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[L4D2] [WIP] Petranaki Arena: Geonosis (Star Wars)

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I’ve been working on a survival map for Left 4 Dead 2. It’s another Star Wars themed location, Petranaki Arena on Geonosis . Placed right after the scene at the end of Attack of the clones. I think this is a good survival scenario. It fits the similar themes and action of classic last hold out stands such as the battle of the Alamo, Thermopylae, or another L4D2 favorite Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings. I hope to bring this battle to life… or dead, lol, and create a fun experience and another Star Wars fantasy. Some of you have already seen me posting pictures on social media such as facebook and twitter. I decided to create a topic on mapcore and post pictures and updates here as well. Hope to talk to other mappers as I develop the experience.

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So, I’ve been seriously thinking about trying to pivot back into games for about a year now. I've been working as a software engineer for the past 5 years. But I think the next phase of my life I want to be back in games.

Some of the things I think I want are: 

  • Level design.
  • Shipped titles.
  • Star Wars IP.
  • First person shooter.
  • Adventure games.
  • Dungeon explorer.

So just to get me started somewhere again, I booted up hammer and started to work on a Hoth map survival scenario. It was large in scope and I was excited about it. I was going to work on it for a few months. But then around Christmas time I saw a job posting, which had a good chuck of the things I was looking for. I decided that I was going to focus on that and apply, but I didn't really have any new levels to showcase, so I decided to put Hoth to the side for now and work on something a little smaller in scale. I decided on the battle of Petranaki Arena on Geonosis from the end of attack of the clones. I think it would make for a good survival scenario in L4D2.

This was the original job posting for reference, it has been taken down and no longer available, but I'll still publish this map on the steam workshop anyway. :) 



Level Designer (Star Wars Team)

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Requisition Number:158959

Date Opened:2019-12-06

We’re looking for a highly skilled Level Designer who will create levels from concept to final stages of polish, facilitating communication and coordinating departments to ensure the vision is understood and delivered upon. We’re imagining someone who is creative and has strong level design sensibilities, who can invent and execute, and who values providing players with a fun experience as much as we do.

What’s it like to be a Game Designer at Respawn? 

-    Day to Day - Our game designers’ tasks include developing game design documents, prototyping, iterating, testing, and solving problems. As a level designer you will be designing and building engaging in-game levels that are successful in terms of flow, variety, and fun. You will be expected to own level designs from conception to the final stages of polish, facilitating communication and coordinating departments to ensure the vision is clearly understood. You will work with design leadership, design team, artists, code, and animation departments to deliver level designs that epitomize the creative vision of the game. At times you will also research subject matter relating to the design objective in an effort to ensure the authenticity of the experience.

-    Creative Freedom  - We believe that when talented people have creative freedom and work together they will make extraordinary games that achieve the unexpected. Our designers are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table, iterate for greatness, scope wisely, and deliver highly polished game designs they are proud of for players to enjoy. As a game designer you will have a direct hand in influencing the shape of the game and a voice when it comes to making the best game possible - in level design, gameplay, and beyond.

-    Ownership - Our teams are small and everyone has a lot of ownership over their work. Our game designers own their individual levels and/or features from conceptualization to shipping. As part of a small team you will have the opportunity to shine here. 

-    Feel - Our studio puts a big emphasis on fun gameplay. We want responsive, immersive gameplay that just feels right. Every detail matters - whether it’s the way a player experiences traversing across a cliffside, the way a weapon feels amazing to use, the way overcoming a boss character can make a player feel powerful and smart, to the way an astonishing moment can leave a player breathless; it’s all crafted with purpose.  All disciplines in game development are accountable to the gameplay a player experiences - and our game designers are key influencers in ensuring the best feel possible.

-    Collaboration - Our game design team plays a central role in development. As a game designer you will collaborate with other designers and other disciplines, such as animation, code, vfx, and art. You will have the opportunity to evangelize the vision for your levels and work closely with other talented developers to deliver on the ultimate promise of “fun.” The work of our game designers has an impact on others, and they anticipate and communicate any design changes or scoping efforts that may affect schedules and workloads.

-    Values - Our game designers are aligned on their values. They share their inspiration, knowledge, and passion with the others in their department. They aspire to treat everything they work on as a personal masterpiece. They play the game and are encouraged to speak up if they see anything that is not up to our high standards. They play other studios’ games and stay abreast of trends, while also striving to invent and innovate. They put their time and passion into what will have the biggest payoff for players. Our leads also make a lot of effort to ensure that our designers work on aspects they are excited about.

What do we look for in Level Designer candidates?

-       Design Sensibilities and Insight - Our designers value having discussions with each other to better understand the intentions and level of success in their designs. We’d love for you to be able to articulate why you made the decisions you’ve made in your own designs - what worked well, what you would change in hindsight, and what you learned. We also value your ability to analyze and break down, from a designer’s perspective, the aspects that work well or don’t work well in games you’ve played and why.

-       You’ve Made Stuff You Are Proud Of -  Whether it’s professional or personal work, we’d like to see gameplay in your portfolio that you developed from concept to finish. We like to see portfolios that showcase strong game design skills - sensibility, compelling and thoughtful level design, documents, etc. If your portfolio includes work that you developed as part of a team, we’d like to know the specifics of what you contributed versus what was handled by others.

-       Passion - We look for game designers who are highly passionate. Our team is constantly sharing inspiration and working to raise the quality bar. No one is phoning it in here – our team loves what they do and it shows in their work.

-       Potential Over Experience – We value talent over years of experience. Experience counts, but potential is important too. We look for talented, highly motivated people with a strong sense of design and a keen eye for quality.

-       Teamplayer – Positivity and a great attitude help to fuel greatness. The ability to accept feedback and critiques will help you tailor your work towards what’s best for the game. We look for designers who demonstrate a willingness to keep an open mind to team members’ ideas, incorporating suggestions to tailor your work towards what’s best for the game. Making games is a group effort and you will work closely with other talented departments that are experts in what they do. Teamwork is very important to our success.

Ideally, you also will have...

Professional experience working in a level design capacity.

Experience working with a game engine, using scripting tools to orchestrate events, and implementing 3D work into the pipeline.

Extensive understanding of level design process including level flow, engagement, structure, pacing, environmental storytelling, testing, etc.

Experience in rapid prototyping to test feasibility of concepts.

Ability to pitch game design concepts in a clear, detailed manner, through strong written and verbal skills.

Strong understanding of level editing packages such as Maya, Unity, UDK, or other proprietary tools.

A positive, solution-oriented attitude and passion about the play experience, with a wealth of knowledge across a wide range of games.

Passion for making and playing games.

If this opportunity sounds like a great fit for you, please submit your resume and portfolio and we will get back to you once we have reviewed.

Here was my first quick sketch at a one sheet to start to put my ideas together in one place. 


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I did some work on the "grey box" stage. Blocked out some important areas, then worked on getting the game into a minimum playable state. Side note, for your reference... making 90% of a map in hammer circular is a pain when working on grid. I do not recommend. Maybe pick some major grid points and make most of it a model in maya or something.

Some other notes I took when I was working on this part during Christmas break. 

  • Having the pressing deadline of the week between xmas and new year, i found myself looking at stuff in the editor and going, “uhh, eem.” a lot. And just staring at an object / layout until I found the best way to build it. Or even approach to build it. A more detailed drawing would have probably eliminated that “meandering phase” 

  • For example, my drawing had “place VIP seat box” here, and “make it look like movie” but it didn't really say more than that… so i spent a lot of time re watching that scene and kinda building it from the movie. Maybe I would have been able to grey box it faster if this was one of the sections that was zoomed in on during  the expanded level bible, with a more detailed layout drawing of this sub sectionz.













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Started texturing

  •  2 custom textures. Based from republic commando, brought into photoshop

  • Had some issues with the sun… light env

  • Spent too much time trying to debug it

  • I wanted non “full bright” to get a better screenshot with the new textures…. 

    • Eh, prob not worth the time at this stage



Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 1.06.20 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 1.06.28 PM.png

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Fixing the light issue


2 hrs

  • It was an issue with the angled stadium seating that was a world brush chopping up the bsp tree

  • Turned them into “func detail” ents as so they no longer chopped up the world…

  • Pc prob couldn't handle the math

  • Left them on initially to make more areas to chop up the map, but prob dont need

  • That piece would probably be a maya prop anyway

    • With manually drawn area portal cut offs?

    • But the map is mostly open air, so the whole thing would prob render

    • Only the back tunnels and basement would benefit from the old school quake room by room level design engine

  • Still dark, but fixed

  • Will adjust light source next.

  • Then cont texturing

  • I want at least the outside sun light source, so texturing / screenshots will look nicer



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Continuing with texture work

I continued bringing in some custom textures for the map. I ripped more textures from Republic Commando and did some minor photoshop work on them. Going into a little detail on the process.  This first batch of textures I screen grabbed from the unreal editor for republic commando. Edited in photoshop, then imported into hammer. It should be enough for me to texture the map. If there is some glaring missing texture that I can't live without, then I will address after my attempt to texture the map using this texture set here first. 

And then just to get started, and see some improvement on the map, I textured the arena.







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Experimenting with the underground area. This is the area under the arena floor, where extra zombies will spawn. A combination of the geonosian hives and eggs. Maybe a small section to the droid factory parts from episode 2. 

image.png.f1aff207d86bbf5f45befe154186be7a.png  image.png.b963c1ded1b675585586ecdf5387a3c1.png  

image.png.7b548fcc501497621671e7c1e84445fb.png  image.png.13ded067ae15e597d8377b94c1ceada0.png 

image.png.051dba4f520c55d4e468da2bbaf3aabe.png  image.png.a000c51995ccc52a1b2b43d6b9ac377e.png

image.png.ff1bd01d7b983a75bd022e389bdd1681.png  image.png.c8942f6022d77a51b99d0b2f5ea7bfbb.png

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ehh.. this project was over scoped for me.. and at this point i just want to be done

small updates. working on the arena back walls. moved the sun. will do a custom geonosis skybox texture next. 




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Adding in a custom skybox for Geonosis was one of the easiest things to do on this project. I had never made a custom skybox for a map before. So plus one for doing something new and expanding my skill set. :) 



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