CTF Map – Strife in the Sky

The latest assignment I had for my level design class was to build either a solo or multiplayer map, and seeing as how I’ve never actually made a multiplayer level, I decided to try it out. We had about three weeks to build our levels, and we had to include at least two teams and bases for each, distinguishable landmarks for the different bases, at least two scripted events, and some sort of back story. I completed my level in about two days, give or take, but had a whole lot of fun making it. Keep reading to see screenshots and learn more about the making of the level!


Inspiration

I have always loved the idea of cities or castles in the sky, and have actually had the idea for this level for a while. I wanted to have two completely different floating islands, with only a single bridge connecting the two isles and cultures. Since I decided to do a multiplayer map, I chose to make each isle a CTF (capture the flag) base, where the bridge would be the main battle point between the two teams. When it came to the actual designs for the two isles, I sort of already had an idea in my head of what I wanted them to look like. One side was going to be more earthy with lots of plant life and ruins, while the other was originally going to be more industrial. I wanted both teams to be opposites since they would be at war according to the story. However, when I went to actually build the industrial isle, I didn’t like the way it looked, so I changed it to be more regal and technologically advanced.


Story

“It all began with the Collision. Seventy years ago, the Collision ruptured the planet, and the floating isles were created as a result, marking a new age of technology and reformation amongst the surviving peoples. On one isle, however, the people were isolated from the rest of the world, and over the years, through bitterness, the group split in two and an eternal feud was sparked.

One group, the Reds as they called themselves, overtook the more earthly part of the isle, building into the earth rather than above it so that they could become more close with it. They believed in keeping a harmony with the earth, and felt that the Collision had been their punishment for misusing nature for their own greed. The other group, their astringent rivals, was the Blues. While they believed that water was sacred, they did not share the same feelings about the earth as the Reds. Instead, they felt that they should use their resources to create something more beautiful than nature itself, and thus arose their palace on the more desolate part of the isle.

The feud tore the isle apart, until the only thing that connected the two regions was a narrow strip of land. Both groups agreed that the bridge must remain for structure’s sake, as neither was sure what would happen if the bridge were to break apart, but each group wanted to claim it for themselves. Now the fight for the bridge continues as each group hopes to dominate the other and overtake their part of the isle…”


Pre-Production

Although the post that I did just before this goes into the importance of pre-production, at the time of making this level, I did not put a whole lot of work into it. My pre-production was excruciatingly simple, with the story, map, and walkthrough. This map is a CTF multiplayer map, so there will be two teams, red and blue, which will fight each other to capture the other team’s flag and return it to their base. The map is pretty simple, with two bases and a single path between the two, so the combat is focused on the bridge, where they can take cover and push through. Teamwork amongst the actual players is imperative since it is a narrow CTF map. Each side is meant to be balanced, each with their own flag, rocket launcher, armor, and health and ammo packs.

Screenshots

The following link leads to a facebook photo album (for now) as there were too many images to upload them all to the blog. Video walkthroughs will come at later date.

Strife in the Sky Screenshots


Final Thoughts

I think that this level came out pretty darn close to what I wanted it to, although there are definitely a lot of things I wish I would have changed. First, I recently learned how to use the terrain editor in UDK, and I think that it would’ve helped a lot to make the isles look more realistic. Second, I’ve also been experimenting with new ways of including water, and it’s a shame I didn’t try this out earlier because I wasn’t too happy with the water below. And of course, there were a lot of minor details in the level which I could have and should have taken the time to fix. Sometimes it takes another person to look at your level before you realize something’s missing or wrong. I actually had a really strange issue with some of the static meshes, which would be set right in their properties, but would allow the player to walk right through them. This is obviously a major issue, but I was unable to correct it, to my dismay. I had a few other people take a look at it, and they couldn’t manage to find the problem either; everything was right and should not have done that, but for some odd reason, it did. Aside from these issues, I had a really great time building the map, and managed to build it entirely without using BSP brushes. I’ve found that this may give the level a more realistic look, but it is a lot more time consuming and makes building the geometry, paths, and lighting of the level take much longer. All in all, I feel the level came out well and think it would be rather entertaining (and possibly rage-inducing) to play.

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