Splash Damage is a co-dev partner for Gears 5. The majority of our work is done on the multiplayer side. All of the versus maps were arted, optimised and polished by us in collaboration with The Coalition. As the leading level designer on Splash Damage's side, my role is to ensure the maps are delivered with the validated gameplay intact, as our environment, lighting, tech and vfx team work on the visuals. Maps can go through several stages in development, from Blockout, Vis 0, 1, 2, 3 bug fixing and then release.
High Level Tasks:
Preserving gameplay and guiding environment art from blockout straight through to release.
Holding regular playtests and escalating notable feedback with The Coalition.
Bug fixing across all game modes supported on map.
Regular sync up calls with The Coalition to show progress and raise any potential concerns to resolve.
Lead reviews of the versus maps with the other disciplines.
Co-owner of map features and taking them from prototype to a shipping standard.
Collision and cover node setup.
Sprint Planning and Task Creation
Line Manager for LD team
A new mode for Gears 5. Escape brought unique challenges for the team to overcome. Due to being built for a tile based system, the tiles had strict bounds that all entities and actors had to adhere to otherwise they would intersect with a neighbouring tile when placed together.
Continuity of space and natural leading for a room that could have multiple doors open or closed at anytime took many iterations to get right. Performance restrictions and the high visual fidelity bar set by the game added additional variables to take into account when designing and dressing the spaces.
As a designer on the project the tiles were like working on mini versus maps, with additional entity and ai volumes needed to control the venom and spawning of enemies. Creating levels for Escape also added interesting challenges for balancing a room with multiple entry points. Did players have enough cover and options to move into a tile? Increase the difficulty and a tile with a vertical space can suddenly become a frustrating experience for players to overcome.
Below you can find a collection of screenshots and a few links to the fab team at Splash Damage.