This was a two week project in narrative/environmental level design. We were a team of 3 game designers, 2 2D artists and 3 3D artists. Our theme was medieval fantasy, which we got along with most of the 3D assets already done. Me and the two other designers came up with a plot, which was story boarded by the 2D artists. Then we worked on three rooms which were jointed together into a single level. I made the bottom room, the dungeon. All of us worked on the cinematic scenes together. The project was made in Unreal Engine.
This small project was very hard, yet tremendously fun to do. One of the assets which the 3D artists had made was a windmill. We had many discussions on how to incorporate that windmill into our plot, and while one of the other designers thought it could be dropped altogether, I didn’t want to do that for the sake of the 3D artist, who probably didn’t care at all anyway. We talked about it with the teacher, who said we should just drop it. That was a good lesson for me to learn. It wasn’t exactly “kill your darlings” in this case, but close to it.
As with many other projects, this one had some overscoping to it. For example, we planned a back story to the dwarven king, having him drink so much beer because he had lost his daughter. But we dropped it and in the end it became a pure comedic hunt to gain ingredients for beer. We didn’t always agree, but everyone contributed well to the project and the end result was just the fun mini-game we wanted. I must also add that I really felt at home working at this project, being fantasy-themed and with a comedic tone.
Intro and objective
The level starts with the dwarven king coming down from his throne, slamming the beer glass into the counter, demanding a beer. You start with just enough ingredients for one beer, to show what is needed to make one. Then, as the beer runs out, the king asks for more, giving an objective.
Starting the hunt
As you go down into the basement, you will see it’s a big mess in there. Pots laying emptied everywhere, with footprints here and there. It shows something is not right here.
Meeting the bird
The bird is the second character you meet. Close to it, there is a pot of hops. You can decide to take it, or you can lower the birdcage and take some birdseeds instead. They each bring a different ending of the level.
Spotting the culprit
As you head back, you will spot the culprit – a leprechaun. He will also see you, and run back towards the prison, in great fear. In the heat of the moment, he dropped his hat, which you pick up. It could be a useful ransom.
Entering the prison
In the prison, you will notice the leprechaun broke out of his jail and dropped both of his shoes. You will find a key for one of the locked cells, where a drunk dwarf is sleeping. An athlete’s foot grows on him, which, as the leprechaun has eaten all the yeast, will have to do as a substitute for that.
Catching the leprechaun
You go back a bit and follow the tracks of the leprechaun to the well of the dungeon. You drag him up and trade his hat for the remainder of the malt. Then, he jumps down again, still being scared of you. With all the ingredients you need, you head back to the king.
Making another beer
Depending on if you used the hops or the birdseed, you will get two different endings. The hops will make a regular beer, which will make the king fall asleep, just like all the other dwarves of the castle.
If you took the birdseed, he will grow a pair of wings and fly away.
Below, I have two videos with commentaries/story telling by a text to speech software. It’s the only sound, so if you want them off, just turn down the volume. But I recommend you to listen, it has some comedic value to it, which enhances the experience.