State of the Game #46: Overhead map and a new Level

Welcome back for another week of updates!

First up, go grab version 0.4.1 from your user page.

This week I was focused on establishing some level design guidelines, which for me meant playing the game A LOT and writing down a bunch of numbers and tweaking and more numbers and testing, ect.

So, let me present to you the fruits of all that number crunching.

The first thing I added was an overhead map. You can pull up the map by pressing the ‘R’ key, and it will overlay it to you current view.

Right now the map gives you a bit more information then I plan, as it reveals the location of all HQ’s (in arena mode) as well as all friendly and enemy M.A.V.’s. In the future, this map will play an essential role, allowing you to issue orders to team mates and providing information that has been reveled by scouts.

Next up I started developing the level design guidelines. A lot of this work was done external to the game. The guidelines provide me with a very clear set of ‘rules’ to follow when designing new levels. This includes everything from map size, HQ placement, cover areas, building placements, and spawn points. These guidelines allow me to quickly come up with level design ideas, then I can quickly test the design in a white box level (literally white boxes, no art) then I test in a first art pass (to make sure the art does not affect the design, then I will do a final art pass.

So using the guidelines I was able to create 3 paper designs and I chose one of those to create.


Crater Arena

Crater arena is a bright open map that is well suited to long range combat. Snipers will have a large advantage, sticking to the outer edges of the map and firing in at approaching targets. Attackers will either need to push through the deadly open ground or flank along one of the channels to the sides. Defenders are well protected against enemy fire, but will have to split their attention between the two flanks. Base destroyers will have to move to get an angle to be able to hit the enemy HQ behind the protective rocks.

Here are some of the ‘extras’ I did while implementing the Crater arena :

Environment Manager : This is a system that allows each level to dynamically select a biome that reflects the current levels environment.

Dynamic texture Selector : Environmental models can dynamically alter their texture and shader settings based on the environment biome they are in. This allows me to place the same rock in a desert level and a forest level and the rock is smart enough to select it’s correct texture and shader settings.

AI Level Evaluation : I began a system that will grant the AI a much better understanding of the level environment they are in.

Lots of small art assets, namely rocks.

Known Bugs:
The AI during Siege mode on the new level will likely get stuck. This will be fixes with the new AI systems.

Campaign mode options were removed from the menu. It was very crash prone and not very presentable. I will add it back when it has had some more work done on it.

For this next week I will be focusing on fixing bugs, getting the AI level evaluator progressed, and Implementing some M.A.V. editor improvements. Until then, have fun!



[Reminder: M.A.V. is currently in Alpha funding for $10. If you want to participate in the Alpha program and get access to the weekly builds, you can sign up for an account Here, and upon logging in you will be presented the option to purchase an Alpha membership.]

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