One of our first projects at the Gaming Academy is the 3D level design of a UDK death match map. After a few lessons on design metrics, game balancing, and of course the basics of using UDK itself, we’re well on our way. I will use the blog to document the design process of my very first UDK map.
To start things off, I have some initial plan sketches of the map. Just simple representations of spawn points, and conflict zones. Our mandate was to basically create a working death match map that shows our understanding of game design theory, particularly symmetrical level design in the case of death match.
My basic concept was to provide a simple of experience of increasing intensity as a player went from the edges to center of the map. Like an onion peeling it is simply, 3 tiers of experience: the safe spawning layer, the medium conflict layer, and the intense conflict layer. I experimented achieving this in sketches where I would take basic geometric shapes and overlap them symmetrically, taking the lines as paths for the player and the intersecting points to represent nodes of conflict. The more intersections the higher, the bigger the node, the higher the intensity of conflict.
This created a hierarchy of sorts, which is what I was looking for. While four circles [left sketch] brought the idea across it was too simple, and provided me with too few spawn points and conflict zones. It eventually evolved to six circles and an overall shape of a hex.
With a basic concept that had potential to develop, I proceeded to dissect the plan to see how I could apply what he had learned with metrics and balancing.