DM takes place on a giant space drill that's stationed on a planet filled with mostly water and rare space rock, The contestants in the Unreal Tournament is facing off in a fast paced battle on top of the drill but they have to be careful or else they fall of.
It's a small Deathmatch map made for four players, a lot of effort went into the flow of the map so the gameplay would be fast and keeping the player on guard most of the time.
The map is built like a cake with a big bottom but get's smaller the further the player gets to the top. At the top lies a Big Keg (big health bar in UT) or Armor the player has to make a quick choice on which they want to pick up since they can only get there by elevator jumping(jumping while on an elevator gives the player a boost).
All assets are from the current build of Unreal Tournament but most of them has been edited to fit the style of the map better.
During my time playing Call of Duty 4 there was always one map that stood out in the server browser, a map called Shipment.
Shipment is one of the smallest maps in the COD games and is often played with the Free for All (DM) gamemode I was inspired by the small map and the quick gameplay that it provided.
I wanted to create something similar but in Unreal Tournament with more verticality and features like sliding and elevator jumping as these were mechanics used in UT. The style of the map was inspired by a bigger DM map in Unreal called Outpost 23 which has a future sci-fi mining setting to it.
Trying different layouts
This was one of the first time where I started blocking without a layout in mind, I had been inspired by other maps had an idea of it being simple and small but that was it.
Most of the first blockouts included a long hallway which transformed into a small bridge in the middle of the map but it took to much space and was just in the way and the player was moving around it most of the time.
After a few tries I created a platform with 3 floors that didn't have any walls on the sides so that the players could fall of and die this added a challenge to the map. I tested it out with bots and I thought that it was quite fun. I placed some of the bigger props on the level, packaged the level and posted it on some forums and sent it to some friends for feedback.
There were some challenges by making the level, at first I centered it in the middle of an ocean with mountains and rock surrounding it this looked pretty good but the reflection from the sun made the fog look weird near the water. I tried different water textures but none of them fit the surroundings eventually I removed the water and made the fog thicker.
I often fall into the problem of mirroring maps while this makes the map balanced it also makes the map boring to look at and confuses the player. At first I tried to color code the walls and floor with decals but it didn't work well so I re designed some of the areas to instead of having a ramp you could take an elevator or jump on to a rail and walk up to the second floor. The main idea was still there but remade to look and play more interesting since it now has two way's up instead of one ramp.
An early version of the map
Some areas have two ways to one location like here where you can slide under the pipe
The one main thing I did differently this time around was to just start, Often I plan out for weeks on how to proceed with the build of the map with gathering of reference pictures, drawing different layout etc. This time however I wanted it to take it's time and worked on it whenever I felt like it. Something else that I'm not normally do was to spend a lot more time posting pictures and download links to the map on the official Unreal Tournament forums and Mapcore forum this turned out to be time consuming but a great source for feedback.
In the future however I will continue to do planning before starting a project this was just a test to see how it would go and what could happen on the way.
Overall Im happy with the map on both a design and artistic perspective.
DM-Skydrill for Unreal Tournament