top of page

Sept 2023 - April 2024 |   Team Size: 18 

Product Owner, Level Designer, System Designer

Molementum is a 3D party action game where you assume the role of a mole criminal to rob mines of their precious gems. Grab up to 3 friends and scramble your way through mines while engaging in various acts of competitive mischief as you try to become the most notorious mole criminal!

Defining the Gameplay & Core Loop Iteration

Here is a visual design doc I made explaining the core movement system.


We ended up adding a base walking movement, so the player can walk, roll, and dig. The game concept started from this idea, and was added to from here. We had considered making linear levels for a bit with this system, and I even designed and implemented one!  However we decided we liked the challenge of developing a more open level more, and felt it could lend itself to some interesting concepts...

The main game loop has changed a good bit since I made this VDD, but the first four panels are still accurate. The most significant change is reworking the progression system and win state.

The original design for progression and winning had players wager the points they collected in the action phase on a series of choices. There would be a player modifier, a level modifier, and a narrative choice. If you put money on the winning option, you would get a victory point. The different narrative choice outcomes were tied to each player, and on top of the normal victory points for voting on the winning choice, if your choice won, you would get 3 victory points. The idea behind this system was that there would be some social deduction involved in figuring out how much the player had collected in the action phase, and through how much players spent on previous votes.


We came to realize that this design did not give players enough to strategize with, with the choices presented not being significantly meaningful. It felt unnecessarily complicated, didn't add to the core fun of mastering the movement, and failed to deliver on the social fun we had hoped to create.

Molementum Gameloop VDD.png

We overhauled the system to work like this: after an action phase, each player gets a free choice of player modifier. Then, the player who collected the most collectibles last round would get a victory point, decide a level modifier, a narrative choice, and a new goal for the next round. Players would also be scored on this new goal in the next round, with the best player getting another victory point in addition to the one awarded based on amount of collectibles collected.

We ended up simplifying this new system again to just have the player choose an upgrade, and then the player who collected the most collectibles would choose the next secondary objective, which would also be worth a victory point in the next round. These new objectives would be the main way we would mix up the gameplay. We realized the level was just the most fun with all the planned modifiers always active, so we kept them always active. Our narrative team had been struggling to find a good way of tying narrative choices to winning, so we decided to shift narrative efforts to having light narrative flavor text and dialogue throughout.

This current design keeps the choices clear and meaningful, and emphasizes the idea of mastering gameplay and social fun by introducing new secondary goals that will force players to interact more and mix up how they play.

We will still be working on the project for another semester, but I am happy with how things have gone so far!

Early Level Design Iteration

Here is the level I ended up planning. The level has two floors, and takes place in a combination factory / mine.

FactoryLevelPlan V1 - GroundFloor - LABELED + GRID.png

These next few slides will show the iterations we have gone through thus far. I started the first graybox sticking to the original blueprint I planned. My teammate John finished the graybox with the second floor paths.


After some internal playtesting by the team and some testing through the Champlain game studio testing lab, we realized that the level was scaled too small. The other level designer working with me scaled up the level, and added a few ramps.

After that, I overhauled all of the terrain set pieces on the ground floor, added some floating triangle platforms between the red and blue conveyer belts, added a half pipe platforming challenge to bring you up onto the triangles, added some obstacles to the purple conveyer belt, and redid the collectible placements.

We decided we did not like how long and repetitive the west side green conveyer belt was, and decided to shorten its winding path to wrap around just one set of drills. I filled in the blank space with donut like terrain that circled drills. The donuts are layered on top of one another, so players can use them as a staircase to get up to the green conveyer. We once again changed the ground floor terrain (it went through a lot of changes).


It was at this point our environment artist went in and merged all of their work with our latest level, and wow credit to them for making it look great! Having all the hazards stand out as orange from a mostly cool environment is great for readability.

After the level art was put in, I did a lot of final polish. The main change I made was adding grinders to most of the conveyer belt paths to spice up those paths, which players can dig under or jump over. I then refined all the drill and grinder hitboxes, and made them all spin.

The last big thing I did was finalize the spawn points for collectibles, which are indicated by the red diamonds all over the map. The placements of these help guide the player through the level.

As you have already seen from the intro video, I ended up making a new level after this one. We realized our first level was far too large, and decided to have our next levels be smaller. At this point we also expanded our team size to 18. With the smaller levels and bigger team, we were able to have multiple levels, with each level designer getting their own level to design and iterate on.


Another thing we considered with our new levels was keeping them somewhat symmetrical. This was done to make the environment easier to learn for players, which aided them in finding and fighting one another.

bottom of page