Disused - 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.
For this level I was inspired by the old architecture around London, specifically the old Victorian buildings and railway stations. This gave me the idea of having the level set in a disused railway trench below street level, with the player surrounded by high walls, creating the feeling of being trapped inside a claustrophobic arena. I did consider the option of having the level set on a working train line with trains passing through at high speeds but I felt this ruined the competitive nature of the game mode. Instead I went for a disused train station setting with run down train carriages and track side equipment populating the level.
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 layout itself is completely original and wasn't based on any real life locations. The final paper draft can be seen in the image above.
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 closely although I could see problems already once the design was translated into 3D space, such as size issues and lack of cover.
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 train carriages and construction equipment.
One major change from the paper plan was the addition of a bridge with 2 archways spanning the centre of the map. This bridge was added to act as a landmark for level navigation as well as being useful for cover and blocking grenades being thrown from 1 spawn point into the other
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 very well with plenty of cover and a variety of flanking routes making for some interesting gameplay.
One thing I found from playing the level was the lack of close quarters areas, which may be off putting for players who prefer CQB over mid and long range fights. I also found some areas had spots which felt vulnerable to attack from too many angles and could use another piece of cover.