During my time at Vicarious Visions, I was mentored by a designer for 6 months to help improve my process and skill set as a level designer.
My initial pitch for the level was to create an Overwatch 3v3 and Free For All map. With a desire to pick a theme connected to a hero, I wanted the map to take place in Geneva, Switzerland based on Mercy. I found reference photos to help me create a more condensed version within a 3v3 and Free For All map.
In the first picture, I initially created two adjacent buildings connected by streets, bridge and a foot bridge. Upon the first feedback session, my mentor suggested that while the idea was good, I lacked good lines of sight and space for the type of map in Overwatch I was going for. While there are typically larger spaces for fighting in this game, it felt like it was too big and with few flank options and cover. After going back over the notes from the initial session, I decided to turn my focus on the bridge and attempt to turn that into one big level.
The second, third and fourth picture all highlight my iteration on the bridge level. I aimed for another symmetrical design. Two bases on either side of the bridge with three path ways to choose from. To help with testing on lines of sight, I used blueprints to put in basic stationary AI that shot projectiles at me when I entered their line of sight. After a few more feedback sessions, I needed to iterate on my level. Two of the biggest issues I was facing were punishing lines of sight, and a cluttered map. The lines of sight from the top level of each base could see across to the adjacent base as well as most of the top of the bridge. There was also a lot of cover, too much for an Overwatch map. I needed to create more open spaces and a level playing field for a 3v3 or Free For All setting.
The fifth and sixth picture were my last iterations on working on a bridge level. I felt like I really resolved the majority of the line of sight issues I was previously dealing with and created better spaces for teams and players to fight. However, I felt limited at the time in what I could realistically do. I discussed with my mentor that from an Overwatch perspective, it felt imbalanced due to the more mobile heroes could take advantage of the grounded heroes on the map. It would only make certain heroes always viable, taking away the spirit of Overwatch and feeling like you have chance no matter who you select. They ended up agreeing with me and we discussed where to move forward after I ended up deciding to abandon the bridge idea.
In my last three images, I went in a different direction. I created a smaller scale arena. The entire level can be traversed around to both a high and a low ground. One end has a jump pad and the other a high platform. In the middle was a hollowed out cylinder that had a spinning platform. The rectangle pillars would dip down out of the way as the platform spun towards them, representing that it was almost like a factory.
This iteration felt like it was the best attempt of what I was trying to achieve by the end of the mentorship. I learned how to really try and think about each hero from Overwatch and make it fun for a player to use any of them. While I still know I could do a lot more with it, I feel like it highlights my adaptation by factoring in lines of sight, encounter pockets, and utilizing cover and big blinds.