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Parasite takes place right in the middle of the trilogy storyline. After being a victim of the horrendous experiments being run in a secret place, the protagonist manages to escape, but crashes in a space station where strange events have taken place. She must fight her way to survival and try to find a way out of that place, either by herself or with the help of the survivors of the UDM Barracuda.

Report article RSS Feed Level design, or rather maze design?

A brief discussion on how we design the levels in Parasite.

Posted by TheDomaginarium on Nov 4th, 2011
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When you (finally) play Parasite, you will notice "you don't know where the hell you are and where you're supposed to go." You don't have a mini-map, so you never know where in the ship you are, but also you don't have a navigation system that tells you "where your next goal is" (like in other games like Halo, Bioshock or Dead Space 2, where you do have some sort of "gizmo" that tells you where you should go).

On top of that, the levels in Parasite are non-linear, even if the game itself is linear. This means you can take different paths to reach your destination, and sometimes you can overcome obstacles in more than one way. This means in a single level, as a player, you can experiment with different options and see the results.

Some of these choices you make on your own (should I take the door on the left or the right?) and those choices will take you to different parts, while others are based on what you did or didn't (did you save that NPC you ran into, or did you leave him to die?). The image below shows how a level looks like.

We decided not to use a map because we wanted to increase the sense of being lost. If you don't have a map, you don't know where you are, and you don't know what you will find next. However, we do have to make sure players end up somewhere instead of running around in circles for 2 hours before shutting down the game because they didn't know where to go. This makes designing the levels very important (and somewhat difficult) because a path should always lead somewhere (unless we deliberately put a dead end, or make a room where you will only find a secret item, an easter egg, or something like that).

As a "fun fact" I wanted to mention that, according to my calculations, the combined playtime offered by Parasite (meaning you take every possible path in every level, to get the whole "experience") is around 40 hours... which is a lot considering Parasite is not an "open world" game with "many sidequests" and stuff like that. As I said before, the entire game is linear, taking you from point A (the begining) to point B (ending), with no optional sidequests or stuff that "can make the game longer if you decide."

See you next time, and I promise we'll have a new video up soon :D

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Parasite
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The Domaginarium
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