On Sunday 10th January 2016, the first-ever Gears of War Pro League Championship was coming to a close, with the final four teams battling it out live on twitch. During the course of the day there was a live panel discussion from Microsoft, Featuring the lead Designer or Gears of War 4’s Multiplayer: Ryan Cleven.
During the feed he discussed the process behind how the new maps are created, and just how much time and effort goes in to making sure they are just what the fans will want.
So how do these maps come to fruition? Well first and foremost they play the game, more specifically they play the versus maps over and over and over and…….. you get the picture. this way they can find what feels and plays better in the maps, and allows them to remove areas that are maybe not as fluid as they need to be.
The studio have a set procedure in place to do this and much more. Designed in a way as to make sure the maps they create are the best they can do, but more importantly will be what the fans want to see and play on.
Firstly they go back to basics, looking at the classic maps from previous Gears. Collating the data and using heat maps to show the more common areas used in the games. This gives them a platform to start on, being able to see what types of area the fans prefer. From there the hard work really begins:
- Concept: The ideas for the maps start of with a high level concept document, outlining the map and details within.
- Blockout: The maps are then created in a very simplistic block layout, 3d greyscale blocks create the maps geometry, this is never shown publicly, here the developers begin testing the game, and they spend an awful lot of time at this part. Hundreds of these 3d block maps will be created and then changed, edited or completely removed, until they get down to the map they want.
- Validation: The map testing continues into a more detailed section. Now the maps are at a more finished design, this testing phase is to check on game feedback. How does the map feel to play, does it look good, is it fun?
- Meshing: Once everything feels right its moved to the art department for it to be cleaned up and have the fancy skins added…. making it all pretty!
- Polish: The final tweaks before its sent off to be shipped.
So with all this attention to detail everyone one; developers and fans alike, are hoping that these maps will have the feel of previous Gears of War multiplayer maps.