Monday, September 8, 2014

Level Analysis: Multiplayer FPS: Team Fortress 2

Team fortress 2 is a first person multiplayer faction based game released by Valve and powered by the source engine. The story pits two rival corporations, Reliable Excavation & Demolition or RED Team and Builders League United AKA Blu Team against each other in various different game modes and environments. A major part of Team Fortress 2's unique battle system and mechanics are the nine very distinct classes you can choose from. Classes include: Sniper, Medic, Spy, Heavy, Soldier, Engineer, Pyro, Demo Man, and Scout. Game mode choices include payload, capture the briefcase, control points, king of the hill, territorial control, arena, and modded game styles like Medieval and MvM play.


Fitting with the story of rival corporations fighting for supremacy and intelligence most of the game's maps center around an industrial theme. The map I chose is a Control Point map with a desert, mill, warehouse shipping center vibe. The year is somewhere between the late 60s and early 70s. The lighting suggests the time is late afternoon/early evening. 

Major areas of the level include Red and Blue's identical bases. The spire control points for each, and the central neutral train point. The unplayable areas are blocked off either by canyons or wire and wooden fences.

The mechanics particular to this map are the capture points. In this particular control point map the teams play both offense and defense simultaneously. There are 5 total, each team starts with two of their own capture points on their sides of the map, with a central neutral point. Before the opposing team can begin capturing the points on the other's side of the map they must capture the central point. After the central point is captures the spire point must be captured, and then the final point inside of the red or blue base. 

Mechanics not particular to this map but inherent in the game include the various 9 classes and all of their weapon variations. plus health and ammo pick ups. 

Badlands is very well balanced in particular in that it plays to all of the classes strengths in some ways, while still keeping things equally challenging for all players. The large amount of high points and vertical designs like the spire, and the ledges/window spaces of the bases offer strategic advantages for engineers, snipers, and soldiers. The more narrow closed off pathways offer places for demo men to set traps and spies to lurk. 

Capture points are placed in a way that's fair for each team and difficulty in capturing each point progresses at a nice curve. The more open areas in front of the bases are challenging across the board for all players, leaving everyone exposed and at a defensive disadvantage. The fact that these "Wide open" areas occur in front of each player's base escalates the challenge for the final two capture points, as the team on the offensive is at a strategic disadvantage. The final capture point inside the base is the last and most difficult, as the defensive team spawns so near by and the offensive as far away as possible. Additionally, the placement of the health and ammo pick ups is a big plus to the level's balance. There are tons of pick ups in the player bases, which is appropriate as they are sort of "safe havens". The pick ups in the rest of the map are less abundant but feel well balanced. There are just enough to make the player take damage seriously, but not enough to make recovery impossible. 

And here's the layout I made based on the level:

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