Sight in the Lone Canyon
Depending on sightlines, the canyon requires a good use of cover and speed.
Scent in the Misty Peaks
Interacting with water and dynamic wind, the Peaks require route adaptability and planning.
Hearing in the Damp Grotto
Interacting closely with water, the grotto requires patience and awareness of your surroundings.
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.
Detection based on a dynamic sound emission and fall-off system
Hide 'behind' loud objects and avoid loud water splashes
the evolution of the
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!
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.
Lighting and depth pass
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.
Iterating Main Entrance
The Cauldron is a short, yet intense encounter. Player's success hinges on their understaning of water mechanics.
It took some iteration for the shortcut to butterfly room to not be confused by playtesters with the intended path on either side. It ended up being mostly a matter of sharp corners than size of the corridor.
As playtesters agreed this was the least enjoyable room, the elevated section was later greatly expanded to spread the tension better and make the room less cramped. Later playtests show much greater enjoyment of the room
Iterating Cauldron room
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.
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.
Main entrance iteration
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.