Alex Williams - Game Designer

(includes the beating heart of an indie too.)

 -Fiero's flatulent fire pits -


Project Description

Fiero’s Flatulent Fire Pit is an alternative level design for “Bubblegloop Swamp” from Banjo-Kazooie (Rare, 1998). The level is themed as Gruntilda's (the antagonist from the game) volcano powered kitchen, complete with stove suction funnel, ravenous monkey population, and a serious air quality problem caused by a combination of the two.

 

-   Level Design -   PC   -    2013 // 10 days // Solo Project    -


Project Role

As level designer I went all the way from paper concepts to a fully built and iterated level - with visual aides for items, creatures, and events.

For FFFP I ran a partial playthrough of Banjo-Kazooie (and the target level in particular) to make note of areas of improvement and get a feel for the mechanics at play. I also researched standard rules such as item placement, item counts, movement scale and speed, and environment size.

Challenges

The two primary challenges on this project revolved around scope and reference. I was able to enjoy the original game through an emulator, but unfortunately not able to play my level in the original engine. As a result, I had to design and iterate on puzzle ideas based on intuition and feedback from people who could not experience the puzzles. This was further compounded by transferring sizes and distances between the original game measurements, Maya, and unreal engine. These measurements were the only fallback I had to design towards. 

Finally, I had to make sure that the level catered to all the various movements at the player's disposal, such as double jumps, glides, and Kazooie´s egg shooting. 

 

Goals and Outcome

The goal of the project was to improve upon the original level while still remaining true to the design conventions and rules found throughout Banjo-Kazooie. As a result, the level contains the same items and special abilities but with changes to the setting and character transformation. Banjo-Kazooie is known for allowing to player to shapeshift and perform new abilities. This transformation is usually unique per level. Additionally, the player is introduced to the “wading boots” item at this point in the original game, allowing time limited traversal of dangerous surfaces such as lava or acid.

In this adaptation, I chose to use the wading boots as a means of letting the player complete timed puzzles in combination with reactionary or platforming challenges.The player transformation in this world is a “boulder mode” which allows the player to break down certain walls and squish enemies. There is also a tunnel rolling sequence leading into the boss fight that the player enters in this form.


Software Tools Used

 -    Adobe PhotoShop // Autodesk Maya // Unreal Development Kit   -  


 

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