Intergalactica Transit was a project I recieved while attending at The Game Assembly in order to learn more about working with another level designer as well as learning the fundamentals of preproduction blueprints. We were bascially given 3 weeks to follow a layout made by a random collegue and produce an efficient level using only our own self created assets such as models and self-made materials.


Creating Blueprints

We had to start of by creating a preproduction blueprint which is basically a document listing the meaning of the project and what assets and theme the level with consist of. This served as a great first step in learning how to easily communicate our levels with one another to get the best possible result. In this project I had created a graveyard level which led into a small church which was inspired by the Bunkeflo Kyrkogård here in Malmö, Sweden. After gathering all the vital information about the given area, I had then given my blueprint to my work collegue Carl Ahlberg so that he could create a fun level while he gave me his preproduction blueprint to do the same.

A view of the front part of the station.
Showing the outside area to allow the player to know that he/she is in space.

Following the Layout

Once I recieved Carl's layouts I immediately starting blocking out the map to give me a better insight on how the later designs would be. We also were given the task to assign a simple story to the given level and the story behind this level was that there were 2 factions going at war with each other. The 2 factions being the rebels and the imperials. So to give a little taste of that story to the map it would have to be promoted by usage of propaganda and other props or symbolism.

Given the timeframe of the project I was initially afraid that I wouldn't hit the deadline in time since we also had other projects going on at the same time but I strived to deliver a level that would be fun to play and visually simple enough to enjoy.

Level layout of 1st floor made by Carl Ahlberg.
Propaganda to give the player an insight on the overall story.

Delivering the Theme

The level was required to portray the story as best it could and the tip I recieved was to do it through propaganda or other means of symbolism. I'm not the best graphical artist but I still tried my best to make a placeholder model that could at least portray the meaning of propaganda and that something dark was going on in this world. I also successfully blueprinted a train that would go through the tracks every now and then serving as a potential threat to the players.

Otherwise, all that was left was to put out all the essentials that exist in a Unreal Deathmatch level so I placed out all the health packs and weapons and playtested over and over again until I acquired the right balance.

The Lessons Taught

Towards the end of the project I was not entirely satisifed with the end product. I felt that the map was too hard on the eyes due to the overuse of neon lights and the dark ambience the map had towards the end. What I would do to correct this in a future project would be to keep a better control of my choice in lighting overall and to make sure the player doesn't need to squint just to play the map.

Despite the setbacks, I felt like I learned a lot more about making maps in Unreal and the way Unreal's blueprint editor works and I still love working in Unreal more than I do with other editors mostly because it doesn't feel hard to get to learn everything it has to offer.

Another angle at the front side of the station.
Beta Track of the station.
Intergalactica Transit's food stall.
The train door closing after train passes by.
A little peek at the 2nd floor of the station still holding it's theme of metalic and neon textures.

Patrick Enz © 2016 | Level Designer