the same time.
In the Orcs Must Die, lava floors are deadly to the player characters, therefore, in this level, that danger will be always present, but skilled players will be able to use it to their advantage. Hence why lava covers majority of the bottom floor with only a handful of metal platforms scattered on top.
These could be used for traversal, giving the players a chance to move around quickly or even get out of melee range of the Orcs, but at the risk of falling into the lava and having to respawn. These platforms are also the most optimal spots to put units like Archers or Dwarves on, as they can be effective at dealing damage while being out of the Orc's damage range. (Placing units on the platforms stops the players to get on them themselves, so they have to choose which tactic is more suitable for them)
To prevent the level from being just a long hallway, a second floor has been added to both give the players a task of defending a second rift, but to also add some verticality to the level. This way, if the co-op players want to be effective, they will each have to defend their own floor.
For solo players, this will pose as an extra challenge, however, because the level is open, they can choose to stay on the high ground and overlook the bottom floor, allowing them to deal with both floors simultaneously.
Each floor is designed to support different types of traps
The bottom floor is far away from the outer walls, and the pillars only give a handful of places to place wall traps, so floor traps, along with the units are going to be the more effective line of defence.
The top floor is more standard and allows for both wall and floor traps to be effective, however, it is lacking in places where the long-range units are safe from approaching Orcs.
To support the movement between the paths the Orcs will take, the bottom floor has the platforms mentioned earlier, while the top floor has a bridge connecting the 2 upper paths.
Close to the Rifts (player spawn/defence objective), there are portals that connect the bottom and top floor. These are there to give the players a quick way to get to the top floor, either if they need to go defend upstairs, or if they jumped off the top floor and need to get back up without taking the long way around.