This project is meant to practice my level design skills by creating a block-out deathmatch level for Unreal Tournament. Understanding and applying different level design rules. Going through the production pipeline from researching, concepting, designing, implementing, testing, and improving.
Project Type: Designing and creating a block-out deathmatch level for Unreal Tournament
Before I started sketching and concepting, I wanted to understand how Unreal Tournament is being played, how their levels are structured, and how the phasing of the game feels like. Therefore, I played the game first before anything.
After I have done some research and I had a feeling of the game’s mechanics, I started with the concepting phase. Drawing different level design chunks roughly, continuing with the ones that seemed interesting and discarding the ones that were not.
After sketching I took the level design in a more pronounced direction, I gained a better understanding of what direction my level was going. I wanted to have a large building in the center of the level and some points of interest around that area. So, with this level of the design direction, I started to explore the possibilities of what I could make out of it.
Once I had a level design sketch on paper that I was satisfied with, I moved to Unreal Tournament Editor and started to build a rough block-out. Making a rough block-out of the level designed helped me with the metrics of the level, the sizing of buildings, and paths.
Lastly, when the rough block-out was done, I could start playtesting. I gathered the feedback and while I was making more details in the block-out, I implemented the feedback. At this point, I was focussing on smaller details, polishing, and finalizing the level.
Level Design Concepting
For level concepting what I did was basically just start drawing. Drawing walls and pathways, I didn’t really have an idea what my direction is or would be. What I had beforehand is a couple of things that I had to keep in mind well designing the level, such as; pathways, ninja routes, points of interest, choke points, dead zones, etc. I didn’t have a theme when I started. When I had a raw sketch on paper, I looked at it and see what mistakes it had. Then drew it again without these mistakes and a little bit more level.
I noticed that this work style didn’t quite work out for me. So, I changed my work style a bit, by drawing circles. Those circles would represent an area and I would connect those areas with the primary pathways. When I had a structure of circles and pathways that I was satisfied with, I started drawing in some details like, walls, more pronounced paths, stairs, blocks to break up open spaces. At this point, it was simply drawing what I had and checking for any errors or mistakes. If I found one, I would redraw the entire level without that error and find a solution for it.
I spend a lot of time on drawing and the concepting phase because I wanted to have something that worked on paper before I went into the Unreal Tournament Engine. Fixing mistakes in Unreal would be much more time-consuming than when I would fix them on paper.
Like I mentioned before, I spend a lot of time working on paper. Drawing level concepts, fixing mistakes, drawing a new version, and repeat. Once I had a proper concept on paper, I placed it in Unreal. Once I had the level in Unreal it still needed a lot of testing of course. However, I didn’t have a lot of time left for that, so this part of the project got somewhat rushed.