Level Blockouts

Grayboxed Levels created in UE4, & Hammer

  • Status: On-going Prototyping
  • Tools / Platform used: Unreal Engine 4, The Hammer Editor
  • My Intent for this project.

    To expand my own personal ability and foster an environment for challenging problem solving I have brought it upon twitter to decide key aspects of each level. Before creating a diagram of the level I ask for key terms to base parts of the level off of, for instance one of the provided terms for this first level was "Canals like Venice". In the finalized map these canals split up the three main partitions of the play area.

    Level Background.

    To start off I had to choose a base for the level to be built off of, this base consisted of a gamemode, theme, and style. For my first map I wanted to base it around a team deathmatch gamemode where players work together to eliminate the other team, this was one of the only parameters of the level that I decided upon before asking twitter to decide the rest.

    Choosing a gamemode would dictate how the level was built and the rules for each section of the play space. Team deathmatch in particular relies on some organization between team members whether that is verbal or subconscious, this is the reason that many of the team deathmatch levels that you see in existing games are symmetrical to keep a fair playing gound and providing a easy understanding of the map. Team deathmatch levels also typically have varying height points which provide players with verticality, this was my reasoning for the multi-level height differences in the map which I have used debre and level details to block sightlines and reduce camping areas.

    I wanted to base the majority of the level off of responses I recieved on twitter, this would challenge my skills to apply these ideas into the level while keeping a similar theme throughout the project. Here are a few of the responses that I included in this level:

  • * Canals like Venice
  • * Excessive amounts of chutes and ladders
  • * Anything but a trainyard
  • * Abanded apartment style building with multiple floors
  • Iterations.

    I started with a basic diagram of how the level could be broken up into sections, I tried to avoid moving into an entirely symmetrical design. Focusing my efforts on one key element at a time I assumed that the canals would provide the most impact into the actual design of the level, so each of my diagram options had these canals splitting the level in different ways. Originally I made this level much larger than I could handle for a one to two week project, It was about three times the size of the finished product which would require much more cover and buildings in between the sections to keep things interesting. This size was too large for me to build and prototype with in my set work period, so I cut the level in half and worked on the core routes.

    Specifications & Key Points.

    Each main section of this map offers some form of vertical vantage point, with multiple exit and enter points to avoid camping in one location for too long. There exists a lower bottom area of the level that allows players to move across the length of the map without being exposed to 50% of the sightlines of other key points on the map which provides some cover to move around if a player is dominating most of the map.

    When looking at the main right side of the map, it contains one large and one medium building connected by a skybridge. Both of these builds are half destroyed with holes in their floors which act as drop-down points / stairs. These buildings also contain windows angled to provide an edge to those on the grond, but be careful there are multiple entrance points and areas to throw grenades into to weed out campers. This side of the map connects to the top left, and bottom left thorugh bridges with varying height.

    The left side of the map is built deep into the stone of the mountain containing a tower overlooking the bottom path of the map which connects directly to the building in the middle of the level. This building then connects through two bridges to an additional buliding at the top-left of the map which connects both sections. Each of these buildings contain vantage points which are kept balanced with multiple entrances and low cover.

    Moving Forward.

    I have been working on simple AI troops that act as players in a team-deathmatch setting, while currently not completed I have been using these NPCs to test the navigation and efficiency of the level. In their current state the NPCs find a random location in the map to move to looking for enemies to shoot at. Iterating on the speed at which players can move from one point to another was a main aspect of this project. Along with how well players can see each other and the amount of play space they have in each section. I'll be keeping up on this project and if you would like to have some say in the design of my next maps, makes sure to comment on twitter!