Within 8 weeks we had to familiarize ourselves with Unreal Tournament (4) and build a deathmatch map for it based on a real-life architectural theme. I analyzed the game and wrote down metrics for all variables within the game (such as movement distances, weapon damage values). Alongside, I researched interesting themes and how I could incorporate them as a level for the game. The final result is styled after a Japanese shrine / village in the midst of the mountains. After several playtests, my map received praise by several people for feeling just right. My map was also nominated for an art-pass by fellow students, but unfortunately it did not get picked.
When designing the level, I had to make sure to provide solid gameplay, but also account for the theme that needed to be incorporated. The balance between these two factors was quite a challenge to get right, but I believe I have pulled it off in a sufficient manner.
Regarding overall level design, one of my core principles were to create flow in the level, meaning players can quickly and intuitively navigate through the level. I made sure to create some 8-figures for navigation throughout the level, creating interesting dynamics.
Another core principle was to get the scale of the level exactly right. Not too big, so that you won't run into opponents. Not too small that you don't have a place to flee too. This is very important for fun and challenging gameplay.
The third core principle was to add landmarks, so people can quickly get their bearings. By adding clear distinctions in each area, one can locate themselves relatively in the map, and learn where pickups are.