READ: Interview with our level designer

Take a break from the battles in Survarium and read an interview with one of our level designers, Artem Nor. Is it possible to master this profession by studying yourself? And what exactly is needed to do this? Have all the Easter eggs on CO-OP locations been found by the players? And finally, who came up with funny posters on the "Olivier Mall"? map? Artem answered these and many other questions.

Read the interview below!

What attracted you to becoming a level designer?

Greetings! My name is Artem. I work as a level designer on the Survarium project. On the battlefields, I can sometimes be found under the name Sol_Dm. In fact, at first I had no interest in devoting myself to this profession. During my 5th year of university, every day was the same. Therefore, when friends from an IT company who have worked for some time as level designers, offered me to try it for myself- I took it as a safe opportunity to see what I could do. I studied on a budget, in the evening I had enough to study the necessary material, and the feedback from friends was good. In the end, I thought: why not, actually? I passed the test task, then interview and got into the world of game development.

So, you are self-taught? Do you think it's possible to become a really good level designer by studying yourself?

Yes, I was trained directly in the process of work. It's great that I was able to get into a studio, which was ready to give a chance to a person without proper experience. At the start, the main thing: the love of games, a versatile and judicious view of things, desire to learn, and then - to show professional growth and aspiration. I think you can become a good level designer, learning by yourself. It's enough to play different games. Not only be good at them, by the way. Bad people can also teach a lot. Also, you need to read and understand the relevant literature (books, blogs, articles, etc.), gain experience in various publicly available level editors and, of course, understand your own and others' mistakes.

But all the same, nothing will replace live communication and discussion of work with colleagues "on the shop." I was helped at the start by friends and mentors at work. In particular, I would like to mention the leading game designer of the project, which allocated time to analyze the levels worked by me. We discussed everything to the bottom: what, why, why and in what sequence I did at work. What I wanted to achieve and what guided. Such discussions and analysis initially form the view and approach to work.

What exactly did you do on Survarium?

During the time I spent on the project, I had time to work on the variations of maps Mamaev Kurgan and Radar Station. The "Slaughterhouse" mode at the locations of the Vostok and Tarakanovsky Fort. Also I helped to create some locations for training and PVE (CO-OP) missions. For example, one of my tasks was to fill with Easter eggs most of the research points on the training map. I am glad that by the evening of the first day the players managed to find all of them and even more.

As for the team mission, I worked on "Sawmill", transitions to the Atlant laboratory for each player, and also the laboratory itself. And of course, Easter eggs. Unfortunately, the time limit did not allow me to make them bigger and better, but at least it's good to hide them. As far as I know, two of them have not yet been found by the players, unless of course I missed something. The latest performed tasks, I will mark the New Year location of the shopping center "Olivier Mall".

Tell us why you decided to make a separate New Year's location for the festive event? How long did the work last? Were there any difficulties?

The team had a discussion about what we want and have time to do for the New Year's update. There were different ideas, but I wanted to bring a new gameplay experience and prepare the appropriate location. After some discussions, the conversation came to the "Race of Arms". The main advantages of the idea were:

  • minimum number of conditions for matchmaking;
  • a new gameplay experience (in particular, a regular change of weapons);
  • equal playing conditions for players;
  • possibility to add thematic New Year's content (icicle, snowball and others).

The work lasted about 5-7 weeks: at the stage of developing the game / location, you see everything in your head or on "paper". And then, additional ideas for improving the already prepared result are already beginning to enter your mind. We continued to work on the location until the last moment, until we began to assemble the New Year's update. Players even could notice the differences in the location on the boot screen from the summary in the update. Yes, there were a lot of difficulties.

Are you with the result?

I do not like to evaluate my own work. I'm satisfied, but there is always something to improve.

Players noticed different amusing posters on the walls of the shopping center. Was that your idea? Which poster did you like most personally?

No, Dargalon dealt with posters. While I filled empty spaces on the floor (for example, places of shelters for the survivors), He was engaged in decorating the walls. So there were posters. I liked most of all, the poster with popcorn. I saw him the next business day after I went to the cinema for Star Wars, if I'm not mistaken. And by pure chance, I bought the same popcorn" for the session. I will not justify myself - it turned out as it turned out. But Vova and I spent some time all the same to discuss the problems that he faces when going to the cinema.

There is a chance that the festive location will remain in Survarium. Tell me, how much will the map have to be altered so that it fits all the game modes?

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. So many players - so many opinions. I read everything. I would like to clarify that the map of was originally created for the arms race. Therefore, looking at it through the "prism" of current PVP maps is fundamentally wrong. The fact is that in the case of finalizing the map, from its current state, almost nothing would remain.

General Geometry. It is too small in comparison with other PVP locations, there is nowhere to produce the optimal points of players' revival, set up tunnel movements at the start and center of the map, and place the main gameplay elements of the modes (capture points, battery appearances, etc.). In fact, the area of the shopping center should be increased at least three times.

Environment. Everyone can use the search engine and see how an abandoned shopping center can look like without Christmas decorations. Plus, it is necessary to bring tones of the "Green" apocalypse. In the case of the mode "Slaughter", the question of general geometry disappears.

Can I make a new PVP location number 10, which will be tied around the shopping center? I think yes. Will the gameplay on the map be interesting? I think that will be. School, buildings on London - players are interested in such gameplay zones. But in the framework of Rudnya - no. Will such work be carried out? The question is still open.

Are there any variations on the Fort and Vector maps? Tell me, what changes would you like to implement there?

Whether at first, or after the release of Survarium 0.46 - we planned a consistent development of variations for all existing maps. At the moment, not all of the planned changes are implemented, as in the development was CO-OP location, and after it the New Year's map. It is possible, in the future. I do not like a lot of dead-end "pockets" in the fort. In them for the first time and you can get confused, as well as annoying limited mobility. You seem to be moving along the map, turning, and eventually there is a dead end. At the same time, these positions are pushing for camping. I understand that this method can not be fundamentally removed, but by adding holes or additional passes in the walls, you can increase the chances of players killing an opponent from a position, and adding new ways of movement. At the same time, I would reconsider the number of visits and approaches to the "C" point, quite unpopular for rivalry between the teams.

Tarakanovskiy Fort is a convenient map for changing the capture points and the appearance of batteries in different variations, so that it will be possible to select additional combinations. As for the Vector, it is more difficult. The general geometry of the level can be changed in a time-consuming manner. The points of capture and appearance of batteries in the global plan have no real places to be transferred. Although, in principle, you can change the system of shelters. I would also draw attention to some of the items viewed. For example, if at least one player wins back on the balcony (point "C"), then with the exit through the top floor, the opponent's team will already have significant problems. I'm not trying to fundamentally limit the game of snipers or far optics, just by playing 8x8 I want to minimize the possible control of a part of the map by one person. Well, in general, a lot of feedback and information on the cards could be collected after the team competitions players. This is exactly the case when you can see a clear demonstration of the strengths and weaknesses of both teams on the map.

Judging by the reviews, not all of the existing variations have pleased players. Do you read feedback on the forum? Are there any corrections for existing variations?

Yes, I read the forum. , plus the players' feedback of the maps. Thanks to the players for the feedback - I took into account all the suggestions left by the users. Sometimes at meetings the team raises the issue of current and future map variations and their possible adjustment. When there is additional information, players will be able to see it in the preview. If someone has comments or recommendations on the current variations of the maps - players can leave them in the subject of the corresponding location. I ask to think twice before posting. let's not take away time each other.

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