Gaudi environment showcase

*Visuals made by the world building team of the Breda University


A A 6-player deathmatch arena for the Unreal tournament pre-alpha in 2016. Inspired by Antoni Gaudi’s casa Mila and casa Batllo.

”’A creation of nature; this cliffhouse created and overgrown by the sands of time is now the battleground of the Pedrera family. Fly through the lightshafts, flow through the hallways and blow up your enemies in this 6-player deathmatch map, inspired by the works of Antoni Gaudi.”


-Concept to completion iterative design for a  6-player deathmatch map
-Mechanics breakdown and gym set up
-Basic lighting design and first art pass
-Playtesting and quality assurance


Level design
-Level design research & game analysis
-2D layout creation
-Level proposal
-Pick-up distribution
-Multiplayer level balancing
-Playtest& test analysis

Theme creation
-Visual research & mood board set up
-Basic lighting design
-Greybox modeling
-Basic textures

Learning points

  • Researched and applied level design principles while going through a full level creation pipeline
  • Whitebox modeling with Unreal’s BSP system and the limits of in engine modeling
  • Learned the importance of creating bare bone level layouts for early playtesting and making bigger changes earlier
  • Basic node design, flow creation and the difference between golden, silver and ninja routes
  • Basic material creation for greyboxing levels

Level design pillars:

  • Include multiple ‘high skill’ ninja paths and multiple movement options – roughly  1 main route 2  sides routes and 2 ninja routes
  • Draw players with more valuable weapons and power-ups and breadcrumb with low value pick ups – while keeping travel times and area balance in consideration
  • Avoid narrow spaces – these kill any quick movement options for veteran players, to slow down pace, create a quick transport to a different area instead
  • Fit the combat space to the weapon – long sight lines for snipers, jumps for rocket launcher, etc. 

Level Design Process

1. Game analysis and gym setup

Before starting the level design process, I analyzed Unreal Tournaments core mechanics, movement system and existing map layouts to set up my design pillars for this project. Furthermore I was looking to understand the valuable objectives, expert mechanics and the fun. 

[Picture left]  In this breakdown I analysed the map metrics, pick-up locations and transition areas, to get a better grasp on balancing and flow.

[Picture right]  Here we made a breakdown of all the core mechanics & weapon stats, defining their fire rate, range, damage output, etc. Using these metrics to base the individual weapon combat spaces around. 

2. Concept & design goals

After understanding the metrics of the game better, I began looking for a concept to fit the fast paced, movement oriented combat of Unreal tournament. Consequently using Gaudi as a inspiration for his human oriented flow, large open spaces and organic architecture, focusing on the quick hub traversal and offering many movement options

[Picture] As part of collecting references I found this video advertising Gaudi’s casa Mila as a work of nature. This largely inspired the setting for the level: an overgrown mansion being created out of the rocks. Furthermore, I looked at other works of Gaudi and used elements  like: his large light wells to increase verticallity and large garden structures to bridge the changes in verticallity.

3. 2D layout, room setup & pick-up distribution 

With the concept and design pillars in mind I started to design the map on paper, planning out the gameplay direction and concept for each hub while keeping the neighboring areas and item distribution into account. Afterwards I drew some 2D layouts to create a tangible idea of how to compose the space and how the main level flow should play. 

[Picture] I collected a set of reference images to create a concept for each of the main hubs, ensuring that each weapon had an area made for it’s type of combat. Furthermore I began creating a concept in my head of how the spaces would relate to one another and how players could navigate/recognize them.4. 3D rough layout & first playable

From the 2D sketches I created the first 3D layout in the UTEditor, creating basic, easily editable shapes & materials to create the initial idea for the level. During this process I focused on making navigatable combat spaces that support the gameplay intent of that area, while making the golden/silver paths clear to retain flow.  

[Picture] This image shows the thought and design process that went on during the creation of the rocket launcher landmark, focusing on player decisions and promotion of rocket launcher gameplay / counterplay. 

5. Playtests and iteration

Most time spent on this map was during iteration and testing after the 3D layout was made playable, during this time I was making most major changes to the level while it was still easily editable. Consequently the level was made significantly smaller and entire sections were either altered or cut.

[Picture] This examples shows the changes made to the upper layer of the level in the later stages  of the testing phase, focusing on the primary feedback points of playtesters: Making the level smaller and fixing the balancing issues with the overlooking sniper area.

6. Textures & greyboxing

After the biggest changes to the map were made, I switched to making each area stand out by applying basic textures and updating meshes to create more describable shapes. During this process I focused on making areas stand out more while not making it feel like a ‘theme park ride’ by keeping colors around the same saturation throughout the level and using more popping colors to indicate a landmark.

[Picture] This image shows the ‘big lightwell’ / rocket launch area after the texture changes. Using some basic rock meshes plus wood, sand and blue marble textures to decorate the area. Making the area more easily describable for players while conveying it’s overgrown aesthetic a bit better.

7. Balancing and  lighting

The rest of development time was used on doing small balancing changes and set up more distinct lighting for each area, primarily making small changes to pick-up routes and traversal options. Lighting-wise I tried to make each area more distinct by setting up colored lighting for each area. 

[Picture] The picture on the right shows some of the later changes I made for Pedrera, mainly solving small balancing issues and optimizing buff routes. 

Role:                     Level designer
Dev. time: 
           Sep. 2016 – Nov. 2016 
Time frame:        7 weeks
Team size:           Individual project
Project status:    Finished



Software used

Unreal tournament Editor


Microsoft Office


Awards / recognition

Game of the year, Audience & Best Art award, NHTV University of applied sciences (2017)​


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