It’s time for Blitzbaaaaaalll! I really need to stop yelling at the beginning of these articles. I’m just so excited that as of last week, we were finally able to get our newest map, Gateway, in the hands of players. This map screams Blitzball…and well the Blitzball screams too, but Gateway is a map that was solely designed for this mode. But instead of listening to the person that yells to you when they type, I have Lead Level Designer, Hunter Peyron and Lead Environment Artist, Josh Rife here to tell us a little more about how Gateway came to be. That’s right! A level design and environment art c-c-combo!
What was the inspiration behind the level design of Gateway?
Hunter, Level Design: The inspiration was to make a map specifically for Blitzball. The immediate analog was a sports arena that would be televised and broadcast to fans across the globe. With these rough ideas, I started building a layout and riffing on the setting with the Environment Art team. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided to make the Blitzball map into a floating arena that would allow us to have a lot of flexibility with the locations/settings for the maps. Tramell wanted to make the map set in San Francisco, so I named the map Gateway, and here we are!
How does Gateway stand out from the other maps on our roster?
H: The overall goal for Gateway level design was to focus on simplicity and streamlining the map layout to suit the mode. We found that in our other maps, placing the goals in areas that were not made for the mode was less than ideal. Some maps just do NOT work with Blitzball. We tried to force it for a little while, and luckily there were some maps that did work. But we needed more! I took this as a chance to build a one-off map for Blitzball, and also tried to future-proof the overall design with us being able to create a variety of Blitzball arenas within the same footprint of Gateway.
Josh, Environment: Since Gateway is built for Blitzball specifically we decided to add screens, directional indicators and lights that are tied to scores and ball possession. This is the first LB map where in-game events will change the visuals in the arena as you play.
How big of a part did lore play in the design of the map? Can you give any insight as to what that lore may be?
J: The lore here is that Blitzball arenas are built all around the world, and their stadiums float above the ground (or sea) below so that live feeds (via camera drones, etc) can pipe the action to viewers worldwide. Often cities will sponsor arena’s being built near historical monuments to showcase their city.
Blitzball All-Stars host teams from around the world in international all-star games, and the games tour the world’s Blitzball stadiums. For the first round, teams come together to compete on the Oakland Redwood’s home stadium “The Gateway.”
Any challenges you encountered during the design of Blitzball that you had to find solutions for?
H: On the more technical side, Blitzball arenas are made to be very scaleable, so we can make a lot of variations of these arenas pretty quickly just based on the modular construction. We built in time early to do this modular approach so that other arenas could be created quickly.
J: The main challenge for environments was tying in all of the gameplay events to the visuals in the map.
Thanks to Hunter and Josh for providing some insight. Pretty cool, right? If there’s more you want to know about Gateway, be sure to let us know on our social channels. If you haven’t downloaded the All-Star update yet to play Gateway, get your hand on Boss Leagues and check out a load of other stuff we dropped, go download it now! We can’t wait to see what you think about the new all the new content. Until next time stay awesome and keep fraggin’.
Britt over and out.