Geonosis: Petranaki Arena
Petranaki Areana is a survival map for Left4Dead2 based on Geonosis from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. In this solo side project, my main role was general developer. Secondary roles included level designer, texture artist, and 3D modeler. I developed this map for Left 4 Dead 2 to expand my skill set, try new ideas, and expand on my Star Wars project of bringing more of the galaxy far far away to the community.
Geonosis: Petranaki Arena – Trailer
Geonosis: Petranaki Arena – Gameplay
- Identified lack of a Star Wars clone wars map for all the Star Wars content on the L4D2 Steam workshop.
- Took it upon self to create the content and capitalize on this gap in the marketplace.
Original Design One Sheet
Time invested: 6 hours
This was my first pass of ideas for the map. I sent it around to a few friends for feedback on if the map one sheet was clear enough to more forward.
Design Sheet Revision
Time invested: 3 hours
I really wanted to keep the “one sheet” one page in length. It was hard to fit more into it. I think in a work production environment I would expand this out. Work with other designers and artists, maybe the design lead for input on how this map fits into the overall game experience we bring to our players. And get a couple more pages for the “bible for the level” maybe a mood board. 2-4 pages of concept art. 1-3 pages of text describing things such as… Maybe some more detailed descriptions about “game play moments” players would retell their friends at lunch time. “Oh man I gotta tell you what happened last night when we were playing!” Some more detailed descriptions of my thought process on why I want a piece of cover specifically here, for example “it blocks line of sight to the spawn” or why we need a connecting path between these separate gameplay areas. But I decided to cut this mini “level bible” of 5-15 pages of additional content from my process here. This mini bible should also be easily able to print out, so you can have physical sheets around your desk, like next to your monitor as you work on the map. Physically entering the “map development space and mindset”. I really wanted to try to take advantage of this 2 week vacation I have from work during the Christmas and New Year holiday. I was worried about balancing family time with working on this project. I decided to cut this section. I thought the one sheet would be good enough for me because this is a solo project. I don’t think I need to spend too much time on the pre production because there isn’t anyone else to communicate with on this project. … I guess besides the people who are reading my application, which could be important I guess. Idk, lol. But I think if I had to choose between cutting the expanded pre production and the grey box of the level, then I think I made the right call.
Block Out Stage
Time invested: 10 hours
- Ok, yeah, under a time constraint… more detailed layout drawing would have been nice.
- I guess in the past I just worked here and there until I got what i liked.
- Having the pressing deadline of the week between xmas and new year, i found myself looking at stuff in the editor and going, “uhh, eem.” a lot. And just staring at an object / layout until I found the best way to build it. Or even approach to build it. A more detailed drawing would have probably eliminated that “meandering phase”
- For example, my drawing had “place VIP seat box” here, and “make it look like movie” but it didn’t really say more than that… so I spent a lot of time re watching that scene and building it from the movie. Maybe I would have been able to grey box it faster if this was one of the sections that was zoomed in on during the expanded level bible, with a more detailed layout drawing of this sub section.
Time invested: 7 hours
At this stage I focused on adding all the necessary game logic to get the map playable. This way I could constantly be running around and playing as I tweaked the map.
Time invested: 14.5 hours
At this stage I slowly went through and updated basic dev textures to basic textures. Textures included things I found in source engine, free textures on the internet, and custom textures I made.
Expansion Area 1 – Basement
Time invested: 12 hours
With the backbone of the map completed, I was satisfied that the map was fun enough to move forward. I then moved onto the first expansion area which was the basement caverns. This area provided a safe area for the zombies to spawn along with alternate risky connections between other places on the map.
Expansion Area 2 – Upper Level and Skybox
Time invested: 14 hours
At this stage I moved onto the upper level of the map. I detailed and blocked out more of the stadium paths. I also made a custom skybox and tinkered with lighting. At this point the map really started to come together, which made me pumped and excited! Social media was also getting excited for me to publish the map.
Final Detailing and Props
Time invested: 20 hours
Here I finally replaced my block outs of the gunship and monster for 3D models. I tried to find a friend to make them, but I ended up finding some good ones available for use on the internet. I was pretty thankful I found them. They really pull the map together. I also spent time placing small details like dead clones, blood decals, and fire particles. I also added in some custom star wars music to play in the map.
Time invested: 24 hours
Satisfied with everything and wanting to close out the project I decided it was time to publish. I made some custom loading screens, a trailer video, and other items that is required for the Steam Workshop publication.
Total project time: 103.5 hours spread out over a year (Dec 2019 – Dec 2020)
Overall I am satisfied with the project. It was my first map for 5 years. I am very happy to get back into mapping. Some skills came back very easily and others I had to refresh. I pushed myself to learn new skills, which is always a good thing.
Top 3 Positives:
- Publishing is important. Never lose hope. Rebellions are built on hope.
- Pushed my skills and tried new tasks, such as a custom skybox.
- Keeping a progress journal was valuable.
Top 3 lessons:
- More focus on planning and objectives early on will help avoid procrastination and mid project luls.
- Don’t make a circular map in a grid based editor.
- Scope it down! Originally I wanted to make this epic campaign recreating the battle of Hoth. As I prototyped that out I realized I’d be working on it for 5 years, which was way too long. I instead thought up this project, which I thought was much more manageable. It only took me a year to get this one out the door, but I still felt at times it was a struggle. Next project I will try to under scope and focus on getting something out faster.