Level Design Documentation:
Gill & Gull’s Skyhigh Adventure
Made by Anton Eriksson
Level Documentation: Cove Mills
Cove Mills (or level_Windmill that it was called) was the second level we ever created for Gill & Gull’s Skyhigh Adventure. This was also the first level where I used our level design principle and theory in practice. We learned a lot by producing this level for the game and how we should think when working on future levels. The original idea came from different early concept arts where windmills and propellers seemed to be a reappearing thing in the background. By having propellers and different technology in the game that the players would interact with, would give the game world bigger depth to it and not just be something of a prop in the background. Eventually, I tried out different mechanics in the editor, and by combining two moving platforms I could come up with something that seemed like a windmill. Now when established now to do with it?
The level is made into 4 sections. Where each section covers some or several of the principles that I’ve talked about earlier. Compared to the other levels that were made for Gill & Gull’s Skyhigh Adventure this level contained a puzzle at the end of the level. The puzzle, in the end, was to give the players a stronger feeling of working together and offer a variation in the game.
Cove Mills: A
In the first section, I want to give the player some safe space, with just a falling pit followed by a grabbable are. In this section, it should be crucial that the player must understand that they can stretch the rubber band and then shot away like a slingshot. Because the players have already been introduced to this mechanic in the “Hub world” of the game this section won't need any kind of obvious tutorialisation. But The reason why I added a grabbable area was because I want to start the level with what is the fundamental of the game itself; Stretch n Release.
After the players been slingshot:ed, they will land safe and encounter the first windmill of the level. This is also where the “introduction” phase starts for the level mechanics. When the player managed to through the windmill they will be on a new ship which will be explained in 3.A. But if the player would fail to get through the Windmill, the player would be able to grab the grabbable area that is located below the ship. Thus the players will be able to climb below the ship and take an alternative route.
In this area, the players will have their first “resting period”, where the can climb to collect all the coins without any nearby danger.
Cove Mills: B
During this encounter, the player is introduced to several windmills and here there is also no safety net below the player so this is where the level leave the “introduction” phase and the “improvement” phase of the level starts here.
Here the player will be in a resting area once again while being in this resting area the player will also be introduced to the moving windmills.
After going through another checkpoint the player will use these windmills and try to jump upwards to reach the grabbable area. Because of the use of several windmills on this section and with the combination of a moving windmill, this section will work as a “Twist” for the player.
This section after the windmill twist will test the player coordination since the need to communicate with each other who is going to let go of the net and collect the coins beneath them.
Cove Mills: C
This section works as a final conclusion for the level mechanics that were introduced on this level. Here the player needs to work their way upwards the windmills and they also need to do a precise jump to land on the moving windmill. When the players have reached the windmill that is the highest, they need to have patience and try to stay on it until the moving platform to the right has appeared.
After the players have passed a resting period and a checkpoint the player will move upwards using two small moving platforms. In the midsection between these two moving platforms, there is a small static platform where the players need to try to jump upon to wait for the next moving platform. In this section I wanted the players to get a feeling of vertigo and that the players are really trying to be careful now because they are aware of the heights.
In this section, the players have the opportunity to explore the area above the ship, by making a special kind of swing. This was created to give the level more depth and give the more experienced players a challenge. After this area you come across two cannon balls these balls are physics object that you can push. Here the players will have the opportunity to push it down the abyss that they will later jump down through. The abyss was to increase the dramatic effects for the players, by letting them down an abyss meant that there would be no turning back for them.
In this area, there is a puzzle that the players need to solve before they can move to the end of the level. This puzzle will be further explained in the next section.
Cove Mills: D
When the players go to this area they will notice that there is a door blocking their way towards their goal. Below them they can also spot a marked plate with a cannon ball appearing on it.
When the player later will go to this side of the area, they will notice a lot of cannonballs scattered on the ground. The players will be able to push these down into the gap when they are down into the gap they will be pushed up with help of the moving platform. When the cannonball will be on the top it will move downward and hit the small fast rotating windmill. When hitting this windmill it will give the cannonball a force and shoot it up in the air. As the cannonballs are in the air the players must get to the grabbable area in the background and stretch out the rope so that they can catch the balls with it. The players must then coordinate and climb to the area 1.D and drop the ball on the marked plate. When enough weight is on the marked plate, then the door will open.
The player will then be able to proceed towards the goal and get the treasure. The next section E will explain how the door opening mechanism works in greater detail.
Cove Mills: E
This contraption is made with different Physics objects that all have varying density. The marked plate, where you are supposed to put the cannon balls on is made up of 4 different physics objects. 3 of the shapes are rectangular and then there is also a smaller ball as well.
Below the marked plate contraption, there is a seesaw which holds a box with enough density so it can hold up the marked plate contraption on 1.E. When there are enough cannon balls on the marked plate (1.E) the weight of the box will not be enough and the 4 physics objects will move down. When these objects have moved down the small ball will fall through the gap and roll down into a new area.
When the ball has been moved down to the new area, the moving platform below it will push it up and make it hit another physic objects. This Physics object will, in turn, push up the next physics object that is the door that blocked the way for the players.
The door will move upwards through a small gap and get stuck in this area and the door won’t fall back down again. Now the players will be able, without any interruption get to the end of the level.