- Introduction -

Welcome to the Game Design portfolio of Danny Johnson. You can browse through the various posts for projects in the Post summary to the right. Some of the work uses existing properties for a basis, but I have then created a unique design in the spirit of that game. All work has been created by me unless otherwise noted. You can also visit my game design blog or view my resume.


Challenge (Crackdown)

The Challenge:
Create a nonlinear level design with a set of missions that emphasized the variety of options available within the environment. Time limit is two days.

The Point:
To create a level based around the ideas of freedom and nonlinear gameplay.

The Thought Process:
Freedom in gameplay is a area that I would like to explore as a developer because it attracts me as a game player. I want to get a better understanding of how to create levels where the path to success is not clearly set, but where I can provide a variety of options for how the player may proceed. Ideally no single play style would be the most effective, and almost any play style would be supported.

The Design:
Level design for Crackdown
The key elements to nonlinearity in Crackdown are represented by the different skills the player can increase throughout the game. The skills include Agility which represents the speed and jumping height of the character, Driving which covers vehicle handling, Explosives that affect the blast radius of grenades and rockets, Strength determines melee damage and weight of objects that can be lifted, and Firearms which increases the accuracy and damage of weapons. Each of these skills can be leveled up as little or as much as the player chooses and the level design should accommodate this variety. If the player just wants to use explosives then they should be empowered to use that skill without being prevented by the level layout.

I am building this level so that it would fit into the main game and simply be an extra set of islands for the player to explore. The player could travel to these islands at any time but there would be an expectation that they beat at least one full area already. The skills of the player may still be fairly low, but this level could be also approached later on where the skills of the character are at the maximum.


This design shows the basic layout of the islands and the locations of the bosses. All of the streets are not fleshed out yet as it will be easier to create those specifics when the level is being made. The layout is meant to have mountains in the norther part, a small forested area in the south and cities in the east and west. The center tower would be the hideout of the final boss for the area and there is a raised platform surrounding it with another boss in this area.


A preview of the final result


View the final model or the walkthrough.

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