Project lockdown is a First Person Strategy game set in a prison where the previously passive inmates have run amok and have started a riot. This was my third game while working with the Tricycle Cavalry group. The game was developed on our own in-house created engine.
Specifications: School project; 5 weeks.
Voted best First Person Shooter by students at TGA.
Team size: 23 (5 Level designers, 7 Artists, 5 Programmers, 6 Technical Artists)
Enemy unit balancing
We started by dividing up the game into different levels and assigning different level designers and artists to work together on the preproduction phase on every level. I created topdown maps of the different rooms and corridors of the level. Early on in our planning we decided to focus on melee enemies and only add ranged units later if we had time and were happy with the melee units. This of course affected the level design. I designed my level to be a linear chain of connected rooms with interesting layouts. I didn´t want to create a corridor shooter so I used corridors sparsely to create more varied gameplay and help guide the player forward.
Once I was done with my topdown version of my level I wanted to flesh out the 3D design more. At the beginning of the we were still in discussion about how we were going to build our levels (maya or in-house created level editor). So I decided to take my experience from working on my Counter-Strike map and use the Hammer engine to quickly block up the level in 3D and work on room layouts and flow. I later used these concepts to quickly build my level in 3D, these concepts turned into the laundry part of level1 (Breach).
We worked with maya as a level editor and re-used a lot of the tools we used for our Real Time Strategy game. Me and another level designer decided to create a designer kit using Maya. What I mean by this is we made a bunch of rough 3D models of whatever we were going to need for the level and made sure they all worked modularly. For example pieces of walls, floors, railings, stairs. This meant we could start building our levels straight away without waiting for the artists to start producing props. The artists could then use the placeholders as a base for their more detailed versions and simply replace the file and the levels would be updated and all the props replaced.
When I was done building up the level in maya the next phase began. I started set dressing the level as more props continuously were created, this is something I continued working on almost until the end of the project. Then followed a lightning pass where we used an editor created by our programmers to light the level using mostly spot lights and point lights. Later I worked with placing path nodes and optimizing them to require as little performance as possible and to work well with the current AI. I also worked with enemy balancing and weapon balancing (recoil, damage etc).
I would love to work on more First Person Shooters and to continue learning how to create story driven single player campaigns and intense and balanced multiplayer modes.