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Third Person Shooter

Stealth Infiltration Project

INTRODUCTION

This Level is inspired by Ghost Recon. I created a Third Person experience where the player would infiltrate a heavily guarded compound and kill a HighValueTarget (HVT).

My goal was to create a fully playable mission with a strong focus on
Stealth and Pacing encouraging the player to take it slow and carefully.

This project includes Level Design and Scripting.

PROJECT DETAILS

  • Developed over 10 weeks

  • Unreal Engine 5

  • Level Design

  • Blockout

  • Lighting & Atmosphere

  • Scripted Events

  • AI Scripting

  • Assets used : Advanced Locomotion System V4, Blocking Starter Pack (Xavier Loux)

PRE-PRODUCTION

PurRef

REFERENCES

Before starting any projects I always find it very valuable to gather references, it's something I can come back to at any time during the project to make sure I'm not deviating too far from my initial idea.

This level takes place in a Russian compound situated high in the snowy mountains. My references mostly consisted of games such as DayZ, Ghost Recon and EFT and I also added images of props/buildings I needed to Blockout.

Trello

STAYING ON TRACK

Even when working alone, I always use a checklist or in this case a Trello to stay organized and keep track of my progress.

I also enjoyed giving myself personal challenges with deadlines for specific tasks. Having no time limit for the project made it easy to get distracted on less important tasks so by creating my own it notably improved my production.

PAPER DESIGN TO FINAL PRODUCT

Paper Design
TPS Top Down View.png

BLOCKOUT PROCESS

ITERATIONS

During the Blockout stage, I always try to experiment with my design and try new iterations since the level is still in a very moldable phase. I've made a considerable amount of changes throughout this project which I feel greatly improved the level as shown in the gifs above.

LEVEL WALKTHROUGH

INTRODUCTION TO THE LEVEL

MOVE INTO THE COMPOUND

INFILTRATE THE INTEL BUILDING

SNEAK INSIDE THE BUNKER

ESCAPE THE COMPOUND

INFILTRATE THE CAVE

MAKE WAY THROUGH THE CARGO DEPOT

FIND AND PICK UP INTEL

LOCATE AND EXECUTE THE HVT

LEVEL FLOW

I wanted to experience to start slow allowing the player to scan the area and come up with a plan of action. As they progress into the level they will face more enemies forcing them to improvise new strategies and increasing the intensity. Finally once the HVT is found an alarm will trigger sending waves of enemies at the player peaking the intensity thus accentuating the rush of adrenaline at the end.

LEVEL DESIGN TECHNIQUES

TPS Level Design Breakdown.png

AFFORDANCE

I wanted to add verticality to my level to give more freedom to the player, but I quickly came to realization that it wasn't always clear where you could climb up.

To fix this I added Affordance using lights or a brighter color to help the player understand where he could climb or jump which undeniably improved the flow.

2023-03-09 21_13_47-TPS_LevelDesign - Unreal Editor.png

DRAWING THE ATTENTION

By having helicopters drop off guards or simply flying over the compound, it delivered the idea that this location is very important and secured while also bringing attention to key areas.

To achieve this I used Sequencers that I could very easily link to scripted events or overlap triggers.

PROBLEM SOLVING

A great way to make the player feel clever and in control
is to use Problem Solving. Forcing the player to look around and think outside the box.

In this specific case I blocked the obvious path with a guard that would be too risky to takedown, the player is then compelled to find another way around which is soon revealed around the corner.

HighresScreenshot00016.png

FUNNEL BEFORE REVEAL

To enhance the player's immersion when entering the compound I made sure to perfectly frame the landmark and also added a helicopter flyover behind.

To make sure they would see what I intended, I used
 rocks to narrow the path until I made a Funnel which would bring the player exactly at the desired location.

SCRIPTED EVENTS

SciptedEvent1.png
SciptedEvent2.png

GRAND FINALE

It was crucial for me to finish the level in a very grandiose way to really make it memorable. To do so I used multiple Scripted Events that would spawn hostiles at desired locations using Scene Components and also play SFX such as fighting music and Russians voicelines to warn the player of incoming enemies.

GAMEPLAY

ENEMY VOICELINES 

During my playtest sessions I felt it was really easy to be surprised by enemies without knowing they were there in the first place which can feel frustrating and unfair.

To make sure the player would be more aware of hostiles I added Voicelines that would play at the enemy location once they got close alerting them of nearby danger.

DISTRACTING ENEMIES

When the player is faced with multiple hostiles, he needs a way to isolate them in order to dispatch them discreetly.

To do so I implemented a whistle mechanic that would allow the player to Distract an enemy. When alerted the AI will investigate the origin location of the whistle.

BREAKABLE LIGHTS

I wanted to give the player more flexibility when it came down to the way they infiltrate and move around the compound.

In order to achieve this I added Breakable Lights, it allows them to manipulate their surroundings in their favor to create shadows and hide from hostiles.

EXPLODING BARRELS

I felt like the final sequence of the level when the player faced the last wave of enemies was a little bit too difficult and quickly became overwhelming.

To give the player the upper hand I implemented Exploding Barrels that they could shoot to take down numerous hostiles at once.

PATROLLING AI

It was mandatory for the AI to be flawless since they are the core of the Gameplay.

I created a
 dynamic Patrolling system that would allow me to easily assign paths to hostiles and decide their walking speed as well as their overlay state and more. This made the AI feel considerably more authentic and realistic.

FULL PLAYTHROUGH AND CLOSING THOUGHTS

This was the largest project I've worked on yet. It really pushed my knowledge further especially regarding Artificial Intelligence, Scripting and of course Level Design. I've spent countless hours researching other stealth games to make sure I would create the most accurate prototype and doing so greatly expanded my expertise not only regarding this game genres but also my overall comprehension of Level Design.

After thoroughly reviewing this project there's a few things I would do differently if I were to do it again. One of them would be that
 there was not a lot of cover leaving the player often stuck in the open, a good way to fix this would simply be to add more crates/vehicles in the open or even more foliage such as rocks or tall grass would really help.

"All in all I'm extremely pleased with the result and I would love to work on another project similar to this in the future."

Thank you for reading.

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