Temple Valley is a capture the flag map designed for 6-8 players, built using Unreal Tournament. Players team up to defend their flag and base from the enemy. Temple Valley's architecture and aesthetic focuses on integrating man-made structures like temples with natural landmarks like mountains.
Engine: Unreal Tournament Editor
Base Game: Unreal Tournament
Development Time: 80 hours
Two temples stand on opposite sides of an ancient valley, each an austere ambassador to the oncoming night. Brightly colored regalia deck their faces, and carved into their granite sides are cavernous chambers connected by moss-slicked passages and fractured stairs. These strongholds stand as testimonies to a long-standing war, and the battered courtyard that stretches between them is littered with fallen statues and the refuse of battles won and lost...
Temple Valley is an 8-player capture the flag map designed for Unreal Tournament 4. The map has a linear design consisting of two facing forts with a midground between them. Each fort is made up of several key combat spaces: a raised balcony accessible by jump pads both from the fort’s interior and exterior, a main chamber where the fort’s primary entrance is located, and an antechamber where the flag is positioned. The midground provides cover for players passing from one fort to the other. Temple Valley is the ideal map for small groups of advanced players to test their skills.
Maps and Blockouts
Temple Valley features a "straight line" design with two bases that face one another. The bases are connected by a variety of underground and above ground pathways. Paper map and reference image compilations are below.
Overview Map and Blockout
Before beginning work on the final map, I created a 3D blockout for Temple Valley based on a physical paper map I drew. I found a blockout to be a very effective way to help balance gameplay and meter player interactions before building the final map.
Paper map for Temple Valley.
Blockouts of the midground and bases with important gameplay elements (pickups, player spawns, weapons) in place
After balancing gameplay and making alterations to the blockout, I replaced the primitive shapes and textures with meshes from the Unreal Tournament asset library. I compiled reference images and gathered assets in custom collections in the editor to make this process as smooth as possible.
Please note that the images in the compilations are the property of their original creators and are not my work.
Reference images for the interior spaces in Temple Valley
Screenshots of Temple Valley's base interior and exterior after meshing.
What Went Well?
I scoped my level appropriately so I could finish with plenty of time for detail passes and gameplay tests.
I applied the level design fundamentals I was learning in class at SMU Guildhall while creating Temple Valley
I stuck closely to my reference images and was able to create a well lit and aesthetically intricate space that still left plenty of room for gameplay.
What Went Wrong?
When I converted primitive shapes to collision volumes and replaced them with meshes, I did not account for things like jutting rocks and underground tunnels. This meant that at the initial gameplay milestone I had to go back and manually replace a lot of collision.
My first design required a lot of iteration. I was not very familiar with multiplayer Capture the Flag games before starting classes at SMU Guildhall, so I had a lot of catching up to do to make a functional design.
What I Learned
When lighting multiplayer maps, balance is key. The sun's angle, ambient lights, and environmental lights should not favor one team over the other.
Multiplayer gameplay requires a lot of careful testing and balancing to make sure that all players will have a fun and exciting experience.
Maps only need to be as large as the group playing them. There's no need to make a massive map for just six people.
In games with teleportation abilities (like Unreal Tournament's "Translocator" mechanic) managing lines of sight and vertical space are essential to creating a balanced experience.