This assignment was created for week 7 and covered how risk vs. reward, affordances, and denials can shape player choices. For this assignment I had to create a non-linear, maze-like space, taking inspiration from simple shapes.
Create a non-linear, maze-like space. Be inspired by simple shapes. Remember to think about risk vs. reward, and affordance vs. denial. As the level is non-linear there must be multiple routes through the level to encourage the player to explore and find their own way to the end goal, the treasure chest. To encourage exploration place 15 coins within the level for the player to find.
– Medium-sized level.
– Made in Unity Engine with ProBuilder and Maya
– 1 week to make it from scratch.
– Exploration, the player must find all 15 coins and locate the treasure chest.
Controls are as follows:
- Player can run (shift)
- Jump (spacebar)
- Vaulting over waist-high obstacles when pressing forward “W” and jump “space bar”
Designing the Level
Before starting the blockout I gathered as much reference as I could to give me a greater understanding of how I wanted the layout to look and feel.
For this level, I made use of local and distant landmarks to help the player navigate the space as it has multiple paths to the end goal. I choose to start the player up high to give them an overview of the level as this allows the player to start to form a map of the environment and plan how they plan to tackle it. The end goal, the witches house at the far end of the level, is shown to the player at the start with the high cliffs, covered in fur trees that surround it acting as a distant landmark.
Affordances. Risk vs. Reward
To help the player understand what they can and can’t do within the environment I used affordances. I used the collectable gold coins to encourage the player to explore the environment and to show them where they can go.
- The collectible gold coins guide the player and show them areas that they can explore.
- From exploring the environment it is easy for the player to understand how to get to them.
- The collectible coins leads to either another coin or a new area of interest.
As there are multiple paths through the level the player needs to decide which path offers them the most reward, in the case of this level gold coins. Some of the coins involve the player having the jump across stepping stones or down into holes, the player needs to decide if the risk of these activities is worth the reward of getting all of the collectables.
Exploration and Searching for Collectibles
The activity for this level is exploration, with there being 15 collectable coins for the player to find. I tried to place the coins in interesting places, playing with height and hidden areas to promote player exploration. To further encourage exploration I used props and restricted the player’s view of certain areas to peak the player’s curiosity and make them want to explore an area. I used different colours to mark the footpaths and lead the player toward the different areas of the level. To encourage the player to explore the whole map the paths constantly cross; giving the player choices of where they want to go.
Spatial Composition and Cognitive Mapping
I used the lessons from weeks 5 & 6 on Spatial Composition and Cognitive Mapping to make this level understandable to the player while still being a non-linear, maze-like space. In order to help the player build their mental map of the level, I choose to use different themes and biomes for each area. I worked with geometric shapes, colours and foliage to create different unique zones within the level.