Perception – The First Level


So as I predicted I got a little excited and have decided to share a snippet of my Perception doc. Hopefully it still makes sense out of context but it is a breakdown of the first level of the game. Enjoy (hopefully)

Level 1 – Late for an important date

Premise – The first level setups the story for the rest of the game. It starts as soon as the game does; The Protagonist, standing out the front of his house, must get to work on time. Unbeknownst to the player this task is impossible and will result in him losing his job.

This level will use many of the mechanics more commonly seen in games or levels focused on vehicles (see Image 2 for an example). As the player gains control a timer will appear on the HUD along with an arrow. The player will need to reach a series of points on the map within a time frame, using the arrow and their map to reach them in time.

Image 2: Screenshot from Midtown Madness

In a familiar fashion these points act as checkpoints; reaching one adds time to the timer and readjusts the arrow toward the next. The checkpoints will lead the player around the over world until they reach the train station.

Once at the train station a scripted sequence will commence. The Protagonist enters the line to the ticket booth. The timer will continue counting down, this time coinciding with the moment The Protagonist’s train is due to leave. Eventually The Protagonist reaches the counter where the player is met with two dialogue choices:

  • Option 1: One ticket please
  • Option 2: One ticket, I’m in a big hurry!

Choosing Option 1 results in the salesmen giving you the ticket free of charge proclaiming: “You’re the first person to say ‘please’ today! Here it’s on me. Have a great day.”

Choosing Option 2 results in a grumble from the salesmen and requires The Protagonist to hand over the full fare.

The scripted sequence continues as The Protagonist, ticket in hand, proceeds through the gates and waits on the platform. He has made it just in time.

A moment passes.

The Protagonist checks his watch. The timer enters negative numbers and begins to flash red.

An announcement sounds over the loud speaker: “Attentions passengers on platform 1, the 8:34 train is delayed by approximately 10 minutes.”

The timer negates further.

The Protagonist slumps his shoulders; all he can do is wait. The screen fades to black.

We return. The Protagonist is in his boss’ office. A dialogue sequence begins:

Boss: “Why were you late?”

Protagonist: “The train [cut off].”

Boss: “Let me guess: The train was delayed. The baby wouldn’t sleep.  I got here as fast as I could Boss. “


Boss: “Well, I’m sick of your excuses. I told you this wasn’t on but you don’t seem to care.”

Protagonist: “Wait! I promise I’ll [cut off]”

Boss: “No way it’s done. You’re fired. Take your things and leave.”

The Protagonist stands and exits the office. Fade to black.

The screen slowly fades back to reveal The Protagonist standing out the front of his building, looking identical to before. The game returns full control to the player and this level is complete.

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