Resistance and Liberation

(Work in progress)

Project overview

Platform: PC

Role: Level Designer, Sound Designer

Team size: 5 (active) developers, collaborate with each others remotely

Engine and tools: Unreal Engine 4, FMOD studios, REAPER, Perforce.

Responsibility

  • Level Designer

    • Redesign on a previously made level ​

    • Set Level design's pillar and determine level metrics

    • Sketch new layout for the level 

    • Research and find references of the real world inspiration to the level. 

    • Build level in engine, implement gameplay moments

    • Test and iterate the level

    • Use blueprints to implement level specific mechanic

Reworking a pre-existed level 

My work as a level designer for this project revolve mostly around

  • Redesign a pre-existed map in the game Sainte-Mère-Église

  • The map was base on a real life location. 

  • The narrative background of the level are base on the Allies landing at Sainte-Mère-Église on June 6th 1944.

Eglise 1950s, aerial image provided by Geoportail

The game mode for the map is capture objective where: 

  • Attacking team will need to push and capture objectives 

  • Resisting team will need to defend the objectives from being capture

  • Resisting team has the option to recapture an objective and repel the attacking team

  • The attacking team has to capture the objectives in a linear and certain order. (eg: they can only capture the objective 3 if they already have captured objective 1, they cannot skip through objective 2)  

The diagram illustrates the map's overall progression, where the attacking team has to go from the Cider farm to Church, from #1 to #4. However, the map has a non-linear area #2 (Orange box) where the attacking team can choose between point 2a - OFH or 2b - Cabbage farm.

Identify what can be improve

The level was previously designed by a different developer in the team. However, since their departure from the team, it has not been actively been working on despite the issues that it has. Therefore, the first task I need to do is to analyze the map and identify them.

The overview diagram of the map, illustrate the main capture point and the paths available for the player to navigate between them

Some of the things I can do to improve the map are:

  • Re-Balancing each objectives, especially objective 2 and 3. Objective 2 and 3 are meant to be non linear, after capturing the first objective, player can choose to either go to objective 2 or 3. However with the current layout, player would easily choose to go to objective 2 instead of 3.  

=> The map's critical path layout need to be rework to be less confusing so it can direct the player more effectively to the right direction

  •  Gameplay moment at each objective points need to be improve, some windows, angles does not give player a clear tactical advantage and some are just too overpowered. 

=> Need more design for each individual gameplay moments and area. 

Design pillars and level metric

Design pillars - The intended experiences I want the players to have while playing through the level, can be address as follow: 

  • Should not take more than 25 seconds for the player to see a landmark/point of interest (capture point, arena,...) 

  • When running through an open area, player should be able to spot a cover with no effort, and can navigate between covers and covers in under 3 seconds

  • Players should know the general direction to go in order to progress through the map

  • As a defending player, the further they're pushed back, the easier it is to defend the later capture points

  • As an attacking player, the further they progress, the more challenging it would be to capture a point. 

Level metrics - Are the values/statistic of each point of interests, area layouts. Level metrics are used as point of references for me to balance the difficulty between each points/area of the map. By determine the level's metrics, I came up with this difficulty matrices for each capturing point of the map. 

In order to balance between the non-linear section of the map, I made it so that the 2 objectives #2 (OFH) and #3 (Cabbage Farm) has almost the same metric values 

Improving the map overall layout

After determine the level's metrics and create the difficulty matrices, I use those numbers as point of references to create a new layout for the map.

The map's overall layout has been improved so that the attacking player will find it equally difficult to choose between objective 2 and 3. 

I use the node and edges method to draw out the level's layout. 

Nodes - Points of interests (Objective points, Combat area)

Edges - Lines that illustrate the relationships between each points of interest, in this case, the relationships are the paths that lead to and away each points. 

The different in weight of each edges (the lines) are to signify which path I want the player to fight hardest to cross through, the bolder the line, the harder it is to survive on that path. 

When in doubt - reality check

The best thing about working on a map bases on a real-location is that it is very easy to look for reference images as there are many sources available. For this project, the reference images can be found quite easily on any search engines, images websites or war history site. The images are

  • Used as reference for the overall layout/backbone of the map or an area on the map 

  • Used as inspiration for some gameplay spaces (also mostly layout wise, the detail moments to moments are crafted base on rational design) 

An example for how I use reference images: 

  • I used google maps and old aerial photo as reference to make the layout for this area. 

  • Base on the aerial photo, the RED CIRCLED area is an empty field. 

  • Base on google maps, and as you can see slightly from the aerial photo, the PINK AREA has one house right next to the big main street, an L-Shaped house/compound and some garden/farming area. 

  • The big house (we call Old Folk's Home) are the big building in the YELLOW AREA.

the work is still in progress, there will be more to come, stay tunes and follow us here

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