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Project and Map Setup

Project and Map Setup

Picture of a map

Learning Objectives Students will be able to:
  • Understand the main features of the battle royale genre and production workflow for creating larger game projects.
  • Go through preproduction process to plan the layout for a competitive multiplayer environment.
  • Implement a planned layout and simple waiting lobby within Studio.

Battle Royale Games

Overview

Battle Royales are a multiplayer game genre where opponents compete until only one player is left. While every battle royale is different, they all include a way to eliminate players such as freezing someone or knocking them off the map. When one player survives, or a timer ends, the match is over and a new round starts.

The genre is popular because rounds are quick, easy to pick-up, and challenging to master. Battle royales can be customized with different game mechanics to appeal to a wide audience, like unique weapons, platforming obstacles, or visual themes.

Some popular battle royale games in Roblox include Island Royale and Strucid.

Island Royale by LordJurrd
Strucid by Frosted Studios

Gameplay

Battle royales generally follow a round-based game loop, or series of phases. In the game you’ll make, players go through the game loop below:

Intermission
Competition
Cleanup and Reset
  • Intermission - Players socialize or watch games in the lobby until a new round starts.
  • Match - Timer starts and players are teleported to an arena where they compete. If a player loses, they’re teleported back to the lobby.
  • Cleanup and Reset - Happens when one player is left or the timer finishes. Players are then teleported back to the lobby where the loop restarts.

Developing a Game

Battle royales are made of many elements, like code and art assets. To manage larger projects, developers plan a workflow, or a series of steps, to get to completion.

During this series, you’ll go through the following workflow:

Plan and Envision
Design a Test Map
Code and Test
Polish and Improve

Instead of working on different parts of a project simultaneously, developers break large projects into manageable chunks. Each phase should have its own specific goal before going to the next phase. This makes it easier to catch potential errors and save time down the road. For instance, designing art to polish a map that hasn’t been tested may result in wasted time if the map needs to be redesigned to be fun.

Planning a Game

The first phase is to plan the game’s vision in a process called preproduction. Taking the time to make a plan helps you focus on important design choices, such as where to place obstacles and player spawns.

To plan, you’ll create a layout map with paper or a drawing software. A layout map is the floor plan for the arena drawn in basic shapes, focusing on how players move through the game rather than visual details. Once the layout map is finished, you’ll recreate it in Studio.

Design a Map Layout

  1. Although you’re working with basic shapes for now, start by choosing a setting such as a jungle, an abandoned moon base, or a medieval castle. During the polishing phase, you’ll add map details using this setting.
  • Write a brief description of the setting.
  1. The arena is the map shape and where players move around.
  • Brainstorm map shapes and then draw the arena using a combination of 1-3 basic shapes (square, rectangle, octagon).
Build Symmetrical Designs for Game Balance

One way of designing multiplayer maps that are fair for all players is to make the map symmetrical. As you gain more experience, you can start working with non-symmetrical map shapes, which can be more complicated to balance fairly for everyone.


  1. Add player spawns. For now, use eight spawns, but you can always add more later.
  1. To make players less predictable, place obstacles that force them choose different directions.
  • Draw 2-4 shapes that create choices in moving around the arena. Add secondary obstacles that prevent players from fighting right at the start.
Keep Designs Simple, But Engaging

Since players make split second decisions in moving through a level, give them enough choices to make a level feel different each time, but not too much that they can’t remember how to move through the map or feel overwhelmed.

Too simple
Balanced
Potentially complex

Creating the Map

Recreate the layout map quickly in Roblox Studio using basic parts in a process called grayboxing. Stay focused on designing a fun, playable map. Don’t spend time adding textures or small details, like decorative props. After you’ve created a working map with code, then spend time designing art to fit the map’s setting.

Build a Simple Lobby

Before creating the arena, build the game lobby, where players enter the game and socialize between matches.

  1. Create a new Baseplate project and delete the baseplate.
  2. Construct a walled room. Include a SpawnLocation where players will join the game.
Use Snap To Grid

Enable Snap to Grid to make moving and lining up objects easier. Rotating parts at 90 or 45 degree angles will also help result in cleaner designs.


  1. Place all lobby parts into a folder named Lobby.

Create the Arena and Spawns

When building the arena, remember to graybox using simple parts and colors so you can have a working prototype as fast as possible.

  1. Create a folder named Arena. Inside, add the floor for the arena. If you’re using terrain, leave the folder empty for now.
Square based map
Circle based map
Terrain map
  1. In the Arena folder, add another folder named SpawnLocations with 8 spawn locations.
Spawn Locations are Picked at Random

Players will spawn at a random spawn, which may or not be in the lobby. In a later lesson, you’ll set all players to spawn in the lobby when joining a game.


Block Out the Arena

To graybox the layout of the arena, continue to use basic parts or the optional building kit. The kit includes correctly scaled doors, walls, and staircases.

To use the kit:

  1. Download the Grayboxing Kit.
  2. In the Explorer, import the kit by right-clicking on Workspace > Insert from File > select Grayboxing_Kit.rbxm.
  3. Set the kit aside in your level. Duplicate parts from the kit to construct your level. When finished, delete the original kit.

  1. Add the obstacles, barriers such as walls or fences, and ramps.
Map Design Tips
  • Vary Height - Flat maps can get repetitive for players. Use hills, stairs, and ramps of different heights to add variety to the map.
  • Build Half of the Map and then Duplicate - This technique allows you to quickly build a symmetrical map.
  • Test and Check for Scale - While building, think about the map in relation to a player. For example, how spacious does an area feel or can a player fit easily through a door. Keep in mind the average avatar is 6.5 studs tall.

  1. Click Play Here in the arena and test the map. While testing, self-evaluate your work with the prompts below and make changes as needed to improve.
  • Can players move around without getting confused or stuck?
  • Does the size of the map feel right? Are there any areas that feel too empty? Will it take a long time to run into another player?
  • Does anything look strange, such as floating or misaligned parts?
Finish the Map After the Game Works

While it might be tempting to start decorating the map now, wait until all of the code is in place and the map has been playtested. This saves time as you may want to redesign the map as you build out more of the functionality.


Now that the map has been grayboxed, it's time to start adding in the code.

Finished Project Sample

This project includes a finshed graybox arena and lobby.


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