Level Design 2: Agency Project
The Agency Project was an interesting assignment, as its whole goal was to choose something you wish to pursue / better yourself in and try it. As a gamer I'd always been a fan of Team Fortress 2, and as an Level Designer, I wanted to showcase my ability to hop in a brand new engine and create a level, no matter how archaic or proprietary the tools.
So I downloaded Hammer Editor (last updated 2005 :O), found the vibrant map making community on TF2Maps.net, and got to work designing a King of the Hill map. I chose this game since I wanted to get myself to create a multiplayer focused map, with all of the nuances that entails, as well as see what the greats I looked up to were working with - as Hammer Editor allows you to reverse engineer old Valve levels. You can see my thoughts in the Design Process tab, but in a nutshell creating a map that is equally fun for 9 distinct classes was an extremely fulfilling challenge and exhausting experience. I would be lying if i said it went flawlessly - between my tight schedule at FIEA and the on-boarding process of a mainly self-taught engine, I didn't hit all of my set-dressing goals. However, learning the logic of Hammer, and experiencing the fidelity of shape creation in the tool, have opened my eyes to different ways of tackling level design challenges. From floor heights to sight lines, health pack placements and how that effects player chokes - this micro dive into Hammer Editor and TF2 has broadened my perspectives on LD.
In the end, Trainyard is a level I'd like to keep working on the side as time keeps going. From playtesting, setdressing, and maybe even a TF2Maps.net release; I can see why even till this day the game has a map making community.