Last week I designed Grapes of Wrath, a multiplayer level for Battlefield 1. Reflecting on the experience I will detail my process, and lessons learned.
Conceptually I split design into two areas. Theme & Structure.
Given I was aiming to create a post apocalyptic theme I searched for reference images several of which inspired my design.
During this consideration of theme I considered the games structure.
In the context of Battlefield 1 I define theme as the map objectives, points of interest, and player flow. My research in this area began with Battlefield 1’s two game modes, Conquest & Rush which I intended to incorporate into my map.
Not only did I experience these modes by playing them, but used spectator mode to watch the battle play out on a meta level. This allowed me to more easily see how objective placement and points of interest affected player flows.
I then looked at the the different units, studying Battlefields different infantry classes, tanks, airplanes and vehicles. I found categories of each which had different play styles:
- Air – A fast but weak plane, a slow but powerful bomber, and a hybrid plane
- Tanks – A fast but weak tank, a slow but powerful tank, and a hybrid
- Infantry – Short, medium and long range infantry
- The Behemoth – A tie breaker
Battlefields vehicles cater to extreme playstyles with disadvantages, and usually a third averaged option. Combining map knowledge with player elements I created a ‘cerebral map’ of objectives with player flows and major elements such as a Behemoth route and an underground bridge. I had an idea of the experience I wanted to create though this clearly was not a map!
What I had created was akin to a disfigured skeleton which needed its flesh added and bones tweaked. A location was needed a to root these abstract concepts in.