KIMBERLY

RISWICK

video game level designer

KIMBERLY

RISWICK

video game level designer

Wiseau

Wiseau is a deathmatch map that I developed with fellow community member MacD11 for the deathmatch gamemode of the Team Fortress 2 mod Open Fortress. It originally started out in 2015 as a test map for another mod's deathmatch gamemode, but quickly evolved into its own beast, soon becoming one of the more popular and memorable maps for that mod. When Open Fortress started development, I joined the team with the goal of remastering the map, which included fine-tuning the layout and re-doing much of the existing art pass.

As the map was a collaborative effort, not all of it was my doing; MacD11 designed the original layout (including weapon and item pick-ups and their associated respawn times etc,) came up with the theme for the map, and aided with visual design. I handled most everything else, including final base geometry, some layout choices, lighting design, art pass, and player spawn locations. A handful of additional art assets and the sound design were handled by other project contributors.

The most important element of Wiseau for me is controlling the flow of gameplay. In Open Fortress, players can "bunny hop", similarly to Quake, and gain an immense amount of movement speed while navigating the map and fragging their foes. To mitigate this, I decided to gate player movement in certain areas of the map, deliberately slowing players down, giving others a chance to catch up. This prevents players from endlessly circling the map at top speed and encourages confrontation in these areas.

A key part of gameplay in the deathmatch mode in Open Fortress are power weapons. As the name might imply, these are extremely powerful weapons of mass destruction. Wiseau's power weapon of choice is the G.I.B., a very powerful projectile-based weapon similar to the BFG 9000 from DOOM. To control the player traffic in the area it spawns at, there are no player spawns present near it. The area can only be accessed through a cramped ventilation system, or by dropping down from the open ceiling onto the weapon itself. Once a player is inside the area, the only way back out is through the ventilation system. Since vents are designed to limit player movement, and given the nature of the G.I.B., these vents can be either extremely rewarding or extremely dangerous--depending on who you ask.

During the 2019 remaster, we required new assets for the art pass. Besides the brand new Wiseau Warehousing signage created by a fellow team member, I created a few of the newly required assets myself. Including a sheet of tarpaulin which is draped over a set of computers in part of the map, a bunch of signage overlays to display on walls in the map, and a humourous projector slide which can be seen through a window into an inaccessible side room. The tarpaulin prop in particular is a strong shade of blue, which is intended to draw the player's eye to the power weapon in the middle of the room.