Deluge’s goals from the very start were to make something unique in style and thorough in execution. To create something that gets the most out of the sum of its parts. Today we’ll be looking at how these goals apply to level design.
Floodgate Arts houses the right people for the job to create the best environments for a game such as this. The team’s lead artist Andras (AKA Breadbagfly or RNG) has honed his craft in bringing suitably gritty and dystopian worlds to life in his time mapping for the Half-Life mod Sven Co-op (you can find links to these maps at the bottom of this article):
Andras has also dabbled in level design for GZDoom and transferred his vision across engines with remarkable ease:
The other major player is the lead level designer Chief Smokey, who backs up Andras’ artistic prowess with a constantly increasing understanding of GZDoom’s technical quirks. Smokey’s past work covers many aspects of the more advanced sector of modern Doom mapping (links to these projects are also present at the bottom of this article):
The visual style of Deluge’s environments is always evolving, both because of changes to artistic intentions and technological improvements. In fact what you’ve been seeing since the first public showcases is the culmination of a prototype phase – the next stretch of development leading to the final levels will be much more impressive both in narrative scope and physical scale.
Bacillus City's slums in 2019:
Bacillus City's slums in 2020:
Bacillus City's slums in 2021:
The overall approach to the level design will be a “slow burn” style centred on the player taking their time to explore at a slower pace than your average retro-style shooter. By bringing down the pace, we can avoid the age-old classic FPS problem of the game’s built-up energy slamming into a wall when the player gets lost hunting for an arbitrary item. In Deluge there is no shame in stopping to look around.
Expect lots of secrets, optional locations and hidden paths that lead to vantage points. The player’s climbing ability allows for a significant amount of verticality to be factored into the design philosophy and a much more 3D space-orientated mindset to take shape – something rarely seen in the classic Doom format.
You’ll be seeing the last of the current set of prototype maps in an upcoming end of year gameplay showcase video. Then as 2022 begins so too does the long march to the final set of nine. The first outing will be the Spring Public Alpha which will cover the first two or three maps meaning you'll be able to experience the oppressive urban behemoth of Bacillus City in all of its meaty glory.