10 (Programming, Design, 3D, 2D)
Envoke the feeling of suspicion
I was responsible for the layout, flow of the map and how it fit together with the stealth.
I was tasked to design the mechanics and systems needed for the project. I was also responsible for designing the stealth encounters.
I was responsible for making sure all parts of the game worked as a whole. I made sure art, design and mechanics all fit the creative vision.
I prototyped the game mechanics to make sure they fit the overall experience and the gameplay.
Dayspring is a narrative-driven stealth puzzle game set in an atmospheric early 20th century Nordic Country. Play as a kid following the traces of his grandpa. Solve puzzles and sneak your way past the monsters that haunt this magic-filled night. You must find grandpa or you might lose him forever.
It was important for us that the world felt as seen through the eyes of a child. We therefore focused on the size and metrics of our main character and the world in relation to him. Objects should feel big and environments spacious.
To achieve this we worked closely with 3D and 2D to create assets and areas that felt proportional together with the characters.
From blockout to final level
When we had finalized the idea of what we wanted to do we built a small playtest area where we could try out encounters and the AI. These areas where simple blockouts not even resembling anything.
When we knew the mechanics where in a more polished state we started blocking out the level and making everything fit, tweaking the AI and encounters.
After the level was blocked out we worked together with the 3D artists to setdress the level.
Since the game focus on stealth we thoroughly researched stealth mechanics and game design revolving stealth.
We found out that playing with heights was one way of increasing the amount of suspicion the player felt towards the enemies, if they were hidden or not.
It also gave us the possibility to play more with multiple pathways. Having more pathways in the level makes the player feel in more control of how he approaches each encounter..
Playing with height
- Stealth areas
- Climable spots
First stealth area
The first area starts with the introduction of a throwing mechanic. A static enemy stands in the player's way with its back turned. The player has to throw an apple to distract the enemy to be able to sneak past. This encounter acts as a soft gate and forces the player to learn this mechanic.
The second encounter is a patrolling enemy that walks back and forth along a narrow corridor. On each side there are areas where the player can hide. The player needs to go from area to area timing the enemy.
The third encounter can be tackled in two ways. Via the hidden pathway or the straight path:
The player ends up behind the third enemy. He needs to throw an apple to lure the enemy forward to be able to progress. The enemy will now block the path of the player and the player has to wait until the enemy moves back into position. The player now has to distract the enemy again and get him to turn in order to get past.
There is a hidden path at the end of the second encounter. If the player finds it he will be rewarded with an easier way of tackling the third encounter. This means that the player only has to distract the enemy once in order to get past. When the enemy turns around the player can move past.
The last encounter is an open area with multiple pathways for the player to choose from:
To the left there is a narrow path where an enemy is walking back and forth. The player won't be able to walk past without being seen. Instead, he needs to climb up on the house next to the corridor. To do this he needs to find a box and move it in front of the house to get up.
Straight ahead there is an enemy that is walking back and forth blocking the area. Here the player has to realize that the enemy is impossible to move past and he has to find another way.
To the right there is a path leading to a bigger area. This area has two enemies, one that's stationary and turns in place, and one walking in a circle. The player needs to time both enemies to find an opening to get to a climbable spot and climb above the enemy and sneak past.
Mid stealth area
This area is more open and therefore more possibilities open up to the player. We created the area this way to make the player more in control of how he tackles the level. Since he now knows all mechanics he has the toolset to do so without feeling frustrated.
We play a lot with height in this area. The player can choose to climb to higher ground to avoid the enemies.
We also wanted the area to have more tense encounters. We achieved this by forcing the player's path closer to the enemy. The player could now have to sneak right next to the enemy within stealth zones to get past.
- Stealth areas
- Climable spots
Before the player enters the area we give him an overview of the surroundings. This is to give him a chance to plan his next move.
In this area we again play with more hidden pathways that when found reward the player with easier paths forward.
Last Stealth area
In the last stealth area you will first face a stationary enemy that's looking in your direction. You have to move quickly between hidden areas to not be discovered.
The second enemy circles the player's hidden space, forcing the player to really focus and stay alert since the enemy will move behind the player.
These encounters both contribute to heighten the tension in the game.
- Stealth areas
- Climable spots
When the player follows the path forward they will get blocked by a locked gate. They will get prompted that they need to search the barn for something to open it with.
To get to the barn you have to sneak past another enemy. The enemy walks in a path along the edge of this area. you have to sneak and hide next to him and then time him and move into the barn.
When you find the object, you have to sneak back.
Guiding the player
To help the player distinguish what areas where possible to hide in we made sure to make it stand out.
White stood out against the green, blue, and yellow and decided what we should have white flowers act areas where the player could hide in.
Due to the level being dark and atmospheric it can sometimes be hard to navigate.
To balance this we play with lights.
Lanterns are scattered around the level, these acts as checkpoints and guiding lights for the player to navigate with.
Once a lantern or activated by it being your new checkpoint it turns yellow and that way you won't mix up whats forward and backward with the light
Fog remover script
The lantern in the game acts both as a life counter and a way of indicating if you are hidden or not it was important for us to have a way to put a hard gate that only was passable with the lantern picked up. The way we came up with was to let the player use the lantern to clear away fog that was blocking the player. It worked both narratively and fit the gameplay.
The remover script checks if the player is inside a fog area which is built up with particles, these particles are then removed one by one until they are gone if the player holds down the correct key.
Throw aim Prototype
This is a prototype throwing mechanic, the thought behind it was that you should be able to throw even if you're behind a cover or throw around corners.
When the player presses aim button the mouse takes control over a object in the scene in which they then can move. This object raycasts to the ground and creates a point to which the player then can throw an object.
It calculates the trajectory to hit this point but has a max distance in any direction.