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Unreal Tournament: CTF-GrimmarFortress

Level Design

Platform: PC

Name: CTF-GrimmarFortress

Game: Unreal Tournament 4

Game Type: Capture the Flag

Players: 6-10

Production Time: 1 week

A small to medium sized Capture the Flag level set in an ancient fortress. The level has multiple branching paths that players can use to craft their own routes between the flags without having to stay committed to long corridors and rely on heavy firepower to push their way through enemy defenses.

The level was created over the course of a single week. My focus for this project was on the core layout as well as balancing, as such, it is completely void of decorative elements save for the banners which are important for navigating the level.

Floorplan Overview

Purple/Orange Areas: Flag Rooms. These rooms consist of two levels and contains a Link Gun with some ammo. No other pickups are present to force players to leave the flag should they need health or weapons.

Blue/Red Areas: Forward Defense Areas. These rooms consist of three levels. The Catwalk, leading to the Sniper Nest which is the optimal spot to defend against attackers but lacks any form of health or armor pickups. The middle floor, an open and vulnerable area that also holds a stinger minigun and some health. The Flak Pit, the very bottom floor. A very vulnerable spot but it holds the Flak Cannon and some health and connects to the only subtle way out of the base.

Yellow Area: Midfield. The midfield consists of multiple levels, catwalks and a bridge. The bridge is open and extremely vulnerable, but not very long and it holds the valuable Rocket Launcher. It is also the quickest route to the enemy base. Secure it and you will have a quick escape route for your flag carrier. All routes pass through this room somehow and an observant Sniper from the Sniper Nest can easily intercept enemy flag carriers. The Sniper Nest is not safe though, being able to see the entire room also means being seen from the entire room with no cover available.

Paths

Red Paths: High path. Catwalks with high vantage points and sniper nests. Slightly longer, strategic path but with very few weapons and little health.

Yellow Paths: Ground floor. Quickest but most dangerous path. Lots of varied weapons, including the Rocket Launcher. Plenty of health but plenty of combat encounters.

Blue Paths: Underground Tunnels. Longest, but most secluded paths. Holds Armor, health and the powerful Flak Cannon. Being very narrow with very few alternative routes, this path is difficult to escape from should you be ambushed along it.

Heat Map

Design Goals

The level was designed to be small and frantic where combat feels close and personal, almost like a Deathmatch level. The main goal was to maintain a good flow of movement and allow players to move as freely as possible with lots of vertical gameplay. Should the flag carrier be cut off at some point along the way, there should be another route available for them break off and to flee through, though it may not be guaranteed to be as safe or quick, players should feel free to craft their own path rather than stay committed to a single long path. Even though the level has multiple branching routes that intersect with each other, they all merge at certain points where most of the combat takes place, ensuring that flag runners can still be intercepted.

Key Areas/Features:

Flag Room as seen from the upper level. The room is narrow and contains no health pickups, forcing defenders to venture out should they need to replenish their health or find stronger weapons than the Link Gun.

Forward defense area as seen from the catwalk, coming from the Sniper Nest. Entrances to the flag base are visible on the left while the Flak Pit can be seen at the bottom. This is the optimal defensive position as most of the area is visible from this spot. There are, however, no health pickups nearby and players need to leave this position should they need to replenish lost health.

Stepping into the Sniper Nest from the Catwalk. The path on the left leads to the Rocket Launcher on the bridge while the path on the right leads to a catwalk along the wall of the side of the midfield as visible on the image below.

Entering the midfield from the side, following the sniper nest. The gap on the right can be jumped, leading to 50 points of armor and taking the player to the enemy forward defense area. The entire midfield is visible from this area, making it a good spot to intercept flag carriers from. However, with little cover nearby, snipers are also left open for counter attacks.

Entering the midfield from the forward defense area. The middle bridge holding the rocket launcher is visible through the arcs while the Sniper Nest is visible just beyond the jump pad. This path is open and dangerous but also the fastest route to the enemy base and holds the valuable Rocket Launcher.

Bottom of the Flak Pit. The Jump Pad takes players to the top of the Catwalk. The tunnel on the right will guide players on a slightly longer but secluded route to the midfield while the tunnel in the middle leads to the flag room.

Entering the midfield following the secluded tunnel from the Flak Pit. The Jump Pad will take players to the top of the Rocket Launcher bridge. Walking below the bridge awards players with the Shield Belt and ultimately leads to the tunnel connecting the midfield with the enemy team Flak Pit. This position ultimately leaves players vulnerable to attacks from nearly all directions.