About the Artist
Environment Modeling
The Escape from Zimri's Observatory
Software: Unreal Tournament 3
Platform: Unreal
Class/Project/Team: Level Design
When Created: Spring 2010
Escaping Zimri's Observatory
Created in Spring 2010 to give us some practical experience in level building and design, this Unreal Tournament 3 level was the result of two things: a choice between plot points in a script that was supplied to our class as a whole, and the prefabricated assets that were available to us in the Unreal Tournament 3 Builder.

The Story
The plot-point that I chose to build my level around was one in which an assassin slays a prominent astrologer, then attempts to flee his observatory before the guards from town arrive. Escape progresses through the observatory, the surrounding grounds, and through this quadrant of the ancient city of Babylon. In town, there are a pair of guardhouses, numerous back alleys and side passages, and a small selection of secret "jump pads". These hidden eleveators are shrouded in areas illuminated by tell-tale green lights and provide a means for the player to access a network of routes on the rooftops. Boards and leaning awnings serve to make the rooftops a whole other avenue for the player to sneak behind the guards as they run about the level, and the fully decked-out bazaar offers numerous hiding places of its own. In the end, there are two avenues of escape: the front gates, which is not the preferred route as they stand right next to a guardhouse, and a crack in the wall of the northeast section of town. Once the player reaches there, he will have completed the level successfully.

The Construction
The curious thing about the script that was supplied to us was that there were no descriptions in it at all, not of people, not of places, not even visual descriptions of events. The entirety of the story was left up to the interpretation of a class of budding game designers. To make things interesting, our available assets were then limited to a selection that did not match the perceived genre of the script: ancient Babylon.

Despite this, I and my classmates met this challenge with gusto! We were able to make an array of highly detailed levels, resulting to builder brushes in lieu of modeling tools, and carefully choosing an array of texture assets and meshes to match our middle-eastern scenes.

As my first time building a level from start to finish in Unreal Tournament 3, this was an eye-opening experience at how the mechanics of Unreal worked and different ways in which builder brushes could be used to create anything from props to full construction elements. I learned so much about the placement of assets such as healing items and power-ups from actually placing them in the level and setting up paths to them, more than I have from simply designing a level on paper before. This was a much-needed grounding in level design!
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