/Level Design, Mission Design, Tech LD

Paraxial is a survival horror in third person game taking place in the 90's, in Lyon, France. We're introduced to Alexis, freshly employed by the Euclide Foundation, where he will find himself stuck in a dimension parallel to ours: the A.S.E.I..
Alexis will have to survive in this hostile, complex, sometimes beyond our logic environment, and he will have to find a way to escape.

Alexis, entering the portal room.

Alexis exploring the A.S.E.I.

Inspired by the Backrooms, the SCP foundation and liminal spaces, PARAXIAL is a story driven game. The story is complex, deliberately incomplete, even for a hypothetical "full" version of the game.

It was made as a graduation project during a period of 6 months at Bellecour École.

Level Design

The game is made of 4 distinct levels: Intro, The Enterprise, A.S.E.I. and the subway station.
My objective was to realize the level design of these 4 zones, each having their narrative constraints, gameplay and atmosphere.

LEVEL 1: Intro

As simple as intriguing, the first level begins after a cinematic showing a female character, seeming to flee something.
The goal of this level is to introduce several things to players: There is a danger, there are at least two characters in our story and the first basic mechanics of the game, namely walking, running and interacting with objects.

Papermap of the level 1

The circular shape of the first corridor is there to gently introduce an architecture that does not follow a logic of normal construction, the repetition of visual patterns in the level of art is here to support this idea.
The player arrives in a room, with only one exit, which is locked (indicated by the UI when players approach it).

The keys are located next to the door, indicating to players that they can interact with objects, how, and that there is a key system in the game. Once the door is passed, a cinematic start, where we can see the fall of our character in a bottomless void.

LEVEL 2: The Enterprise

After a short cartoon introducing the history of the Euclide Foundation, players take control of Alexis, our main character. They are then directed to an elevator, which serves to develop the character or Alexis and introduce Didier, an employee of the foundation who guide Alexis through his first day of work.
Player are now in the locker room that introduce the cabinet, which serve as a loot chest for ressources. Didier present to Alexis his badge and his weapon, and tell him to go to his workplace.

The lenght of the hallways and offices are here used to make players understand the size of the compagny: it's big.

Papermap of the enterprise

Players now arrive in the portal room, the workplace of Alexis, but due to a malfunction of the portal, Alexis will be teleported into the A.S.E.I., ending the introduction.
My job was scripting the entire scene using Unreal Engine's blueprint and animation system.

In order:
- Player enter the room, the name of the room show on screen.

- Didier talk a bit about what's the purpose of this room.

- After a few second of silence, one of the portal engine start making electric noises, showing sparkle and electric arc. Small props in the room start flying.

- The lights turns slightly red, Didier tell Alexis to escape the room.

- When the player is about to left the room, an emergency door traps the player in the room, an alarm start ringing. Bigger objects in the room start flying.

- Didier tell Alexis that an emergency button is on the right side of the portal, and tell him to press it. Once pressed, alarm ring even bigger, and the room is now fully red. The portal open.

- Didier tell Alexis to try to unplug the portal, by checking if there isn't a plug neart it.

- When player is near the portal, it trigger a cinematic in which a chair is getting suck by the portal, bringing Alexis with it.

To make sure everything happend correctly, I've set up a few safeguard. Once the player enter the room, the door is locked, with a collider preventing them to get stuck in the heavy door. The big button can only be pressed if every steps before have happened. If the player don't find the button or if it simply doesn't work, the part is skipped by a timer.

LEVEL 3: The Lobby

It's at this level that the majority of PARAXIAL happens. Alexis wakes up inside the portal, which is now close. He is in a room, which has a lot of stuff from the company, and that look like a camp. The player is led out of the room, by raising a cabinet that was locking the only door.
Blocked by locked door, players are linear guided towards their left, introducing one by one several elements of the game.

First of all, gunpowder, that they can collect. We told players that they have an inventory, accessible with TAB. Then, they will get a chemical, and are told that they can craft new weapon by merging the two items.
After that, players find themself facing a monster coming out of a wall. Here, we introduce the system of aiming and shooting, as well as how to reload. If players are curious, they can find in that room the first document, which allow to learn more about the lore. At the end of that room is a key, that allow players to continue their journey.

Learn to aim and shoot with the first mob.

Regarding the rest of the level, I had to follow my main intention:
Make players feel like they are in a labyrinth, make them feel lost, but indirectly tell them where they are by using landmarks. To do so, I used basic architectural form such as pillars, corridors and arch and make them unique by using simple settings sur as size, repetition and rotation.

This required a lot of reiteration and a lot of feedbacks from classmates and teachers. I also had to take in consideration some features that were removed or added during the production of the game.

Lobby final papermap

Evolution of level 3 through time.

To give the player a sensation of evolution through the game, we added doors to unlock throug the game that gave you more ressources, such as a flashlight or a shotgun.

First key

LEVEL 4: Subway Station

The subway is accessible after finishing level three. It takes place in a subway station and the player will have a small area to relax, find some resources and save the game before entering the subway car.

Papermap of the level 4

Player entering the subway station.

Boss Design

The boss is taking place in an infinite subway. Due to time contraint, the boss wasn't implemented in the game.



Game Design:
- Axel Dobric
- Thomas Carbajal

- Simon Corté

Level Design:
- Théo Murgier

- Brice Capro-Placide

Narrative Design:
- Nathan Diolot
- Victor Sallaz

Sound Design:
- Jules Lagarde
- Nicolas Tornaire

- Lorenzo Charton
- Julien Jiang
- Clément Piolet
- Benjamin Tausend - Hugo Journot

3D Animation & rig:
- Loane Dubuis
- Clémence Fleury

Concept Art:
- Roxane Amouyal
- Olivier Berthoux
- Zhu Borui
- Guillaume Caramelli

- Vincent Duboix

2D Animation:
- Sarah Blanc-Aïbout