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Mount Liberation

- a story told through level geometry, art & composition

Level Overview

Project details

  • Semi linear third person shooter adventure, using Unreal Engine 5.1

  • 8 weeks of individual work, half time (4 hours/day)

  • Focus areas: level design & level art

  • Functionality based on ’Interaction With ALS v. 2.6’

  • Meshes are from the UE Marketplace asset pack 'Stylized Fantasy Provencal'

Story Synopsis

"The country is in disarray. You are an undercover agent whose dear childhood friend is kidnapped. He's held on display by your rival family on top of a mountain in the Provençal region; the only place in the country that's still well preserved.


It's personal this time, so now you have to do whatever it takes to make this right."

Level Topdown


My main goal of the level layout is to cater for a custom mix of three different playstyles; stealth, combat and exploration. The four main areas are distinct, but suggest a gameplay focus.



1. Arrival (tutorial)

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2. Establishing shot (vantage point)

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3. Stealth through the fields


4. Crossing

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5. Assault on the Pillars


6. Forest crossing (branching path)


7. Windmill Approach


8. Finish!

Design Techniques

Funnel before reveal

The player is funneled into opening up the main part of the level, after clearing the first climbing section.


The design is inspired by third person action games in the genre that usually has scripted cutscenes in these points of the level. However, it felt natural to give the player more control of this moment, so they felt like it was something they revealed themselves in contrast to being spoon fed the environment.

Grounding the player

After the player have been presented with their objective, I make the player physically drop down to a lower level.


I used this as a psychological trick to ground them in the world. The theory this is based on is called "embodied cognition".

Level loops

In addition to vantage points and ammunition pickups, the level is designed with two level loops in mind. These smaller ventures encourage the player to explore off the beaten path with additional rewards.

Furthermore, the first level loop is placed shortly after the tutorial in the level. This is a conscious design choice to teach the player early on that exploration is rewarded.

Combat encounters

It was important for me to design the level with combat encounters in mind early. I had an idea with having enemies gravitate towards the roads and used that space as the prospect (out in the open) space.


However, I also needed space for the player to hide and gain refuge in. Some quickly scripted bushes that blocked the enemies sight did the trick and was also diegetic to the environment. 




I like to establish the level geometry and scale as early as possible. This goes for both playable space and compositions in grander scales.


In the pre-production stage, I knew that I wanted a grand reveal of the landmark early on in the level. This was to provide the player with motivation ("I want to go to that place") as well as a visually reward them for clearing the short tutorial section.


Thanks to the funnel before reveal, which takes place right before the establishing shot in the images, the player is also lead to experiencing this foreshadowing event naturally in the level, without having to force the player to trigger a cutscene.


The final composition was guided by techniques from film and photography; like rule of thirds, visual hierarchy and focal/anchor points.


Finally; guiding colours, leading lines- and meshes were very important to this composition, to avoid cognitive overload and provide the player with enough information to be able to make a decision of which route to take.


Making the "wow-moment" of the establishing shot both visually pleasing and readable was definitely a challenge.

Performance monitoring

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Carefully considering the technical performance of the project was a great learning experience and key to providing an optimized, holistic experience for the player.


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The moodboard was important for both aesthetic and design references. Many ideas from the moodboard still live on in the finished project.


  • The scope of the technical issues that arose from working with unfamiliar code could have been predicted more accurately and planned for accordinglyThis led to debugging and performance optimization taking more time than it should have, time which could have been spent on further iteration in the blockout phase.

  • The art & composition aspects of the piece was a lot of of fun and creatively stimulating, but I took more time on it than I would have likedI reacted to this however and the level design came together in the end because of this shift in focus.

  • This piece was overall a great learning experience for me. Continuing to identify what I'm good at and what I struggle with to pinpoint what my growth priorities as a level designer should be has been really helpful.

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