Next thing I really started noticing at this point is how the developers handled level streaming and how this process always relate in one way or another to the world they are creating. If there’s a logical explanation as to why a certain area of the game isn’t accessible anymore then you reduces the chances of your player feeling frustration. After opening that door with the newly acquired power you see a part of the plane you came on crash into this windowed corridor. Water starts pouring in and at this very moment the “Airlock” closes itself and the sign “Airlock Active” turns red. This is perfectly logical. In an underwater city, you don’t want anything to flood the other area in case something totally breaks. The airlock system must then detect a certain volume of water (sensors?) before it seals the access to the other room. This will be used as a technic to make sure that a level can be safely unloaded.
At this very moment, another room is being loaded in at the end of the corridor. When you successfully cross that corridor we’ll observe that the airlock’s door successfully opens. Why is that? The water didn’t reach the airlock yet. Notice the presence of windows outside the building but none of them are represented inside. So what if they decided to make it so that you could see through those windows from the inside. Well, in the dumbest of the case you’ll probably see an empty black world with blue lines sign that the other portion of the game was completely unloaded (empty Unreal Engine level). The other case would be that you would be seeing some elements of the previous stage in a downgraded quality through something like LOD parenting or straight LOD.
Once you’re inside the new room, the goal is clear: reach that other door at the end of the room, but very quickly you’ll notice there’s things to explore on the sides of this path. When you turn your head right you’ll see an intriguing blue light. What makes it intriguing? The color of the light. It is in complete contrast to everything else in the level. If everything in the scene was blue I wouldn’t pay as much attention to it.
After a few moments have passed, you’ll realize that the water has risen on the other side of the airlock and it is now challenging it. Water starts pouring out and we now understand: “I totally won’t be able to go out there”. Again they translated the level streaming to something believable in the game world. This event will also help with the player immersion. They might feel like they are in a world that somewhat behaves like the physical world they live in.
The next thing that I want to cover here is enemy encounter. The first one comes into the room sliding very quickly along the center path. The second one comes in when you defeat the first one. If we do a quick recap, the previous room had only one encounter. This one has two. This simply means that the level designers slightly increased the difficulty (although you’re not battling two at the same time) simply to get you used a bit more to the combat system. Something that I took in consideration is the fact that I felt relieved when I eliminated the first one. I suddenly felt like the room was safe and secured and that I could move on. This is when they introduce the other encounter which trumps this feeling of “I have cleared the room it is now safe”. It is also a good thing that they introduced this early on in the game because it is one their design pillars. It could very well be described as one of their ingredients.