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Elemental Rift

Elemental Rift Poster.png


Project Name: Elemental Rift (Prototype)


Technology: Unity Engine, C# Scripting


Team: 4 Developers (+3 external developers)


My Contribution: Level Design, puzzle design and programming, enemy encounter design, rewards design

                          Thesis - "How to improve level design using Negative Possibility Space"





Elemental Rift is a 3D first-person puzzle/combat adventure game. Elemental Rift revolves around the idea of mages and spells - giving it a fantasy theme. The protagonist of Elemental Rift is a mage who is on a journey to find the lost crystal, which is the source of their powers. The game follows the player’s journey, where they can wield six elemental powers that are powered by the environment. The player’s goal is to protect their kingdom from the monsters of the elemental realms of earth, fire, air, and water.



Gameplay in short:


The Player has 4 Basic Spells + 2 Combo Spells which can be cast using 4 different types of Resources. Each spell requires a specific type of resource and resources management is the key to the gameplay. There are specific objects in the levels which provide the player with a certain type of resource thus positioning is also very important while battling against enemies. Player has to go through various types of puzzles and enemies to unfold the story.



Playthrough of one of the puzzles



Foundation of my thesis:


"How to improve level design using Negative Possibility Space"


Negative Possibility Space is a vacuum left by a level designer to create an expectation in the player's mind. The vacuum in level design means leaving a part of the level open-ended. The vacuum should be filled by the level designer else the player feels disappointed. For example, consider a player trying to explore a level and they see a ledge in an abnormal place or the player sees a geometry sticking out of a mountain. The player may get an urge to climb the mountain. If the player does all sorts of stuff to get to the position which is not easily reached by “a normal player”, then they should be rewarded for being an explorer. The reward can be anything, it can be an epic item or an achievement or something which will make them satisfied for trying hard to explore something. Intentionally implementing Negative Possibility Space and letting the player explore things can make the players gaming experience much more rich than usual. In our game, I implemented this phenomenon in terms of Easter eggs to see how it affects the level design and players experience. These Easter eggs are called "The notes"; these are parchments hidden in some secret places in levels. These parchments can be read and will give extra information about the environment and its backstory to the player. This information is not conveyed through any other means like cinematics, thus these notes act as a reward to the player for exploring the map and trying to unlock secret places. To find these parchments, the player needs to think a bit differently and smartly than they are expected normally. Following is a video demonstration where I talk about how all of it works in short.



Player Rewards Design:


Whenever a player does any kind of progression, the player should be rewarded with at least something. It doesn't matter what kind of reward the player receives(money, item, dialogue, a smile from an NPC, ANYTHING) - but it should be enough to let the player know that the game is giving attention to the player's actions. That's the core of Rewards design in most of the games. In this project, I used "Negative Possibility Space" as a medium to grant rewards to the player for their actions of "exploration". "Negative Possibility Space" also ultimately improves the level design as it adds depth to the map.



Demonstration of Negative Possibility Space and Player Rewards



Random Screenshots:




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