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Role
Level Designer

Game Engine

Gameplay type
3rd Person Platforming/Puzzle

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Overview

Chronique is a third person platforming and puzzle game developed in 15 weeks as a final project at Campus ADN and published on Steam in November 2023

The player's goal is to save school teachers from a certain death while being stuck in a time loop.

My main role was level designer and I was tasked with creating the fourth level, a level related to the studies of dinosaurs. 

I also did some
scripting to help create a unique gameplay ingredient in my level.

Tasks

  • Teach a new spell the player just acquired

  • Practice/master/combine mechanics previously seen
     

  • Build shortcuts for the player to unlock later on
     

  • Use the architecture of an ivy league school in the 1850s

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Challenges

  • Being one of the last levels, I had to create a challenge for the player by combining several gameplay ingredients while making sure they understood their new power.
     

  • With puzzle games, comprehension and clarity are key. I had to make sure my gameplay was clear and easy to read while challenging the player.

Level design & Level art

To help with the comprehension of the level, I worked with a level artist named
Marie-Laurence Brunet

Together we made sure to create
a fun and clear navigation.

By coming up with ideas together we worked on:

  • Framing the objectives 

  • Creating a smooth experience for the player that would match the story

  • Give the player the information they needed to succeed

Throughout the whole process, I have learned a lot about level art and what makes the collaboration between our two roles crucial in a project.

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Map Top down

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Second floor
First floor

​1. Speed-up teach

  • Blocked the path to force the player to use their new power and to keep things nice and easy

2. Landmark Room​

  • Created a landmark for the player to easily recognize.
     

  • Used a fossil of a dragon to create a memorable moment for the player while realizing my first intention.

  • The most important thing was to frame the objective properly
     

  • Made the dragon and the lever on the rocks the first things the player would see when entering the room.

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Lever and dragon

3. Master the mechanics​

Here the player is challenged by enemies and challenges they have seen before.

In my previous versions I was putting a lot of gameplay ingredients making a tougher challenge but overwhelming the player with a lot of information all at once.

  • Split the room in two ; One area where it's safe to land and one where it isn't.
     

  • Gave the player a choice to drop down and fight for a collectible
     

  • Added a safe zone in the middle to let the player figure out the next steps

Solutions I came up with :

4. Unique Ingredients

This is where the player encounters unique gameplay ingredients of my level.


A skull that the player needs to send to a target to open doors, which they have seen once before, and a cart that the player can push and pull.

Making the player push or pull an object to continue their path isn't something that interesting. 


I wanted to
combine both ingredients together to create something more fun and challenging.
 

  • The player has to use the cart strategically to block the skull's course
     

  • Send it at the right spot to unlock a door.

Solution:

5. Combine & challenge

This room is a combination of room 3 and 4.

In previous versions :
 

  • the pressure plate didn't exist

  • the player had to move the cart twice to complete the puzzle 

  • the player had to send the skull on a moving target

  • the player had to fight a statue while doing the puzzle
     


Too many steps, not enough clarity.
 

What I changed : 

  • Used the skull, cart and pressure plate to create a unique challenge while keeping a sense of familiarity for the player.

  • The player now has to use their clone with a pressure plate to unlock a door 

  • Removed the statue

  • Removed the moving target


 

The clone's usage has a limited time.
 

the player needed to find the objective quickly so guidance was extremely important.


 

  • Used green platforms that only the clone can step on to catch the player's attention
     

  • Placed desks on the floor to organically guide the player towards the platforms.



 

Solutions for guidance :
 

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Desks and platforms

6. Change of pace

I wanted to dial down the intensity in the next few rooms.



In this room:

 

  • I gave the player a simple platforming sequence with their clone to unlock their path.
     

  • I wanted the player to see the lever and figure out a way to reach it.


 

2.1 Landmark room(2nd floor)

The player loops back to the landmark room but they now find themselves on the second floor!

I made sure to
maximize all the space by adding an optional room on the left for the player to discover and collectibles to find on the right.
 

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In this section:
 

  • I decided to change the dragon's purpose
     

  • What was once a purely visual landmark now becomes a key gameplay ingredient for the player to use to get across.

8. Last corridor

This corridor leads to the last room of the level. I chose to make the gameplay simple and easy before the last puzzle. 

This is also where the player can unlock a
permanent shortcut.

 

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I placed an enemy next to the door to change the player's attention to the shortcut once they dealt with the statue.

 

9.1 & 9.2 Shortcuts

These two rooms are a simple shortcut for the player to get back to the second floor easily once they've unlocked it.

 

10. Save the teacher

In this last room the player needs to reach and destroy the object that would cause the teacher's death. In this case, it's a giant dragon skull.

 

 

Being the most important thing in this room, I framed the skull so it would be the first thing the player would see when entering.

At this first I wanted the split the room in two, having gameplay on both sides but it was way harder to frame the objectives and show the player what they're accomplishing.

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I chose to keep the left side blocked out and tease the objective through boxes 

The player has to unlock a door, climb up and do another puzzle with the cart and skull, this time using his clone.

Improvements

Improvements on my level

For my level:

I would have added
more freedom in the player's exploration.
 

  • Adding more rooms for the player to explore  

  • Make the player choose between two separate paths


Adding these things would have improved the quality of the level and the gameplay.

 

I also could have used the room's height to the maximum by putting the objectives or some collectibles in higher areas.

Increasing the verticality in the gameplay while reinforcing the pillar of platforming in our game.

Macro Level Design Improvements

Every level designer, including myself, got lost in what could make our level unique gameplay wise and we all had unique gameplay ingredients that needed to be taught.

The player was always learning something new in every level.

we should have
used the same ingredients to really push the teach/practice/master and extract the maximum out of our gameplay, making a stronger and more unified macro level design.

References & Inspirations

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Museum of Natural History, London

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Museum of Natural History, London

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Museum of Natural History, London

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 Full Playthrough

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