Building the level

It’s time to build the playable level in-engine. As I mentioned right at the beginning of the research project, I’ll be building it as a mod for Fallout: New Vegas using the tools and assets made available to me to allow quick prototyping, as this project is focused on the theory rather than assets involved in making a horror level.

The way assembling interior levels works in the New Vegas editor (Known as the Garden of Eden Creation Kit) is that all assets are modular, with the editor giving you meshes for straight hallways, corners, room walls, floors and more. It all works as a kit that you can put together, and due to that, it allows for quick level creation (Compared to other workflows where you must model an entire room before hand and import it in full into a game engine, which is time consuming and prone to lighting issues and more.)

First, I’ll start off by building the reception area of the lab. This area will seem fairly normal, with nothing out the ordinary, in order to play with player expectations.

Screenshot 2016-04-13 00.13.48

Unlit and mostly unfurnished. The very left will be where the player starts the level, with the doors behind them locked. The rubble pieces are there to foreshadow the coming ruined facility, and stop the player from going in unintended directions.

Furnished Reception

Here’s the reception, mostly furnished and done-up. Fallout: New Vegas is set in a post-apocalyptic environment and most of its assets reflect this, so I’ve had to use the least-ruined assets I could find, however I believe I’ve done a good job at it.

Ruined office

The next room over is where the tension is introduced – The player will be presented with a ruined office scene with blood and skeletons plastered around, showing that something horrible has happened here, however the player will know that the only way they can keep going is forward.

Lab Hallway

This is the hallway that leads the player into the lab proper – Built in a similar way to a previous hallway I made several blog posts ago when doing light tests (We’ll come back to lighting in this level in the next blog post)

This is where the main puzzle solving will take place. This area is freeform and serves as the “Calm before the storm” point of the level. The player has to make their way left to eventually escape, but will find a locked door. They will need to activate two switches before they can open the door preventing them from moving on to the next area. On activating the second switch, the creature starts following them.

Surgery Lab Area

By the time the player enters this area, they’ll be being pursued. Due to that, the zone is made up of various hallways that run in circles, to that the player is able to trick and get away from the creature to buy themselves some time. Ultimately, the player wants to get from the very right to the very left (Which is closed off by another locked door they need to find a switch to pass through), and onwards to the ending area.

Final Area

After passing through the locked door, the player will have to progress through this final, linear section, getting to the left. Once they reach the left, the level will fade out as the player is surrounded by multiple creatures.