Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a 3D action platformer developed by Right Nice Games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in Stockholm, Sweden. The game follows the feline heroine Skylar and her comical sidekick Plux as they explore the varied environments of Clover Island to stop the evil C.R.T and discover their destinies. Together they brave lush beaches, merciless deserts and icy peaks throughout this colorful and vibrant adventure.
My main role on the game was a level designer and level artist, my work included both building several levels from idea to finished design, arting levels that had already been designed, and having some input on the story with the narrative director. Over the course of the project I worked on all of the levels in the game in one way or another, being the only level designer and level artist towards the last 5 months of the project.
Oasis is an open level located in the middle of the desert world. Working with Oasis it was my job to introduce one of the three gadgets of the game: the time orb. The time orb manipulates time and can throw players back into the past.
Oasis was featured as the E3 2016 demo. Below is a developer video where I talk about my major design challenges when building the level.
The player needs to make their way down the Oasis and find a way to remove a great stone head that blocks the passage into the ruins that lies beyond.
- Came in and took over from an other LD, basically started over from scratch on all aspects.
- Continued to iterate throughout until gameplay was finished.
- Level art.
- Lit the level along with the art lead
Above you can see the first view the player sees once they have received the time orb and entered the Oasis.
Oasis featured a lot of going back around places where the player had already been to give the player a feeling of progression. In the image above players can look up and see the place where they first entered the level, reminding them where they used to be and how far they have come.
In the slideshow above you can see the puzzle that players need to solve in the Oasis. Players can get to this gate early on and see it right from the start. I built this area to clearly guide the player and draw lines forward. However, the path ahead is blocked by a great head that has fallen down. Above players can see the two puzzle pieces, one of them being a time orb pedestal and the other being a rock. To solve the puzzle the player needs to get to both the pedestal and the rock and knock them down. After having done so they can push the time orb to the head and remove it by throwing it back in time.
Above is an overhead shot of the level with the different paths, challenges and goals marked. In this open level players can go wherever they want to and solve the overarching puzzle in any order they like.
Above you can see the mini-puzzle that introduces the player to how they can use the time orb gadget to throw the world back in time and change the environment. In this puzzle players need to safely pass a plot of deadly quicksand in order to progress. To solve this players must activate two time orb pedestals which will then make the quicksand plot be overgrowing with safe gras, then the player can walk on without trouble. Players need to do this two times to confirm that they have understood how to use the time orb. If they just do it once there is a risk that they simply solve it by accident and learn nothing.
The HUB is the hub world for the game. Players will visit this level four times throughout the game and it is here that they travel between worlds. The idea was to make a big and open playground that would provide something new for the players each time they return from completing a world.
The HUB allows the player to travel between the worlds in the game if they have the gadget required to unlock the path.
- Designed & built the hub challenges and special paths.
- Made a very complete first pass that quickly defined what the hub was in terms of gameplay and art.
- Came up with concepts for and worked with with environmental storytelling.
- Defined the look and feel of the level after communication with leads.
- Level art.
Above is a wide view of the hub level. At first glance the player gets an overview of the look and feel of the entire game. It was built to feel very colorful and somewhat quirky with all the different environments and styles mixing together.
Since the HUB world was so large and open it was important that the player was guided right. In the image above you can see the view that the player has once they enter the level. The environment is designed to point the player towards the great wooden door that leads to the Mountain world. Not only is the view clear, but diamond pick-ups form a trail towards the gate and the movement of the waterfalls also draws the player's eye.
Here you can see the entrance to The Crushing Grounds world. The entrance needed to reflect what players can come to expect from the world before they enter it. Beyond the great iron gate players can see a big flaming generator, which is one of the first landmarks that players will encounter in The Crushing Grounds.
Above you can see the gate that transports the player from the HUB to the Desert world. To access the world players need to use their magnetic glove gadget and lift metal crates onto two buttons that will stop the stream of sand that is pouring out from the two heads on the desert gate and clear the path. On the right- in the shadow of red rock - you can see the metal crates that players need to pick up.
There needed to be many secret paths and locations in the HUB. In the slideshow above you can see a secret area that is located behind a waterfall. The first time players go through the cave under the waterfall they cannot access the secret area. However, if they return later once they gain the Jetpack they can rocket-jump and find the secret area with both a collectible and a vista over the level leading up to the HUB.
Working on Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island I did some minor level scripting. Mainly this involved manipulating objects, such as lights and meshes, and calling functions and systems made by programmers and setting them up in the world.
At the end of the game's tutorial, players come to a room full of drop pods. The player is meant to enter the middle pod and use it to escape from the space station. As a level artist I wanted the room to be filled with drop pods, but I still wanted the attention to be on the main pod in the middle. I solved this with a simple script that turns on a succession of spotlights when the player enters a trigger box to draw attention towards the main drop pod. It was also intended to give the moment of completing the tutorial an extra touch.
The lamp consists of a spotlight that needs to be set to visible, a light beam that has it brightness set from 0 to 1, and finally a static mesh component that has its material switched to an emissive blue. At last a delay is set at the end before the next set of lamps get switched on to add a rhythm to the reveal.
The player returns to the Space level before facing off against the final boss of the game. The player can chose to re-tread the tutorial, but if they want to they can also go through a door that teleports the player to the room just before the boss.
At the very top you can see the script that calls for a function that performs the actual teleportation of the player, and the fade out fade in animation. The bottom image shows the function that is called.
To set this up I simply placed an empty actor in the world as the place to which the player is teleported and then reference it in the level blueprint. The teleporter door is actually just a plane with an emissive material. I simply had to set this plane's collision as a trigger and then call the function when the player overlaps with the door.