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Immersive Sim (2023)

About the Project


My primary goal with this project was to design and develop a highly immersive Third Person Simulator that allowed the player to explore multiple areas and engage in various activities, with a particular focus on creating a non-linear gameplay experience that offered multiple solutions for each objective, while also placing significant emphasis on enhancing player agency and discoverability throughout the game.

Project Details

  • Developed under 5 weeks (4h per day)

  • Engine: Unreal Engine 5

  • Level Desgin

  • Whitebox

  • Epic Marketplace Assets used

    • Advanced Locomotion System by Jakub W​

    • Blocking Starter Pack

    • Assetville Town

Gameplay Video with Design Commentary

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Gameplay Video without Commentary

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Level Overview and Blockout Process


Player Agency

My main focus while working on this project was Player Agency, the player can choose what play style they want to take in order to eliminate the target in the heavily guarded mansion. Throughout the level there are many different areas the player can discover & explore where they will be given different choices to choose from and different elements that promote player agency. Areas that the player can explore are the gas station, a bar, a police station and of course the mansion.

Run & Gun

Run & gun focuses on the player's ability to effectively use gun play. Blast your way forward utilizing hard and soft covers as you make your way through the level. The player must deal with the guards in a fast and efficient manner so they don't get overwhelmed by enemies investigating the commotion.

This approach has its risks but it can also be rewarding to players who are precise in their aim and know how to fully utilize stealth kills.

Distract & Sneak in

If stealth is more of your style, you can use throwable items to distract & lure the sentry guards away from key positions, enabling you to sneak past them.

You can find multiple throwable items that can be used as distractions throughout the level.

This approach greatly rewards players that have an understanding of how to simultaneously use timing, stealth and precise movement to evade the guards.

Climb & Parkour

The climb & parkour path focuses on discoverability, those who explore around the gas station, vantage point and vista point will get guidance via leading lines and movement towards where the path starts (more of how I lead the player towards the path is covered in "Design Techniques").


When the player has discovered the path they must now carefully traverse the mountainside using the climbing feature and jumping from ledge to ledge as one misstep will lead to certain death. When the player is climbing up the last ledge the player is rewarded with a pleasing reveal of the mansion.


This approach relies on the player's ability to utilize the climbing feature rewarding those who effectively plan their next move and makes use of precise movement to traverse the mountainside.

Steal Key & Unlock the Backdoor

While exploring, the player will come across a locked door leading to the back of the compound, the key however is located in the bar and is being carried by a drunk guard. The bar itself contains a lot of different solutions to acquiring the key.


One way you could steal the key is by causing a distraction (either by throwing an item or pulling the fire alarm that is located in the kitchen) and then grab the key while they are not looking. You might come across the guard going to relieve himself on the toilet giving the player the option to take out the guard there and stealing his key.


This approach focuses on player agency giving the player different options they can take in order to get the key.

Steal Sniper & Eliminate the Target

The player can infiltrate the police station and steal a sniper rifle. With this rifle they can shoot the target from a vantage point in the form of a balcony that is overlooking the mansion.


This approach focuses on high risk & high reward. The cons of this path is the large amount of police officers and the fact that the sniper makes a lot of sound when fired alerting the attention of other police & guards to start investigating. The player must make fast and decisive choices in order to not be overwhelmed.


The pros about this path is that it is quite short and if executed perfectly it is very fast, rewarding those who have mastered the game.

Design Techniques

Foreshadowing paths

I wanted to guide the player towards the parkour path, so I created a sequence where a bird flies away from a railing when you get close to it. It flies along the parkour path drawing the attention of the player, leading their eyes towards the bird and the parkour area behind it. As it lands on the last part of the parkour path the player might be more persuaded that a path along the mountain now exists if they didn't already know.

Leading the player to the climb & parkour path

When the player is exploring around the gas station they will more than likely discover a ladder intriguing them to climb down it. To help guide the player towards finding the ladder I added fallen debris, placed garbage cans and rocks that act as leading lines, guiding the player towards the ladder.

To enhance the visibility of the ladder I added some contrasting trim around the ladder to make it stand out more.

Leading the player towards the backdoor

There was a spot behind the bike shop that was feeling a bit empty so I added a small construction site where some pipe are being changed for some more worldbuilding. I used signposting through signs pointing the player in the right direction. The pipes also acted as leading lines leading the player towards the door.

Promoting affordance

By breaking the guard rail and creating a path forward, I created leading lines for the player to follow. To further encourage the player, I put some of the fallen guard rail further away to act like breadcrumbs for the player to follow. I also gave the guard rail a more contrasting color making it stick out rather than blend into the mountain, further enhancing visibility and promoting affordance.

When jumping from ledge to ledge I expanded a part of the rock to create more of a small ramp and gave it a different color making it stand out more. This strengthen the affordance of that this is probably the best place to jump from.

Level Flow

The level follows the 3-act structure with heavy focus on Player Agency. This level aims to let the player approach each situation in any way they see fit and depending on what choice they make changes how the rest of the level will play out. Each choice the player makes have their respective pros & cons.

Act 1 - The Town

Before starting the level the player is briefed about the target, his likely whereabouts and is tasked to find a way to eliminate the target.

In the first act the player is safe to explore the town and familiarize themselves with the surroundings (everything except the inside of the police station and the compound are safe to explore). While exploring the player will discover multiple solutions to how they can progress whether it be by going though the main entrance dealing with the sentry guards, climbing & parkouring on the mountain face, stealing the key from the guard inside the bar that opens the locked backdoor or stealing the sniper rifle inside the police station.


The act ends when the player has chosen a path to take.

Act 2 - Eliminating the Target

The second act is about the players journey to eliminate the target. The player will face different obstacles depending on what path and playstyle the player has chosen, giving the player full freedom of choice. (I cover more of what the player can choose from in the Player Agency part).


When the player has made their way up to the second floor of the mansion (or the balcony in the police station) they can eliminate the target in any way they seem fit.

The act ends when the player eliminates the target.

Act 3 - The Escape

The third and final act begins with the player, who has just eliminated their target. Whether they did it by hand, silenced pistol or sniper rifle does not matter, they must now escape.

The escape point is located at the bike shop in the middle of town and the act ends when the player reaches it.

Development Techniques & Pre - Prod

During the initial planning stage, I utilized the Bubblemap technique along with Excalidraw to create a rough layout of the level. This technique proved particularly helpful for designing large areas as it allowed me to visualize the level's flow and design more easily. Thinking ahead, I also gathered a wide range of reference materials during the planning stage that I thought would be very helpful for the blockout phase. This included images, videos, and even music, which I believed could be used as inspiration for building the level. I saved all of these materials in my Miro board for easy access and reference.


Under the building stage of development, I actively sought feedback from my peers to gather constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. In order to assess whether the level aligned with the intended fantasy, I asked questions such as "What aspects make it feel more like the intended fantasy?" to identify areas that required improvement, and "What aspects make it feel less like the intended fantasy?" to identify areas that required reworking.



This project was an incredibly enriching learning experience for me, as it provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the design process of a level, with a primary focus on player agency. The process of brainstorming and exploring various approaches that the player could take to engage with the game environment was not only immensely enjoyable, but also allowed me to gain a deeper insight into player psychology and behavior.

The subbase was a section that I had initially intended to incorporate into the level. However, due to time constraints, I had to make the difficult decision to cut it from the final product in order to complete the rest of the level. It is regrettable that a considerable amount of time and effort were invested in this section that ultimately did not make it into the final version. But as the adage goes, "kill your darlings," which is often necessary to move forward and achieve completion. Sometimes, difficult decisions must be made in the interest of the project's success.

The world building in my level needs a lot of work. While some areas are well populated, many are half-empty or entirely empty. The biggest problem area was the second part of the level, which I ultimately decided to cut.

In hindsight, I didn't anticipate how much time the level would take to complete. If I could go back, I would have focused solely on the first part of the level and not even spend time on the second part. Doing so would have improved the overall design, world building, composition, player immersion, and other aspects of the level.

To improve the world building, I could have added more details and elements to the level to create a more immersive experience for the player. Additionally, I could have spent more time fleshing out the different areas of the level to ensure they were all equally engaging and interesting.

The Submarine Base

World Building


Overall, I am quite satisfied with the outcome of this project, as it successfully achieved the primary objectives that I had set out for it - to create a non-linear game experience with multiple solutions for each objective, where Player Agency and Discoverability was key. This project also provided an excellent opportunity for me to expand and apply my existing knowledge and skills in a practical and meaningful manner, which has further fueled my excitement to continue honing my skills in the future.

I hope that my insights on design have been informative and enjoyable to read, and I would like to express my gratitude for taking the time to read through my work. I am constantly striving to improve my design skills, and I would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions for future projects. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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