Gears of War




Special Notes:


Advanced scripting creates random level design

Production Time:


150 hours

Play Time:


5-10 minutes


Bedlam is a single-player level for Gears of War, utilizing the Unreal engine. Storywise, Bedlam occurs after the power station level in the PC version, and places Marcus Fenix in a series of tight spaces, armed with a shotgun and a few grenades. Similarly armed Locust forces provide an interesting game of cat-and-mouse in close-quarters.


Technical Aspect

Bedlam features unique custom scripting that greatly enhances replay. The level is divided into five different sub-basement encounters, all connected by freight elevators. Custom Kismet scripting randomly connects these encounters for each play through, providing 120 different combinations of encounter order.

In spite of the random order, Bedlam checkpoints progress correctly, and creates a fully bi-directional map. This allows players to backtrack the entire length of the level, enhancing immersion.

The scripting is extendable, and can accommodate as many sub-levels as required. Additionally, the scripting supports using n of k sub-levels, to allow for only a subset of the encounters in each play through.

It also allows forcing encounters at given moments. For example, with ten sub-levels and one boss-encounter, the script could position six of the ten sub-levels before the boss, and up to the remaining four after.


Artistic Aspect

By using smaller level subsections, Bedlam features a large number of dynamic light sources. This creates realistic, high-quality shadows throughout the entire level. Also, by mixing complementary warm and cool colors, the lights and shadows enhance this effect and immersion.

Each sub-level features an efficient game play space. This not only emphasizes the importance and danger of shotguns as the primary weapon, but also maintains the believability of the spaces as interconnected basements.


Kismet Explained

The simplified level design of Bedlam supports a modular design theory. In the map below, the five subsections of the levels as well as the starting and finishing points of the level are visible.

S, F:


Start, Finish

Numbered Pairs:


Entrance / Exit for each subsection

Example level connection order

S –> A –> E –> C –> D –> B –> F

S –> D –> C –> E –> B –> A –> F

5 level subsections provide 120 possible combinations.

Each subsection uses entrance and egress points to connect to the remaining portions of the level. Each connection point includes access to a freight elevator and an elevator button to trigger the scripting. To connect these rooms in a random order, several steps occurs. First, each elevator’s teleportation target is assigned to an easy to identify variable name. The below kismet assigns these.

Next, the starting elevator receives it’s teleportation target, and that target immediately back targets the elevator – providing the necessary bi-directional mapping for game play. The targeted room’s boolean variable is marked as true, and a remote event calls the next stage in the level mapping.

In the next stage, the room mapping checks the room count to decide if to map to the exit, or to another room. Moving on to the next room, a switch randomly targets the pool of subsections, and loops back if the room is already used, until it finds an unused connection. Then, the current room’s exit target maps to the next room, and back targets the next room to the current room’s exit. The script marks the next room as used, and follows a similar script for the next stage. This process repeats until the room count meets the predefined number, and then maps the final room’s exit to the last subsection of the level.

Once all the mappings are complete, the script controlling the movement from room to room has valid targets for the teleport destinations and bi-directional mapping is complete.

Checkpointing occurs as players enter a new subsection for the first time, using a trigger volume to capture the event. Compartmentalizing the checkpoint system works very well in Bedlam.


Additional Game Play Screenshots

Download Bedlam Documentation

Level Design Document

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