This level tells the story of an abandoned fort, used for mining and gold panning during the gold rush era. A deadly jail break leaves the town in ruins, and its residents mysteriously vanished. The level was initially based off a set of concept art images. I wanted to make a level that was faithful to the scope of the original art, and give it a city planning hierarchy that was interesting to explore.
Probuilder / Pro Grids
Covered Wagon / Wheeled Cart
I started with a bubble chart to broadly organize the functions of the fort, then based my block-out on the flow between those regions. The front of the fort contains the defensive structures, weapons, jail, etc. Visitors would be checked here before being allow further entry to the common space: church, market, saloon. The residences have direct access to the areas of commerce and defenses: market, ranch, church, tower, mining, and panning.
Playthrough / Screens
Fort exterior. The barren desert discourages the player from exploring. A small outcropping of trees in the distance reveals a small cemetery for anyone seeking additional intrigue.
The protective barrier between the town center and the lawless west. Evidence of a stand off reveals a dark fate for the town. The player can move straight into the town, or explore the west end of the fortifications. The east end is blocked, but can be circumvented through the market. The west leads to the ammo and cannon stockpiles, as well as an overlook to the desert. The east contains the scene of a jail break, the walls pulled down by a massive force.
Ranch / Church
One of the occupational centers of the town. The town gates have been partially destroyed by a cannon, simultaneously taking down the bell tower and a poor citizen crushed beneath. The stables remain, but the horses and wildlife are long gone from the ranch.
Market / Saloon
Saloon patrons were caught off guard, killed as they drank. The town is deserted, though the signs of a functioning market still remain. Shops with various wears that used to supply the residents and the mining operation up the hill.
No sign of life. Everyone vanished. Judging by the carnage in the town center below, this was anything but a peaceful surrender.
Despite this vantage’s advantages, the town still met its end. Some weapons and munitions left scattered in the tower.
MinE / Sluice
Rains supply the panning sluice tower with water, mining operations above provide the minerals. A cave-in has blocked the mine entrance and the riches beyond.