Interested in seeing how a new map in a PvP space shooter comes together? If so, then head on over to the Dreadnought forums, where Senior Level Designer Nathan Wood lays out how Studio Yager’s new Elysium map progressed, from an ugly, mostly grey-and-black environment with way too many spots where players could exploit terrain to a pretty, shiny, and properly competitive shooting gallery.
Like the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elysium is dominated by two towers, with gaps large enough to steer a spaceship through. Though they wound up looking very nice, in an abandoned and overgrown sort of way, they started out as just a few boring, dark rectangles. More important than aesthetics, Wood’s team found a few spots where snipers would dominate or healers could park without fear of retribution and adjusted the map accordingly.
All in all, it’s a fascinating look at how a map comes together in a game. Even if you’re not interested in design, it’s something to take note of the next time you think the dev team doesn’t make any effort to properly playtest and balance a map.