Uncharted Traversal Level
Inspired by Naughty Dog's Uncharted Series: Nate's search for treasure leads him to the ruins of an old Scottish Castle, located on the coastline. The area surrounding the castle has been heavily weathered by the sea, making it a difficult area to traverse.
This level was created for a challenge in the Level Design Lobby Discord Community, to create an Uncharted Traversal Section set in Scotland.
Objective: Reach the abandoned castle and find the treasure.
Location: Abandoned castle on the Scottish Coastline
Gameplay: Traversal (Rock Slides, Rope Swinging, Climbing)
Estimated Duration: 5 minutes
Tools Used: Unreal Engine 4
Plugins Used: Blockout Tools Plugin, Animation Starter Pack
Camera: Third Person, Over the shoulder
Skills Used: Scripting (Blueprint), Level Planning and design, Level Blockout (BSP Geommetry, Unreal Landscape Editor)
The Level uses the main traversal mechanics from Uncharted 4: Rock Sliding, Swinging, Climbing. To keep traversal interesting and varied, the layout was designed so that each mechanic would be introduced, then used again at least once after introducing the next mechanic, and used in combination with other mechanics towards the end of the level.
I also included treasures for players to collect, to give players a sense of achievement while exploring.
Some of these treasures have been placed to lure players in certain directions (more on this further down)
Design Decisions and Techniques:
1: Landmark and Composition: The first thing the player sees at the start of the level is the castle which serves as the main objective and landmark of the level. The rocks have been placed to form leading lines towards it.
2: The first treasure has been placed as another method to draw the player's eye towards the castle, which is situated directly behind the treasure.
3: The second treasure has been placed to draw the player towards the correct path. It is not possible to reach at this point in the level, but it will be accessible later. The castle is no longer visible at this point (see part 5 for more)
4: "Bait and Switch": After the second rope swing, the way forward is not easy to notice immediately. The player lands in front of a cave which leads to a dead end. To avoid player frustration, it contains a treasure to reward players. When the player leaves the cave, the way forward is revealed.
5: "Denial and Reward": After climbing the cliff, the castle comes back into view to reward players, with a more clear angle after being hidden in the previous section. The second treasure is also now accessible.