Terraza

Terraza is a bomb/defuse level designed for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's Wingman mode and based around the real world environment of Baja California. Leaning more towards the competitive side of the game, the level supports a wide range of weapons and strategies within its small and compact size.

Project:
Terraza
Game:
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Engine:
Source
Release:
March 2019
Role:
Level Design | BSP Blockout
Lighting
Set Dressing
Optimization

The Idea

When Valve added the 2v2 Wingman mode for CS:GO, I saw that as a good opportunity to try my hand at creating a small gameplay space that offered enough options for it to feel different from round to round. Wingman mode draws inspiration from the regular bomb/defuse mode with the difference being that there are only 2 players on each team and only one site to attack/defend.

My idea was to have the two teams fight over a slightly vertical space with a building and its terrace in the middle. The initial blockout was done within 8 hours and playtested over a few days. During the tests, people responded positively and gave me enough feedback to work with and improve.

A core principle when designing the layout was to keep it as simple as possible so that players could easily learn the rough shape of the level.

Bomb Site design

As with any attack/defend site, each team needs to have at least one path leading to it and one or two additional routes available from different contested parts of the level. Of course, defenders must arrive on site ahead of the attackers to give them time to properly set up. And they must also have the initial higher number of controlled paths.

Designing the site inside a building proved to be a bit tricky because the level is so small there isn’t much space to work with. At first I considered making the building look as if it were in construction or renovation and that would have allowed me to get away with fewer details. But I chose to go the extra mile and find a solution. The answer was to have props packed together as much as possible and right next to the walls. That way, movement would be fairly unobstructed despite the added details.

I also had to consider that players would be able to contest the site solely from outside without even entering the building. Additional playtesting confirmed that and it proved to be a fun idea. To further support it, I ended up adding several options to get to the building’s roof and a skylight opening to act as an additional entry.

Choke Points

For the level’s choke points, the contested spaces where both teams meet, I wanted to have one area that played more like a battle zone and another that was more easily defendable. Consequently, the left part of the map is more open and allows to be played by 2 people at once, whereas the right side can be easily covered by just one player.

Looking at the more open left side, it was important to place the cover in a zig-zag pattern. That way, players can run from point to point and make their way along the path. This was also a good opportunity to be creative with the look of cover points. Although I tried to avoid from using too many crates, there’s still one or two added near the vehicles to block off some cheeky sight angles.

Player skill and movement

Building on the competitive aspects of the game, it’s important to offer opportunities for players to display their skill and combine different strategies. This can be done by enabling trick jumps, providing support for tactical grenades, adding bangable walls, playing around with sounds generated by world materials etc.

On Terraza you can reach the roof of the building through conventional means like a stairway or a ladder, but also through a trick jump. If the defenders jump on the window ledge by the stairway, they can reach the top from a different angle and surprise the attackers. However, doing so will put them in an exposed position, but it’s a choice of risk vs reward.

Though, to properly enable these opportunities, it’s essential for the environment details to not get in the way of the player. To avoid that, I manually added collision volumes throughout the entire level.

Closing thoughts

Creating Terraza was a lot of fun and it allowed me to put to the test everything I’ve learned about multiplayer level design over the years. Working with a small confined space was interesting primarily because I had to add complexity without overwhelming the player or compromising the simple layout shape. And I think I achieved that pretty well.