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The Escape is a stealth game driven by the player's exploration. The main purpose of the game was to create a narrative that encouraged the player to explore the environment, and interact with different characters and locations. The main objective of the game was to collect all the key items (keys, cards, USB sticks), and escape the building in one piece. 

I was tasked in making this game as part of my second year at university with a team consisting of myself and a programmer. We both worked together on different aspects of the design and production to deliver the game at the end of the academic year. This later showcased at a university event to industry professionals where I received a lot of feedback about the narrative and overall design, with the project getting a lot of positive feedback. 

Design Goals
  • Create an engaging story that can be told through the environment. 

  • Design a branching narrative to give the player multiple gameplay paths, each with their own purpose and outcomes.

  • Designing the narrative to make sure the player gets subtle hints through both the environment and their actions of the story and their place in it. 

  • Design assets and textures in a modular way to be re-used in multiple parts of the map and game. 

  • Creating a level to reflect the mood and feeling of the narrative. 

  • Create a minimalistic but intuitive UI system to give the player all the information they need. 

  • Designing gameplay mechanics and integrating them with the environment for unique and interesting events. 


Microsoft Windows


Unreal Engine 4.18 


C++, Blueprints


7 Months, 2017

Tools Used 

Unreal Engine, 3ds Max, Maya, Mudbox, Quixel Suite, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Speed Tree


Level designer, gameplay designer, UI/UXdesigner, 3D artist, whiteboxing, prototyping, narrative designer

Core Mechanics

Even though this list isn't extensive, it covers the main and interesting aspects of the level.

Shadow Stealth

The different lighting areas in the level accompanied with crouching allows the player to stay hidden in plain sight. 

Crouching -

While allowing you to get into hidden rooms and vents, crouching also makes the player less visible to roaming AI. 

Shadows - 

Standing in the shadows greatly reduced the chances of being caught, but usually for short periods of time as the roaming AI will actively turn lights on in each room. 

Objects of interest

Key quest related items and objects of interest in the environment will actively get the player's attention. 

Highlights - 

Objects of interest will highlight with a post-processing effect on their edges as the player gets closer to them.

Central Focus - 

When an object is highlighted, Maya can focus on it's location, centering it in the screen, and zooming in on it. 

Mob AI

Friendly AI can be released at key locations in the environment to aid Maya in her escape for a short period of time. 

When spawned the mob AI has a 50% chance to be either damaging or suppressive.

Damage - 

When damaging, the mob AI will actively seek to eliminate enemy AI in range. 

Suppression - 

When suppressing, the mob AI will seek to pin down enemy AI for Maya to eliminate or move pass. 

Story Design

In the early stages of production, a simple gameplay chart was made as a guide to planning the different narratives and paths the player could take. This method was extremely helpful in order to see the overall picture of the game, and plan the interactions logically based on this so that they correspond to each other correctly. Another benefit of this practice was the help it gave when communicating the ideas and overall plan to any other members of the team, which in this case is the programmer. 

With this chart I was able to see what options/pathways needed more work and development that others, and with this information able to make clear design decisions in a non-destructive format. Overall the use of this practice greatly with the design of the game from start to finish, and will later be developed to encompass more elements of the game's design. 

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Level Design

Designed by myself, the abandoned asylum keeps to a realistic, PBR style seen in many similar games before, namely being Resident Evil 7. The whole complex is run down and damaged, but not completely broken. There's no soundtrack or vocals added to the game currently, but planned to be added at a later date. The soundtrack will be quiet with eery tones to keep the player on edge, changing to a more fast paced track when the player is combat to fit the situation. Along with this, the subtle groans and murmurers of guards and undead alike will keep the player on their toes in suspense; and unpredictable light flickering noises will grab their attention. 

The scene was designed with a mostly solid idea in mind, following a key critical path of areas we wanted the player to visit and interact with. However, as the scene was progressing, more design decisions were made about the elements in the level. These being in terms of what elements of the level to interact with, how they affected gameplay, and how they changed the overall narrative of the level. An example of this is the player flipping the fuses in the security room, which in turn lights a spark in the mess hall, eliminating half of the enemies in that room. 


The narrative and history of the level was told in the smaller details, such as the sweeps of blood on the floor, flipped and move furniture, and damaged architecture. These story hints appear mostly in the start of the level, with the later parts of the level being more clean and polished, as if someone has recently occupied the building and is slowly repairing it. 

The first floor (where the player starts) was designed to be shortly explored before heading downstairs, but also to reflect the rest of the level that's to come after. Downstairs however, was designed to more closely reflect a horror film in terms of lighting, atmosphere, and overall mood. To guide the player through the level while keeping the feeling of the level in tact, a lighting system was designed and implemented. This system had lights on key areas that would flicker in an unpredictable pattern, with the in-between spaces being darker, to show key doors, items, and locations. 

Throughout the level there are various signs to guide the player around, or encourage different actions. For example some of the signs are damaged and barely visible from when the building was in use, and others - namely being the lever writing in the security room - written by the guards to discourage actions; which in turn uses the idea of reverse psychology with the player's response. 

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