Cartels - Tactical Multiplayer FPS (2020 - Present, Unity)

Level designer

Maps for various objective-based modes. Armed clashes between the Colombian military coalition and drug cartels. Release TBA.

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The Cartels team came to me with a whiteboard sketch and a request to make a level set in Colombian city streets. I took some liberties and evolved that into the centerpiece map, Centro.

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The high-level goal for Cartels is to blend the open and loose style gameplay of tactical shooters like Insurgency and Escape from Tarkov, with the more streamlined and immediate gameplay of shooters like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike. I wanted to reflect this in the design of Med with a smaller, more deliberate map that would support a variety of objective placements and playstyles, even as many weapons like snipers and grenades had yet to be added to the game.

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This was my first time following the traditional development structure of handing off a whitebox to the art team. While I built the whitebox with visuals in mind, it was liberating to not worry about doing the environment art myself. Seeing the work the team put into bringing the level to life was a great gift.

Additional objective locations were added in at the end of development, and required surprisingly little adjustment to the existing space. There were larger map revisions that I wanted to make, including letting alleys branch out into alternate sub-routes through interiors, but by then the art department had already done initial passes and the geometry was set in stone.

I like to think of singleplayer versus multiplayer level design as like a novel versus a poem. A singleplayer level is usually played through once and you need to design a large amount of content. Multiplayer levels need to support an infinite amount of play. You're building a smaller gameplay space, but every sight line, every piece of detail, makes a difference.

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I would characterize my previous singleplayer level design work as being focused on high level concepts like pacing, interconnectedness and atmosphere, but with these three multiplayer projects (Deport, Jazz, Cartels), I've focused on lower level gameplay like encounter setups, chokepoints and sight lines. I think it's rounded out my design skills, and I'm excited to eventually bring that experience back to singleplayer games. 

Centro is just the first map that the team is showing off, so look forward to more from me in the future.