Level Design exercise
Titanfall

Made in 3 weeks

Unreal Engine

 

The Challenges

How to design a level for a Titanfall game

I wanted to create a level for Titanfall because I love this game but also because I admire their design process based on action blocks.

I tried in this exercise to recreate an action block. I wanted to refine the element that we can see at the end of Titanfall 2. Just as a reminder at the end the players have to navigate between walls and platforms that float in the air.

The idea to create something similar, but used in a different context, seduced me. I wanted to create a sense of urgency. Instead of using floating elements, I used objects in a falling motion to create another type of challenge. Due to these, the level difficulty and the quest were adapted to it.

My objective was to create a level and its quest that can be coherent for a potential next Titanfall. It is why I focused on a credible environment for the Titanfall universe. Imagining the planet structure and the story of the place helped me during the process.

I also love the kind of quest where you can meet an old character or your own character from the previous game. This is why I decided to design this quest as one of the first that the players will play.

The next idea was to create something more close quarter and claustrophobic to accentuate the mysterious mood of the place and give the players the chance to experiment their wallrun ability. I had to think about different environments and rock structures that shape the spaces as you can see on my references below. It allowed me to create different kind of shapes for multiple gameplay phases, such as the  quarry rock blocks that are used for the covers in the combat space.

My main focus was on the final part of the level. I really wanted to create something memorable,  something unexpected that contrasts with the whole mood of the level. It was also a challenge to confirm the player's skills for the rest of the game.

Layout 2D

Graphic References

References Canyon

References Quarry Exterior

References Quarry Interior

  • Research on Titanfall 2 level design and process
  • Creating level brief and documentation
  • Creating level layout from paper sketch to 3D blockout prototype
  • Scripting 3C and level ingredients
  • Creating cinematic sequences

Work Highlights

My intentions were as follows :

 

  • Create a quest that follows Titanfall's story
  • Focus on using walls and create a claustrophobic layout
  • Create a secretive ambiance, give the feeling that the players are being watched
  • Push the players into a trap, knowing that the trap may exist. The events happen because the players triggered it

Location : On an uninhabited planet in "The frontier" that has  a rocky structure.  It's mainly formed of many cavities, creating passages through the rock.

Level Brief

Time of the day : End of the day, in a distant future

Synopsis : Jack Cooper has retired from the Militia and disappeared on his own accord. A new threat grows on the Frontier. After escalating to the point of no return, our new pilot decides to find Jack Cooper to deal with this new situation.

From : Coming from another side of the frontier. If  we take the Hero’s journey, we are after the first Threshold and before the Approach.

To : Escaping from natural contingency, we find Jack Cooper

Difficulty : It is a level design to be before the middle of the game, as an almost peaceful moment before a new peak of difficulty.

Characters : Jack Cooper / Old and Lost Stalkers and Drones

Player capabilities : The players can Wall run - Jump - Slide - Shoot

Ambiance / Flavor : It is stony and dusty, there is a sunny mood and some wind. There is some vegetation known for surviving in arid atmospheres. It looks like a hidden place.

Time to finish : 10 minutes

Story

The action take place on an uninhabited planet. It was once an old base of the IMC. They tried to find something of value on this rocky planet. They didn't seem to have found what they were looking for. They left everything behind for practical reasons, making this planet a place of no interest, where life can take its course. In addition to being uninteresting, it is difficult to walk on because of its structure. Huge faults have formed, shaping a multitude of canyons.

That is exactly why the militia started being interested about it. It’s the perfect place for Cooper to hide, far from anyone.

Unfortunately for him, the militia needs him more than ever and sent a pilot to find him, the players are this pilot.

 

The players arrive on the planet on the location indicated by the informer during the mission brief. It’s a little canyon that collapsed at some point. This collapse was not formed by natural circumstances, an indication of the presence of Cooper that is not to be ignored.

The player’s objective is to look for clues of Cooper and try to locate him.

Moving on this canyon network, the players can observe drones that look old and dysfunctional, and a clue that something as been hunting in the area. He also encounters different events that he must avoid.

 

The players discover the main structure of the facilities. It’s a circular building with an elevator that allowed them to extract the rock to the surface. They built this like a quarry to hide the fact that they were looking for something else.

As it was abandoned, when the player discovers it, it’s in ruins. The players must find a way around it.

The players progress inside the quarry and find some old stalkers that have been reprogrammed. The militia’s informer suspects Cooper of having meddled them for his own defence.

The players will be facing a narrow passage that leads into Cooper's hideout. The players walk right into a trap. Cooper created a deadly ambush for the people who want to find him. The explosion initiated by Cooper made an entire canyon collapse that the players must run out of. The players must go through a heavy parkour sequence, navigate through the elements, wallrun on the massive rocks falling and avoid obstacles that are going to block their way.

When it is done, the players will have no choice but fall from an extremely high cliff which will cause them to faint. When they regain consciousness, Cooper holds them at gunpoint.

 

Benoît Cassin

©BenoitCassin2021