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Role | Solo Project     Duration | 7 Weeks     Tools Used | Unreal

Blight is a level design project done in the style and inspiration of the multiplayer hero tactical shooter Valorant.

Visually inspired by the Kowloon Walled City, the once prosperous hub that Blight is set in, has now been laid to waste by Kingdom Corporation. Attacking agents seek to now completely destroy the city while defenders must fend off their efforts.

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The initial steps I took towards the development of this level was gathering reference images and creating a mood board that would help to establish and gain visual reference for the overarching thematic of the Kowloon Walled City as well as the architecture and visual style of environments set in Hong Kong. The verticality depicted in all the visual references I found during research immediately stood out to me and led me to attempt to implement that into the gameplay and design of the map itself. 

Mood Board
Block Out
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Mood Board
Block Out
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Following the gathering of reference images I utilized a rough paper map to begin my initial ideations for the layout of the space as well as the design constraint that is seen in Valorant maps. Working off the distinct verticality that my chosen thematic would allow for me, I geared the design constraint for Blight around a multi-story level design in which players would be able to utilize elevator shafts to access the maps top and bottom floors.

Areas Connected by Elevator Shaft

Creating the layout and pathing for the level involved working with design considerations that had to be made for balanced gameplay for both attackers and defenders, and these were done and iterated upon throughout the block out process. Researching and referencing the map designs in Valorant allowed me to discover central design elements that were prevalent throughout all Valorant maps. Some takeaways were that rotation routes for defenders were usually much quicker and shorter than for attackers and that key areas like bomb sites were usually split off by a central mid area which then branched into corridors and paths that allowed for flanking and rotation.

Blockout Iterations

Since a majority of gameplay spaces throughout this map were set in interior spaces, one problem that popped up through playtesting and feedback was a lack of direction and space. Steps I took to mitigate these issues was by utilizing the thematic pass to create visually distinct areas as well as creating windows and sightlines into the central courtyard area and out into the cityscape to ground the player's sense of location.

Windows and Sightlines into Mid Area

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Following the iteration done on the layout and pathing of the map was a cover and thematics pass. I utilized different cover placements to break up line of sights that would lead to unfair gameplay and to create opportunities for interesting combat scenarios in areas of interest. Thematically I wanted to split the map into a residential and commerical district much like how the actual layout of the Kowloon Walled City was comprised of. The central mid area was contextualized as a basketball court and courtyard, which were iconic motifs from my reference material.

Residential Space - Apartment Halls
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Residential Space - Apartment Rooms
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Commercial Space - Neon Alley
Commercial Space - Shops and Stalls
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Commercial Space - Restrooms
Commercial Space - Club and Bar
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Defender Spawn - Commercial Hub
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Attacker Spawn - Destroyed Building Entrance
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Bomb Site A - Wet Market
Bomb Site B - OPIUM DEN
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