Tropical Level

Creating a Linear Level With Free Assets

5 min. read

Objective

What I wanted to get out of this project was that I wanted to sharpen my level design skills. This level was inspired by my experiences in Yucatán Mexico, and the characters in this game are Pokemon. Why Pokemon? I wanted to model something cute that matches my art style, but I did not want to go through the struggle of designing my own characters for this short project. But in this post, I want to show off what I’ve done for the level design using assets from the Unity Asset Store. I’ll be later polishing the mechanics for this game and creating another post regarding that in the future.

Overview

Level Overview

Yucatán Mexico is such a beautiful area in Mexico, and a very popular tourist destination. I highly recommend going there at least once in your life. In Yucatán, there are beautiful natural formations called ‘Cenotes’ which were formed by the asteroids that wiped out the dinosaurs many millenniums ago. In my level, I designed a cave that is inspired by these cenotes! The river/cliffs and bridges are inspired by my visit in xcaret and Isla Mujares.

Progress

Critical Path

The goal in this level is to go from point A to point B. I’ve added a landmark at point B, which is just a building I downloaded from the Asset Store, and I added mountains in the background. The mountains create a composition where they are pointing towards the building which guides the players to where they’re supposed to go.

Critical Path

Obstacles and Enemies

Of course, just like in every game and story, it’s not always as simple as going from point A to point B. There will always be obstacles and enemies preventing the main character from getting what they want.

Starting Area

The first obstacle that the player faces are the enemies near the starting location. I made sure that the player can learn the game mechanics before facing their first enemy. The enemies should also be pretty easy to face, and the player is forced to eliminate them before proceeding. Once again, notice how the building is the first thing the player sees when starting.

Starting Area

‘Secondary’ Path

When the player crosses the first bridge, they will find out that the stairs leading to their objective is broken. This is where the player must find another way to get to where they want to go. I created a secondary path along the cliffs that the player must find. I made sure that the path was not too obvious, but also I made sure that it was obvious that it was the path they were supposed to take once they discover it. It is quite a dilemma as a designer, but after a bit of play-testing and blind testing, it should work as intended.

Secondary Path

First Battle

After the player discovers the secondary path and crosses the second bridge, I wanted to test the player’s mechanical skills by introducing an intensity spike to the level’s flow. In this area, the player fights four enemies.

First Battle

Second Battle

After the fight sequence, and after a bit of exploration, the player will glide across the river and is introduced to a second battle. The battle takes place outside a cave entrance and creates a second spike in the level’s flow before the climax.

Second Battle

Cenote

There’s a small intensity break after the second battle. The player enters a cave/cenote. There is an optional path where they can explore and obtain a collectable if they wish to do so.

Cenote

Final battle

Right before exiting the cenote, the player is introduced to two fights. The first one has three enemies, and the second one has five. This is the peak of the level’s intensity/flow. I made sure that the player is healed before the fight so that it is fair.

Ending

After the final battle, the player reaches their destination point and is rewarded with a collectable. The credits roll afterwards :p

Progress

White boxing