Solveland - Graduation Project

Solo development

Feb 2020 - Jun 2020


Project information


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.

Responsibilities / contributions

Creating game mechanics and systems based on the features

  • Creating a game concept that fits the scope
  • Planning out deadlines and writing a development log every other week
  • Finding references about the game concept and the solo development approach

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.

Building a paper prototype and in-game prototype

  • Make a paper prototype that helps me design puzzles
  • Creating an in-engine prototype with Unreal Blueprints
  • Finding and maintaining an efficient workflow

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.

Designing and creating puzzles with the core mechanics

  • Creating combinations with game mechanics
  • Designing a map containing different levels and puzzles
  • Creating a bubble diagram for the level and difficulty flow

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.