Design Analysis Videos

"Let's Play" style videos analyzing the title NaissanceE by Limasse Five ◦ 2015

Goals and Content

I happened upon the game NaissanceE while I was in my first year at The Guildhall, and in just the first chapter of the game I realized I had stumbled upon something special. Were I not a game developer, I'm sure I would still enjoy the game, but having the experience of designing levels in various engines, the lighting and environmental design of NaissanceE blew me away with their epic scale and unique vision.

 

Enamored with the game's material, I decided to dedicate one of my independent assignments at The Guildhall to taking a closer look at the its accomplishments. This is a title so rich with specific visual details at every moment of the experience that the only way for me to do it justice was to provide my thoughts on it in a "Let's Play" style format, talking over the gameplay as I went through it.

 

In terms of its game design, NaissanceE provides a mixed bag of different kinds of puzzles and 3D platforming challenges. Each one is explored for a decent amount of time, but I found in replaying it that none of them were particularly strong showings. Instead, the strengths of the title that stood out to me were its visual design, environmental construction, and impeccable attention to detail in lighting. One might think that these strengths are not wholly relevant to a level designer interested in gameplay, but the game's command of 3D space, architecture, and exploratory level layouts provide ample inspiration to any LD.

Analysis of NaissanceE's "Chapter 1 - Lucy is Lost" (25:35)

The first chapter of the game explores a series of interior spaces, many of which are dark and claustrophobic, and these interiors use lighting both artistically and to affect gameplay. Some areas focus on the game's sprinting/breathing mechanic, but most of them are more slow-burn environmental puzzles that use dynamic shadows and moving wisps of light in various ways to challenge the player.

 

The second chapter of the game explores a series of abstract, city-like exterior spaces. These environments focus a lot on experimenting with the concepts of space and scale, having the player climb around vast structures before plunging them into more intimate back-alleys and hallways. It almost impossible to capture in just words what the game accomplishes in some of these areas, so they really have to be seen to be understood.

Analysis of NaissanceE's "Chapter 2 - Going Down" (51:52)

Every chapter and every new environment of NaissanceE is startlingly unique, and each one offers experiential lessons in level design from the variety of angles mentioned above. However, I have only had the chance to create videos for the first two chapters of the game (and unfortunately I did not have the best microphone on hand). In the future, I would like to finish videos for the rest of the game, and likely take a similar approach to other titles that I feel have a lot of knowledge to offer to designers and developers.