Engine: Unreal Tournament 3
Map Type: 16-Player Deathmatch
Development Time: ~170 hours
Quick Summary: This deathmatch remake of the Quake III: Arena’s classic “Longest Yard” for Unreal Tournament 3 seeks to maintain the same frantic playstyle of the original while introducing new gameplay mechanics and a vampiric castle theme. A coffin full of power-ups in the center of the map opens only when the moon is at its apex and allows the quickest player to become the “monster” of the castle!
Keep what made DM-17 fun, and improve it: I kept several features recognizable as classic DM-17, such as centrally-located quad jump pads and an arcing jump on the third tier. Together with teleporters on the second tier, these add greatly to player mobility and vertical flow. Powerful sniping positions – and finally taking revenge on the player that has been sniping at you – is another feature I wanted to preserve.
Make sniping more active:The distance between the sniping platform and the main play space could leave one feeling removed the action. It also made taking revenge on the sniper particularly difficult, as one had to spend two seconds as a flying bullseye in order to get there. A new pair of sniper towers provide a superior view of almost the entire level while allowing other players multiple ways to take swift revenge.
Make it easy for players to disappear quickly: I strove to provide players with a number of ways to seemingly disappear around corners. The Haunted Keep includes four elevators and a number of jump pads to encourage flow between the different tiers of the level. Combined with two teleporters that take players to a point on the bridge between the sniper towers, players need never feel trapped.
Exciting new theme with meaningful mechanic: A new techno-vampire theme transforms the ambiance of the map. For the new mechanic, I modeled a coffin in 3DS Max and placed it in the center of the map. Every two minutes, the moon rises to its apex and a ghost hand comes down to open the coffin, now full of powerups. This cycle compliments the standard deathmatch gameplay by giving players a reason to monitor their environment.
Increase flow through the bottom tier: The bottom floor of DM-17 was often the least trafficked for three main reasons. Players were vulnerable to fire from above and from snipers, good pickups were scarce compared to other areas of the map, and it was less visually stimulating. I enclosed the outer ring of the bottom tier with walls, protecting players there from snipers. Strong pickups such as the Flak Cannon and coffin powerups entice players to visit. Finally, turning the bottom tier into a crypt area with statues and skeletons added visual interest.
Map of Second Tier
Map of Bottom Tier
Redesigning Sniping: Risk vs Reward
To better fit with my haunted castle theme and to enhance the reward aspect of sniping in this level, the primary sniping platforms are now inside of tall towers. Each offers a commanding view of the map, with line of sight to most areas outside of the basement crypt. This allows snipers to shoot at players as they run towards the power-up coffin when available. However, I took several steps to prevent these strengths from becoming an unfair advantage.
Increasing Risk: Under Fire
I removed sniper rifles from the original sniping platform of DM-17, moved it closer and placed the mid-range shock rifle pickup there instead. The shock rifle is great here because it allows players on the floating platform to engage players on the bridge, but also shoot explosive shock cores into the sniper towers and detonate them at odd angles, even if they lack line of sight to the snipers themselves. Finally, the side windows of the towers also allow snipers to target each other, adding another flank that players must watch as they rack up kills.
Increasing Risk: Under Assault
There are two ways that players can enter the sniper tower. Each tower has an elevator platform at the bottom to carry passengers to the top room. These emit a faint sound, however, so perceptive snipers may take notice and prepare for the attack. The other flow option is to first go to the floating platform and then take a jump pad, which flies players to small platforms adjacent to sniper tower windows. These are perfect for launching quick sneak attacks with close-quarters weapons such as a charged Biorifle or Impact Hammer.
Tracking Player Pickups Inside the Coffin
In this Kismet example, I check for when a player has grabbed all three powerups in the coffin through use of cascading boolean variables. Each time a player takes one of the three powerups, its corresponding boolean variable is set from false to true. The system then checks to see if the other two variables are true, and if so, proceeds to teleport the new “monster” player out of the coffin. Various sound and particle effects play to alert other players of the event, and the moon resumes its circular orbit.
Scripting: See the Result in Action
Full Size Gallery