Level Design - Metrics

Design Metrics for Temple of Haoma

In one of my recent blog posts, I broke down the level design of the Temple of Haoma. Here I focused on the flow and layout of the level along with the many of the challenges the player faced. In this post, I’m going to detail how I came to those design choices and the metrics I used to build the level.

The Temple of Haoma started with a few sketches a flow node map and a 2D layout to detail how those elements came together. It was tempting to jump right in and start blocking out based on those details, but To make my life as a designer more manageable, I decided to build a test room for planning my design metrics the following were the goals of my test room.

  • Create terrain at different elevations to test step offset & height.

  • Create a series of gaps to determine jump length.

  • Create various objects to test min and max cover height.

  • Place an enemy with simple detection logic to test cover and detection range

  • Create angled terrain to test walk/run angles.

  • Create crawlspaces to test the min height.

Many of the above factors rely heavily on the dimensions of the player. Based on my early design docs, the player was a wolf. Therefore I came up with the following dimensions (W x H x L) 1 m x 1 m x 2 m. A little light research helped back these numbers up along with some rounding to keep the numbers clean to base the rest of my level off on.

From here, I started creating my building blocks. 1 x 1 (W x L) I used this to first create a hallway I began with a 5 x 1 width but ultimately felt this was too constricting to the player and the third person camera. I settled on a 12 x 1 hallway as a good starting point. Since I was designing a temple, I wanted to give this space a grand feel and felt like the additional room also served the stealth mechanics well.

With my basic width, I created a 12 x 12 floor chunk and would eventually use this to start laying out the level. This chunk was also used in the test room to begin mapping out all the different terrain. After building the environment and testing mechanics, I came up with the following metrics.

  • Player height = 1 m

  • Camera height = 1.5 m

  • Cover Height = 0.85 m

  • Crouch height = 0.65 m

  • Crawlspace height = 0.75 m

  • Entrance clearance = 1.5 m

  • Interaction Range = 0.25 m

  • Enemy Height = 1.8 m ~ 2.0 m

  • Enemy Visibility = 10 m~ 20 m

  • Max run angle = 30°

  • Max walk angle = 45°

  • Jump Distance = 5 m

  • Doorway min width = 3 m

The above metrics really helped in blocking out my level and having standards to conform to. However there was several metrics I did not plan for that after earl test plays I wish I did. One example was player speed. Although I set numbers for these values in code early on I didn’t test these enough in the early stages to know if things lined up well. I had to make several revisions based on that factor alone. In addition fall damage and fall height threshold became immediately apparent as players threw them selves off the ledge immediately In hopes of finding secret areas. To solve that problem I concluded a 25 m fall height would result in damage.

In the end design metrics really helped me in building out the level in an efficient and manageable manner. For my next I project I do plan to further extrapolate on my metrics and been studying other titles to learn and discover what metrics are being used. I’ll leave you with a quick preview of some of new metrics for my next level.