To explore the extents and ability of the Hammer editor through hundreds of deconstructable brushes that make up the level. I have taken great inspiration from Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Siege and how the levels are built around destroying the map to gain the advantage on other players.
I started this project with a simple two room level prototype to prove that not only it would be fun to destroy the walls but that it would also add difficulty to the level overtime. As the walls crumble away with every shot and explosion so does the cover that players are able to use.
The outer parts of the walls are made with func_breakable brushes, when these brushes take enough damage they are broken into shards of wood revealing the inner metal studs of the walls. Both players and enemies can break these outer walls, destroying both sides of a wall allows projectiles to pass completely through the wall. The metal studs that sit inside of the walls retain the structure of the level by stopping both players and enemies from moving through the map without structure. I plan on experimenting with AI pathfinding through walls not containing metal studs to test more exciting combat and free movement.
AI enemies and pathing was an important part of designing this level, HL2 AI enemies were used to not only test the environment and how players would most likely navigate the area but also to stress test the level and engine. Having multiple enemies throwing grenades, and destroying walls all at once would be the biggest tax on the relatively old engine, I could use 10 - 20 AI enemies fighting the player all at once to simulate this. I also used AI to iterate on the level and improve its navigation and sightlines.
Working from a paper prototype drawing I initially wanted to create a small, but fun combat area to test the capabilities of the engine. Using the limited size to my advantage I sketched a level that was somewhat clostophobic, using lots of overlaping walls so that players would most likely shoot multiple walls at a time. Moving to a digital version of the level I worked in Adobe Illustrator to narrow down the dimensions of each wall and hallway to make sure there weren't uneven sections. From there I started prototyping with the small level in-engine.
I quickly found flaws in the original design, to start the size of the area which was originally set to test the extent of the engine greatly limited combat and the player's ability to move around. To mitigate this issue I tested how the level handled multiple explosions at once in-game, breaking all of the walls in the level at the same time to check for any hard-crashes or errors in the output logs. Once I determined that the level was stable enough I started to expand the play area, along with adding an additional enemy spawn point to reflect the additional space.
To iterate on the layout, size, and combat of the prototype I am working on three different versions of this map. The current version is relitevly small, I'd like to explore growing the map in size for each version. I will be combining these different maps into one workshop collection for GMOD and linking it here when completed.