LEVEL DESIGN PORTFOLIO

Arachna Towers

Multiplayer Map
 

Fast Facts

Role

Genre
 

Editor
 

Platform

Process

Level Designer

FPS, Multiplayer,
Deathmatch

Unreal Tournament
Editor

PC

Level Design Document, Map Diagram, Whitebox, Gameplay Iterations, Aesthetic Pass, Testing, Iterations, Post Mortem

The Project

"Arachna Towers" is a multiplayer, first person, deathmatch map made in the Unreal Tournament Editor. The level takes place high in the clouds, inside and on top of towers, overlooking mountain ranges. Best played with 2 teams of 3, the map can accommodate up to 2 teams of 8. 

 

Gameplay Video

 

Design Goals

Circular Flow.

Constant Motion.

No Camping

Strategic

Weapon

Placement

Fun and

Exciting

Gameplay

 

Images & Involvement

Multpayer Map - Initial Diagram

My initial design idea started with a quick and rough map diagram consisting of a few towers connected by multiple levels of bridges like a spiderweb. I quickly realized, however, that my scale was way off in this diagram, and the bridges created these long sightlines that were just not going to work for gameplay or performance. To get a better sense of scale and cover, I started to block out some pillars and platforms with BSP. 

After many hours of testing and iterations, I had a a solid whitebox that felt properly scaled for a fast-moving deathmatch level. I continued to refine this whitebox over several days, adding more layers of verticality, adjusting the size of the pathways, creating and modifying vantage points and cover, and strategically placing weapons. Moving further into gameplay design and testing, I realized that some weapons had more advantages than others, and I needed more safe places to regain health.  I achieved this by expanding the play spaces vertically.

Multpayer Map: Deathmatch, Unreal Tournament (Blockout/Whitebox)
Sniper rifle platform
Sniper rifle platform

This space was created for optimal sniper rifle use. Player is vulnerable in this area from multiple angles. Sniper rifle is located in a separate location.

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Sniper rifle down sights
Sniper rifle down sights

Sniper rifle zoomed in on a distant location from the sniper platform.

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Sniper rifle location
Sniper rifle location

Sniper rifle located on the lower level of the map in a narrow tunnel with 4 exits. Player has no where to use this rifle in this area as a balancing technique; this causes the player to travel to a better location with the rifle before they can use it.

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Sniper rifle platform
Sniper rifle platform

This space was created for optimal sniper rifle use. Player is vulnerable in this area from multiple angles. Sniper rifle is located in a separate location.

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I wanted to create a map that appealed to several player styles while still being balanced. I created a sniper rifle platform with optimal views of heavily contested areas, like the massive health keg in the center of the map. To balance this, the platform is completely exposed leaving the player out in the open. The platform is surrounded by tower walls that protect the other players; the sniper rifle platform is also at a height disadvantage from the rest of the map.

I also wanted to create spaces for rocket launcher users that would look and feel exciting on rocket impact. Like the sniper rifle platform, I added an exposed, overlook area above and offset from the sniper rifle platform. This allowed the player to shoot a rocket down at a group of fighting players or at a sniper on this platform. The rocket launcher platform also hovered over the center of the map where the largest health keg would spawn. I placed the keg there specifically to attract players to the center of the map. Lastly, the player could aim a rocket in the lower, darker tunnels where the sniper rifle resided resulting in a bright explosion and added risk for the player who was looking to score a sniper rifle from the narrow tunnel.

Rocket launcher platform overlook
Rocket launcher platform overlook

This space was created for optimal rocket launcher use. Player is vulnerable in this area from multiple angles. Sniper platform is below.

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Rocker launcher platform overlook
Rocker launcher platform overlook

This space was created for optimal rocket launcher use. Player is vulnerable in this area from multiple angles. Large health keg is highly visible below.

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Rocket Launcher overlook area
Rocket Launcher overlook area

This secondary spot allows players to shoot into the lower tunnel area where the sniper rifle is house, while still being able to see the large health keg at the center of the map.

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Rocket launcher platform overlook
Rocket launcher platform overlook

This space was created for optimal rocket launcher use. Player is vulnerable in this area from multiple angles. Sniper platform is below.

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Half-cover walls & loot
Half-cover walls & loot

Each tower has two floors, and on each floor, the room is semi-divided by these half cover walls which protect the player while also preventing them from camping. The player is standing right in front of a lift that could take them to the second floor.

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Multiple exit paths
Multiple exit paths

The player has many exit routes to keep moving and avoid stuck points.

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Jump pads and mini-health
Jump pads and mini-health

Jump pads exist on all three towers to send the player soaring through the air to another tower. The jump pad path between the red and blue tower allows the player to score mini-health tubes in mid-air.

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Half-cover walls & loot
Half-cover walls & loot

Each tower has two floors, and on each floor, the room is semi-divided by these half cover walls which protect the player while also preventing them from camping. The player is standing right in front of a lift that could take them to the second floor.

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Inside of the towers, I hid health and ammo behind partial-cover walls. A lift takes the player to another floor with similar features. Each tower assists the player in different ways, and the towers are distinguishable by wall and light color; ideally, small props and decals would further distinguish the towers from one another. These half-walls inside the towers, and the tower walls themselves create circular flow in a tighter space which creates the perfect opportunity to bio-rifle traps or use the impact hammer. Each tower has three to five exit paths from the each floor of the tower (doorways, windows with jump-pads, a lift that takes the player to the upper floor, and one tower has a teleportation device). 

This map has a heavy focus on sightlines and constant movement. The player has the ability to jump off of a jumpad into another tower, collect a line of small health tube in the air, and simultaneously shoot enemies below. Shields are tucked away in 3 corners of the map between towers for safety of the player, but also are exposed to windows and platforms above; the player is fairly safe if they keep moving. 

Jump pad accessible health tubes
Jump pad accessible health tubes

Mini health tubes hover in the air and are only accessible via jump pads on the blue and red towers.

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Mid-air vantage point of map
Mid-air vantage point of map

This image was taken while the player was soaring through the air. They would have collected mini health tubes while enroute to another tower. While in air, the player can shoot down at multiple places on the map including shield locations and the large health keg.

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Shield location 1 of 3
Shield location 1 of 3

There are three shields on the map located on the edge of the playable area. All three shields are located between towers to provide a little cover, while also having some vulnerabilities.

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Jump pad accessible health tubes
Jump pad accessible health tubes

Mini health tubes hover in the air and are only accessible via jump pads on the blue and red towers.

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What I Learned

I had a very limited amount of time to focus on this project. For this reason, I poured all of my focus into the gameplay of the map, and not so much the aesthetics. With more time I would have added more decals and small props to bring the scene alive. Most importantly, however, I learned that my platforms were a bit too narrow and could use a little bit more space overall so that the player was not in a frantic state the entire 15 minutes of gameplay (the gameplay video shows 2 teams of 4); this map was probably better suited for 2 teams of 3.