Genre: first-person puzzle
Team size: 1
Platform: aimed at PC
Project type: Graduation project
Software used: Unreal Engine 4, 3Ds Max, Photoshop, Illustrator, Trello
Solveland is a first-person puzzle game, wherein you have to solve big-scaled puzzles in order to progress further. The goal is to solve puzzles to create new paths and to find the exit of this abandoned ancient city.
For my graduation assignment, I wanted to create a small game with a relatively compact system that I could use in different manners. A puzzle came to mind, if I have a core feature, I can use it in multiple ways. With this assignment, I can focus on more aspects, such as Unreal Engine, Blueprinting, level design, game design, and puzzle design. To help me push during this solo development, I promised myself to write a devlog every other week. This way, I have a deadline, a short-term goal and I can reflect on my work.
The core mechanics were written down and tested with a paper prototype. Those mechanics would still need to be tested in-engine, but the vision was there. The ‘Cubes’ feature is the base, and I wanted to make it in such a way so that I could use it for my other features. Therefore, this system needed to function effectively. Meaning, I wanted to be able to paste this around in the scene and still be functional. Each level contained four puzzles with a thought-out difficulty. I was still using the paper prototype for designing puzzles. I made a simple pixel-based overview of each level, which I could produce in Unreal.
The map layout design started with a Google Sheets table, showing the difficulties and the different combinations of the features. Once I had that, I transformed that into cells in Photoshop and with those cells, I could make a bubble diagram. This diagram represented the level flow throughout the whole map. This was extremely helpful, and it helped me create the map layout. I started on paper and once I had a sketch that was satisfying to me, I went to Photoshop and made the map layout in there. The original map layout was way over-scoped, but there was plenty of room for me to down-scope it to a size that was achievable for me.