MAP FLOWS & DESIGN INTENTIONS
This is a layout design for a district in a multiplayer battle royale setting.
The location is inspired by real world location, in this case: Union Square NYC with additional articulated design implementations and back-story:
"After the outbreak, government constructed this high priority laboratory base in Union Square to conduct research and development. The shielded district allowed refugees for shelters and medical services, but more sinister attempts on human trials became the tradeoff in this desperate time. Eventually, with riots, outbreaks, and natural corrosions, the Union Square checkpoint has been left for solitude, until now…"
Union Square has its clear spatial readability with its ring layout that advocate focus to the middle, in this case risks and rewards surrounded by relative safety, as well as it allows verticality with its subway station.
Based on top of the elements, here are several factors that I want this district to highlight:
• Newcomers/casual players friendly through its clear shape language, identifiable affordances, and directionality.
• Advanced and diverse additions on routes and zone interchangeability for hardcore players.
• Differentiated zoning and features to minimize combat fatigue:
- Outer rim holds low to intermediate tier structures, inner rim features hot and tasty high tier structures.
- Empowers play styles and play on mechanics.
Blue zone – Low tier structures: interconnected structures for fast and diverse traverses, low-level loots, multiple cover options. These structures are visually guided with the affordances such as scaffoldings of the exterior walls, which should imply explore options to exterior and interior environments, as well as offering broadened line of sights to the center hot zone.
Yellow zone – Medium tier structures: Introduction of more distinctive features with better loots, larger explorable areas, expanded verticality, and more limited interdependent traversal options. Top yellow zone is a destroyed shopping mall, and left is a collapsed building.
Red zone – High risks high rewards. High tier structures: Specific but not limiting mechanics introduced. Special loot (Revival Syringe) and completed items (no crafting needed) are present, but more challenging exit options.
Low tier layouts are in service for safe exploration with sufficient amount of covers in different forms and orientations.
These spaces are primarily close range to limit advantages in safer conditions, but still creating various sightlines to cover different interiors and exteriors. Traverse interchangeably between spaces are easy and fast to allow for constant movements and sufficient battle spaces when things get heated and in large quantities. Verticality is limited to prevent high ground advantages, but still exists in limited presence to allow more versatile gameplays and sightlines. Cover and exit options are designed to preserve three axis availability when players get cornered.
Players should have the options to be able to go left and/or right, up and/or down, forward and/or backward.
The shielded wall provides various options for entry and exits to the district, and long-distance traversal. This is a hybrid of long/close quarter combat location. It offers the best line of sight to the entire district, but its exposure to the open, narrow, and primarily bi-directional interior, and short supplies of loot makes it a location that requires tactics.
The subway network is a 2-level interconnected layout, with the bottom train rail level being flooded. Players can enter through the 2 entrances near the district wall, or through the lab destroyed storage level below B1. The subway offers alternative approaches to the lab, and on its own, it is a very unique and challenging battle grounds to explore and combat in. Both the buffer level and the train rail level of the subway depicts straight line of sights and directionality. The pillars in the buffer level should provide sufficient options for cover and traversal followed by medical and refugee tents.
Down at the end of the buffer level, a wrecked train creates interconnections for the up and down levels, as well as alternative paths to the lab.
At the bottom train rail level, there are 4 tracks and 2 passenger platforms in total. With plenty of train cabins for cover and traversal, this level makes combat and spontaneous gameplays extra intense! It does not stop here! With the station being half flooded, this level offers another dimension of underwater traversal options. I designed a layout for the underwater route, and specifically added cracks onto the station platforms for visual indications of where underwater traversal is available, and the direction each path is pointing towards to.
These are medium tier above the floor level.
Not drastically different to average low tier spaces, these areas contain most of the features a low tier space would highlight, but in more limited aspects to tradeoff with its own features. The mall holds much more vertical gameplay from the destruction caused by its neighbor collapsed building.
The verticality of the mall induced a more intense and long-distance engagement environment. The high ground sightlines are widened with three floors crushed open and exposed. Yet, high grounds are also less equipped with covers and traversal options.
I wanted to introduce interesting and inviting landscapes to provoke dynamic and strategic gameplay.
A collapsed building has its own charisma to it, but also a gameplay problem: most of the movements will be vertical due to the layout of the housing units. Despite that, there are no problems that cannot be resolved through destructions and a bit of “faking”. I test generated 4 unique units using HOUDINI to match as close as I can to a realistic apartment unit, but units that are also plausible for vertical and horizontal stackings. The easiest part is to punch a hole through the ceilings and floors of horizontally stacked units to create traversal options. The difficulty is to create fun and combat ready vertical stackings.
I’ve managed to reduce the overall size of the unit (it’s New York) to allow for rapid and accessible vertical traversals while ensuring sufficient coverage of sightlines and protections. I also embedded an elevator shaft to allow for horizontal traversals. This location is also the densest in terms of foliage, overgrowth, and large shrapnel coverages. Something interesting might be hiding here!
Welcome to the heat and beat center of the district. This is where all the goodies are located for you to win a battle royale. But, all line of sights are targeted toward here, and it is out in the exposed. Worry not though, it has multiple entry options, but you need to plan your exits carefully because it will not be the same as the entries!
Well, if you want to gun and run, you still can.
The primary entries are from the side entrance hallway, which provides access directly to either the control room to the right of the doorway, or straight down the staircase on the left to go down to the connector for base 1 level. Window in the entrance hallway also creates traversal option and sightlines into the control room. The exterior window facing the stairs on the floor level provides sightlines into both the control room and basement levels. Players have the option to jump in from the windows to rush to the base level, or perform other strategies across these locations and levels. However, once players jump in, they cannot exit through the same windows due to height constraints.
The central ventilation entrance is another fast approach to enter the structure. The only entry from exterior to the ventilation network is through the roof. The affordances of vent should also imply entry to sub levels. The vents network only tolerates crouching position. Although narrow and limiting in FOVs and resources in the vents, it is a fast and safer approach to enter the lab.
THE B1 LEVEL
The layout is intentionally symmetrical to offer clear readability, directionality, as well as balanced and tactical gameplay. Corners of this section are also extended in distance and reduced in angles to minimize sharp and extreme viewing angles for players since they are more dependent on presented visuals and cautions; due to widened Third Person viewing ability, covers are also added into each corner to balance between extreme corner angles and corner peaking advantages. There are two traversal platforms in B1, the common floor, and the exposed ceiling ventilation area.
Vertical spaces from the vents provide fast entry into the B1 level. However, for exit, the only exit to retreat using the VENT is through the double stacking boxes placed at only one side of B1 level, beside the entry gates to surface to B1 connector hallway. This is to prevent valuable loots from being carried out too easily from the lab, as well as to balance vertical advantages of players from constantly returning to anchoring above on the vent floor. On the vent floor, only crouching is supported to limit movement and sightline advantages. Each corner of the B1 compartment and entry are shielded with wider vent floorings to prevent anchoring. Loots should be non-existent on the vent floor. However, multiple openings on the vent floor and its large cover area across the B1 ceiling makes it a very deadly location to not to be ignored!