CTF-Void: Void was designed to mirror the success of Facing Worlds; a critically acclaimed and popular Unreal Tournament map. The design to it is simple and effective, so I wanted to strike a similar design using dangerous terrain with the chance of falling off at any moment.
"Although it may be attractive as an idea, symmetry in maps is usually horrible and can often lead to confusion amongst players. It can work well for Capture the Flag games and you can always colour code the two halves, but for the most part it is better to avoid making your map symmetrical." (ALTERED GAMER, 2012)
This quote by Simon Hill details the exact design methodologies I thought about when designing my maps, especially when drafting Void and Redemption. My Deathmatch maps - which will be talked about later - follow Simon's argument, and as seen in Void, not only are the sides symmetrical, they are also colour coded, and the bases reflect one another perfectly.
CTF-Redemption: Following on from Simon's example, with Redemption I will focus on how to use Symmetry to create multiple paths to the flag, and how lines of sight can affect gameplay.
The first - and most important - use of line of sights is designing and blocking out the spawn points, Bobby Ross details that:
"Spawn points should point players in the direction of where they are to go. With no camp spots behind them." (GAMASUTRA, 2014)
With Redemption (and void, but using Redemption as example) the 'bases' consist of blocked line of sights from multiple directions, it is either the Blocks (1), reducing line of sight from the sides, the flag (2) taking away any exploit to shoot across map, and the doorways (2) and how they are built so the players can run out without getting spawn killed by campers. Utilising these basic design choices can change the gameplay drastically, and with CTF maps a constant flow is needed, and can be broken by exploiting long corridors, etc.
I created multiple ways of gaining access to the flag, the middle bridge (1) provides a risky and quick run to the other side of the ground, even rewarding a weapon, the underground ramp (2) provides an even riskier, and straight run between the flag (a preferred quick route as most maps provide), a high-ground indoor route (3) with multiple elevation, and a long-corridor to snuff out other players, and a low-ground open route (4) with simple elevation, and a power-up.
These routes grant the player multiple possibilities on how to capture the enemy flag, or prevent the enemy from taking your flag. Flanking, and multiple options provide enticing gameplay and especially in UT's case, fast-paced encounters.
DM-Peon: Moving onto my Deathmatch maps, they use different design methodologies that rarely parallel those of the CTF game mode. Their flow preferably aims player’s to certain “battle zones” or choke points so they can get constant combat possibilities. These play-spaces are fitted to create fun, carnage and replayability through the game’s mechanics, and the level the player’s are in. Peon is a large map with multiple levels of play, built for 6-8 players it’s a strategic and fun map to run around in, taking advantage of the many routes and power-ups.
“My first recommendation, and probably the most important, is to put the third dimension to good use. Use and exploit the vertical dimension in your maps and give the players reasons to use the volume of the map and not only its two-dimensional layout.” (Gamasutra)
Unreal Tournament’s gameplay perfectly reflects what Pascal is recommending in his post; using verticality as a means to enrich a gameplay experience. As most game like Call of Duty andBattlefield, they use a somewhat flatter map with some level of verticality, yet do not take a lot of advantage of “Z-Play” like Unreal Tournament does. Later games in Call of Duty series like Advanced Warfare (Activision, 2014) uses Z-Play well, and that’s what I wanted to strike in Peon.
DM- Midnight, however, is a much smaller map, that uses verticality when needed - this map has its player’s in a controlled environment where the routes are more diverse.
“In many ways, flow can be thought of as an absence of frustration on the part of the player, at least so far as geography is concerned” (Gamasutra, 2013)
During my designs I always had this quote in my mind. Holloway is arguing that in anycase when playing a multiplayer map, there should always be discernable routes wherever the player is facing (at least when entering a room), this could be by framing, directing or simply having routes and doors being as obvious as possible, or needed.
As seen above in Midnight each route or direction has a clear route of where to go next, even if it’s by power-ups, door ways, or walkways. Each room should clear a way to another, to another, and so forth. Each path should flow into the next, and therefore the battle zones, preferably into the center. A state of play that allows players to play the game as intended, and most importantly; have fun.
1) ALTERED GAMER., (2012), Game Design Theory: Multiplayer Level Design., Hill, Simon., [Online], Available from: http://www.alteredgamer.com/game-develo ... el-design/. [Accessed: 11th November 2015].
2) GAMASUTRA., (2014), The Visual Guide to Multiplayer Level Design., Bobby Ross., [Online], Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BobbyRos ... esign.php., [Accessed : 11th November 2015].
3) UDK., Multiplayer Map Theory (Gears of War., [Online], Available from:https://udn.epicgames.com/Three/GearsMu ... eory.html., [Accessed: 11th November 2015].
4) ON GAME DESIGN., (2008), DESIGNING MULTIPLAYER MAPS - PART 1., Dodger., [Online], Available from: http://www.ongamedesign.net/designing-f ... s-part-1/., [Accessed 11th November 2015].
5) GAMASUTRA., Multiplayer Level Design In-Depth, Part 2: The Rules of Map Design., Luba, Pascal., [Online], Available From:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1 ... p?print=1., [Accessed: 11th November 2015].
6) GAMASUTRA., Deathmatch Map Design: The Architecture of Flow., Holloway, James., [Online], Available From: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1 ... _the_.php., [Accessed: 11th November 2015].
De Jong, S., 2008, The hows and whys of level design. 2nd ed., Sjoerd de Jong.
Byrne, E. , 2004, Game level design., Hingham, Mass: Charles River Media.
1) Level Design: Scaling and Best Practices 2014, Unreal Tournament, 9 July, viewed 11th November 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMzQ8YgRGu8>.
2) Unreal Tournament CTF Overview 2015, Unreal Tournament, 18 September, viewed 11th November 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQgHTzHpc0>.
3) The Making of Titan Pass - Part 1 2015, Unreal Tournament, 15 September, viewed 11th November 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQgHTzHpc0>.