READ: Interview with our level designer

Discussion of the latest news and events related to Survarium.

13.02.2018, 11:58

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?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: During the time I spent on the project, I had time to work on the variations of maps Mamaev Kurgan and Radar Station (crossed fingers for "Mamaika"). 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?
A: 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 pleased with the result?
A: 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?
A: 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?

A: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?
A: 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?
A: 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.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all the players who have youtube and twitch channels. It's always interesting to see the game from the player's perspective. Separately, I would like to express my gratitude to the player and the channel on youtube "SholTV". I liked the video of your squad from the first passage of the PVE (CO-OP) mission, as well as laid out guides to overcome some sections of the map. It was a "new", experimental gameplay experience in the game, and it was very gratifying that you yourself had passed it, and other players had an opportunity to become acquainted with the method of passage. And also to the channel "oleg mart" for personal objective reviews. Yes, they are not always positive, but I'm happy to go listen to your honest point of view.
Last edited by joewillburn on 16.02.2018, 12:56, edited 2 times in total.
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joewillburn
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13.02.2018, 15:11

as it said above..it took 5- 7 weeks to develop a game location...so please ,, re-randomize caches spots in pve..or if possible, add a brand new map.. we feel lack of challenge and passion after playing with the same surrounding this far..
what a better if VG add mutants, NPC, and good backsound ..
ok.. keep a good work..and mind it !!!!! we never give up on waiting freeplay mode till the last bloodshed...

GamersAbid
 
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13.02.2018, 17:36

And finally about a new map designed by the community, or rehuse the map Buran for a next PvE content??

When will come the next PvE map??? If im not bad, there will be the first map with mutants...
Also Mall map remaded when???
Last edited by Dinoh55 on 13.02.2018, 17:40, edited 1 time in total.
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13.02.2018, 18:53

And what, in god's name, about the Slaughter maps School and Vector Lab? :( They are horribly balanced since they were introduced :( No information about them...
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jule
 
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13.02.2018, 19:25

And the most important : when a new map will arrive ?
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ike07
 
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13.02.2018, 22:44

Thanks for the interview transcript, Joe.

I have a question - what does "finger's crossed for Mamaika" mean? :-) New map?
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VioletRose
 
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14.02.2018, 01:11

VioletRose:Thanks for the interview transcript, Joe.

I have a question - what does "finger's crossed for Mamaika" mean? :-) New map?

#ctrl+c_ctrl+v :P

Mamaika it's just diminutive from "Kurgan Mamayev". Same like "Tarakanka" - Fort Tarakanovsky, but it's only visible in full version of this interview on russian site.
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Albi
 
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14.02.2018, 04:14

Ah. I did a google maps search for it and it found a town in Poland. It also thought maybe I meant Sochi, Russia, which is a resort town on the Black Sea. I got my hopes up for a cool new coastal map. :)
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VioletRose
 
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14.02.2018, 09:05

Yes, we need new map for pvp and pve....
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Angel_L1ke
 
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14.02.2018, 22:03

Sol_Dm:

It's good to know that you are reading our posts (I hope that in the English forum too). I want to share with you about my opinion on the balance of some maps.

In my opinion, an abandoned shopping center is a good idea for a map, but it should be done completely from the beginning. However, we are all waiting for new maps, because these in the last few years there wasn’t any new map practically at all. New content is the greatest motivation for me and my friends to actively play Survarium again.

I would like to say a bit about different variations of maps. I realize that probably you’re not responsible for most of map variations, but I decided to describe all the problems. I spent some time on it and I hope this feedback will be useful for you in the future if you work on improving other maps or for some of your friends from studio.

☢ Rudnya:
- In Research game mode, on a new variation of the map, where point B is located closer to the border of the map - the opposite team (1), which has a greater distance to this point can't handle it, becouse it's located very close to the second team's (2) respawn. In addition, team (1) can enter the roof of their spawn, or second roof above the truck to defend point B.
(https://imgur.com/3cKhVoN), (https://imgur.com/pqF4Ctz)
Team 2 has a closer A point, but they have only available small closed house without possibility to get cover on the roof for example. In addition, the defense is hampered by a new forest of trees in which players like to camp. This forest is a big problem in principle in every game mode.
(https://imgur.com/3AtZTVC) , (https://imgur.com/uP4DNFA)
- On the other variation, point C is located on the roof of the church. However, the new quick climbs to the top are unbalanced. On one side is a large footbridge, on the other a very tight stairs. Change to identical footbridge could make it easier to get on the roof for the team (1).
(https://imgur.com/BZgIX1U), (https://imgur.com/CMz4mv5)
- On the same variation like above, point B is in the middle of the map. First of all, if the plans are to return static anomalies, the whole lake will be an anomaly, so it would be good to think about footbridges earlier. Secondly, the most important - team (1) has a very big advantage. They can defend a point from the windows of the houses, while the opposing team has only space between trees and is exposed to fire from other sides.
(https://imgur.com/sQezr6p)

☢ Vector Laboratory:

- If you have an influence on the balance of the maps, think about the balcony you mentioned in the interview. Sniper can control the entrance at the top floor, but he can’t defend point C. Usualy the opposing team enters the point from the bottom floor.Visibility is difficult becouse of this silo (or whatever it is). Players can easily protect themselves from this sniper:
(https://imgur.com/bd0t336)
- But you’re right. 2 players can easy defend this point – 1 sniper on balcony protecting Upper doors, second guy defending tunnel underground. There’s also the other side of the coin. If the opposing team takes the C point, then the one to which the balcony belongs has a very difficult challenge - take the point back. They also have only 2 exits at the top and bottom. In my opinion, this point should be opened a bit. Additional windows or holes in the wall would give more opportunities to eliminate campers inside:
(https://imgur.com/imkwnmW), (https://imgur.com/CMpmRhZ)
- I see the potential in the “basement” parts of the map. Nobody walks this way. You've even placed an ammo box here, but it's not worth anyone to go down there, becouse.. there is nothing here. Both at point C and B only one of the stairs leads down. If you could connect these 2 lower spaces, it can be perfect spot for every team to defend B and C points. It’s not worth to go down there to defend only one point on research mode or batteries:
(https://imgur.com/KmPjzDF), (https://imgur.com/OQ4KsKS)
- A point is also unbalanced, especialy if it’s slaughter mode map. One of these teams has only one door. Very often this team is closed on its spawn. This side needs more possibilities to get out from spawn, for example:
(https://imgur.com/JxC7Aqz) – this side is invisible for opposite team from their respawn, container covers it.
In the normal version, a vision for the team that starts near the hangar would be useful too. Maybe something like that?
(https://imgur.com/lIa8U5T)
- Point B - here only one thing is done wrong – research device. It should be moved a bit, so that both teams can hide behind it:
(https://imgur.com/DHLlr2j)

☢ Radar Station “Vostok”

- This map is balanced, but the problem is point B and the power of its possession. If one of the teams takes over point B, it is very difficult to take it off. You can see the whole map and all players coming out of respawn. The only thing that comes to my mind is more trees near respawn like in old times (survarium alpha).
- On slaughter version on this map one team has more places to hide/cover than second team:
Team 1: (https://imgur.com/Lgfzaqw) – this team can see everything from every position
Team 2: (https://imgur.com/fdohtkN) – this is the only safe position on the right side for this team
(https://imgur.com/AzpjdwN) :
Situation 1: Player can hide there, but he can’t see anything, becouse doors from container blocking his view.
Situation 2: Player can stand here, but he’s easy target to take down from location on point C.

☢ Tarakanovsky Fort

- The biggest problem of this map is point C. It is not popular because it is too far away from the rest of the points. A and B are closer and easier to take. C is far away and it’s harder to control it:
(https://imgur.com/UgP99o5)
The only solution I see for point B (sorry it may looks funny xD)
(https://imgur.com/MfIbJBR) – I don’t know how exactly this should looks like, but where is the better place for research than In the center of anomaly? :)

☢ Chemical Plant

- Sniper spot on this mountains should be removed long time ago. It’s OP position for etery sniper Or even assault rifle user. Player can see from here his spawn, enemy’s spawn, Upper footbridge, all the space downstairs and two points: A and B. From the other side there is no such place:
(https://imgur.com/7TPjkTb)
- New version of this map contains some weird buildings completely useless for players. No one will enter such places if he can go up to the top and have a better view for everything. Anyway this building above point B is useless, becouse: it’s open, there’s nowhere to hide and you can’t capture the point upstairs.
(https://imgur.com/yXDMMVx)
- There’s always 2 places on each side to look from top to look outside. But one team can see whole point, and second can see only 30% maybe, becouse point A is closer to main buildings than point C. It should be moved closer to destroyed wagons.
(https://imgur.com/qsT0SvL), (https://imgur.com/sMQKHqL)
- Last thing – Artifact Hunt mode and variation with 2 new buildings on C point. Not only that, both buildings are built for the benefit of a team that has them closer to their respawns, but also artifacts spawns here. This one building is not needed and only ruins the balance.
(https://imgur.com/X3FOn6K)

☢ Cologne Bridge

- At the beginning I will just say that there should be a window regardless of the version of the map:
(https://imgur.com/7HNsqMK) – if he opposite team has door and window, why second team can’t?
- Now most important thing – this should be removed from this map version:
(https://imgur.com/HLxCNxQ) – you can see 80% of this map from this place and it’s even possible to jump on tent and camp on enemy’s respawn: (https://imgur.com/nQ6F2Qj)
Second team has only stairs to the roof, but most of the important places are covered by tree or this kind of platform.. I don’t know what it is (https://imgur.com/n0CrARP)
Anyway this platform is unbalanced, becouse entrance is from the middle of the map, but the wall with the window is directed to one side.

☢ London and School are pretty balanced In my opinion.

☢ I don't have any idea how to balance Kurgan Mamayev atm, but I fell like it's still unbalanced. The new ramp allows players from the opposite team to hide behind the boxes above the tunnel close to enemy's spawn, and the tunnel itself is no longer used btw.

So I think that’s all for now based on my observations. I hope that I wrote everything understandable. I hope that my opinion will help, because I play in Survarium over 2.5k hours and I think I know what is balanced and what’s not.

We are waiting for new maps! ;)
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Albi
 
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15.02.2018, 11:34

@_-Albi-_

Great post. I've given it to the designers.
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joewillburn
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