Fast-Paced Action Combat in a Magical World

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Cyrah's Ascent is a 3D combat game with a focus on magical projectiles that is currently in production. I am serving as the design lead and level designer on the project. Cyrah's Ascent aims to deliver fast-paced ranged combat and entertaining traversal challenges as players fight through a magical world filled with danger.

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Level Walkthrough

Composition & Guidance

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As gameplay begins, it is important for players to be guided towards this shrine. The shrine activates several of the player's abilities, so it had to be clear that players are intended to approach it. The railings on either side as well as the details on the wall all create nice leading lines toward the shrine that are further reinforced by the lighting on the shrine itself. The pillars also provide some framing of the shrine making it clear where to go. Once the player reaches the shrine, they are expected to head up the stairs leading behind the shrine. This is reinforced with leading lines from the rubble on the right and the statue on the left.

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Here, the player needed to be guided to a platforming challenge and reach the area by the flag. The contrast of the flag against the rock behind it helps identify the platform as a goal for the player to reach and the broken bridge beside it is used through the game to indicate a gap players will have to jump across. The surrounding foliage creates leading lines toward the platform and the white paint decals further signify that the rocks can be traversed.

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In this platforming segment, the player must dash across two gaps and then head up and past the statue in the upper right. Again, the broken bridges are used to indicate an intended platforming gap for the player to traverse. The tree branches and rock crevices are used to point the player towards the statue. The statue then points the player toward the path to the final boss arena.

Stages of the
Level Design Process

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This is a space right before the second enemy encounter in the game. In the initial greybox, it was intended to introduce a ranged enemy that would pop out of the walls on the right hand side. By the time the image on the right was taken, the encounter had been changed to include several melee enemies and the play space was widened to accommodate that. Now, the whole encounter has been moved to a semi-interior to the right of the bottom image. The path the character is on leads around the blocked front door to give the player a view of the boss arena in the distance on the left side of the photo.

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These images are taken from a combat arena that leads up to a big viewpoint. The greybox simply sculpted out the dimensions of the area, but by the second image the elevations and enemy placements had been largely decided. Now, the encounter has been properly decorated and the path up to the viewpoint has been changed to a tunnel to give a sense of contraction before opening up to the big scene reveal below.

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This area was always intended to be a major scenic viewpoint for the game. In the greybox, the intention was that the player had reached a peak and could look down on the final boss arena that they must traverse to. By the time of the second image, I had decided to lower the peak somewhat, and raise the arena area to make it feel more imposing. The shot remained relatively cluttered, so eventually the arena was given a more distinct  mountainous shape and excess decoration was shaved off.