Jared Mitchell Professor Boyd
Port Authority Level Design Document
Goal: The player must fight their way to the top of a lighthouse in order to open a gate preventing them from progressing.
Difficulty: The level should be challenging, but not overly frustrating. On a scale from 0 to 100 of arbitrary difficulty (0 being impossible to fail, 100 being impossible to complete), the level should average around a difficulty of 60.
Length: As a rough estimate, the level should take about 5 to 7 minutes to complete. However, playtesting may prove this wrong.
Setting: The level takes place in and around a port authority building with an adjoining lighthouse, at night. The level starts with the player pulling into a docking area close to the building. As the player moves along the docks, they see various other boats docked and shipping containers, providing cover.
Story: Gordon Freeman is travelling by boat in order to reach a rebel base. Travelling along a river, he approaches a docking area with a lighthouse and a large gate. Suddenly, he hears a siren go off, a red light flashing from the lighthouse, and sees the gate close in front of him. Combine troops also start mobilizing, moving down to the docks where Freeman was spotted. The player must fight their way across the docks, into and through the port authority building, and up the lighthouse in order to reopen the gate and proceed through.
Style: The architecture will be fairly modern, emphasizing solid colors and straight lines. In particular, the futurist modern style will be drawn from, which uses horizontal lines to suggest speed and artificiality. Given that the level will take place during the night, lighting will play a large part, and will utilize yellows and oranges.
Entry/Docks: The player enters the level on an airboat, approaching the lighthouse complex. Ahead, the player will see their path unimpeded further along the river. A trigger entity will be placed around the far end of the docks, starting the first scripted sequence (see asset list). Due to large stacks of crates, the player will only have one spot to stop along the docks. Reaching the dock, two guards will have already spawned on the third floor to the player’s right, and will start shooting at the player. Soon after, the second fight will be triggered, with three combine coming from around the corner.
Fig 1: A map of the docks
After the fights, the player proceeds down the dock, setting off a trigger for the third fight. Two enemies will be attacking from a distance, and the player can use a pier and stacks of crates to their right to evade enemy fire, where some supplies are located. Two other enemies will be on the docks, however, and can come up and attack the player directly. Progressing on, the last fight on the dock is triggered as the player turns the last corner; four enemies come down from the steps ahead and to the left.
First Floor: After this, the player goes up the stairs and comes to a large area bordered by shipping crates and the side of the port authority building. The entrance should be directly visible from the top of the stairs. Some supplies are hidden in an alley next to the building entrance and in the shipping crate to the right of the stairs to here, if needed. The player then progresses ahead to the entrance of the port authority.
Fig 2: A map of the first floor
Entering the building triggers the next fight. This encounter is substantially more difficult; six enemies are present, some of which are on the second floor catwalk. Some enemies will come out of the office across from the player, while some will descend the stairs to the left. A healthkit is hidden in the first floor office, as well as behind the staircase. After clearing out the enemies, the player will ascend.
Second Floor: At the top of the stairs are the doors to the lighthouse bridge. However, the doors are locked, and trying to open the door triggers enemies to spawn from the second floor office across the building. This fight is smaller, having only two enemies, but the player has significantly less room to maneuver. After killing the enemies, the player walks over to the office, hits a button, and unlocks the door.
Fig 3: A map of the second floor
Proceeding through the door, the player walks across the bridge, and around the exterior of the lighthouse. As they approach the door on the other side, the player triggers a fight on the second floor of the lighthouse, consisting of four enemies. Afterwards, the player walks to the left and ahead, proceeding up the third floor stairs. Wall-mounted health and suit chargers are on the wall before the staircase, allowing the player to restock before the final fight.
Third Floor/Finish: As the player goes through the doors at the top of the stairs, they see a gunship fly by. The player goes through the doors to the right to enter the top area. The button to open the gate is there, as well as a box of rockets and a ladder leading down to the base of the lighthouse. The player will use the rocket launcher to dispose of the gunship, press the button to open the gate, and climb down the ladder to the base of the lighthouse.
Fig 4: A map of the third floor
A short alley wraps around the base of the lighthouse, with some supplies at the end. The player then drops down to the docks near where they disembarked, gets back onto the airboat, and sails through the gate, ending the level.
(Pictured: A rendering of the port authority at Peiraias, Greece. I really like the straight lines and solid colors here)
(Pictured: The Detroit Port Authority. Note the emphasis on straight lines, and the abundance of windows)
(Pictured: Some docks at night. I like the yellow-orange color the light creates, and the enclosed feeling these docked boats create)
(Pictured: Some docks on Chautauqua Lake, NY. I like the look and color of these docks, and the placement and color of the lights is really interesting)
(Pictured: the heating plant and main controls cabin at Santa Maria Novella rail station in Florence. This is considered a great work of modern architecture (no, seriously), and what gave me the idea for having the lighthouse conjoined to the port authority building).