Gears of War – “Warehouse 16”

Players and enemies alike must look for each other, not knowing where each is coming from in the warehouse with high stacks of crates.

Warehouse 16″ is a Gears of War level in which Marcus Fenix must navigate his way past guards and spotlights and into a well-lit warehouse to meet with the rest of Delta squad prior to evacuating the area.  The opening area had spotlights that were attached to triggers that moved, and if the spotlight hit the player it stopped moving and guards spawned.  Once inside, the player must navigate through a maze of crates while combating wretches and drones to first reach the office, and then open the back doors to escape.  Once outside, Delta squad arrives to assist Fenix in eliminating the horde that begins streaming from the warehouse.

My goal in this level was to deviate from the standard “toe-to-toe” combat typical of Gears of War and allow for a wide range of combat styles.  Players can flank, play hide and seek with enemies, or face them directly.  The maze of crates and boxes made the AI act differently every time, giving replayability to the level.

Development time:  Approximately 150 man-hours

 

Level Design Document:

To play this level, download this .zip file and follow the instructions in the Word file contained in the .zip: (must have Gears of War for the PC to play)

Brief video highlighting some gameplay elements of the level: Warehouse 16 Video

Gallery: (Note: Post-processing removed for clearer pictures)

 

Spotlights protecting the entrance to the warehouse.

This area was initially designed to be a stealth area, but stealth is difficult to pull off in GoW.  I went with a more “avoidance” type of area with combat if a mistake is made.  Spotlights were tied to trigger volumes with matinees that triggered difficult guard spawns like a boomer and a troika gunner.

 

Guards protecting the spotlights.

Guards at the top by the spotlights added a little more danger to this area. The goal was to provide some difficulty to avoiding the spotlights. Initially there were no guards, but during testing it was found that a player could avoid the spotlights and enter with little challenge, so the guards were added to provide some minor degree of difficulty.  The player was equipped with a sniper rifle, so it was not too difficult to take the guards out.

 

Bright lighting in the warehouse made hiding difficult for both the player and enemies.

From the catwalk inside the warehouse, the view shows the well-lit areas and the multitude of cover spaces within the warehouse. The goal was to give a cat-and-mouse style of combat, instead of the linear “charge ahead and shoot head-on” style that is typical of Gears of War.  Also, the heavy lighting was in stark contrast to the normally dark and confined combat areas in many of the Gears of War levels.

 

The office where the warehouse foreman would have worked and where the back door trigger is located.

The office was added for realism. A typical foreman or manager would sit on high and oversee the warehouse activities. The goal was realism, but also a place where the player could go for some ammunition. The trigger for the back door was located in the office, which set off the matinees for the next wave of enemies to enter and start the timer to speed the player towards escape. The office provided cover, but was also a trap if the player did not hurry fast enough.

 

Delta squad comes in to help battle enemies.

The last battle sequence was waves of enemies coming at the player from the far side of the warehouse, but this time Delta squad arrives to assist.  While the AI is not perfect, this gave the player a bit of help in case ammunition was running low.  The goal was giving the player a bit of a reprieve from doing all of the work while the player and the rest of Delta squad awaited extraction.

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