The terrific 2D shooter Armajet continues to grow, even though it’s still in soft launch and no word yet on when it will release. Today, the game is adding a brand new Moon map that should make for some fun firefights. I asked the developers about their map design process and got an interesting look into how Moon (and prior maps) came to life. First of all, iteration is the name of the game, with developers tinkering and changing maps as they go along. They start with a rough geometry that they test internally and then build out some rough art and test further. They then keep a close eye on how players navigate and exploit the maps and continue to tinker. Gradually, they start locking down the geometry and the art. The map you see below went through about 20 different art and geometry variations and is still not done yet.
The “big ideas" behind their map design are primarily how the jetpack mobility affects players’ paths and whether lines of sight would create a fluid and fun rhythm. As the design process progresses, these ideas get simplified and more emphasis is put on jetpack management and timing of risky shots. Currently, the designers are exploring how players like perpendicular movement in tunnel areas that reward indirect fire as well as how choke points work well for team-coordinated pushes. The maps are designed to allow players to maneuver to and from chokepoints from a variety of directions to increase the skill necessary to play the game at the highest levels.
In terms of more general design principles, maps are more wide than tall because of how the game’s gravity works and because you’re playing it on landscape mode. They avoid long paths where you can randomly be shooting and killing people from across the map (no camping, sorry). Every area has at least 2 paths that connect it, so you have to be looking at all directions all the time, and there’s a good mix of open and tight areas so that maps encourage the use of different weapons.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look into the making of Armajet‘s maps, and let’s hope the game is out soon because I know many of you really want to play it. In the meantime, check out our forum thread on the game.