Project: Baphomet

Prototype by Daniel Brond.

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Project: Realms

What if?

You were not the hero of the story. In fact, what if you were the villain, looking to cause mayhem and destruction.
But even the villain has a story right?
That is what Baphomet is all about, a story told from a villain’s perspective.

Intro

Baphomet & UE4

Project Baphomet was my second project in line after gathering valuable knowledge from Project Realms.

The goal of the project was to practice further in terms of UE workflow, gameplay design, level design, and world design.

I set out to create the prototype in 4 months’ time, hoping to get a good amount of practice designing realistic gameplay & world composition.

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Genre

TP, medieval, fantasy, chaos simulator

Combining Third Person view, action-oriented combat, open world, & destruction

Concept

Baphomet Explained

Most games portray the player as a hero but I always wondered how it would feel like to play as the villain.

Due to my limited time, I decided to simply try my luck with mixing the freedom of exploration and mayhem found in the GTA series, the simple gameplay progression found in Mario (Find the princess!) and the fire mechanic found in Farcry 4.

Combat

Responsive

For the combat, I wanted to focus on a fast-paced experience, combining melee attacks, demonic spells & executions.

AI

Realistic Behaviour

The world needed to be populated by mostly civilian NPC as well as a decent amount of combat units.
I wanted the player to experience the freedom of walking into a village and seeing the civilians run only to be met by guards standing their ground.

Destruction

Fire Propagation

On top of allowing the player to kill everything in sight, I also wanted to implement destruction in terms of fire propagation.
The player could unlock the fire-breathing spell and set whole villages ablaze.

Planning

Setting up a budget

To achieve my goal in under 4 months it was obvious that I needed to rely on the Unreal Marketplace for new assets.

Thankfully, my previous project had already given me a good core for the combat
& AI system which I decided to reuse and adapt.
The only thing missing was the art assets & fire propagation assets.

Budget:

750 USD

Art

Realism

I decided on a realistic approach as I wanted to explore realism in UE and further improve my world and level design abilities.

By purchasing top-quality assets, I made sure to keep up with the latest titles on the market.

Cost: 700 USD

Systems

Responsive

With an action-oriented combat system, the concept holds up to the current trend.

Combined with the fire propagation & dismemberment system, it offered a balanced combat experience.

Cost: 50 USD

UI

Minimalism

A minimalistic approach to the UI offers more focus on immersion.

By removing the health bar and implementing health indicators I promoted slight insecurity in how the player approached different combat scenarios.

Cost: 0 USD

Cost: 450 USD

3D Assets:

Environment:

Stylized Forest v2

Stylized Castle

Stylized Landscape

Pirate Island

Characters:

Stylized Human

Stylized Elf

Cost: 450 USD

Systems:

Combat:

Dynamic Combat System (Full)

AI:

Dynamic Combat System

Smart AI

Inventory & RPG Elements:

Inventory & Interactive System

Crafting:

Inventory & Interactive System

Base Building:

Simple building system

Cost: 450 USD

UI Art:

General UI:

Something

Icon Art:

Something

Execution

Putting it all together.

With the combat system which I used in the Realms project migrated to my new,
it came down to adding several small systems to spice it up.

I’ve learned how to use Visual Scripting, Animation Blueprints,
and general workflow prior to this experience so I had a solid foundation to build upon.

This project served as an excellent showcase of my abilities to reiterate and adapt gameplay features.

Combat & AI

Visual Scripting & Animations.

I wanted to remove as many UI Elements as possible and introduce them through visuals and sound only.
That meant that my AI would not have a health bar but instead showcase its health state in terms of behavior, animation, and particle effects.

Execution

Dismemberment

With the new way of handling the health information for both player and AI it was time to combine the two.

I decided upon a system where the player regains health by executing and dismembering hurt enemies. It would provide a slight satisfaction in terms of feeling like a true monster but also relief in tough situations.

Destruction

Fire propagation

The last touches to the project came in form of the fire propagation system.
I bought a relatively cheap asset from the marketplace and tied it together with my magic abilities.
After some custom scripting, I was able to set fire and burn down the enemy AI, set fire to almost any type of object, allow AI to catch on fire by walking into burning objects & destroying objects such as doors and wooden barriers.

Level Design

The kingdom of Rubar

”They said that a king’s duty is to lead his people. That a good king stands side by side with his people.
And me? I gave my very soul for my people”

– King Rufus I

Level Design

Open World

For this project, my main focus was to create an open-world experience.

I tried keeping in mind different playstyles and how players might explore the world
as I wanted to offer different ways to progress throughout the level.

At the same time, I wanted to keep it rather simple and straightforward
with just enough depth to the world to make the exploration fun & rewarding.

World Design

All roads lead to Rome

The main objective of Baphomet is to kill the king.
As there are no side quests or any other type of objective, the gameplay only revolves around destroying villages and killing its citizens on the way.

Due to the main goal being the king’s castle I decided to design the map in a rather simplistic way in terms of progression.
I wanted the player to start off by exploring villages that mostly consist of civilians and progressively increase the difficulty by allowing the player to explore guarded towns, then heavily guarded towers, and eventually the capital.

No matter which way the player decides to take, all roads eventually lead to the final stage.

3 way approach

I tried designing the world map with 3 different playstyles in mind.

Playstyle focused on maximizing skills before approaching the final stage.

Playstyle focused on getting to the final stage with bare minimum skills.

Playstyle focused on exploring the world and everything it has to offer.

Respawn

Resurrection Shrines

The resurrection shrines allow the players to bind their respawn location but it also serves to save their current progress.

Since the resurrection shrines are of major importance to the player progression I did not want to frustrate the player by placing them too far off from points of interest.
Instead, I placed them periodically across the world.

Navigation

Landmarks

With only a compass and no map to guide the player, I wanted to try and introduce some excitement in terms of exploration and progression.

I then designed the world to be easily navigated by using common landmarks across the land, such as windmills & towers.
The windmills indicate some type of settlement close by while towers indicate main routes.

Level Design

Inspiration & Color Pallets

For the colors and general atmospheric touches, I decided to draw inspiration from two games: Blair Witch & The Blackout Club.

Both of these games had some very interesting light setups, Blair Witch being more realistic, but I wanted to land somewhere in between.

Level Design

God rays & Volumetric fog.

I’ve spent a good amount of time playing around with the post-processing effects trying to learn as much as possible. As I had no prior experience going in, I really wanted to grasp the fundamentals of how PP effects work and how they affect performance.

With the goal of mimicking certain scenery in the Blair Witch title, I ended up using god rays and volumetric fog to portray the mood for my project.
However, with my time limitation I never truly felt happy with what I achieved before I had to move on to other aspects of my world design.

Level Design

Modular kits FTW

Yet again, the modular kits managed to save me a lot of time.
I focused on creating realistic scenery inside structures as I wanted the player to be able to enter every household.
It took a while to design something decent while trying to keep an eye on the performance.
In the end, I decided to do a simple script where the interiors and multiple real-time light sources would only be enabled if the player is in close proximity.

Until next time

Last words

Working on this project has been an amazing journey with many obstacles on the way, obstacles which I am proud to have overcome.

I’ve gotten a detailed understanding of how UE4 works, its features, its downsides, and its upsides.

The lessons I learned during the project have been invaluable and I look forward to applying them to my professional career.

Open world design

90%

Gameplay Design

90%

Post processing

75%

UE4

91%

Contact

Don't hesitate to leave me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.