DM-Palace

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Project Information

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.

  • Role: Level Designer
  • Project Type: Designing and creating a block-out deathmatch level for Unreal Tournament
  • Team size: 1
  • Software used: Unreal Tournament Editor, Adobe Illustrator
  • Project duration: ± 7 weeks
  • Playable link:  Google Drive + download instructions
Click the icon below to play my level

My work

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Details about my work

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 a specific direction that I wanted my level design to go to. 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 design direction, I started to explore the possibilities of what I could make out 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 of the level.


Project Reflection
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 into 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 it on paper.

Level Testing

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.