This level was made for a school assignment, where we had to 'white-box' a 4 player deathmatch map using the Unreal Developement Kit 3. It is based on the city of Ramelle from the movie "Saving Private Ryan". The reasoning behind choosing this theme was that it seemed interesting to me to implement the church from the movie into a Deathmatch level, as well as the fact that the ravaged town could allow for interesting buildings, paths and overall gameflow through the use of destroyed walls and houses. Additionally, it would be good practice for myself as a designer, in case I ever got to work on a (non-science fictional) shooter, which are currently very predominant in the industry.
As I was creating the centre building block of the level, I realized that the only way for players to get up to the middle building of the three central ones, was through a single staircase. Since the middle building is the exact centre of the level, I wanted it to be accessible from multiple directions.
To do so, I added a hole in the side of the building and stairs on the east side of the block.
When I chose the basic layout for the level, it was essentially a U-shaped street around a block of houses in the centre. The bottom side of the map contained an accessible building, but the top side was rather blend and uninteresting. I decided to wait for playtesting to decided if the level was too small and required an additional area. Playtesting proved my suspicions right, as the map felt small and the top area was rarely used.
I decided to add a small indoor-area with multiple entrances and an open balcony with little cover, where I would place the Rocket Launcher. As it is considered the most powerful weapon in the game, it has to be fairly exposed and in an interesting location of the level, as players will often fight over it.
I originally placed it on the balcony, but later moved it onto the bridge towards the centre building, as it is exposed from the street, as well as the two connected buildings. After playtesting, I added a large hole in the centre house's wall, to expose the rocket launcher even further.
One of the key learning points for this assignment, was to create a good level through iteration. For the assignment we had to continuously improve aspects of the level and keep track of the changes in a design document. The image galleries on this page show the iterations of my level throughout the creation process. The image on the left shows the initial map layout and the layout of the map after many adjustments.
To reach the hole, I placed a few crates players could double jump from to enter the building. After playtesting, I added another pile of crates and an extra piece of floor behind the stairs to prevent players from 'overshooting' the crates and fall down on the other side. Something to proved very frustrating for players.
After some intensive playtesting, it seemed like players were not using the bottom side of the map too much, and the general gameflow seemed to guide players around the other side of the map. To counter this, I added a jumping path indicated with health vials between the centre building and the building in the bottom of the map. I tweaked the jump distance to exactly a single jump, so it would be simple for all players to make the jumps without falling. The health vials in combination with the weapon played in the bottom building proved to be sufficient reason for players to use the bottom side of the map and felt like a huge improvement to the map's gameflow.