Planetside 2's novel nature led to a lot of interesting level tasks, whether it was trying to solve a sheer player density problem, an arena for an upcoming event, or trying to make the most with limited resources. Below are some smaller random map features I was happy to work on:
During the middle of Hossin's Early Expedition launch, I was tasked with designing a template level, themed loosely around suspended construction, that would quickly fill in twelve or so spots that were long stretches of road without an outpost. These were intended to eventually be replaced by something more unique down the line, as the handcrafted aspect of PS2's level design is a pretty big bullet point for the game.
I spent some time greyboxing and refining the prototype and ended up with a template that took a work day to place, uniquely prop, and integrate into the nearby terrain.
Here's some of the considerations and thoughts during designing the Construction Site template:
- The template itself consists of 3 pieces of linear, raised scaffolding each holding an important element of an outpost. The back end holds the defender's spawn room, the center piece holds the cap point, and the entrance contains an underground garage suitable for the attacker's mobile spawn point.
- I wasn't sure of the timeline of when they'd actually be replaced, so I wanted the templates to have a level of customization to them to prevent them from getting stale. I left empty space in the template, as well as creating a bunch of themed warehouse buildings for the attacker hookup portion and cap point portion.
- Attacker/garage portion contains a relatively secure underground garage that mobile spawn points can deploy in without worrying about excessive threats. This garage was integrated into the base to lock in a good fight once attackers have pushed up to it, while still supporting secondary spawns nearby in natural cover. I also made sure to have plenty of paths up from the attacker area to make it risky for defenders to try and farm easy kills there.
For our Winter Holiday '14 events, we wanted to try something more interactive than the passive environment spawns we had done in the past. Our lead designer and world events veteran, Luke, wanted to create an alert (timed, zone-based competition where the winner captures the continent) based on collecting pickups and returning them to your drop-off point. Bigger hauls had multipliers attached to them, encouraging players to risk it all for a potential payoff.
My part in the event was creating a playspace for the game that would hook into the alert. I threw around a few 'stampable' construction site ideas before the "biolab repurposed into a snowglobe" idea came about. The intention was to let these domes stay dormant until the alert started, where the spawns would activate and the point score of all domes would be tallied up per empire as the alert progressed.
The scale, flow and gameplay inside the dome was different than the typical game, playing more like a big arena shooter due to the lack of static capture points. The number of these expected to be placed on our snow continent, Esamir, made radial symmetry a necessity for quick implementation and balance. The dome's interior structures included the central four-story building and LOS-breaking 'spoke' buildings that separated the spawn rooms. Flow was intended to either push most players into the central building and loop around the first two floors, or press your luck to the 3rd and bail out of the 4th floor cupola, down to the drop-off point. The amount of chaos and point denial the jumpjet-equipped Light Assault class could cause here was anticipated, so a constant struggle to control the high ground on the roof was expected.
Due to time constraints and the subsequent scaling back of the Winter event, the Thunderglobe never made it past prototype & internal testing for the 2014 events.