When creating maps and levels within games, we have to consider every aspect of the level and question what needs to be put where and for what reason. Especially if this is a multiplayer game that needs to be fair and balanced. So for this blog I will look into the map design of Overwatch. For those not familiar with overwatch, it is a online only, hero based first person shooter which focuses on team play and character specific abilities. The heroes are broke into four categories – offense, defense, support and tank. Each character has different abilities that effect the flow of the game such as mei, who is one of the defense characters who can create ice wall which blocks movement and blocks projectiles. With that in mind the level designers would have to consider this ability(and all others) and consider where choke points need to be put in order for this ability to be used at its most efficient.
Overwatch’s character list, each character is distinct and unique in there own way
So if Mei puts down an ice wall on a chokepoint, it not only obstructs the players it can obstruct the object. One game mode is to escort a payload to the enemy base, it only moves if the team is nearby and is unobstructed. So when the ice wall has been put down it stops the payload from moving wasting precious time for the time that needs to move it(due to a time limit).
Route 66 map
Here is one of the maps for the escort mode I was talking about above. one team spawns in the diner highlighted by red whilst the other spawn is on the other side not visible highlighted by the blue circle on the annotation below.
The blue team has to defend the payload which starts at the train wreck, whilst the red has to advance it. During the start blue have time to set up defensive positions whilst the red are stuck until the time restriction is over. As you can see they are plenty of places to set up an ambush, traps to slow down the advancement of the red team. Turrets can be set up on the canyon, an ice wall can be summoned on the spawn preventing one door inaccessible for a few seconds. There are two doors to balance this so they can get out. The train wreck also blocks line of sight from the canyon, meaning snipers would have to get closer than they would normally like. Once the blue team inevitably dies they have to respawn and then walk the entire map to get back to the red base. By this time the red team have fortified the train wreck and made there way to advancing the payload. This is all crucial to level design, if the train wreck did not block the line of sight and provide adequate cover, it would be harder for the red team to advance. Just in this one section they are multiple paths the team could take.
Here you can see how the red team can make there way through five different routes. One is to flank from the left, whilst gaining cover from the rocks beside the road. On the far right you can go up the canyon through the train carriage only then to be exposed on top but you have the height advantage. You could also get on top of the train depending on your character, Blackwidow(the sniper) can grapple hook to this and gain great line of sight until the road bends which can act as a deterrent to the enemy. The route below goes underneath the train which provides adequate cover and close quarter combat which is great for a character such as Roadhog(a big tank character with a shotgun). Then finally is the one that goes around the train which bends with the road. Without such avenues the red team would be funneled, preventing them from being able to ambush the enemy team which means less strategy and balance. Also another thing to consider is health packs. They are placed in areas which area either spawns or places out on the map where there is danger. So if you need healing and there is nobody to heal you, you have to decide whether it is worth risking going to or whether to retreat to the spawn.
Image credit –
Overwatch route 66 map
Route 66 third image
Character list –