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Hearing in the Damp Grotto

Interacting closely with water, the grotto requires patience and awareness of your surroundings. 

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Sight in the Lone Canyon

Depending on sightlines, the canyon requires a good use of cover and speed. 

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Scent in the Misty Peaks

Interacting with water and dynamic wind, the Peaks require route adaptability and planning.

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InSight

Stealth | Experimental | Free

InSight - an innovative approach to stealth through sight, hearing and smell.

This project was born from an observation. So many stealth games I've played were incredibly sight-centric. Breaking line of sight, sticking to the shadows. But if you were trying to evade non-human creatures, surely they would rely more on their other senses. I set out to convey a realistic sense of smell and hearing as well as sight in this project.

It also provided a great level design exercise. As certain elements impact only certain enemies. Smelling Custodian AI is not impeded by walls, where they are critical to Seeing Sentinels AI.

The different enviorments must not get in the way of the enemies, but rather empower and showcase their differences and make them shine.

Project in development

Some sections will be less finished as content is still created

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Hearing

Detection based on a dynamic sound emission and fall-off system

Hide 'behind' loud objects and avoid loud water splashes

Hearing Iteration
the evolution of the

Damp Grotto

With puddles, waterfalls and dripping stalactites filling the grotto and a noticeable absence of a sky overhead,  this cave is far darker and more enclosed than the areas outside. 

The cave is home to the Sentries - creatures that detect the player through sound. If the player is constantly running, or splashes around in a puddle for a bit too long, Sentries will notice. Thankfully, the water seeping into the grotto provides ample cover for those who use its dripping noise. 

Iterating Misty Peaks entrance

The entrance to an area defines expectations. This entrance abruptly takes the player from the wide open stone bridge into a tiny, tense area with a hearing enemy and no cover. This is less than ideal and needs a lot of work.

Scheduled for iteration!
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The grotto is unique in its approach to darkness and can use lights to guide the player far more than the other areas. This advantage is criminally underused as of yet.

 

Playtesting revealed the darkness was too much for most players and the deep rubble pits did not seem lethally deep.

Across the entire grotto, lights were adjusted, overall brightness raised and rubble pits lowered about thrice as deep as they were befoerehand.

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Initial
Final

Lighting and depth pass

18/06/2022

The entrance to a space establishes the viewer's expectations. 

At first, I wanted to frame each of the paths, based on their difficulty - with the easiest area on the left in a very open frame, and the hardest (on the right) partly through the rubble. 
 

That solution hinged on one critical viewing point or very exact path. Realizing this, I decided to instead reveal and conceal the various points of interest as the player travels around the entrance hall-using very simple denial and reward.

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Initial
Final

Iterating Main Entrance 

4/04/2022

The Cauldron is a short, yet intense encounter. It pushes the player the closes to the Sentries, it's also very compact and provides cover through a conveniently positioned waterfall.

The shortcut to the butterfly room was tricky, though needed to ensure multiple access points. While hidden enough to not be confused with the main path, both its exits must make it clear where the player ended up. The first shortcut was too straight- it seemed like an alternative path to the same objective, rather than than a shortcut to a different room entirely.

 

The nest was moved from the bottom of the cauldron to an elevated area on the edge of the lake

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Initial
Final

Iterating Cauldron room

3/04/2022

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Initial
Final

Iterating Butterfly room

The butterfly room is the longest encounter- with multiple safespots for pacing the tension.

At first, the player was to make their way through the middle of the butterfly, then either left or right, to arrive at the objective in the middle. This did not work well in play-testing and underused sentry's patrol area. The objective was moved to the left side- the middle path now used as a high-risk shortcut right through the enemy's patrol area.

The nests new location also links it to the smell area entrance.

30/03/2022

Sight Iteration
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Sight

Detection based on sight-lines and height differences

Hide behind cover or on high ground.

Sight area iteration

The entrance to an area ought to establish its gimmick in a reasonably safe and digestible manner. With sight hinging on sight-lines and height, it's critical to establish the interplay between these two clearly.

The new version allows the player to choose between height advantage with lesser cover or no height advantage with more cover - achieving a better blend between these two factors and a more open-ended gameplay.

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Initial
Final

Main entrance iteration

14-16/06/2022

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Smell

Detection based on tracks, affected by time and dynamic wind

Hide by making your path hard to follow, using wind and water to disrupt the pursuit.

Smell Iteration