Engine: Unreal Engine 4.3
Genre: Competitive Capture the Flag
Team: Studio Pantheon
Team Size: 50
Development Time: 3 Months
Auxilium is a competitive Capture the flag (CTF), with four distinct playable classes. Each class has a unique ability in addition to a unique basic ranged attack. Four maps were developed, each with unique mechanics. I was in the team that developed "Cargo Hangar", a short and two leveled map with environmental hazards, as well as part of the team that designed the playable classes.
Character Class Design:
During the project's infancy, I was part of the team that designed the character classes, and their abilities. We worked to brainstorm what roles we wanted to fulfill, which character would be the most effective against which, effective ranges, etc.
From this process we finished what we affectionately called the SNART chart, which was a first-pass idea of how each characters would interact. The Assault, for example, would be a mid-long range combatant that had an ability to flush out Snipers from their nests, the Tank's superior short range firepower would crush the Rogue's low health, etc. These weren't taken as with which to balance around, per se, but it was a general idea of how classes would work. Ultimately, the game's balance took a much different turn where no class actually countered each other directly.
Each of the four characters was also given a single extra ability, to further differentiate them from each other.
At the end of the character class design process, we created a CSV of all of the relevant values of all classes. This spreadsheet was hooked up directly to unreal and allowed very rapid and easy changing of values during playtesting.
SNART chart. In practice there's a jumble of arrows in all direction.
CSV in an advanced state. Columns were added as needed until we felt we hit all required values.
Level Design - Cargo Hangar:
Cargo Hangar was the level that I worked on as a designer, part of a team of 4 level designers, 4 artists, and 3 programmers. The map features two floors that players jump up and down from. Originally, the map was intended for a game mode called "Deliver The Bomb", a variation of CTF where teams must fight for control of a bomb and deposit it on the opponent's base to score a point. Due to timing constraints, this mode was cut, which left the design team with an interesting conundrum. The shape of the map meant that there was a clear cut path from each of the two bases, but there was also a large section that was essentially a much longer way around where the bomb used to be. To combat this, the team implemented a series of conveyor belts that drastically reduced the time to travel through the "long" route, which made it a viable choice to flank enemies or to escape from the melee at the middle of the map.
Besides the game mode change, there were other subtle changes. Iteration was made on how players flowed up and down each floor, more options were added to allow rapid changes of lane. Where the bomb used to be, a button was placed that turned on the ship's thrusts and immediately roasted anybody crossing in front of the fire. As this was the shortest path from one flag to the next, that area was generally filled with combatants. Plus, it was really satisfying to land a kill or two with the mechanic.
What Went Right?
Level team adapted to radical change our map's functionality and it ended up being a really fun map.t
What Went Wrong?
Inexperience with large team led to a lot of good lessons learned, but a rough development period.
What Was Learned?
Maintaining the core pillars is key to keeping a cohesive game design.
If you keep polish in mind at all stages of production, it's so much easier to keep high quality.