Jetburst - 3D Racer

Summary

Jetburst is a fast paced space racer with 6 degrees of freedom. The player needs to enter a underground racing competition in order to pay back a debt. In order to win the player must finish three dangerous tracks.

My Contributions

  • Level design in Unity of 2 out of 3 levels
  • Story Concept and writing
  • Game design
  • Dressing with light and props in level 1 & 3

Project details

  • Single player game
  • Created in 10 weeks - 4 hours/day
  • 15 min gameplay

The Quantum Games Team

Level Designers:  
Fredrik Sjö - Carl-Henrik Andersson
Programmers:
Marcus Stein - Oscar Öhrn - Johan Anderdahl - Oliver Andersen
Artists:
Henrik Giang - Johan Ernstsson - Ted Flodman Söderberg - Magnus Quach
Tech Art:
Peter Hamlin


The Initial design vision - 5th Element in Space

  5th element is using the 6 degree orientation and moving obstacles to create intensity a dynamic scene

5th element is using the 6 degree orientation and moving obstacles to create intensity a dynamic scene

This project entailed a quite heavy load on our team since we needed to construct our own 3D engine. With a limited timeframe this meant less time could be diverted to game play functions. We settled on a 3D space racer with laps since it would give the team a good opportunity to get the engine going but still make a game that had interesting design. 
I started out my vision of designing something akin to the taxi chase from the Luc Besson movie "The 5th Element" using moving obstacles and the interior of large structures to create intensity and progression.

 

  Some of the other ideas I picked up before starting the top-down

Some of the other ideas I picked up before starting the top-down

  Looking at F1 racing track layouts I created a rough picture of what i wanted to achive

Looking at F1 racing track layouts I created a rough picture of what i wanted to achive

Instant Learning - The tutorial

I was tasked with creating two levels for Jetburst. Some effort had to put in to pull it off but by creating the first and last level I was offered a set of interesting different design challenges. For the tutorial I had just a few minutes to teach the player the basis of the game and at the same time grabbing their attention. Shaping the entire level as a curve I could apply the 6 degree oriented gameplay in a increasing difficulty and at the end I provided the player with a lesson in boosted speed. By combining the curved form and emissive texture the player could be guided without the difficulty curve being to steep

Tutorial level with long smooth curves build for learning

  Using assets with emission in a curved layout gave the player a clear indication where to go

Using assets with emission in a curved layout gave the player a clear indication where to go

Circular track - Asset Recycling

Using laps as a feature meant we would have to make circular tracks. Early on I felt a factory interior with moving parts would be a interesting part. It would take a lot of resources so in order to maximise the usage of the factory building I made a block out shaped like a 8 with the factory in the middle. Thus the player would race through the factory interior 2 times each lap. This meant that every hour I spent iterating on the factory would give 6 times as much as if I would have constucted a straight racing track.
 

The Player will come back to the middle point enabling me to focus extra on that part

  The importance of the factory required a interesting first entry

The importance of the factory required a interesting first entry

Working with the Quantum team

As a team we developed our own engine. Starting out from scratch we had both opportunities and limitations. While we had good lightning and a modular set of meshes the collision only allowed for instant death on collision. I tried to maximize the usage of the limited functions by creating levels that integrated light in the design and reusing unique pieces, such as our spaceships, to create a diverse environment.
Since my levels required some additional coding to get the 5th element-feeling I had to be clear with my ideas but also receptive to their input so the ideas would not strain the project with cumbersome code and functionality. Iterating together with Programmers, Art and Tech-Art we managed to get a path system up and running that gave a resemblance of my original idea. 

  Not spot on the 5th element but the gameplay drawn from the path-system was interesting  and contributed to making the level feel more alive

Not spot on the 5th element but the gameplay drawn from the path-system was interesting  and contributed to making the level feel more alive

Closing thoughts

While I worked hard with the iterations of my level this project was really a team-effort. Many of the best parts of my levels were the result of a combined effort from all disciplines. While I learned a lot about designing tracks, sight-lines and player movement I think the most valuable piece of wisdom drawn from this project lies in the field of communication. Explaining and receiving ideas and concepts with a open mind is skills I improved during the development of Jetburst.