Portfolio - SteamWorld Build DLC: Mechanized


SteamWorld Build: Mechanized is a paid DLC (downloadable content) for SteamWorld Build.
Mechanized adds controllable Mechs, Mech interactable puzzle objects and a new enemy type to the base game.
All this adds up to a more complete Mine gameplay.

Level Design

Through frequent discussions and brainstorming sessions with the design team we were able to come up with a number of new features to improve upon the gameplay of the base game.

Many of these new features would directly affect the level design in the Mine.
Being part of the development team from start made it easier to make sure that new features would add many positives to the level design.

One area I felt was lacking in the base game was the lack of mechanics which could be used to guide the player towards important areas in the Mine.

Mech Levers
One thing we needed to have was a way to force the player to use 1 and then 2 Mechs at specific times.
In order to make sure the player has 2 Mechs active we implemented Doors with 2 connected Levers of this type.

These Doors remain open only as long as all connected Mech Levers are actively pulled (they can then be disengaged).

Mech Lever

Laser Emitter/Deflector/Receiver
Another one of the new key features is the Laser Emitter/Receiver.
The laser beam generated by the Laser Emitter must be directed into the Laser Receiver to solve the puzzle.
This includes digging out any blocks in it's way and moving movable objects away.
We also have Laser Deflectors for the Laser which will change the direction of the Laser beam.

I used this new feature in the new levels mostly to incentivize exploration in the Mine and help the player to find hidden treasures and resources by following the laser beams path to the Laser Receiver.

Laser Beam Puzzle
Laser Beam Puzzle
Laser Beam Puzzle
Laser Beam Puzzle

Battery/Battery Socket
The Battery is an addition with two different functions, the Battery itself generates an electrical field around it which damages anything in it's area of effect.

This function can be used to deal great damage to enemies while sacrificing some of your own agents which are likely to also be affected.

In order to fully negate the damage effect the Battery can be placed into a Battery Socket which will then open it's connected door.


Another addition with two functions is the Aura Block. 3 Different Aura Blocks gives specific buffs in an area of effect around it.

Aura Blocks however can also be used to break Resonating Blocks (that matches the shape of the Aura Block).

The Resonating Blocks can be quite difficult to see so I decided to never use them as progress blockers but rather to get extra treasures and resources.

Aura Block
Aura Block

Just like Aura Blocks, Containers also has two functions. They act as undiggable blocks but when placed where 3 or more Containers are connected they will explode and grant small rewards.

My main use of this new feature was to place a fitting number on each Mine Floor as a way to make sure there's almost always something else to do while waiting for a specific resource production.

Container Block
Container Block
Container Block

The last of the new Mine Blocks is the magma block. When any of it's sides are uncovered it will become unstable and explode shortly thereafter.

When the Magma block explodes it will deal damage and destroy blocks within it's explosion radius (including undiggable blocks.)

My main use of the Magma block is to open up shortcuts through undiggable blocks (which was previously not possible.)

Magma Block


  • Paid DLC for SteamWorld Build

  • PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

  • Developed in Unity 3D at Thunderful Games

  • Buy at Steam


  • 10-14 Hours of gameplay

  • Controllable mech characters

  • New puzzles

  • New mechanics

  • New resource

  • New Boss type enemy

  • 8 New and unique Mine Levels

Mechanized Keyart

Before starting work on Mechanized I had identified a number of issues with the tools I use to create levels.

In order to maximize my productivity I presented these issues to the programming team so that they could improve the tools to my liking.

One example is the Door/Lever connection tool. The improvement to this tool made this task completely trivial compared to what it was before.


Old tilemap


New tilemap with much better contrast
(making it easier to make out all the different tile types in each level)

Apart from interacting with all new Block Types, the Mech also acts as a bigger more durable Guard which must me controlled manually at most times.

There are exceptions though, the Mech has a detection radius (which can be upgraded).
If any enemies, debris or rubble is within this radius the Mech will react automatically.

Mech Upgrade Window

The Mech can be upgraded using the new resource (Mechanite) combined with other resources.

With the addition of the Mech, the amount of enemies encountered in the Mine needed to be increased.
A new feature (Burrows) is also added which if left unchecked will spawn more enemies (but can be surpressed by the Mech)

Mech Rubble Action

Mechs automatically removing Rubble

Another part of making sure the difficulty wouldn't be diminished now that the player has superior defensive strength with the Mech comes with the introduction of the Abomination.

The Abomination is a boss type enemy with a huge health pool and very powerful attacks.
It also has the ability to scare away Guards, making the Mech absolutely essential in order to defeat Abominations.

In order to make the fights a big more fair, I have placed patrolling Vectron Elites at very specific locations in the levels.
Locations where Abominations are found are placed so that the Player can easily spot them before chosing to engage.


Aura Blocks will often be found in it's vicinity which can help make the fight easier.


Without Aura Blocks the fight against Abominations can be much harder.

The biggest challenge I faced during this production was to create 8 unique new Mine Levels in a much shorter time period that I had for the base game.

Having already gotten used to the Mine Editor helped shorten the time it took to create levels greatly.

My first idea was to modify some of the old Mine Levels and add the new Mechanized specific blocks to them.

This unfortunately did not work well enough to reduce any development time as the Mechanized levels had to be bigger and have much more open space.

Another big challenge which presented itself in the latter stages of the development was that Artists needed to have access to all new Mine Levels in order to add new decorations.

This meant that at short notice I had to make sure all 8 Levels were close to completed so that the Artists could work on the decorations without me having to do bigger tweaks to the layout afterwards.
I helped out with some parts of the decorating process in order to make the process more efficient.

Finally, Mechanized had to have a lot of balance changes in order to account for the resource loss that comes with the Mech Upgrade Center
(which in total amounts to about 2 000 000 Gold and lots of other resources.)

This extra Gold cost was made up for with a combination of longer playtime, more treasure chests containing gold and gold rewards from matching with the new Container Block.


Mechanized Screenshot
Mechanized Screenshot
Mechanized Screenshot
Mechanized Screenshot