A brief insight into the remastering of level design

One of the things we are aiming to achieve in the Pandora Directive 25th Anniversary remaster is a faithful re-creation of the original level designs, but brought forward to the modern era with finer details and greater atmosphere. While Access Software’s ‘Virtual World’ engine was ground breaking and state-of-the-art at the time when The Pandora Directive was released, game engine technology has advanced so much that we are able to achieve even greater levels of realism and style in level designs today.

Over the shoulder photo of Doug Vandegrift working on level design. In this image, he is working on the Mayan Temple in Unity.
Even developers need strategy guides.

Doug Vandegrift is currently working on the Mayan Temple from The Pandora Directive. Utilizing all the resources available to him, he is painstakingly re-creating the layout and geometry of the original levels, while also vastly increasing the details thanks to the modern game engine technology. To do so, he is going back to our original level design and 3d archives to extract any and all relevant assets and information (including textures which are both being upscaled and in many cases completely re-painted by our artist Brian Johnson). He is also relying on some of the published documentation and strategy guides to ensure each level lives up to the gameplay mechanics, environmental and puzzle navigation strategies that veteran players are familiar with.

The faithful re-creation of the original level designs is only the first pass. The next will involve adding tons of new details to give the scenes more character and depth. Then we will add all new lighting, atmosphere, special effects, weather, and more.

Note: the content above shows a work-in-progress at the early stages of the level design process. Over time, these will be further refined with details, lighting, and environmental adjustments. 

We are very fortunate not only to have access to all the original assets, textures, and designs for our faithful remaster, but also the original team that brought you The Pandora Directive, many of whom are excited to be reprising their roles to provide players with an experience that both mirrors the original game, and also brings it to a whole new level!

You may have noticed another one of the remastered audio tracks playing over the video. We are excited to share more on the music and soundtrack remastering process in future updates, so stay tuned!