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The Blessing

The Blessing is a project constructed in Unreal Engine version 5.2. The purpose of this project was to be created from the ground up, in a timeline of two weeks, to be submitted for evaluation to the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). Unreal Engine 5.2 introduced its newest feature of seamless Procedural Content Generation. Though I had this at my disposal, I did not use it for this project. Everything you see was added meticulously or constructed from the ground up. The project was warmly welcomed by the evaluators and even awarded me a scholarship to use as I approach my semester at FIEA. This was the shortest timeline I had to design, construct, and fine-tune a level in my entire career thus far. This level features a player character, triggers that activate events, and applies plenty of lighting and post-processing techniques to bring out the fantasy aesthetic that the level was designed for. To support this theme, the level is inspired by The Legend of Zelda and features many Easter Eggs within the level.

Video Presentation

You may watch the video presentation that I submitted for my evaluation! This video features a single-take playthrough and a short developer commentary following it. I hope you enjoy it, I worked very hard on this!

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The Camp

The camp was a central part of the level. This served as the starting point for the player and provided enough context that the protagonist was taking asylum in the wild in search of a mysterious forest.

The Path

This is the path following the exit of the camp. This area took the longest to complete. Scaling the area appropriately to the player, adding objects and set dressing one of the most crucial parts of the critical path took most of my attention and frankly, I was impressed with the final result.

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The Forest

The mysterious forest marks the beginning of the end of the journey. Frankly, deliberating the mystery of this entrance was a challenging part. I wanted to create a fog system that gave a sense of cautious curiosity, but invited the player to explore. Thankfully, after scouring YouTube and learning how to apply transparent materials to planes, the entrance was complete.

The Tree of the Sages

The end of the journey. Prefacing the trek through the forest, a mysterious voice in an indiscernible language speaks to the player from an unknown location. It claims that in order to receive the blessing from the Sages, the player must activate the four shrines that are situated in the heart of the forest. The tree you see here is the only kind in this level, and signifies the sanctuary in which the mythical sages rest their power.

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The Sky Islands

The Sky Islands are directly inspired by Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. I wanted to add something to supplement the fantasy, but I was stuck on what to choose. Then I figured: What's more interesting than floating landmasses in the sky? What isn't pictured is a hovering object that goes between the islands. This was an effort to show that they were interconnected and shared a relationship in the sky.

The Method to the Madness

As level designers, you think of ways to create a vision that no one else would think about. What you see in the game that you play is not necessarily all it appears to be. Level designers take extra measures to implement cool visual tricks to give off the sense that you are living in a breathing world. Think about that next time you play your favorite game.

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Original Design of The Blessing

The Original Design

Forgive me for the lack of art, I was never artistically inclined. In all fairness, while brainstorming a new project, I quickly sketch a potential design and can immediately start developing from there. Though, as you can see comparing this image to the above one, they're entirely different layouts. This map was too large in scope and would have been impossible to produce and make functional in the allotted time I was given.  Though, much of the substance of this design was in the final product, and served as a great foundation for The Blessing.

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