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
Majority of the levels in Orcs Must Die focus on being horizontally vast or a healthy mix of being both horizontal and vertical. The Tower is intended to be a unique level that focuses heavily on verticality.
Once the design process started, the roster of the already existing levels was used as a base for this level, however, the aim of this project was to experiment and create something fresh for the game.
At the beginning, the main body of the Tower was intended to resemble a 12-sided dodecagon when viewed from the top. Most known towers are of a circular shape, but Orcs Must Die uses a grid based system for placing traps, so the shape had to be more rigid to fit this grid.
However, while building the level, it proved fairly difficult to make even this design work properly. So the main body was modified multiple times, until it ended up being square shaped. This didn't impact any other major elements besides the body of the Tower.
The Tower consists of 2 paths that the Orcs will take to get to the Rift (Player Spawn / Defence Objective). These 2 paths curl around the Tower as they climb up. This is the main way the level presents players with a challenge by being verticality focused.
The players don't have a clear view of the whole level, so they need to figure out a way of knowing the Orcs' position and how to best deal with them, depending on which floor they are are currently at.
Since the tower is compact and using the stairs to go up or down would prove extensive and annoying, the level features 2 sets of "Portal Elevators", which are a set of 3 portals that connect each of the 3 floors together for easy vertical movement.
Since there are 2 sets of these "Elevators", co-op players will be able to split the Tower in half, each tending to their own side and having access to the fast transport. This also is intended to help solo players, since they need to tend to both sides, they will have access to the "Elevators" on whatever side they find themselves in.
The 1st and 2nd floor feature a crossroad where the 2 winding paths meet. These are intended to be a middle ground for players regrouping, changing between sides of the Tower, to give the Tower more area for fights, and opportunities to guide the Orcs through.
The 3rd floor serves this purpose as well, but in a lesser extent as that's where the Rift is, so it acts more as the player's base.
The 2nd floor is intended to be the main fight area as it's the middle of the Tower, so to give players a helping hand, if they choose to use it, there are 3 one-use-only droppable objects that deal massive damage to whatever enemies they drop on.
Each floor has a focus on a different style of fighting. 1st floor focuses on traps, allowing for all 3 trap types (Floor, Wall, Ceiling) to be effective. 2nd floor allows for only floor traps, as the stairs take the majority of the area, so the focus shifts to using weapons and the pitfalls in the corners on this floor.