Stuart Scott
Games Developer | Lead Level Designer

Archive

Category: Level Design

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  • Date

    2 February

The Division 2 – World Design

As a Lead Level Designer on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, I was responsible for leading the open world design teams across two studios based in Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington. Working closely with Environment Artists, my teams undertook the design and implementation of five named zones in our representation of post-outbreak Washington D.C.

My specific responsibilities as Lead Level Designer of two teams constructing these areas were as follows:

          • Lead the design of the themes, gameplay intentions and playable spaces of the world environments.
          • Provide open world design philosophies and advocate guidelines to world builders.
          • Lead the design and creation of a number of bespoke side missions.
          • Lead the design and creation of a number of bespoke Control Point gameplay locations.
          • Develop dynamic mission systems and activities for emergent gameplay opportunities in the world.
          • Review, playtest and provide constructive feedback to teams as part of an iterative development process.
          • Coordinate with other World Leads and stakeholders as part of a global collaboration in an agile production process to ensure my teams were effective in their responsibilities.
          • Contribute to the design and implementation of the E3 2018 demo areas in the East Mall area.

Named Zones List

Downtown East

The first explorable area in the game once players leave the White House Base of Operations. This once financial and technological business area is now ruled by the Hyenas, save for The Theatre Settlement which barely holds out amidst the carnage.

Federal Triangle

Home to a number of federal institutions, the zone is bisected by the long Pennsylvania Avenue running towards the Capitol Building. This road was the route of intense protest during the early stages of the outbreak, but now marks the border of conflict between the Hyenas and the True Sons factions in the area.

East Mall

The verdant lawns of the Mall were repurposed by the JTF as a logistics centre for bringing supplies and coordinating evacuation during the outbreak. Flanked by the famous Smithsonian museums and cultural heritage sites, the area is now a constant reminder of the failed attempts to contain the outbreak, patrolled by ruthless True Sons.

Southwest

The rail infrastructure that runs through this area was initially repurposed to handle the relocation of those affected by the outbreak. When an unfortunate train derailment shutdown the network, those stranded were forced to reside in the vacant federal offices. There they waited for the winter to pass and the arrival of further promised relief that would never actually come.

Judiciary Square

Bordering the DZ East and home of the Hyena Stronghold in the District Union Arena, this dangerous area still bears the scars of huge fires that raged around the judicial buildings in the wake of arson attacks.

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  • Date

    18 August

The Division 2 – Side Missions

As a Lead Level Designer on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, I was responsible for leading the open world design teams across two studios based in Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington. Working closely with Environment Artists, my teams undertook the design and implementation of the following side mission content.

My specific responsibilities as Lead Level Designer of the two teams constructing these missions were as follows:

        • Lead the design of the themes, gameplay intentions and playable spaces of the mission environments.
        • Lead the design of the objective beats, pacing and combat encounters of the missions.
        • Review, playtest and provide constructive feedback to teams as part of an iterative development process.
        • Coordinate with other World Leads and stakeholders as part of a global collaboration in an agile production process to ensure my teams were effective in their responsibilities.


Side Mission List

Odea Tech Office

An early game mission that has players rescuing a key character, Vikram Malik, from Hyena internment. The finale takes place in an impressive open plan tech office that plays with verticality and negative space across multiple stages.

Andrew Edwards Support

A mysterious SHD signal draws players into a suspenseful investigation, leading to a terrifying engagement with the game’s first Hunter enemy in a shocking ambush. A community favourite mission that provided a small slice of horror for players.

MLK Library Community

Players must race against time to stop a Hyena attack on a small community. Fight your way floor-by-floor to the rooftop in this modern open plan library designed to provide long range engagements supported by smart flanking.

Rooftop Gardens

These lavish high-rise apartments and interconnected gardens have been transformed into a Hyena playground post-outbreak. This space provides intense close quarters combat amongst the now tarnished apartments, with frequent skirmishes across rooftops that overlook the complex’s central plaza.

Bureau Headquarters

The real world location of the FBI Headquarters, this mission has players spiralling downwards, through the internal courtyard towards the sealed basement lab to recover experimental SHD tech. Employing strong ambience and exploration of the lab space, this mission culminates in an intense hold-out amidst the pristine lab workstations.

National Archives

Occupied by the True Sons as a frontline barracks and communications base, the faction were originally drawn to this cultural building to secure the Declaration of Independence sealed in the vaults below. Players must sweep the building to clear the True Sons threat before recovering the cultural artefact.

Missing Curators

A dedicated group of conservationists have lost contact with their comrades last seen in the museums of the East Mall. Players must follow their tracks to discover their fate and protect them from True Sons aggression. Culminating in a dynamic cat-and-mouse conflict that constantly forces players to move around the ornate rotunda setting in the centre of the Gallery of Art.

Museum Water Source

Inspired by the flow of water and nature, this mission situated in the real world location of the National American Indian Museum tasks players with restoring a water source. The architecture and construction of the mission spaces are designed to provide a flowing combat experience from all directions, as well as impressive vista views of the D.C landmarks from the rooftop relaxation space.

Agent Brooks Support

Agent Brooks has been sent underground to attempt to circumvent the impregnable defences of the True Sons control point situated above a sinkhole on the East Mall. Players have a tough fight to spiral through the sinkhole’s destruction before emerging on the surface where they are joined by Settlement fighters in a combined assault on the fortifications.

SHD Tech Beacon

Players are on the trail of True Sons who have recovered a SHD Tech cache from the derailed train crash site. Pursuing along the train tracks, players must fight over, under and amongst the dramatic destruction before securing the cache from the Engineer Boss determined to crack it open.

Rayburn House

An unassuming federal building near the Capitol gains interest from SHD once a number of True Sons patrols are wiped out nearby. An investigation reveals a Black Tusk Recon unit has occupied the building, using the internal courtyard as a base for conducting drone reconnaissance on the area undetected. Players must destroy the drone charging stations by overloading the systems to spectacular effect before sweeping the rest of the building for Black Tusk operatives.

Missing Wire Scavengers

Set in the huge exhibition space of the real world Building Museum location, this mission takes place amongst an abstract NYC architectural art exhibit. Originally designed with the intention of providing players with a Godzilla-like experience of fighting amongst a miniature city, this space is visually impressive and the NYC setting provided plenty of opportunity for Easter Eggs and community speculation.

Police Headquarters

This mission has players sweeping the burnt out remnants of the Police Headquarters, searching for intel on the Hyenas and the sources of their stolen police gear. A difficult mission that sees players engaging with shielded enemies in tightly constrained spaces, before having to assault a mounted gun emplacement head-on in the basement garage to secure the supplies.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division: Underground DLC

As a Senior Level Designer on Tom Clancy’s The Division: Underground I was part of the core team that developed the procedural generation systems and processes used to produce the replayable underground levels as part of this major expansion to the base game.

This included developing and applying new procedural techniques to the existing game and project resources, as well as implementing technical systems and tools to be used in the mission generation process.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Murray Hill

The design and creation of the Murray Hill area of Manhattan as represented in The Division was one of my primary responsibilities during the project’s development. Working closely with an Environment Artist, I contributed to the following throughout the area;

  • Conceptualise the space and the themes of the area in the game world and setting
  • Design all playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas
  • Design and script the open world encounters throughout the area
  • Maintain and iterate the quality of the game space arrangement and encounter scripting based on playtests and peer reviews

My main ambition with the Murray Hill area was to convey a sense of chaos vs order in this slice of The Division’s Manhattan. This was primarily represented by the large Last Man Battalion (LMB) fortifications that split the area in two, with the chaos and lawlessness of the Riker controlled areas to the south of the wall in conflict with the totalitarian control of the LMB areas north of the divide.

The Queens Tunnel entrance provided a perfect pre-built defence for the LMB to establish their barricades that reminded me of a medieval moat which would serve to reinforce the walls of the LMB’s fortress! Penetrating the walls would throw players into the midst of the LMB forces, ultimately leading to their castle in the north, the UN Building.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Hell’s Kitchen

As well as working on the Murray Hill area, I also designed and created the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen playable space in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists which included;

  • Designing the playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas
  • Design and script the open world encounters throughout the area
  • Iterate upon the quality of the game space arrangement and encounter scripting based on playtests and peer reviews

Although I was not initially in a position to contribute to the conceptualisation of Hell’s Kitchen in The Division, I was still able to incorporate a lot of ideas throughout in my level design of the area. This included the design of two separate, thrilling, assault based side missions inside landmark buildings in the region, as well as an encounter situated on the open-air rail tracks nestled between the buildings designed to shift the power balance and surprise players.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Stuyvesant Town

Stuyvesant was the first entire region of the open world in The Division that I was personally responsible for, and working in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists I contributed to the following throughout the area;

  • Conceptualise the space and the themes of the area in the game world and setting
  • Design the initial playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the whitebox game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas

Despite only working on the Stuyvesant region in its early stages of development, the area still remains one of my favourite level design challenges to date. Tonally, it was completely different to any of the other open world areas of The Division with its dense parkland, rolling landscaping and not a hint of the street grid layout that permeates throughout Manhattan. Not to mention the unique challenge this presented to convert the area into a compelling, beautiful space for cover-based shooting that still believably conveyed the real-world location.

I’m pleased to say that the majority of my initial level design and conceptualisation of the area remains in the final version of the game. What’s more, the team that took over from me did a brilliant job in creating what I still consider to be the most beautiful and visually interesting area of The Division!

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Broadway Emporium

At an early point in development, I was given the responsibility of designing and implementing the Broadway Emporium main mission. At the time I was given a lot of freedom regarding the narrative and moment-to-moment gameplay of the mission, and I’m pleased to say that most of the ideas I suggested in those early concept stages have made it into the final version of the game.

Although some of the narrative structure has been adapted since I handed the mission on to another team, the broad beats of the mission objectives and the whitebox layout of the store remains largely unchanged.

This location was always intended to be a visually arresting space with its burning Christmas tree the centre piece amidst the aisles of looted jewellery and fragrance counters. More than that, it serves as a key piece of the story in determining the origins of the virus, as well as the motivations of the Cleaner faction in the game.

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  • Date

    7 May

Watch Dogs

As a Mission Designer/Level Designer on Watch Dogs, I was responsible for the design and creation of a number of driving based side missions called Fixer Contracts.

Transporter

Transporter contracts were designed to be fast paced vehicle delivery missions that encouraged exploration, parkour and the use of the city’s many shortcuts in order to achieve the fastest delivery times for leaderboards. Adding to the challenge, players had to ensure that damage to the vehicle was kept to a minimum to avoid failure, providing an additional test of their driving skills with high risk/rewards.

Contract List

  • Urban Exploration
  • Straight and Narrow
  • Muscle Memory
  • Industry Standards
  • Grand Triathlon
  • Lap of Luxury
  • The Badlands


Decoy

Speed through the city and push your driving skills to the max, attracting the attention of the police and CtOS whilst the Fixer uses the distraction for their hacking activities. Designed to take players on high intensity routes that capitalised on the many stunt opportunities throughout the city, these contracts get progressively more challenging as the police close in on you with all their force.

Contract List

  • Trials and Tribulations
  • Parker Square Rally
  • Raid
  • Deception
  • Misguided
  • Bootlegged
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  • Date

    6 May

Driver: San Francisco

Driver: San Francisco is the critically acclaimed follow up in the Driver franchise that sees the return of Tanner as he pursues wanted criminal Jericho across the city of classic car chases. The game introduces the innovative new Shift feature that allows players to instantly jump into the driving seat of any car in the city to offer a fresh new perspective on the driving game genre.

Project Contribution

As a Level Designer and Mission Scripter on Driver: San Francisco I was responsible for designing, producing and maintaining the majority of the side mission content in the single-player campaign which included:

  • 50 City Activity side missions
  • 32 Challenge missions
    • 12 Driver Challenges – designed to test the player’s driving skill
    • 13 Movie Challenges – hardcore challenges  inspired by classic car chases and races
    • 5 Uplay Challenges – Uplay points reward challenges
    • 2 Special Challenges – including a re-imagining of the infamous Driver Car Park initiation mission

E3 2010

I was responsible for scripting and designing the 2010 E3 demo for the game that would serve as the first public announcement of the project. I was also chosen as a representative of the company to exhibit the demo live on the E3 show floor in the VIP booth during the conference’s duration.

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  • Date

    6 May

mp_stash

Set in a rundown Japanese ammo dump complex situated in the dense jungle, mp_stash was a personally ambitious project that I started with the intention of testing my level design and environment art abilities.

Harnessing the confidence and ability I had gathered from my previous successful public releases, I wanted to produce a highly detailed and realistic exterior locale that provided a harmoniously balanced gameplay. There was also the added challenge of dealing with the latest version of the game engine which imposed strict limitations regarding asset and texture usage, as well as a greater reliance on occlusion and performance enhancing techniques during design.

Unfortunately the project was shelved shortly after I began as a professional Level Designer on Driver: San Francisco owing to time commitments, but I hope to return to complete this project in the future.