Rise of the Tomb Raider: Salt Mine

Aesthetic: Action Adventure, Third-Person

Platform: PC

Game Engine: Unity

Development Time: 5 Weeks

Team Size: 1

Role: Level Designer, Gameplay Scriptor

Tasks + Responsibilities:

  • Conducting a breakdown analysis of level design structures and patterns found in the game Rise of the Tomb Raider.
  • Formulating a level brief with high-level specifications of narrative scenarios, environment design directions, and gameplay goals.
  • Researching and documenting reference images for environment context.
  • Formulating the mine’s historical lore for environment narrative.
  • Designing the level layouts around key gameplay beats and pacing.
  • Greyboxing the level geometry using the Unity engine.
  • Incorporating core traversal mechanics and metrics into the level layout.
  • Scripting trigger events to elicit emotional and level-changing moments.

I’ve been playing the Rise of the Tomb Raider recently, and figured I’d take a stab at designing an optional tomb!

Research

During the first week, I focused on rigorous research into what this “tomb” really is – in relations to mission narrative, environment art style, spatial progression, and gameplay pacing.

 

Salt Mine – Exterior

During the first week, I focused on rigorous research into what this “tomb” really is – in relations to mission narrative, environment art style, spatial progression, and gameplay pacing.

 

 

Salt Mine – Interior

During the first week, I focused on rigorous research into what this “tomb” really is – in relations to mission narrative, environment art style, spatial progression, and gameplay pacing.

 

 

Salt Mine – Salt Mineral

During the first week, I focused on rigorous research into what this “tomb” really is – in relations to mission narrative, environment art style, spatial progression, and gameplay pacing.

 

 

Salt Mine – Culture

During the first week, I focused on rigorous research into what this “tomb” really is – in relations to mission narrative, environment art style, spatial progression, and gameplay pacing.

 

 

Journey Mapping

In the end, I’ve categorized the overall level journey into 4 major acts:

ACT 1: Initial Approach to the Mine,

ACT 2: Initial Exploration & Enemy Conflict inside the Mine,

ACT 3: Deeper Exploration of the Mine,

ACT 4: Final Conflict with Enemy and Reward.

 

Based on this journey map, I sketched out the overall spatial progression in sectional view.

 

 

ACT 1: Approaching the Salt Mine

I imagined the approach to the salt mine to be very cinematic and focus on Lara Croft’s traversal mechanics. With the visual composition and gameplay goals in mind, I drew out an overview layout of the level.

 

Using the level Map as a reference, I blocked out the scene in Unity using simple primitive geometry to articulate the scale and form of the landscape.

 

ACT 2: Initial Exploration & Enemy Conflict inside the Salt Mine

 

 

ACT 3: Deeper Exploration of the Salt Mine

 

 

ACT 4: Final Enemy Conflict & Reward

 

Still in the works!