Skylar & Plux
Roles: Level Design, Level Art, Blueprint Scripting
Time: 3 weeks
Team Size: Solo
Tools: Unreal Engine 4
Contribution: Level Design, Level Art, Gameplay Scripting
Skylar & Plux is a third-person platformer, where you play as the herione Skylar together with her sidekick Plux to prevent
Clover Island from being conquered by the evil C.R.T.
The level is targeted at players who have completed the original game.
The objective of the level is to save your friend and sidekick Plux, who has been trapped in a cage.
It is a very focused goal, which makes the level a skill-check of
the basic actions (run, jump, fight) and the usage of the two main features.
The two main features to the level are the Falling Platforms and Swing Ropes.
The level also contains lava, enemies (Swambots & Gatling Turrets), and Fire Shooting Statues (scripted by me).
Leading the player & Other Details
The player spawns on top of a broken bridge.
Opposite to the player, on the other side of the bridge, is the sidekick Plux trapped in a cage.
I lead the player’s eye by framing the cage with an arch, which has rounded edges that stand out from the angular shapes in the scene.
I also use light and motion to lead the eye, by having a spotlight aimed at the cage, and just below the cage there are particles of electrical sparks.
When the player takes a few steps forward, they can see that the bridge's end pieces are leaning down,
and lights & falling platforms are revealed around the corner. The player can now see where to head next.
The camera of Skylar & Plux has a default angle of looking down at the player.
Every swing and important points of interest have been placed considering this.
The second section is a corridor. Here the player is taught how the falling platforms and swings work.
First the player gets to use them safely above solid ground, before introducing the risk of falling into lava at the end of the corridor.
The third section is a lava filled room. A solid platform is placed in the middle of the room,
which stands out from the otherwise red lava. To the right, there is higher ground with lavafalls
flowing off it, leading the player’s eye with motion. Once can also see falling platforms and swings
leading to around the corner, showing the player this is a possible way to go.
When having crossed the lava filled room, the player finds themself in a cave opening.
Suddenly, a crashing noise is heard, following a camera shake and changing music to a quicker song,
adding tension for the final challenge. Rocks fall from the right side of the cave ceiling, making the player focus to the right side.
Here, the player can see the goal, their sidekick’s cage. It stands out from the rest of the level
with a spotlight, an industrial arch, and a cold blue light.
After the rocks have fallen from the ceiling, the lava will start to rise.
I have placed rocks in the lava to more easily see how quickly the lava is rising (in this picture it has already risen for a few seconds).
Because of the statue’s different heights, one can also more clearly measure the level of the lava according to them.
See Plux in the cage on the other side of the bridge
Learn how the falling platforms and swings work
Cross the lava and reach the checkpoint at the safe platform
Venture out above the open lava filled room
Fight enemies on a safe platform
Plan your moves from the safe platform
Continue your way in the lava filled room
Quickly jump between the falling platforms
Get to the cave’s opening with a checkpoint, where the tension then heightens with rocks falling and the lava starting to rise
Swing and long jump across lava
Time your jumps with the fire shooting statues
Jump between falling platforms by the double statues
Do a final jump to reach the platform and save Plux from the cave
Playthrough with gifs
2. Learn how the falling platforms and swings work
3. Cross the lava and reach the checkpoint at the safe platform
4. Venture out above the open lava filled room
5. Fight enemies on a safe platform
6. Plan your moves from the safe platform
7. Continue your way in the lava filled room
8. Quickly jump between the falling platforms
9. Get to the cave’s opening with a checkpoint, where the tension then heightens with rocks falling and the lava starting to rise
10. Swing and long jump across lava
11. Time your jumps with the fire shooting statues
12. Jump between falling platforms by the double statues
13. Do a final jump to reach the platform and save Plux from the cave
Set-Piece: Lava & Industrial
Variation in level art pacing:
1. Broken bridge
2. Industrial corridor
3. Open industrial room
4. Open cave
With the level art I wanted to set a dangerous mood.
I achieve this with the contrast between lava and darkness.
There are different songs playing at different times at levels as well, which adds to the tension and atmosphere.
I wrote custom blueprints for special actions happening in the level, including falling rocks,
rising lava, fire spurting statues, and the trigger which opens Plux’s cage and lets the player win the level.