MADNESS IN THE MOUNTAIN OF ARKHAM
A floor plan project made based on an imaginary game concept.
The Madness In The Mountains of Arkham is a single-player first-person cosmic horror survivor game where the player takes on a role of a detective from Arkham whose son went missing 15 years ago, soon the case went cold and his son was declared dead.
This is tied to the history of Arkham where the worshippers of the ancient gods were driven out of the town into the mountains with the invasion of Christianity. Since then, the disappearance of children happens every 15 years in the town. The detective’s child was one of the victims.
This year was the 15th year and sure enough, a child went missing. Rumors from a town's folk rekindled the case again and this time you are determined to head into the mountains and find this group of worshippers in hopes of finding your son.
Through these settings, I could determine that the game will involve stealth heavily. I also thought about what would an isolated village hid away from the developing society would look like as well as what would be present in such a village.
I also thought about what kind of room and buildings such a village that has been stuck in a certain time period would contain. After identifying the type of rooms needed, I make a rough sketch of what the level layout would look like.
Being an occult village that revolves around the Chuthulu mythos, I could see that the inhabitants of the village would prioritize a summoning area to conduct rituals attempting to summon their god. Therefore, I started on the summoning area and build the village around it.
Level Phase 01: Dominating Feature
When designing this level, I envisioned the level to be huge due to the game involving a lot of hiding and exploration.
The danger of exploration is that the players would easily lose their way in the game. I thought of a way to give a sense of direction by adding a dominating feature within the map.
My intention is for the players to notice this area and would know that they have to head towards this place when they are done exploring.
As the setting will be in the forested mountains, I plan to make the trees one of the objects within the level that the players could use to hide from the villagers while trying to maneuver through the village.
Level Phase 02: Terrain Height
When considering how the level could be built to maximize the stealth mechanic of the game, I find just having covers like sheds, bushes, rocks, or other obstacles like objects in the level very one-dimensional.
After a few iterations, I thought of how I could use the different heights of the terrain and incorporate them into the level. It would work well with the stealth mechanic as the player can get to higher ground and scout the area before going deeper into the village.
The players will be able to prepare mentally of they would be facing when they go into the level. From this sketch, I have also determined that the terrain height would be descending with the centerpiece being the dominating feature. This would also enhance the sense of direction for the players.
Level Phase 03: First Draft
The next step in my process was to design the interior of the dominating feature.
As the village contains worshippers of the ancient gods, I decided to make this feature a church.
Taking some references from actual churches, there would be benches lined up for the worshippers to sit.
There would also be statues of the old gods and behind the statue would be a secret entrance where the players can go down to find the missing child.
Level Phase 04: First Draft of Terrain
After defining the dominating feature, I moved towards making defining the height of the terrain with the lowest area holding the dominating feature.
Level Phase 05: Details and Spreading
I began to slowly fill up the surroundings of the dominating feature with the houses of the villagers. I decided to include an event in the center of these buildings where the worshippers gather. Each of the trees is in this area is placed to enable the player to sneak past the villagers if they choose to.
Level Phase 06: Entry Area
For the entrance of the level, I was not sure how I would want it to look from the player’s perspective. Therefore I turn to the concept thumbnail method to get a rough idea of how the entrance would look along with how the cutscene will play when the player reaches the entrance. From this concept, I positioned objects and trees in the environment to replicate the look of the thumbnail
End Result: All Tied In
With more houses placed around the area, I began to setup up paths and alternative paths for the player so that the player will be able to freely explore the area and not get tied down by a fixed route. In addition to making obvious alternate paths, the difficulty level is controlled based on zones as well as the number of items discoverable within each house. The player goes deeper into the village, the lesser items they will be able to get from exploring.
This project is a floor plan done for a level that takes place in a secluded open area. The game idea takes inspiration from games like Outlast 2, Amnesia, and Until Dawn.
: 03 Weeks
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