Jungle Raid is a bounty hunt map designed for Far Cry 5: Arcade. The objective is to locate and eliminate three rogue military targets within the rice fields of Vietnam.
- Jungle Raid
- Far Cry 5: Arcade
- July 2019
- Level Design | World Building
- Set Dressing
New tools to play with
Jungle Raid was my first proper experience using the Far Cry 5 Arcade Editor and a different workframe other than Source SDK. Because of that, my method of approach was a bit more improvised. I was primarily interested to see how much I could do with this stripped down version of the editor and push it to the limits. Consequently, I designed the level as I went along as opposed to having everything planned from the beginning.
I quickly found out the editor was rather restrictive due to it being optimised for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Working within the limits was quite a challenge, but luckily I found a community mod and was able to override some of those restrictions.
Figuring out the AI
By default, the AI will randomly patrol around their initial placement, but can quickly wander off too far. To ground them to a certain part of the location, I placed several control zones and assigned a number of AI to each one of them. But that still made it hard to predict their pathing. Which of itself isn’t too bad as it adds towards the replayability, but I wanted to have at least some predictability in their behaviour for the player to plan around. To achieve that, I added a few activity points that the AI will engage with after a set cooldown. Some of the activity points trigger certain animations such as idling, weapon checks, spitting etc which also make the AI seem more human like.
What if I did that
My original idea was to have a large central camp with 2-3 smaller ones on the side, but over time I opted to have 3 distinct locations spaced out evenly across the map with 3 random spawn points between them and an exit point located in the middle. That way, the random spawns would add a bit of replayability, while the evenly spaced camps and central exit point would encourage the player to complete the objectives in whatever order without being penalized.
The objective of Bounty Hunt game mode is to eliminate a certain number of AI that are marked as Targets. For my map, I chose to have three AI targets and placed them in key areas within the camps. Unfortunately, this game mode does not allow to have the alarm system that is present in the regular outposts. Which means that if the player is detected, there will be no enemy reinforcements arriving in the camps. However, to make it more similar to the official world design of Far Cry, I also placed several AI patrols on the main roads as well as resources, such as weapons and items, to reward the player for exploring through the non-camp structures that are scattered around.
Working on a level of this size taught me how important it is to have everything planned from the beginning. Not just the overall layout, but the individual details as well. To get myself accustomed to a better workflow, I decided to draw a simplified version of the camps in Photoshop and block them out using Sketchup.
As of October 2019, my Sketchup blockouts were featured on the official Sketchup blog as part of their Best of Blocktober post: http://www.sketchup.life/the-best-of-blocktober-2019/
Camp A was designed from the start to be the most difficult of the three by featuring all around fencing, watch towers and a large number of enemy AI. Thematically, it draws inspiration from your typical military base.
For the structures placement, I tried to have everything follow a certain logic and split the camp into several micro areas. For instance, the watch towers are placed near corners because, from a strategic point of view, that’s where they are most effective. The barracks and tents are grouped together and form the living quarters. Then there’s the warehouses and vehicle station that are oriented to face the road because they need to facilitate easy transportation access, etc
The camp features 18 AI, most of which are patrolling around the fence perimeter with a few occasionally going towards the middle of the base. Notable enemies would have to be the 2 heavy AI guarding the warehouses and the 2 sniper AI inside the watch towers. The game mode Target AI is located inside the barracks with an additional regular AI acting as a personal guard.
The location has one large entry point coming in from the road and 7 additional smaller ones spread around the sides. Players approaching the camp by the watch towers have to be careful not to be spotted by enemy snipers. To aid with that, there is plenty of cover in the form if bushes, rocks, road barriers and nearby tree lines. However, there is also a natural vantage point opposite of the road, from where the player can better plan his course of action.
Camp B draws inspiration from the previous camp, but is significantly smaller and is meant to visually look more like a forward outpost. Though, to make it stand out, I added a radio antenna nearby that acts both as landmark meant to help orient the player through the world and a vantage point.
As for the structures, it features a warehouse facing the inner road, a watch tower overlooking the back sides, a tent and a series of containers that help with the stealth play in the more compact space.
There are a total of 10 AI patrolling about in the camp, with notable ones being 1 sniper AI inside the watch tower, 1 game mode Target AI inside the warehouse and 2 melee AI within the latter’s vicinity.
Similarly to Camp A, there is also one large entrance coming from the road and 7 additional smaller ones along the sides. As mentioned earlier, the nearby radio antenna acts as a clear vantage point. However, there is an additional point overlooking the location on the opposite side from the antenna.
Camp C is the most distinct of the three, featuring a look inspired by the religious Cambodian temples. The layout is almost entirely symmetrical with smaller cover structures meant to break the pattern. The way the buildings are placed form a small labyrinth that shields the interior from outside view, encouraging the player to maneuver around it.
The camp is patrolled by 12 AI with the game mode Target AI placed by 2 tents inside the shielded center. Contrasting with the other two camps, the Target is not placed inside a building and is instead within sight of several other AI.
Given the wall-like features of the buildings, this location is technically entirely open from all sides. There is a small fence perimeter around it, but since it can be climbed over it’s more of a visual marker to where the camp space begins.
This camp also has two vantage points, one by the side and another positioned towards the back.
It’s always interesting towards the end of a project to compare between what the initial thoughts were and what you actually end up with. I definitely learned a lot while working on Jungle Raid and it honestly taught me to be as clear as possible right from the beginning with what I want to achieve.
Although I would have wanted to have more features and gameplay possibilities, I had to accept the editor’s limits and also work towards releasing the level. It’s one thing to begin a project, but quite a different matter to get it all the way towards the finish line. All in all, I had fun while working on it and now I’m looking forward to the next project!