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Quick Facts

  • Game: Gears of War
  • Engine: Unreal Engine 3
  • Role:┬áLevel Designer
  • Tasks: Concept, Gameplay, Scripting, Environment
  • Time: 6 wks (10-15 hours/week)
  • Assignment: Create 10 to 15 minutes of gameplay in Gears of War

Design Goals

  • Provide a new twist to the cover mechanic by keeping players constantly moving to new cover
  • Script a new mechanic/environmental weapon into Gears of War using only Kismet
  • Craft an environment that blends with Gears of War and can visually fit into an established area

Overview

This is a singleplayer, action-shooter level with tactical, cover-driven combat. It is set in a battle-scarred academy campus overrun with Locust. For this level, I scripted a new hazard (Rocket Mortars) and enemy type (The Spotter). The Rocket Mortars make for an exciting addition to the standard Gears of War gameplay by forcing the player to constantly move from cover to cover or explode in bloody mess.

Rocket Mortars: A New Mechanic/ Environmental Hazard

Players must avoid the Rocket Mortars while fighting through waves of enemies. When in the courtyard, a Locust spotter targets the player with a spotlight. The spotter is guiding the Rocket Mortars launched in the distance towards the player’s position. When they launch, a particle spawns at the players feet letting him know that an impact at that position is imminent. Players then have a few seconds to get out of the way before the Rocket Mortars hit. Skilled players can guide enemies into the path of the Rocket Mortars and at the end of the level, all players take control of the spotlight and turn the Rocket Mortars against the Locust.

Overview Map (Click for Larger Image)

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Level Walkthrough (+ Video!)

Part 1: Intro + The First Battle

The level begins with an introduction to the new Rocket Mortar mechanic. Players walk forward as the Spotter targets an old archway. The Rocket Mortar indicator appears, showing players that Rocket Mortars will fall at that spot. The Rocket Mortars hit and destroy the archway.

Players engage in the first battle, using the walls of the stairway for cover. Whenever the Rocket Mortar indicator appears, it means a strike is imminent. Players have a few seconds to move out of the way or be blown to bits. Two enemy Drones and a Theron Guard attack, advancing up the stairs directly or using the sides to flank the player.

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Part 2: Advance!

After defeating the first wave, two Wretches rush from the overgrown grass on the side of the building. As players deal with the wretches and advance forward, more Drones and Wretches charge from the alleyway at the end of the courtyard. Players now use the middle area of the courtyard, moving from cover to cover, battling enemies. The cover layout allows smooth transitions to avoid the Rocket Mortars and multiple lanes of attack for both the player and the enemy Locust.

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Part 3: Here they Come!

When players dispatch the second wave and advance to the end of the courtyard, an emergence hole opens in the covered alleyway, spitting out two Drones and a Grenadier. The Grenadier rushes headlong at players while enemy drones try to flank, forcing players to make use of the large, circular fountain as cover. The fountain lets players stay protected while providing a smooth route for multiple angles of attack and flanking.

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Part 4: Cooldown

Players get a brief cool-down moment after taking out the enemies from the emergence hole and moving to the safety of the covered alley. After collecting some ammo, players enter the school. As players approach the door leading in, it suddenly bursts open and two wretches leap out. Two shotgun blasts to the head never fails.

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Part 5: Time for School!

Moving through the first floor of the school keeps the tension high as players move down the twisting hallway. A Drone bursts out of the door at the end of the hallway but is easily put down. Players then move up the burnt out stairway to the destroyed top of the school. A drone guards the top of the stairs, but again, the shotgun makes quick work of this foe. Taking cover against a wall, players can take out the Mortar Spotter using a well-aimed grenade.

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Part 6: Time to Turn the Tables!

Players take control of the Mortar Spotlight as a horde of Locusts rushes the courtyard. Aiming the spotlight allows players to control where Rocket Mortars will hit, letting them turn the tables on the Locust. Boomers kick down a door at the north end of the courtyard revealing an exit.

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Part 7: Get out of here!

After using the Rocket Mortars to take out most of the enemy, players head back down through the building which has now been overrun by Locust Drones. After taking them out and getting back outside, players are then free to mop-up any enemies and escape through the door at the north end of the courtyard, completing the level.

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