While many of Alien Arena’s new arenas are revamped concepts that were deemed to be the “keepers” or the “best of the best”, the new technology that we developed afforded some opportunities to make maps that were completely new and innovative.  The Wasteland was one such map – originally a tech demo – turned into a dynamic, fast and extremely fun map to play, using the new terrain technology that Max Eliaser had implemented.   It’s rather large, expansive, not typical of the maps of Alien Arena which tend to be smaller, but quite vertical and circular with alternate routes that actually make it a tantalizing duel map

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At the time of concept, my vision was to see if I could create a “Rage” like world using the CRX engine, a desert canyon, filled with cactus, sagebrush, and rocks.  This was never meant for Alien Arena – in fact, the tech was being created for our next game.  However, it didn’t take long for me to see the potential of using this for Alien Arena – especially since the game was receiving a complete overhaul anyway.  Soon the level took shape, a horseshoe shaped canyon, with several ridges that allowed bypassing the circuitous route(and providing some great, vertical ambush opportunities!).

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Various structures were placed about it, including a number of rickety walkways connecting high points, or allowing access to them, shacks, industrial buildings, power plants, etc.  Then I added a number of details, things to give it some atmosphere such as burned out tanks and cars, broken overpasses, crashed flying saucers, a makeshift brothel, and of course blood, guts and oozing slime from alien devices and toxic barrels.  Lastly, I placed the weapons, game items, and because of the open design of the level, a pair of jetpacks!

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I wasn’t done there though.  I added moving tumbleweeds, and blowing dust off of the high ridges, animated hanging metal sheets and hanging meat to give it a windy feeling.  More crashed saucers with gashes in the sand where they slid down, more blood…more guts.  Soon, the map attained the vision I originally had – a wasteland outpost that was the scene of a massive battle, with many casualties.

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Wasteland is a different kind of arena – and Alien Arena is striving to inject some new ideas into the genre.  While it will offer many very traditional style arenas, there are some new ideas and concepts, as well as themes that I think people will find refreshing, and most of all, fun.  Wasteland offers a host of trickjumping opportunies, and it will be exciting to see how players navigate, especially in duel.  It will be very intersting to see the strategies employed to control the map – I have what I consider good ones, and ones that I thought of in the design – but other players may have different ideas.  For now, the playtesting has been quite interesting, and a little different than what most are used to – which was the ultimate goal.

This tech, and level have come a long way in the two years of development.  It should be interesting to see how it looked at the start, and how it progressed.  Here are some screenshots taken very early on, just to give you an idea of how it came to be.  As you can see, the layout of the terrain was roughly the same, but the coloring, texturing, detail, as well as the rendering was far different.

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I personally get a kick out of seeing the changes, and the evolution of the game.  A map such as this, took a number of refinements, re-designs, and sometimes painful internal, and external critiques before it could reach it’s potential.  As we near release, I will be writing more articles such as this, along with some videos of specific maps, weapons, and characters.  The journey to this point has been quite a ride, and I will also talk about some of the other aspects that were rebuilt, improved, or added.  Ultimately, the goal is to release a game that feels fresh and new, but retains the elements of old school deathmatch/duel that seem to be lost in recent games of the genre.  We are out there, listening, play testing other games, and paying very close attention to what players are saying about them.  I think the lust for speed, action, and competitiveness will find a tasty morsel in this game when we release!

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