Back in 2008, before I was hired at Ubisoft Porto Alegre, I was strongly involved in creating custom levels for Valve's Team Fortress 2. My first project was both ambitious and challenging as I set myself to create an entirely new environment for the game with little clue of the real work that would go behind it.
After the first failed attempt I managed to scrap most of the level and re-work it into ctf_aerospace. I'm glad to have been one of the few level designers who included a whole lot of custom content in their levels. Due to the unique personality of the environment Aerospace became quite popular and sought after. The map had so much custom textures, models, animations and sounds that its sheer size prevented it from spreading, however, as server administrators could have up to twenty other maps instead.
Back then I really was trying to find my space and had the opportunity to work on pl_frontier by creating the train known as Lil'Chew-Chew that made the map so famous.
Below are some images and notes about the few maps and props I produced back then.
ctf_aerospace is a capture the flag map for VALVe's Team Fortress 2 and was my very first (and ambitiously stupid) project when learning to design levels.
The backdrop is of two fictional military bases where two disputing companies are developing prototype fighters for the air force: Blu Aviation Corp. and Red Aerospace Inc. They both have received the same installations in order to ensure a fair competition, and the best prototype will receive government funding. As the deadlines close in sabotaging the opposing team's experiments may prove far more efficient than trying to fight fair.
My objective with this map was to provide a more streamlined CTF experience than most maps have. To this end I designed the flag rooms fairly accessible and quite hard to defend. With spawn rooms set well behind the flag's location defending the flag becomes a much more complex job than just having and engineer sit at it.
Players found it less prone to stalemates and more rounds could be played than on standard capture the flag maps. Players also enjoyed the whole concept and aesthetics of the map and have been calling me to finish it for quite some time.
If only they knew the mess the brushes and PVS are they'd understand why I gave up.
koth_fissure was my second level for VALVe's Team Fortress 2. Differently from what I had attempted at ctf_aerospace I decided to only use stock content and create a small enough map that I could rapidly iterate on. The result was a tightly designed map that people had a lot of fun killing each other at.
My intention with this map was to explore a variation of the classic king of the hill gameplay where the battle would be decided mainly away from the capture point itself (and nothing like a moving train running over the point from time to time to get people off of it).
To keep control of the middle area a team must secure the yard right outside of the enemy team's base, pushing them back to the cavern before.
The map is set in a mining structure that cuts through a steep valley, serving well my desire to convey a sense of danger and instability and creating a somewhat unique environment with these centurey old props and textures.
Lil'Chew-Chew <3 <3 <3
While not strictly level design I had to reserve this space for the creation of Lil'Chew-chew, the custom payload cart I created for Patrick "MangyCarface" Mulhollands' map pl_frontier. The map was made official by Valve and is now included in the standard game as of February 24, 2011.
The goal of the map was to rethink the payload gameplay by making big changes to the payload cart. The most notable change (besides the angry face) is the fact that Lil'Chew-Chew provides the attacking team with awesomely good cover from incoming fire. The fact that Lil'Chew-Chew will will literally much on anyone that stands in front of it also adds a whole lot to the gameplay.
I designed, modeled, textured and animated the final model and had a blast doing so. Lil'Chew-Chew is for sure a big part of the popularity of the map