Job Title: Level Designer
Studio Project at Coffee Stain Studios
Engine: Proprietary Engine
Early Access Since: March 2019
Latest Major Update: December 2021
Satisfactory is a first-person open-world factory building game. The player is a stranded pioneer on an alien planet. They are to construct a vast manufacturing network and explore the planet for an unseen interplanetary corporation. As its motto goes:
Construct, Automate, Explore & Exploit.
Because Satisfactory is an Early Access game with a largely blocked out world my assignments varied between polishing areas to redesigning areas or caves from the ground up.
My responsibilities included everything from sculpting and texturing the terrain to the final placements of all static meshes and foliage actors. One of the main challenges arises from the game being live. Resource nodes present in previous updates cannot be moved, and any iterations had to take into consideration that players may already have built factories there.
As Satisfactory is largely driven by systems, I worked closely with the systems-designers to ensure that their vision was achieved.
As previously released terrain may not always be compatible with a new vision, this often needed creative problem solving. Digging deeper into the terrain to allow new pathways to be created and limiting certain areas to more destructible foliage to make up for any potential overlap. Apart from factory-friendly plains, I also created more 'adventurous' locations, such as dense forests, rocky mazes, and caves where the player can find valuable resources at the risk of running into dangerous beasts.
As the player can simply build platforms over the world, or cut everything down with a chainsaw, one challenge is to convince them that the world is too precious to devastate by making it fun to navigate. For this reason, I had to ensure the moment-to-moment traversal remained engaging for the player at all times.
In-game screenshots of my design & art on the Dune Desert and the new caves.
Open World Design