- 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 (Fear 2)

The Challenge:
Create a level for F.E.A.R 2. The time limit is one day.

The Purpose:
To adapt to a certain style of level design while keeping a certain degree of originality.

The Thought Process:

First off I must admit that I have just started playing Fear 2 and did not get the chance to play much of the original Fear game. I am creating a level for Fear 2 because I want to try to achieve the balance between action scenarios with well conceived cover positioning and slower sections playing on a sense of uncertainty.

Fear 2 would seemingly be boring because the environments are set in office buildings, but the threatening atmosphere create tensions even in this familiar surrounding. My task is to represent this environment faithfully while considering the elements that make the game interesting- dynamic firefights that require constant movement and short bursts of horror. Another key attribute of Fear 2 levels is that they have a constant flow by providing a straightforward path without seeming too obvious that the player is being led down a path. The player should be able to get a bearing on where they have been and where they should potentially be going, which may be more difficult than it appears because of the repetitive nature of office buildings.

The Design:
This level could be considered to be an alternate version of an environment in the early part of the game. The goal of the player at this point is to find Genevieve Aristide who is located in an upper floor of the building, so the sub-goal is for the player to find a way to get up. The size of the level depends on the work flow, but there should be a complete scenario with enemies and items placed throughout. There should be at least one major “horror” events with smaller frightening situations included in the design and placed appropriately between action setups. There will be several major battle scenarios with smaller firefights happening in between, and each one should be suitably unique. Specific design for the level will now be fleshed out in the paper design phase and then move onto implementation.

The Specifics:
I initially had an idea that the player would have to navigate to a exposed part of the building to get to the next level. I devised a general flow through the floor plan and created the rooms to fit the path. I mentally walked through each room to figure out how to make the combat interesting, but also how to provide non-critical path sections that the player could easily explore.

  1. Player start- The player arrives from the stairwell but still needs to continue by finding a way to the next floor.

  2. First fight- The player can faintly see enemies through the frosted glass windows and is prepared for the first fight. The player has the drop on the enemies and can choose to take down one of the two enemies on either side of the room, but then must quickly attack the other before he can respond. Two more enemies enter the room to add some surprise to this fight.

  3. First exploration- This hallway has dimmed lights, but there is no actual haunting yet. There is a store room and bathrooms to search that may seem to have a scare imminent but do not. The player would be able to see through the blocked doorway to the elevators, but probably can't tell they are inoperable from here.

  4. Major fight- The player has to jump over a low barrier to enter the main hall but does not see any enemies right away. Enemies then appear behind the barriers, and shortly after another enemy attacks from the balcony above. The barriers present and uncommon type of cover that seem to force forward movement, but the player can still see through the gaps to get a partial view of the opposite side. There are small pillars in the middle that provide some cover when moving but not enough protection to staying there. The player can choose to retreat out the doors to either side which have very little cover but remove the threat from above. As enemies are killed, new waves enter through the far doors but also a few new attackers come from behind on the second floor. The player may also notice that the elevator does not appear to be working on that floor, but they can continue on without this information if it is overlooked.

  5. Cool down- There is a short breather with a room to explore and debris to navigate, but the cool down is short lived.

  6. First scare- From around the corner the player can see a shadow of a person cast upon the floor. Turning the corner the player does not see a person, but there is a bright light pointing in their direction. The light is coming from an open door but the player cannot see what is in the room. When the player reaches the room, the light suddenly goes out to reveal that the player has walked off the edge of the building and begins to fall. The light flashes back on and the player realizes they are just in a supply closet. Their reward for enduring the scare is a shield pickup. It should also be noted that the player could choose to skip this scare and continue ahead, but they will see the shadow which lets them choose if they want to investigate or not.

  7. Ambush- The player enters an eating area with tables that can be used as cover, but no enemies appear yet. There is rubble blocking the way so the player must jump into the fountain to get through. Before the player can exit the other side of the fountain enemies appear. The player can then choose to stay in the fountain which provides some cover, retreat back to the tables, or continue to push ahead and attack close quarters. This fight is meant to promote movement either forward or backward, and even if the player stays put they need to stay nimble in the small fountain area which does not protect them from all sides.

  8. Last search- One last section to search around in before you reach the other side of the building. The player can move to the end of the hallway and see a stairway through the blocked door, but still need to find a way up.

  9. Room with a view- The player enters the room to see two enemies looking out of the broken wall to the city below. If the player shoots the enemies at this point they will fall out of the hole, but if they are alerted they will put up a fight. Looking out the hole the player sees the city and night sky. One of the stars is brighter than the other, and after a moment the light becomes Alma flying at high speed directly at the camera, then she dissolves before impact. Next to the hole leading upward is a piece of rubble that has ladder like footholds, and when the player walks near the scene fades out.

You can view the final screenshots, model, or watch the walkthrough to see how the level turned out.

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