GENRE: FP ARENA SHOOTER
DEVELOPER: TRINH NGUYEN
ROLE: LEVEL DESIGNER
DM Balbadd is a small death match map for Unreal Tournament 4, supported for 5-6 players.
You play in an abandoned fort with Persian architectural accents. Be like a ninja, jump from spot to spot with use of jump pads and elevators.
Available for download (UT4 Needed): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwag1RR8otnda3dWcFpfZFFnVG8/view
Level design documentation
Level design theme research and game analysis
Pick-ups & Spawn point placement
Balancing & Iteration through community playtesting
Simplified level designer art pass Create gameplay guideline document for the Environment Artists
Creating a level that fits the universe of Unreal Tournament 4 in terms of theme & play style.
Rapid Iteration on the layout, several times in a short amount of time.
Positioning of weapons, power-ups and spawns, balancing the map for an enjoyable playing experience.
Bread crumbling the paths, using visual clues and lighting in order to guide the player through the map.
Optimize geometry shapes in order to allow the player to move smoothly through the map.
Chosen as one of the 3 (out of 50) levels to be beautified by the environment artists.
See the short document I wrote for them: WorldBuilding_Persia.pdf
Presented my process of designing a level for UT4 in front of students.
Released to the UT4 Community: Click here to see the forum page
Listed on several community servers.
During this project, I had support of my peers who were also creating maps for Unreal Tournament. Working together allowed us to share and accumulate lots of data and research, reducing the time by half. Understanding each element in Unreal Tournament, such as weapons, spawn points, pick ups and movement, allowed me to create a well thought level.
For this level I had a 2-4 player deathmatch level in mind, with the focus on a cat & mouse game. Advanced shortcuts / ninja routes would allows the player to reach other areas quicker. The amount of exits, through windows and doorways would give players an easy way to escape & disappear from their predators and allow them to reverse the roles where the hunter gets hunted.
The theme of this map is old Persia. I took inspiration from "Prince of Persia" and the first "Assassins Creed". I love the stealth but at the same time hyper-action type gameplay in those games.
Whiteboxing from Picture Reference & Layout
Prior to the project I was taught by two lecturers specialized in Architectural drawing. They gave me tips on how to make sure the space would feel good and realistic. My natural talent to copy things from images helped me with defining the overall shape for the level. I also played around with different layers of verticality, having 3-4 different layers flowing smoothly between each other.
In the map layout you may see that the level has the flow of a circle. A big circle with many smaller circles to support the cat & mouse gameplay.
Understanding the movement system and in particular the weapons, provided me with the basic knowledge to balance the level. I made a metric sheet of the weapons, comparing how each weapon would fare against each other. This would become crucial to determine the sizes of the multiple combat areas on the map.
I used color, light, decals, pickups and the general geometry to guide players through my level. As an example I used health pick ups to bread crumble / lure players towards different areas.
Organizing playtests allowed me to get feedback from players and more importantly observe the players behavior.
Overlooking the art pass by environment artists
My level was selected as one of 5 out of 50 levels. Out of those 5, only 3 would be selected for the beautification pass. We had to present our level and convince the artists to choose one of our levels. I was lucky to be chosen as one of the three levels, that would receive an art pass. I wrote a general guideline document for them, talking about my vision of the general gameplay and the important aspects of the level that I would love to keep intact. In return I would help them with design decisions and allow them to make improvements on the actual level layout.
I would support them during meetings and presentations.