Lately I’ve been itching to practice my level design skills. I’ve found such an opportunity with Total War Warhammer 2 where Creative Assembly has made their battle map editor Terry available for public use.
Therefore to practice my level design skills I’ve decided to take my love of Total War, my design skills, and support from the existing map making community to try my hand at creating maps for Warhammer 2.
First I tried some paper mapping for an existing Warhammer map called Atldorf.
Next I thought it would be good to remake a map. The map I chose to copy was a tutorial map from the map community. My intent was to make a bare bones version so I can focus on practicing using the tool. I began with studying the tutorial map.
For me the development process was loosely:
First pass at terrain, textures, and water.
Setup of deployment zones & playable area.
Second pass at terrain and textures (more detail work).
Rinse and repeat steps 4-5.
Some In-Editor Shots
Some In-game Shots
Next I plan to practice creating a map, this time with an imported height map!
We encounter a door that can be opened with a shiv. This in my mind established an accordance that doors that looked like this could be opened.
Later on we may encounter another door that looks like that same shiv door from before, but this one doesn’t open (affordance confusion)!
3 – Drawing Attention to Areas of Interest
Like the contrast on the left side, draws my eye to the area where the safe is located.
Sign as well as red car.
Like the depth on the right side, draws my eye.
Depth and blue police car.
4 – Lock Before The Key
In this section the player finds a safer that requires a numerical combination to be opened.
Further down the street the player sees the glint of a note against a dark junk wall, and finds the combination to the safe written on the note. I have an issue with this!
The player does need to do backtracking which isn’t ideal, but it isn’t much, my issue relates to getting the combination. When the player gets the combination it would be an additional plus to underscore receiving this important information with a touch of VO that hinted the relationship between the safe and note e.g “hmm wasn’t there a safe back there?”.
In an effort to continue building on my 2D Layouts, and 3D blockouts skills I thought I’d try a short exercise of creating an area in a game that I am playing. The subject of this exercise was ground floor of the Briar Patch diner in Mafia 3.
2D Top Down
I began with a very rough to scale-ish 2D top down to get a general shape.
Next I began 3d work which involved taking in game pictures as reference from various, and areas of the ground floor. Using these ‘references’ I created approximate blockouts. The following is the results of this exercise.
Introduction: Over the summer of 2017 I interned at DICE LA, a studio of Electronic Arts. My time was spent working with DICE LA to ship the downloadable content In the Name of The Tsar for Battlefield 1.
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 | Time: 12 weeks | Role: Game Designer | Team Size: ~90
Deliver high quality level content through iteration.
Develop my ability to analyze and critique level design in a professional environment.
Practice supporting the efforts and vision of senior designers on the team.
Bolstered Battlefield 1’sDLC content with map analysis. This took the form of:
Collecting, processing, and documenting Battlefield 1 level data for use by senior level designers.
Offering map feedback on flow, map features, cover, spawn placement, and play space volumes.
Used Frostbite’s visual scripting language to implement:
Content bug fixes from JIRA tickets.
Then iterate based on feedback of game modes such as Supply Drop, Team Death Match, War Pigeons, and Domination for multiple levels in the DLC pack.
Throughout the conference I took the following notes which I thought to share!
Day 1 – 3/19/2018
My first day at GDC involved visiting a number of sponsored talks as well as a great talk on the game Mortician’s Tale.
Google Dev Day
In this event Google was presenting a number of new features. One in particular was Google Instant. The concept is that developers would create partial builds that would act as a lite version of the experience used to give a demo of the experience. One interesting concept they proposed was that as speed increases, consumption increases.
Amazon – Gameon
This session was a demo for introducing Amazons Gameon feature. In the talk the speaker went through how to implement the Gameon system providing diagrams and code samples.
Gameon, as I understood it, is a service that allows deliveries leveraging the Amazon delivery service. The example the speaker spoke at length about was integrating real world prizes into a game system using Amazon’s delivery service e.g. a player wins a game and a real prize is delivered to them by Amazon.
Amazon – Future of E-Sports
In this panel hosted by Amazon the speakers gave their opinion on the future of E-Sports and made a number of interesting points including:
What was driving the increase in size of esport was not something in mobile applications, but the increase in the number of devices, and increase in speed of infrastructure.
The best e-sport is easy to pickup but hard to master.
The perceived skill gap of mobile vs PC is good for the e-sports as its about accessibility having mobile in the e-sports scene.
When you have a hit one challenge is to sustain the momentum. There are several ways to do so. Two ways are building a brand or building a community.
Games that are good for broadcasting are surprising, unpredictable, and easy to watch.
E-Sports has a structure like that of regular sports. Blizzard for example has franchises all over the world, and the owners of E-Sports teams are like the owners of traditional sports teams.
Mortician’s Tale – A Different View on How Games Treat Death
This talk was about the concept of death in a game called Mortician’s Tale. As described by the creator Morticians Tale is ‘a job simulator game’ about being a Mortician.
During the talk the speaker made a number of interesting points including:
Death systems in games have endured. In Mortician’s tale they wanted to explore ways of displaying it.
It was important that death in the game should relate to narrative and mechanics of game.
One book that was influential to the development was ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ by Caitlin Doughty.
The purple color in the game was used to hide the ugliness of death and reflects melancholy.
The game removes the ability to fail during preparation of the body as the creators felt it would disrespect the bodies.
The protagonist of the game was made silent as a silent protagonist can act as a vessel for players.
A silent protagonist also underscores the importance of listening in the grieving process.
Post release the feedback was positive and the creator believed there was some evidence of a transformative effect due to the design decisions made while making the game.
At the end of the conference the speaker made recommendations of a number of other games to look at that explore the topic of death:
Introduction: Of Blood and Water is a five-act RPG adventure written for the Dragon Age tabletop RPG system. It was created as a semester-long project for the RPG Writing Workshop course at Carnegie Mellon University. This involved creating character descriptions, step-outlines, and five acts that each include a dramatic scene written in script format.