My role in Ellen’s Adventure

Level Designer.


First Time Player Experience, Documentation, Whiteboxing.

The game

  • Puzzle, Action Game.
  • PC.
  • Unity 3D.
  • The spaceship captain Ellen wakes up in a strange enclosed environment. To get out she needs to solve all the puzzles.


May 3 2021 – May 7 2021.

The goals

  • Scaled use of challenges.
  • Smooth first time player experience.
  • Fast pace gameplay.

I planned for players to achieve a certain level of mastery in one kind of challenge before introducing them to a different kind of challenge. The previously mastered challenges will get reintroduced in scaled-up versions and revisit them in medium difficulty versions later on.

To let the player have a smooth learning experience, I limited the options on how to execute the challenges in the level. The level has clear indications of where to go so that the player can focus on completing challenges.

I planned so that the challenges in each room would take around 1-2 minutes to finish, which makes the overall gameplay fast-paced. When the player completes all the challenges in a room a green light activates and a door opens. For the player, it creates a sense of reward and positive feedback which will encourage them to finish upcoming rooms even when they progress in length and difficulty. 


The gameplay video

  • Mockups.
  • Challenge progression.
  • Gameplay.

When entering a room I will show the mockup before the finished product.

I will introduce all the challenges and their progression before the player performs them.

The recorded gameplay is my own footage and from playtesting. 

My learnings

  • Bigger space doesn’t equal higher difficulty.
  • Player flow should have been playtested more.

I wanted the level to progress in difficulty but instead I added more playable area. I learned that difficulty doesn’t evolve on how far the player needs to go to finish it. I also focused on how it should look like more than how it should feel like. Next time I will focus on how to progress the challenges and not on where they should play out. 

I didn’t have enough playtesting sessions, so my own expectation of the player route and performance stayed approximately the same. I got feedback on the player learnings during the mockup stage so some things was slightly improved. Next time I will have playtesters and feedback loops from early development all the way to the finished product to get a better overview of how players take on the level.