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Both Wolfenstein and ETQW are class and objective based multiplayer shooters Each features 2 distinct warring factions In Brink, the Security forces, who essentially represent the establishment and order, battle the Resistance, who are a refugee group who are fighting for an equal distribution of resources These games share many similarities with Brink, but a difference key to level design is the SMART system, which was innfluenced by Mirror's Edge and AssCreed.
This of course greatly effects level design as is, and like ME...
Some moves are quicker than others. The key distinction are the 3 body types featured in Brink: The Heavy bodytype can use heavy weapons, but can't get over anything higher than waist height The Light bodytype can only use lighter weapons, but can wall-jump to reach well above their height And the Medium is as you'd guess, a nice balance in between the two
Going to be looking at 3 key challenges for Container City The first two are challenges shared between all the levels of Brink, and the last is unique to container city
So, our first challenge...simultaneous objectives At the very start of Container city, there are 2 primary objectives active, which are required for the security to advance in the level, and a secondary or optional objective active, and a health command post active. It's a lot for people to take in, and this is the level that we're letting players play for their first taste of the game just last week at Quakecon in Dallas and later on in the week here at Gamescom.
Map topdown from almost 2 years ago, apart from art detailing it really hasn't changed all that much
A current top down
I'll only be focusing on the first segment of the level
The blue line represents the path of the escort vehicle, one of the primary objectives for the Security the blue and red arrows are the faction spawn points, and the coloured blocks are the various other objectives, which I'll go through in more detail. ... Escort vehicle...
Fixed path escort vehicles was something players loved in Wolf ET, so we wanted to bring them back in Brink, with some new twists of course The vehicle only moves when Security players are close to it, and if the Resistance do enough damage to it it breaks down and a Security Engineer has to repair it to get it moving again We found that players would often rush off straight into combat and leave the escort vehicle behind until later, so we decided to spawn a couple of the Security team right next to it, to get it moving immediately. This worked really well, as those players saw immediately that they were helping their team out and normally continued to escort the bot out of the spawn area.
The yellow rectangle highlights the main gate of Container City, which the escort vehicle can't get through So this is our other primary objective, a Security Soldier must blow up the gate so they can proceed
The gate in-game
Off to the side is the Health Command Post
It's off to the side because it's not a critical objective; it gives a benefit to the team that holds it, but players going there means diverting resources away from the primary objectives
This is another way we stop combat from getting bogged down and boring at the level's chokepoints caused by the primary objectives: flanking paths
There are a few flanking routes for Security that are only available to light and medium bodytypes This is one of them from the Security side Medium and Light characters can scale up here if the main path is too heavily defended
The defenders have it a bit easier, as Heavies can reach the top, along with their really big guns
There's also a convenient hole in the gate itself, which allows players a convenient but risky way to get to enemy ground, but also encourages sliding, which is just really cool
The last objective is what we call a secondary objective; it essentially opens or closes a flanking route
The light bodytype can walljump through the passage above the door with some skill, but this door can also be hacked by an Operative to allow anybody to get through easily. The objective timer on the Secondary hack objective is entirely configurable by the Level Designer, which makes balancing the objective much easier.
So, because the escort vehicle is moving along a fixed path, the action shifts through the level along with it. We couldn't create new spawn areas for the players too often, as it's a drain on memory and would've meant for less detail in the environments
So the first thing we did was as the objectives moved on, we change where the attacking players spawned, but still within their same protected spawn area.
Just this little bit made a huge difference. This was the first time we used this method in Brink, and it worked so well it's used many times in the game.
The last solution to the challenge of static spawns is rubber-banding: Until the action has progressed so far through the level that the spawn areas have to switch, the attacking team enjoys a Level Designer specified bias in spawn timers, which shortens the time between attack waves based on the status of the objectives and the overall mission time remaining. We could have lengthened the defending spawn times as a similar balancing measure, but we decided that positive reinforcement for only the attackers was less frustrating for players
Demo needs; Container City was the first public showing of Brink at E3, as a stage demonstration in 2009 on PC, and then here for Gamescom later in the year We also used it for: Hands-on SP press demo in late 2009 Hands-on full MP demo in 2010 at Quakecon and Gamescom
Some of the things we did for our first Brink demo We slowed down the triggering of the initial action, so that the presenter would have ample time to look around the makeshift dock area This is an artist matte painting for the target skybox
And this is the in-game view currently We thought this was a great initial view because the juxtaposition of the pristine towers next to rust captures the central conflict in Brink so well. //*IF TIME*// We also moved the intro cinematic into the level rather than having it happen outside of it; this was intended to never be a shipping solution, but was extremely effective for evolving our motion capture pipeline.
Back to the main gate, for the point that people like explosions
While it's always good to have something a bit spectacular in a demo, there were some tangible benefits to the actual gameplay
We created a custom volume type, so that the Level Designer could define a larger area in which the blast would knock players down but not kill them, so we could keep the fatality radius relatively forgiving We improved on this later, so that the direction and strength of the physics impulse would be effected by the player's position in relation to the explosion
The story of the refugees isn't told only through the cinematics, but also through the environment by the various props placed around the dock and their graffiti Since the dock is a spawn area for the Security, it isn't in direct combat, making it a good area for such narrative techniques. Players have a little bit more time to look around and take in their surroundings when they're not being shot at!
Instant deep context Ed Stern, Olivier Leonardi So, the graffiti shows the frustations of the refugees and help shed some light on why the Resistance exists
Decades since contact with the outside world, but the refugees cling to belief that there are others out there
If this was interesting, give it a try on the floor at Gamescom!