Overwatch Map:

Sicily

Summary

Introduction

I made a multiplayer Control Point map specifically made for the team-based FPS game Overwatch. The game doesn't have a level editor so I opted to make it in Unreal Engine instead.

I took this level to a refined blockout state.

Goals for Sicily

  • Good flow

  • No exploits

  • Easy to navigate

  • Enable players to imagine interesting gameplay scenarios with just a glance at the map

Challenges

  • Not being able to test my map in the actual game. To combat this I took the following measures:

  1. Copying the movement metrics for the Overwatch character McCree and applied them to the Unreal Character I used when walking in the level. I chose McCree as he has simple movement and has human proportions.

  2. I had a former semi-professional Overwatch player and streamer Henrik "Henzu" Zudemberg give feedback and insight of exploits from a competitive standpoint. Together we discussed possible meta development in the level.

  • Make the layout and flow of the map be as unique as possible compared to the other existing Overwatch maps, while still keeping the feel of an overwatch map that fits the game. It's a fine line and I had to re-work the map a few times to get it just right.

A time-lapse of the whole level. I will later on go through the design process of each area in detail.

Design thoughts: Elevation

The lighter the floor, the higher the elevation. The spawn is at the highest elevation while the control point is at the lowest elevation.

  • This is to promote the flow and the players to "trickle down" to the point.

  • In turn, it becomes harder for enemies to spawn camp, as they have the low-ground and have to awkwardly ascend.

  • The elevation also counts as a countermeasure for getting lost; as long as the player is descending they're on the right way.

Design thoughts: Areas

I aimed for all areas to have defining features even at the blockout level using large shapes and space, to make call-outs clear and for the player not to get confused about where they are.

Design thoughts: Routes

In Overwatch, almost all maps tend to have 3 general paths from the spawn to the objective. It is so prominent in their level design that the players are used to it and uses it to navigate.

When adopting the 3 paths in my level, I wanted each path type to be felt when playing.

1. Safe Route

The longest path clocking at 24 seconds from spawn to point.

Slow, but safe. Not a lot of hazards present, hard to get booped off. Always leaning against a wall.

Leads to a very strong high-ground in the Museum, looking over both Plateaus by the Point.

From Spawn to Point and back, showing off

Plaza, Street & Museum

2. Main Route

The shortest path taking 18 seconds from spawn to point.

Has little cover, and quite long sightlines, making it riskier to take.

Should be the most extravagant path and easy to follow. 

From Spawn to Point and back, showing off

Plaza, Street & Plateau

3. Flank Route

A little bit slower than the main route at 20 seconds from spawn to point.

Few sightlines and good cover. Hard to be spotted from the enemy side main route, as the bridge by the point blocks the vision.

Quite risky if one gets found, as there are few escape options and hazards close by.

From Spawn to Point and back, showing off

Plaza, Street & Outlook

Iteration Process

Here are some of the things I kept in mind that motivated the changes I did when designing each area of the map:

  • What points in the specific area that had strategic advantage

  • How the area was entered and exited

  • What escape options were available

  • The game play purpose of the area and how I wanted it to play

  • That each area was different from each other

  • How the Overwatch heroes could make use of the environment

Area iteration showcase:

Museum

Purpose of the area; Why should it exist?

The idea of having a large building looking over the point interested me. I liked the thought of jumping down on the point, capturing it, and then escaping into the safety of the museum building.

I wanted it to act as a reference point for the player to use for find themselves in the map. So it had to be recognizable from anywhere.

I tried giving it strategic importance. The high ground acts as a very strong advantage to hold, with very good cover and view over the point and plateaus. Eventually one has to drop down to the point to capture or protect it, which really shifts the positional advantage.

NOTE: This timelapse is missing large parts of the development process

NOTE: This timelapse is missing large parts of the development process

Iteration slideshow with comments

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©2020 by Noel Toivio