Level Design Unreal Tournament

John Walden


Technical Designer

Game Designer

UNREAL TOURNAMENT

Level Design

Engine: Unreal


Timeframe: 5 weeks


Platform: PC

Team:

Designers: 1

3D Artists: 2


Date: Oct 2018

DESIGN OVERVIEW

Have a good flow that would enable the mobility and the fast-paced nature of the game. 


Large variety of gameplay for different kinds of players.


Easy to get the flag and encourage high scoring game.


Feel a little like an old-school Quake/Doom map.


Easy to navigate


A good balance of risk vs reward


Viable for both Team Death Match and Capture the Flag modes.

Final Design

THE PROJECT

This project was a 5 week level design course held at FutureGames.  In a team of 3, I worked with two other 3D artists to build a level for Unreal Tournament.

MY ROLE

As the Designer, my objective was to design and build the layout of the level, working with the artists to create and maintain the projects vision.

THE TEAM

Designer: John Walden

Environment Artist: Flynn dahlberg

Environment Artist: Nemanja Zivic

FULL GAMEPLAY

Initial Design

MAP FLOW

[CENTRAL AREA]

Designed for medium-long ranged combat. Upper areas have a clear advantage but leave players exposed. Running along the ground floor gives more cover, but less combat advantage. Weapons placed near this area are primarily long-ranged

[SIDE AREA] 

The middle bottom portion is aimed towards close-quater engagements, encouraging a fast-paced combat pace and a lot of dashing in and out of cover.

Weapons placed near this area are focus on short ranged attacks

[STARTING AREAS] 

The starting areas are the most vertical, and there are many paths to reach the flag (and also plenty of paths to use to intercept enemies). Our main goal however was to make it easy to steal the flag, increasingt he chance of stand-offs (where both teams had the flag and needed to seek each others flag bearer) and/or high scoring games.

Our goal was to build a level that had a smooth, fast-paced flow to it. It was important that there was always somewhere the player could escape or go to, and we ensured that there were very few areas where they could get cornered. As the game is primarily fast-paced FPS combat, it was important that I designed the level in a way that facilitated that.


Key Notes:

- Circular paths [all paths led and connected into each other]

- Always at least two ways to transition to another area

- Running distance between sections is carefully considered

- Verticality used as a way to build interest and variety in gameplay

- Lighting and shapes to help keep the level readable


PROCESS

Starting Area Blockout

Central Area Blockout + Base Meshes

Central Area Base Meshes Complete

Central Area Final

Side Area Final

Starting Area Final

Started off with box brushes in Unreal to layout the overall shape. I would complete one half of the map first, then mirror it over in another version of the scene to get the full scope.

I did this for one week, esnuring that the map was large enough for a 5v5 to 10v10 contest and had the right proportions in the layout.

Over time, as I finalised the design based on playtesting, the box brushes were replaced with actual meshes.

Central Area with full replacement of meshes. By now we had figured out the correct scaling that everything needed to be, and the map layout was practically finalised

Adding in materials and adjusting proportions - the central area ended up being a bit to complex (and therefore distracting for the player), so it was simplified in order to make navigation easier

The side area complete. The lift was added, giving player's a quick way out of the close-quater combat room and giving them a second option to reach the central area (but this time with a height advantage).

The completed starting area. There are many options here for traversing. This area tended to be a little bit tricky to balance as we wanted grabbing the flag to be easy, but also to give the other team ample opportunity to defend and not get boxed in/killed so easily when spawning.