Sci-fi deathmatch predicated on fast paced gun play

Calypso is a deathmatch (free-for-all) map I made for Unreal Tournament. It was a personal project that I worked on in my free time over the course of 5 months.


Calypso takes place in a secret offshore drilling site that makes use of advanced yet highly illegal technology.  


-The map was meant to facilitate primarily close to mid-range gun play while making use of a large array of weaponry. To do this I designed the map to make the flak cannon and rocket launcher the most viable weaponry while still placing other weapons in areas where they would be of use.


-My intent was to create a map that incentivized constant player movement and interaction. To do this I made small hub areas where a majority of gunfights would be held. To get players to lock to these areas I placed more lucrative weaponry and shielding there. With the flak cannon being the most effective weapon here I wanted it to be in a more contested area.


-I also wanted new players to have ample opportunity to get kills and try out new guns while still rewarding experienced players for their map knowledge and mechanical skill. To create scenarios for both I tried to orient the more contested areas around verticality. This in theory would give more opportunities for players to get the drop on one another or to pull off impressive outplays. Additionally, I tried to set up spawn points so that players would always have decent weaponry when entering a fight, meaning that while one player might have an advantage, the other player always had a chance. Beyond this players can often choose whether or not to go towards a hub or an area that has shields or health, allowing newer players to give themselves a slight advantage if they aren't yet confident in their mechanical skill.

Initial Design:

My original plan was to have the entirety of the map be contained within two buildings where one would serve as the primary reactor/drilling site with the other serving as a lab with more experimental technologies. After going through the assets available to me and deciding to focus more on what was enjoyable than strictly realistic I altered the design. I also realized that a back area as large as the one pictured would most likely disrupt the pacing I was trying to achieve.


For the new design I condensed down the back area of the map and made it more centered on the rotunda in the middle. Once I had established this I started blocking it out. 


Here I tried to nail down the feel of each area and figure out lines of sight. I wanted to ensure that each area served it's intended purpose. That said, I still had yet to implement spawns and weapon placement so it was difficult to tell for sure. My primary worry at this stage however was the giant lab portion at the back of the map. Where I had tried to simplify it from my previous design it felt better but it now seemed too empty and too large to fit in with this map.

After adding and testing the spawns and weapon placement I concurred that the overall feel of the map was close but not quite at the point I wanted. Just to double check that it wasn't solely due to aesthetics I added textures to the bsp and did a full lighting pass with very basic art assets. After this I realized that the back half definitely needed to be redesigned and some of the pathways associated with it redone.

After noticing the flaws with the lab portion, I cut it down and made it much smaller. I also altered the pathway leading to it to make it faster to navigate and less of a hassle. Once that was set I did a full art pass, added in more props and structural supports, and did another lighting pass. 

Despite it currently being in a finalized state I'll most likely do another detail pass while adding more decals and effects to liven up the space. 


-When modding always make sure to design around the assets you have available to you (I struggled with the art pass due to thinking I had more assets to work with than I did)

-Don't wait until the architecture is finished to test out core functionality

-When trying to create lines of sight for sniping try to imagine what those will look like with finalized art. (The sidings and ceiling overhangs cut into those lines of sight reducing their effectiveness and viability)

-When designing for deathmatch maps be cognizant of how players are going to transition between areas and what that looks like (Ex. most maps have circular flow, where this map resembles more of a figure eight. Not a bad thing just something to be aware of).

Champlain College Alumni

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