Level Design for Wingsuit BASE

After a bunch of play-testing I’ve gathered some notes on what works in the current level and what doesn’t. Eventually these notes should turn into a sophisticated set of guidelines for Volo levels, but right now they are just little scribbles.

Here’s a shot of the island geometry used in the latest playtests:

Perspective view of the island. All atmospheric effects are turned off for clarity.

Graphing flight paths over a top-down map of the island and rating them based on enjoyment helps. Nothing fancy, I just take a rough note of the path taken and whether it was a fun flight or not. This is all manually done in a photoshop file for now, but it’s already clear that an automated tool would be of great use here.

'Fun' map. Green lines represent interesting flight paths, red ones represent boring ones.

Some early conclusions:

  • Long slopes that roughly match your glide ratio provide an engaging flight.
  • Ridged terrain that presents you with all manner of creases and canyons to traverse are by far the most engaging.
  • Short sections of really steep terrain, really flat terrain, or valleys can provide interesting contrast. When these sections get too long they quickly become boring. The give you a relatively calm flight, and because of the limitations of the terrain system they contain very little interesting detail to look at or fly through.
  • There’s a huge steep cliff face and a prominent valley right in the middle of the island. While the valley is interesting enough in a visual sense, the cliff isn’t, and neither are particularly fun to actually fly near.
  • There are additional cliffs that lack visual appeal, and are cast in way too much shadow to boot.
  • Player’s usually to fly in parts of the island that are well-lit, avoiding the side of the island cast in shadow.
  • The ocean sucks, but I knew this already. It’s not interactive in the way you would expect, and it reveals itself to be quite ugly when you get close.

Most of this common sense, but if I can formulate these rules clearly I might be able to bring them straight into World Machine. πŸ™‚


P.S. The earlier title, “Level Design for Proximity Flight”, might’ve made it seem like this post discussed level design for Skydive: Proximity Flight. Sorry about that.

  • Daniel

    Could you Please give out the demo for people on this page (download style) because than we both will gain profit we will be able to play the demo enjoing it while postin to you what should get improved and so on.

  • At last!
    Finally we get to see the mountain we’ve been flying in our dreams (from your videos)…
    A personal note: TREES!

    Trees are important, and cool, and basically it is awesome to fly just over them, or try to sneak between them.

    As for the demo release, I won’t insist on that. You’ll release it whenever you’re satisfied, meanwhile, here we are πŸ™‚

  • Also, now that I think of it, you should put up a suggestions board or something. One that requires a nit of effort to put the suggestion, so very little stupid ideas can make it through.

    Now that I see the whole mountain, I was thinking that a cool feature would be to be able to roam around just like that mountain view, and jum wherever you want and at the altitude you want. (just like if you where riding an helicopter (no need to display it, really) and you told the pilot where you want to go.

    As very secondary suggestion, it is also cool to jum from clifs, but to be able to roam around and jump from wherever you please (unlike base, that gives no options on that, wich SUCKS!)

  • I’d say the most important thing for me personally when it comes to an engaging game is the decision making process and the consequences that accompany it. If I were to make an Island for this game it would be split in to at least 3 different segments like a pie chart.


    Obviously the Novice and Intermediate lines could cross as well as the Intermediate and Professional. That would give you slight meta lines that would add additional difficulty for those trying to move up a difficulty.

    This would obviously add a dynamic outside of tweaking the game controls.

    From reading the blog you said the player is more likely to follow the well lit side so that could dictate from a visual point of view which lines you would be flying. If the player selected the difficulty to be intermediate then the intermediate lines would be well lit and the others in shadow. As the player progressed through the session some of the cross over lines could become lit and open up the meta lines. Other visual cues would obviously be necessary in some cases but that could define a small subconscious part of it.

    Another thing you could use would be obstacles both stable and unstable to make the lines more interesting and variable. An avalanche or snow drift, falling trees and rocks or a flock of birds. Or even a cave with Bats. Imagine flying a line through a cave with Bats screeching around you. Trees could also have fallen on lines that were clear the day before causing the line to be drastically and dramatically different. The line you flew comfortably the night before would have a sudden and unexpected difference. Clouds would obviously play a big roll in that as well as they are ever changing. The blue rings also could be mobile and help bridge gaps in lines that may not have been possible without them.

    This may sound odd but, I’d take a Sonic the Hedgehog style approach with my level design. I hope that makes sense. xD

  • I just had this dream (it is silly, and I know and understand it would be awesomely difficult to implement, but as a dream was awesome).

    Make an option to host (or join) an online jumping site, so more than two people can fly in the same area at the same time. Kinda skydiving MMORPG. ^_^U

  • Hello, i think you’ve hearded this about some hunderd of time: “Nice work and when can we download a demo”?

    Godverdomme zeg, t’is echt een spelleke dat ik wil spelen! :p

  • Hey,is that the Unity 3D game engine ?

  • Can you post demo of your game only for users of this page? or http://www.flokas.de users?
    Duk3R from Poland

  • Jeff

    Hey man, been following this for a while.
    It’s coming along nicely! Don’t get put down by the comments almost /demanding/ a demo, take your time, you earn it.
    Hope to see a new blog post soon!


  • How you write make it quite easy to read. Plus the template you employ, whoa. It happens to be quite a excellent mixture. And also I’m asking yourself whats the particular title in the design you have?

  • The terrain is shaping up nicely … very cool! For my 2 cents worth I’d like to see some water features … a few waterfalls to fly through & streambeds to follow. Also, are there going to be many seting parameters? Flyer weight, suit type, temperature, time of day, weather? Can’t wait to see it running on my computer!

  • Ambidexter

    Hey Martijn!

    If possible, make it indie like Minecraft.
    I’d be more than happy do pay a couple of Euro’s to support the development you put into it, in return for playable Alpha / Beta releases of the game.

  • Bobby

    Is there a demo or like a alpha version we can download/buy ?? it will help the production of the game πŸ™‚

  • Craig

    I believe this is going to be the best wingsuit game out for a long time. It would be a real money maker if you wanted it to be. Hats off to you for all the effort you have put in to this game so far and in the future. Just wanted to say thanks.

  • Hi Martijn,

    Just a quick note to say the game is looking fantastic and please keep going!