Dragon Age: Escape From Tevinter
Based on Bioware's Dragon Age series: Four recently escaped slaves must find a way out of the Tevinter Imperium to live a life of freedom.
Objective: Find a way to cross the river.
Location: A small town in the South of the Tevinter Imperium, located near a large river and a cave.
Gameplay: Traversal, Exploration, Party Based Combat
Estimated Duration: 10-15 Minutes
Camera: Third Person
Tools Used: Unreal Engine 4
Plugins Used: Blockout Tools Plugin, Advanced Magic FX
Skills Used: Scripting (Blueprint), Level Layout design, Quest Design, Level Blockout (BSP Geommetry, Unreal Landscape Editor)
The main goal of this project was to design an Open Hub level similar to those found in the Dragon Age games, featuring a Non-Linear Quest with sections which can be completed in any order.
Quest Design Flowchart:
More Information Coming Soon!
NOTE: Not all options were implemented into the prototype due to time constraints, but the "Critical Path" is fully playable from start to end, and the objectives can be completed in any order. Conceptually, some situations have different outcomes decided by persuasion/intimidation/stealth checks.
Click on the Images to expand:
1: Fire Barrier (Skill Gate): Player must use the ice staff to continue. This is to introduce to staff mechanic. The level starts in a small, confined space to make the upcoming view (2) more impactful.
2: Cutscene: Reveals the objective and a view of the level with visible landmarks, familiarising the player with the level layout.
3: Bandit Camp: An encounter with enemies to introduce combat. While the prototype has one playable mages, the combat spaces were designed to support the party-based combat with multiple classes and playstyles of the dragon age games.
After defeating the bandits, the player
can decide to explore the town or go to
the bridge immediately. If they decide to go to the bridge, they will be directed back to the town but they can also explore the dragon cave if they choose.
4: Town/Tavern: after entering the town, merchants will direct the player towards the tavern to find work, where they will be given the quest to kill the dragon in the mine. If they have already found and killed the dragon they will be rewarded immediately with the fire staff.
5: Dragon Cave (Mine): Combat space with a dragon. Can be discovered early or after receiving the dragon quest.
Smoke and fire has been placed to lead the player towards the cave:
The mine contains an open "arena" space for melee characters, surrounded by platforms to be used by ranged characters:
The platform leads to the back entrance
(only opened from inside), located behind the town, to avoid backtracking.
6: Guard Ambush: When the player receives the fire staff reward, they are ambushed by guards outside the tavern (due to the player character's backstory). The player must fight their way out of the town.
The fight has been divided into 2 ambushes, the first one
outside the tavern, the second on the road out of town.
Barricades have been put up by the guards to keep the
player in the ambush.
The first ambush is introduced in a cutscene, giving the
player time to look at the combat space and plan their
strategy. The area contains cover and high ground to
support different playstyles.
To keep the fight interesting and varied, the second ambush happens during gameplay with no warning, resulting in a more chaotic encounter, where the player is more exposed. There are less enemies however, to keep it balanced, most of which use ranged attacks rather that charge at the player.
7: Bridge/Ice Barrier: To finish the level the player must cross the bridge, which is blocked by an ice barrier, requiring the fire staff to break. This area can be explored at any time during the level, but the player will be prompted to search for a fire staff (obtained in the dragon quest).
Designing the town
The architectural style of the town consists predominantly of large square structures with sharp spires, creating an imposing feeling suitable for a setting in which slavery is commonplace.
Examples of Tevinter architecture (concept art from the Dragon Age wiki):
Modular building blocks used to speed up the blockout process:
The chantry (Dragon Age Church equivalent) has a round dome shape to stand out from the rectangular and triangular forms, as it is the main landmark of the town, easily visible from most of the level, to help orient the player.
The town where I live was my original inspiration for the layout. I took the layout and modified it to suit the requirements of the level
The town contains all the necessary shops and facilities of a fantasy RPG town. It was also designed to support a combat section(6). The tavern has been placed opposite the chantry (main landmark) so that it is easy to find. The layout of the town was designed so that there are no dead ends.
Original Sketch (1 square = 2 metres):
1: Bridge (main objective)
2: Statue/Monument (crossing between roads)
3: Smoke (from Dragon Attack outside the mine)
4: Chantry (Center of town)
The landmarks have been placed so that they are visible from most areas of the level. At the start of the level the landmarks and landscape form leading lines towards the objective (bridge). I decided to include the smoke as a landmark to attract the player's curiosity, drawing them towards the dragon cave.
Astrariums (collectables from Dragon Age Inquisition):
I decided to reward players for exploring by including the astrariums from Dragon Age Inquisition. The first one is easily found at the start of the level, while the other 2 are more concealed, requiring the player to explore.