No Evil

No Evil is a three player co-operative multiplayer puzzle game. Each player has a restriction on input or output of information based on 'See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil' - meaning that one player must wear a blindfold, another player must wear noise cancelling headphones and the last player cannot speak. The three players must work together to overcome their communication deficiencies both inside, and outside of the game to reach the end of a single screen puzzle room. It was developed during the 2013 Ubisoft Montreal Game Jam.

Position

Level Designer

Genre

Mutliplayer Puzzle Platformer

Engine

Unity

Release

April 2014

Developer

Aiden Green, Sean Noonan, Anshul Goyal, Scott Morin

Publisher

N/A

Platform

PC

Link

N/A

Key Responsibilities:

  • Created 27 single screen levels alongsideĀ an additional designer during a two day period
  • Utilized modular level design and placeholders to unblock workflow of art
  • Created a template level to easily start new levels from
  • Worked with three others to bring the game from concept to ship

Levels

Since all of us were familiar with Unity, we very early on established a clear set of metrics and process between level design and art. I'd say it was the biggest win of the project, and honestly it was smoother than some AAA productions I've been on.

Once we decided to use a single screen level format, things fell into place very quickly. We did some very rapid prototyping of character size on screen, tile size, camera distance from canvas, etc. to lock down how large tiles were and the overall level was.

If you've ever used Unity, you'll know how awful it is out of the box for modular level design or any kind of snapping. Knowing this before hand, we set up a very oldschool and by hand metric sheet, of where the platform pieces would have to be placed. We manually entered their coordinates in their transform. For every. Single. Tile. This is why we templated a level that had everything already placed.

Once we did that we created a sort of blank slate level that contained the maximum amount of tiles with characters and the goal preplaced. So all you'd have to do to create a new level is duplicate the template, and start removing the platform tiles that you didn't want, and place the ingredients and eventual set dressing. I can't stress enough how productive this process was. So much so, that it was kind of our downfall combined with an issue that still plagues the game - ladders.

You see, ladders were the only way you could vertically move to a different tier in a level and they were horribly broken throughout all of production. So it was very difficult to test the levels, so we just kept building levels, assuming they worked and not being able to test them. In the end, when the ladders were semifunctional, we quickly test ran the game and found some impossible levels, some levels that you could easily get stuck.

It was also the first project I really tried Rational Level Design process for, but to agree with Sean, I think it was a detriment to our format. I had a nicely curved introduction to the game's mechanics, ingredients and character's restrictions - which would be great if it was a real game, but it really slowed down the demo/installation format. We found ourselfs running through these simple levels as fast as we could to get to the meat to show off some of the more complex problem and puzzle solving.

Creating an Installation Game

Creating an installation game was something that Sean and myself wanted to do for a while. And when we heard the theme for the game, which was You and I, we figured it be a great chance to combine local multiplayer and the idea of an installation game.

The idea of restricting player's vision, hearing and speech immediately came up. It was a classic proverb that every knew and understood, and it was also very feasible to pull off in terms of physical hardware. We just needed a blindfold, a pair of noise cancelled headphones and the last person to stay silent.

The core mechanics came together fairly quick and we were able to see if this crazy idea worked. And it did!

This was our presentation at the end of the game jam to the other teams. You can see Anshul taking point on being the blind player, I was wearing the noise cancelled headphones and Sean was the mute, while Aidan explained and presented the game while we played.

The major drawback that we knew we'd have to accept early on is ease of entry for new players looking to try it out. It has a much larger list of requirements to play than your average game jam game:

  • Three players
  • Blindfold
  • Noise Cancelled headphones
  • Three controllers