Stuart Scott
Games Developer | Lead Level Designer

Archive

Category: World Design

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  • Date

    2 February

The Division 2 – World Design

As a Lead Level Designer on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, I was responsible for leading the open world design teams across two studios based in Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington. Working closely with Environment Artists, my teams undertook the design and implementation of five named zones in our representation of post-outbreak Washington D.C.

My specific responsibilities as Lead Level Designer of two teams constructing these areas were as follows:

          • Lead the design of the themes, gameplay intentions and playable spaces of the world environments.
          • Provide open world design philosophies and advocate guidelines to world builders.
          • Lead the design and creation of a number of bespoke side missions.
          • Lead the design and creation of a number of bespoke Control Point gameplay locations.
          • Develop dynamic mission systems and activities for emergent gameplay opportunities in the world.
          • Review, playtest and provide constructive feedback to teams as part of an iterative development process.
          • Coordinate with other World Leads and stakeholders as part of a global collaboration in an agile production process to ensure my teams were effective in their responsibilities.
          • Contribute to the design and implementation of the E3 2018 demo areas in the East Mall area.

Named Zones List

Downtown East

The first explorable area in the game once players leave the White House Base of Operations. This once financial and technological business area is now ruled by the Hyenas, save for The Theatre Settlement which barely holds out amidst the carnage.

Federal Triangle

Home to a number of federal institutions, the zone is bisected by the long Pennsylvania Avenue running towards the Capitol Building. This road was the route of intense protest during the early stages of the outbreak, but now marks the border of conflict between the Hyenas and the True Sons factions in the area.

East Mall

The verdant lawns of the Mall were repurposed by the JTF as a logistics centre for bringing supplies and coordinating evacuation during the outbreak. Flanked by the famous Smithsonian museums and cultural heritage sites, the area is now a constant reminder of the failed attempts to contain the outbreak, patrolled by ruthless True Sons.

Southwest

The rail infrastructure that runs through this area was initially repurposed to handle the relocation of those affected by the outbreak. When an unfortunate train derailment shutdown the network, those stranded were forced to reside in the vacant federal offices. There they waited for the winter to pass and the arrival of further promised relief that would never actually come.

Judiciary Square

Bordering the DZ East and home of the Hyena Stronghold in the District Union Arena, this dangerous area still bears the scars of huge fires that raged around the judicial buildings in the wake of arson attacks.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Murray Hill

The design and creation of the Murray Hill area of Manhattan as represented in The Division was one of my primary responsibilities during the project’s development. Working closely with an Environment Artist, I contributed to the following throughout the area;

  • Conceptualise the space and the themes of the area in the game world and setting
  • Design all playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas
  • Design and script the open world encounters throughout the area
  • Maintain and iterate the quality of the game space arrangement and encounter scripting based on playtests and peer reviews

My main ambition with the Murray Hill area was to convey a sense of chaos vs order in this slice of The Division’s Manhattan. This was primarily represented by the large Last Man Battalion (LMB) fortifications that split the area in two, with the chaos and lawlessness of the Riker controlled areas to the south of the wall in conflict with the totalitarian control of the LMB areas north of the divide.

The Queens Tunnel entrance provided a perfect pre-built defence for the LMB to establish their barricades that reminded me of a medieval moat which would serve to reinforce the walls of the LMB’s fortress! Penetrating the walls would throw players into the midst of the LMB forces, ultimately leading to their castle in the north, the UN Building.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Hell’s Kitchen

As well as working on the Murray Hill area, I also designed and created the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen playable space in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists which included;

  • Designing the playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas
  • Design and script the open world encounters throughout the area
  • Iterate upon the quality of the game space arrangement and encounter scripting based on playtests and peer reviews

Although I was not initially in a position to contribute to the conceptualisation of Hell’s Kitchen in The Division, I was still able to incorporate a lot of ideas throughout in my level design of the area. This included the design of two separate, thrilling, assault based side missions inside landmark buildings in the region, as well as an encounter situated on the open-air rail tracks nestled between the buildings designed to shift the power balance and surprise players.

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  • Date

    7 May

The Division – Stuyvesant Town

Stuyvesant was the first entire region of the open world in The Division that I was personally responsible for, and working in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists I contributed to the following throughout the area;

  • Conceptualise the space and the themes of the area in the game world and setting
  • Design the initial playable spaces and open world encounter locations
  • Create and arrange the whitebox game space cover layouts, navigation paths and exploration areas

Despite only working on the Stuyvesant region in its early stages of development, the area still remains one of my favourite level design challenges to date. Tonally, it was completely different to any of the other open world areas of The Division with its dense parkland, rolling landscaping and not a hint of the street grid layout that permeates throughout Manhattan. Not to mention the unique challenge this presented to convert the area into a compelling, beautiful space for cover-based shooting that still believably conveyed the real-world location.

I’m pleased to say that the majority of my initial level design and conceptualisation of the area remains in the final version of the game. What’s more, the team that took over from me did a brilliant job in creating what I still consider to be the most beautiful and visually interesting area of The Division!