What is Silent;Void?
Silent;Void is a 3D first-person horror game where you must traverse a spaceship using a chargeable datapad while avoiding and unknown alien threat.
Silent;Void was made in Unity 2020.2.5 in my senior year at DigiPen Institute of Technology with a team size of 5 people. Our team’s lineup consisted of 3 designers, and 2 programmers. Over the course of about 3-4 months, we worked on creating a sci-fi horror game with gameplay centered around traversal and narrative.
What Did I Work On For Silent;Void?
For this class we were told specifically not to assign any leadership positions to any members of the team and to keep our teams between 3-5 members. I focused primarily on Level Design, while also doing UX Design around audio more than anything else.
My main focus for this project was level design, I wanted to create an atmospheric and immersive game that utilized interconnected levels similar to that of Resident Evil 2. I wanted players to return to old locations to complete new tasks with more information. To this end I did a lot of research and spent a lot of my time creating each level with a few purposes in mind, though we weren’t able to add as much interconnectivity as I had originally planned I was still able to create a solid compact loop centered around the bridge. Additionally, I spent a lot of time on implementation and integration alongside our gameplay programmer Jack O’Brien. As Level Designer it was my job to setup and finalize placement on many of the interactions in the game including the datalogs spread around the level.
For this project, I focused mainly on Level Design, however I also wanted to create immersion to further the story our narrative designer was creating and to this end I spent a decent amount of time creating and implementing audio along with the UI/UX Designer Tyler Peterman. I focused on ambient audio as well as feedback for each individual action.
What Did I Learn From Silent;Void?
- INTERCONNECTED LEVELS – For this project I did a lot fo level design research and learning around interconnected levels, how they work, and when they should be used in a level. I wanted to focus on this for my level specifically because the experience gives me a much broader range when it comes to level design allowing me to more thoroughly understand linear as well as non-linear level design.
- LEVEL DEVELOPMENT WORKFLOW – An additional goal I had for this project was to work on my level design workflow trying to create an easily documentable and flexible organization for my level design process.
- OVERCOMING LEVEL BLOCK – For the first time ever I experienced a moment of level block, the version of writer’s block for level designers. I couldn’t hold up production because I couldn’t think of something, so I found a few methods that seemed to work in overcoming my level block by watching certain films that emptied my mind of specific thoughts and stress that seemed to have been halting my progress on the exterior of the ship and engineering.
- DON’T GET OVERLY ATTACHED – Similar to many projects I did while at DigiPen, this project was stock full of cuts some that even changed a large portion of the base gameplay. Cut content is nothing new, but the more experience one has with it and has with refactoring the design to account for it the better. For this one we had to cut multiple large sections of the level and narrative along with the maintenance droid from the game, which changed the gameplay greatly forcing us to spend a day of work just focusing on designing and refactoring around the changes.
- Brendon Banville - Level Designer, UX Designer
- Harrison Green - Narrative Designer
- Tyler Peterman - UI Designer, UX Designer
- Jack O'Brien - Gameplay Programmer
- William Patrick - Gameplay Programmer, AI Programmer