April 3, 2011 - Home

Development Time: 8 months (4 months for a prototype with a 4 person team, 4 months of production with an 8 person team)

Team Size: 8

Engine: UDK

Position: Level designer

During the second semester of my senior year I worked on Carnero. Carnero is a first person shooter/platformer. The premise of Carnero is simple. El Dorado in space. You play as a scrap salvager who happens upon the find of a lifetime, the lost gold transport ship named Carnero. Once onboard the ship you realize that you weren’t the first to have found it. Others before you had tried to take the gold for themselves, but they all met with a similar fate…you guessed it, agonizing death.

To take the gold you’ll have to face the hazards of the ship, traveling through darkly lit maintenance tunnels, down crumbling elevator shafts, and over lots and lots of crates. However, the true killer in Carnero isn’t the infrastructure or failure to maintain safety codes, but the hordes of mechanical deviants that are hell bent on exterminating any and all life forms.

The player will have to figure out puzzles on the fly, using his/her companion AI’s ability to control the ship’s environmental systems to survive. These environmental systems are unlocked as the player progresses through the game, first giving the power of magnetism, then cooling and finally heating. Each ability will have to be used in order to survive the onslaught of killer machines. If the player can do that, he/she will become very, very rich.

I was a level designer on this project. I whiteboxed, meshed and lit the first and fourth level. I also had to do script the matinee sequences and do all of the kismet in these levels, however, the lead designer on my team contributed some of the kismet.

Level 1:

The player begins in an airlock, and is then allowed to explore the ship.

The player will immediately notice decals posted on the walls, showing that people have been living on this ship previously.

Next the player will find a long catwalk.

The player will realize that there is something else even more interesting down below…Gold! oh and robots which are transporting it to another location.

The hallway will then open up to a glass walkway where the player can get another glimpse of the world they are orbiting. A bit of foreshadowing is introduced to give a sense of the impending dangers ahead.

The player will have their first encounter with one of the many platforming puzzles, and will also be introduced to the enemy machines which will threaten them throughout the game.

The level culminates in the AI core. This is where the player must load his/her companion AI into the ship’s core, which then unlocks the various environmental abilities that will be given to the player throughout the rest of the game.


Level 4:

The fourth level is based on the ability to use fire. The player will have to do various puzzles which require platforming and timing skills, not to mention the challenge of surviving the enemy machines which are scattered around the level.

The concept behind the design in this level was based around the concept of a large storage facility. There are 9 “shelves” which the ship’s AI has used for stacking and storing its various supplies. The player must figure out a path which will lead him/her to the far end of the level.

As you can tell, the room is quite cluttered. It will take some problem solving skills to get to the end.

In the level are various valves which the player will need to shoot and destroy using the fire ability, this will result in an explosion, which results in a new path being opened up for the player to navigate.

The exploding valve launches a section of pipe into a cargo door, breaking it open to allow the player access.

Once the player navigates through the shelving room they will find themselves in a long service tunnel. This tunnel is complete with a cargo shuttle which the player will get to ride.

Getting to kill robots by using the fire ability and the shuttle’s fuel reserves is quite entertaining I must say.

This section of the game took a good deal of time to create, but I am proud of the overall look and feel. To break up the monotony of it, however, I added in a transition where the player must exit the shuttle in order to open up another section of the tunnel.

And then, after another series of enemy encounters the player is finally rewarded with even more bad guys to blow up…and also a transition into level 5.