The Secret World: The Facility

The Secret World: The Facility

The Facility

The Facility is an abandoned, sealed, and forgotten Soviet science facility in Wallachia.

The official site has a location page about it.

Part of the mandate of this dungeon was that it had to use mesh pieces already designed for another environment that we had cut. This meant less normal level design and more level design jigsaw, which was an interesting challenge. I spent several days dragging and snapping large, quite customized meshes around, trying to find a way to fit them all together into a flow that made narrative and navigational sense, included nice reveals and wow moments, and wouldn’t involve too much seam-wrangling and rework.

The Facility air shafts

+ It goes all the way up AND all the way down!

Working closely with our writers, I established a theme of verticality for both the space and the storyline, which involved an occult space research program that attempted to connect with outer space via the inner space of the mind, as a parallel the inner-madness-from-outer-space beings that are the game’s chief unseen antagonists.

Coolant Overflow cistern beneath the Facility

+ Vast space with strong vertical elements. Diagetic signage directs the player to the exit.

Scry, proprietary scripting tool

Scry, proprietary scripting tool

One of the early bosses in the dungeon, the Red Guard, is a Bomberman-style boss who moves between intersection points in a large grid-shaped arena. This presented a design challenge because the engine’s existing combat pathfinding systems were all based on finding a path directly to player or other dynamic objects. I had to write a completely new combat AI that took these different movement constraints into account, while still interfacing with the core combat logic in order to avoid complicating QA processes. I did this by introducing a multithreaded callback system into the game’s core combat, which ended up being used in dozens of encounters across the game and reducing the test cycle considerably.

Stuff like that is always nice to hear!

The Facility was released with the launch of The Secret World, on July 3rd, 2012.

More work I did on The Secret World: