Arena Maps

Responsibilities: –Level design and layout, blocking out initial play space, inventory station and spawn placement, set dressing, bug fixes. –Make viable ports of classic Tribes arena maps, and adapt them […]

Responsibilities:
–Level design and layout, blocking out initial play space, inventory station and spawn placement, set dressing, bug fixes.
–Make viable ports of classic Tribes arena maps, and adapt them to fit Ascend’s mechanics and style.

 

Arena Creation Process:
Frequently when I am developing arena maps, I already know what art set to use. Later in development, a hero asset may be added to help with player orientation or the level’s story, but on the whole I already have the majority of pieces I’ll be working with. This lets me begin with coming up with a setting for the map, and I can take these themes to develop the layout.

So far, I’ve developed 3 core map styles for arena in Tribes: Ascend; pitfall maps such as Air Arena and Lava Arena, terrain-based maps such as Walled-In and Fraytown, and indoor maps similar to Whiteout and Undercroft. Most of initial design plans for my arena maps start on a whiteboard. I’ll start with noting what art set is being used, and what map-type I intend to make. Afterwards, I figure out rough layout, theme ideas, inventory station placement, and any special environmental hazards I want to include in the map.

From there, I use a mix of already created assets and BSP brushes to create a blockout of the map. Because the Tribes games use a jetpack and skiing mechanic, I make a lot of early iterative changes to make sure that moving between various height levels feels smooth and comfortable. It can sometimes be difficult to make it a challenge for players to get to coveted higher ground without making it also be frustrating. At the same time, I experimented with both player spawn placement, as well as inventory station placement, making changes and adjustments based on playtest results.

When the final layout has been solidified, then I go back to set dressing the map, adding in fog, lighting, and post process for the levels. I work closely with the Environment Art Team to make any aesthetic or optimization changes as needed. Also, because of the nature of the HiRez Studio, I also work directly with players through game streams, forums, reddit, and IRC to get more detailed feedback on bugs, suggested changes, and ideas for future maps.

 

Original Arena Map Designs: 
Fraytown, Hinterlands, Lava Arena, Whiteout, Undercroft

Classic Arena Ports:
Air Arena, Walled-In

 Shot list: TDM Nightabatic, Walled-in Arena, TDM Outskirts, TDM Inferno, Lava Arena, Air Arena, Hinterlands Arena