Whitewall (Vertical Slice)
Architectural Cat-and-Mouse Horror
A vertical slice developed by 7 people over six months at Polyknight Games.
Role: Level designer, visual design/concept.
Character model, procedural materials, and textures developed by Steve Zapata.
A fast-paced horror adventure that puts the player’s survival into their own hands.
Mechanical, high skill-ceiling gameplay
Keep the player vulnerable, pushing them to outwit monsters they cannot outright defeat
Players face a powerful enemy, The Denizen, but have no weapons. Players instead rely on tricky powers that let them cheat space and escape by warping or hiding in a pocket dimension.
A primary design challenge was to create interesting spaces, and encounters within them, that allowed the player to use their powers to make clever escapes.
I created one-off prototype arenas to test high-intensity encounters with the Denizen, challenging players to escape from direct confrontations. These arenas, or the dynamics within them, were progressively integrated into larger level designs.
Arena 1: “Warp-Wheel”
A large circular room. The “hub” of the wheel is a solid column, intersected by narrow hallways.
Walls at the center of the hub prevent the player from simply walking through the room. They must warp to traverse the space, and to escape the Denizen’s clutches.
Creates a tense back-and-forth as the player and the monster each warp in turn, until the player breaks free and makes a dash for their goal.
Each move the player makes opens up several possible decision points.
Arena 2: “Trap Labyrinth”
A regular “grid” maze that has, at its far end, an escape: a Player Warp point.
The player’s goal is available from the start, but an untrapped Denizen will catch them quickly.
The denizen will pursue the player through the maze.
The player can trap the Denizen by shutting doors around it and teleporting away once they find the Warp Point. The Denizen then has no way to pursue the player quickly, giving the player time to escape.