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DM-HouseRep WIP FlowTest

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DM-HouseRep lets you experience the United States House of Representatives in an abandoned state. Located in the south wing of the U.S. Capitol, you must defend yourself against those who are out to take your life in a game of deathmatch. The narrow corridors and winding hallways will have you guessing what is around each corner and the gigantic auditorium will draw players from every corner of the map.

  • Technology: Unreal Development Kit
  • Development Time: 3 Days for a Level Design Test

Role: 

Level Designer

Design – 2D drawing, Maps and Flow of the level.
Research – Reference Photos, US Government House of Representatives Architecture.
Documentation – Level and Setting Overview, Level Structure.
Blocking Out – Scale and Gameplay Flow.
Refinement – Gameplay Testing and Level Tone.


Gameplay Images

    Design Commentary

    DM-HouseRep was influenced by the House of Representatives in the U.S. Capitol building. I was inspired by the locations in the D.C. area featured in The Conduit and I quickly decided that an intense indoor multiplayer map located within the House of Representatives would be fantastic. The small corridors, impressive rooms and open main hall would all work in unison to create an engaging level for the player.

    I started by researching the D.C. area and specifically the House of Representatives to design a level that reflected the Capitol Building’s interior architecture. The Capitol building is very open and it does not have many narrow hallways. If there were some type of threat or act of terror, I assumed that the main auditorium had to have some doors that lead to back passageways.

    The back passages I created were more compact and I designed the confining spaces to intertwine back and forth so the player would not always be able to anticipate what was around the corner. I wanted the environment to create a natural rhythm for the player. The looping hallways that surround the auditorium encourage faster gameplay while navigating the main auditorium requires more caution because enemies can attack from all sides and from the upper balconies.

    The upper balconies were designed for the player to be able to ambush enemies that went for the main podium down below.  Similar to the seating on the lower level, the seating upstairs provides cover and an element of surprise as players duck behind the seats and spring out to attack players below. I did not want one location to be isolated and used continuously as a camping spot. Play testing helped with this problem and many revised versions of the map occurred. The level flow encourages the player to stay on their toes and to stay in movement.

    Critical Analysis:

    -          The map follows a pretty standard DM map formula (large open area surrounded by offshoot hallways) which isn't really good or bad, it’s average. So a map like this needs to rest on interesting room designs, interesting hallway paths, and ESPECIALLY an interesting central room. This map lacks these things.
    -          The main room is the most interesting part, with several balcony areas, a lot of pick ups, and some interesting cover. The problem though is that it comes from a real life design of the House of Representatives, which while introducing some interesting elements, doesn't translate perfectly into a game space. I should compensate for this by removing chair rows, or something to open the area up more, allow for easier movement, and stacked some higher cover. The tightly packed chair rows presents a lot of obstacles for ground floor players, and essentially puts them into a death trap, as players above them can fire down with near impunity. Pickups were placed appropriately in the area.
    -          The room spaces off this main area are large, open, and lack interesting elements within them to break up the encounter space. A large circular room is boring and empty, but simple additions like pillars, rubble, anything would break that up and give much more interesting firing lines. The hallways between these rooms are also devoid of anything.
    -          Overall, while the map follows a lot of tried and true formulas, it also lacks all the interesting design elements used to spice that formula up and make the levels unique.