Thursday, February 10, 2011

DM-Iceberg level

So I started my Deathmatch designs this morning. There are a few things that I know I want to achieve in this project;

a) To gain an understanding of solid gameplay from a multi-player aspect as well as SP
b) To model and create most of the assets myself (get help if needed)
c) To create a unique and non unreal visual style
d) To make it fun!

The project

I'm not quite sure on the visual style yet but I want to try and make this level less Unreal looking. Maybe someone has a suggestions about a good art direction? I want a strong visual style making the most of the post processing power of the unreal engine, I'm thinking nice vibrant colours not unlike team fortress. My main goal is to make a solid Deathmatch experience but I may also add a capture the flag game mode in there as the layout would be perfect for two different teams and would also allow me to explore team based puzzles which I have no experience in so far.


The game is set in the middle of an icy environment which is not related to anywhere in particular as there will be 'unreal' elements to the map. The players are here to part take in a battle royal/death race/kill 'em all, style arena where the winner takes all.
The objective will be to either get the most kills, or I'm hoping to develop this gameplay further by having a central tower hold the trophy and the players must navigate different puzzles to lower it. I will have to see how successful this is through game testing but I think it would add depth to a Deathmatch arena.


The map will have pressure chambers like the ones featured in earlier unreal Deathmatches which will add an extra element to the game

There will be chokepoints in the form of central towers with jump pads allowing for free flowing gameplay

The map will be a small size as far as unreal maps go as I want to model all the assets myself.
Visual style undecided.

The map will be memorable because I will have icy surfaces in places allowing for fast paced game play. There will be different elevations that will aid snipers and rocket guys alike. Large pressure chambers that will destroy the players if they enter.

Possible Problems

My modelling and texturing skills

Creating a unique visual style

GAMEPLAY! - Will it even be fun to play?

Incorporating puzzles which don't stop flow of gameplay but have huge impact when implemented.

So I started by creating a basic overview of game play that I knew I wanted. I created a large loop because I do not believe Deathmatch levels should ever have dead-ends. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if the player is highly rewarded, however I'll get in to that on later posts.

I then moved on to designing each individual Iceberg and then I will move on to the Industrial towers in the center. I first planed out in PS what game play I wanted on each of these islands, each one will be distinctly unique and offer different game play challenges. I then went into UDK and roughly blocked it out with BSP's. I find that this is the quickest method of testing whether the game play will actually work. I added a few extra details here and there and was happy with Iceberg_01. Now to move on to the rest!

I won't be moving into Maya until the entire blockmap is finished and I have sorted my game play. With game play comes adding bots, weapons and pickup's. There's no point starting to model geometry if the map isn't fun! I will then import the BSP's into Maya so I have a good idea of scale and go from there. Whilst I am sorting out game play though I may be designing and modelling different assets on the side.

I'm sure I've missed out the most basic information so let me know if have any qualms but in the mean time..

"Kill 'em all... Let God sort them out"


  1. For me death match maps always have at least two routes to anywhere, therefore making it impossible to simply cover a single path and you have to keep checking more than one possible angle of attack. Likewise you have more than one choice to attack! Perhaps conceptually it might be more correct to envision the map as a series of interconnected loops.

    As for considering the stylistic appearance two things spring to mind. 1. Looking at pictures of ice caves and crevasses they always look very odd and fractured spaces, broadening and narrowing at odd angles. It always looks like they might collapse at any moment. 2. Would it be possible to go out on an exposed bit of the iceberg and get caught in a blizzard with limited vision? I’m seeing players taking a risky route and seeing shapes in the snow, not knowing if they are friend or foe, perhaps struggling to find their way back into the tunnels?

    Good luck!

  2. Ouch Jim! dropped a bombshell on me there. So many new things to think about.

    Brilliant point 1 and with point 2 that would be pretty awesome if I could achieve that.. Maybe like the post process thing that I did (shouldn't bring it up) with the rain in the desert right? That way you would have much more control over which players received limited vision and for how long... Not sure if with Unreal death matches whether you would just know anyway with the HUD and stuff but I would love to explore that!

    I want breakable bits of iceberg too but have to be very careful that the parts that do fracture effect the game play in a meaningful way without affecting it so much that the game becomes unplayable...

    Thanks for the feedback Jim, I'm sure I'll be bombarding you with questions now about death matches now!