Derelict - 2v2 FPS Map
Unreal Engine 4
As I am a fan of FPS games, I wanted to challenge myself to see what I could design, from paper to 3D blockout, in the space of a week. I choose to design a multiplayer FPS map for the Gunfight mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), where 2 teams of 2 have 40 seconds to eliminate the opposing team in a small level. This was a challenge for me as I haven't had much experience designing maps for small competitive game modes.
I first started planning by looking at real life locations for inspiration. I wanted to avoid any military locations and instead use an existing real life location as a foundation of my level.
The main inspiration for the level came from the ruins of an old manor house not far from me. The house (the ruins in the top right of the above picture) was small in size, almost symmetrical and an interesting location itself, a perfect match for what I was looking for. The hole covered walls and ceilings also gave me ideas on how the broken architecture could be used for grenade throws and flanking routes.
Planning the Layout
I looked at the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare gunfight maps and found they all shared 2 key design elements, they are small in size and symmetrical. As a gunfight game last only 40 seconds and is competitive in nature, I knew these design elements would be crucial to get right in my level.
First drafts were drawn out on grid paper with each grid representing a 1 meter square, allowing for easy conversion from paper design to the 3D space of Unreal Engine as 1 Unreal unit equals 1 meter. The initial design followed the real life house layout as a template. From there I could see which parts of house's layout would work and what would have to be changed. The final paper draft can be seen in the image above.
The main difference from the real life house was the addition of 2 stair wells at the back which lead to a balcony overlooking the central room. This was added to allow for a 3rd flanking route which was more exposed but rewarded risky players with an overview of the central room.
For the blockout stage I used a mix of the Blockout Tools plugin for the main architecture and props from various Synty Studios packs as smaller cover pieces. The first blockout followed the paper drafts dimensions but I could see that some areas wouldn't work size wise and adjustments would need to be made. The side rooms were made thinner to reduce deep corner cover while also being stretched out longer to slightly increase the time it takes to get to the far end flanking route in the main room.
After the main architecture was complete I added blocks for cover, which were later changed to props that fit in with the story of the level and provided both half and full cover. These props were coloured red so they stand out from the surrounding walls and consisted of old furniture and construction equipment. Holes were later added in the roof and upper walls to allow for tactical grenade throws onto unsuspecting enemies. The middle fence piece on the balcony was also removed to create a new flanking route for players.
Testing and Feedback
2 enemy bots and 1 friendly bot were used to test the pacing of the map and its cover. The movement and weapon stats were adjusted to try and match the same stats in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It's hard to test how real players would play the map with bots but I found the map played well in regards to pacing and cover.
One change I would make to the map is the door ways and stair placement in the stairwells and connecting central hallway. I found this could easily be exploited by snipers at spawn as all the doors were lined up, which left players going up the stairs exposed.