How to Install:
If you have the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent installed either on Steam or retail, you can play the level yourself. To do that, just download the files and unzip inside your custom_stories folder that's where your Amnesia base game is installed. If you have the game on Steam, the path should look something like this:
C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Amnesia The Dark Descent\custom_stories
The Cathedral of Light's Library is a level based on a location from an original story of mine called In Betwixt (https://www.yurimainkadesign.com/in-betwixt) created inside the HPL2 Engine from Amnesia The Dark Descent, a First-Person Survival Horror game. This was a 3 week project where I took a small section of my story and adapted it to the Amnesia's universe to create a concise experience that gives a small taste of what the story is about while allowing me to improve my level design skills.
Here you play as Aldrin Cornell, a beginner priest that participates in a yearly ritual used to halt the spread of darkness in the world. Unfortunately, something goes wrong in the ritual and a powerful being known simply as The Entity is partially released. Seemingly the sole survivor of the ritual, Aldrin must explore the Cathedral of Light in search of a way of stopping the dark beast and saving his own life. At this point, Aldrin just witnessed the carnage brought by The Entity, as it devoured every priest in the Chamber of Summoning. Having barely escaped with his life, he now sees himself in the Library of the Cathedral of Light, a place that holds all the knowledge the Church gathered over its existence and some dark secrets.
This level features the following:
Goal and Theme:
When I started designing this level it was supposed to be entirely for my original story. However, as I started playing with the HPL2 Engine I realized that in order to take full advantage of it in the time frame I'd given myself, the level would benefit from being adapted to better fit the Amnesia universe and mechanics. That said, my goal remained the same: To deliver a Horror experience with a unique story. From the beginning I decided not to rely on jump scares and focus on creating scare events only when it benefited the narrative or gameplay. The result is an experience that relies more on setting up the atmosphere with ambience sounds and music, set dressing and narrative.
This being my first time using the HPL2 Engine, I decided to spend the first days getting used to the engine and watching as many tutorials as I could to understand what I could and couldn't do, and define the scope properly. Given that the engine comes with all the assets from the original Amnesia game, I restricted myself to using only these in-game assets in order to save time and be more faithful to the original game. That led to some design changes, because as I mentioned before, this level didn't start as a proper Amnesia level.
A couple things can be noted here:
After getting more used to the engine and watching a playthrough of the main game, I was able to better determine my limitations and get a feel on how to design puzzles that would respect players' expectation for an Amnesia Level, and as such decided to revisit the initial design:
Here's how the points in the in initial design were addressed:
When Whiteboxing this design, I had to go with an unusual approach. The HPL2 Engine is a very prop heavy engine and does not support the use of primitives such as BSPs in the UE4. Therefore the Whiteboxing Process was done using basic props to outline the walls and size of each room and after I was happy with the base layout I would use Planes to create the floors and, by the end of it, the ceiling.
And here's a look at the final level inside the editor: