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Port Rambeau - Hunt: Showdown Compound Blockout

Hunt: Showdown is a Multiplayer PvPvE FPS set in an 1890's Louisiana Bayou that is being plagued by a zombie uprising. The player assumes the role of a Bounty Hunter sent in to destroy one or two of the four boss bounties and extract with them, all while fighting or evading other Hunters sent to do the same.

Hunt: Showdowns main gameplay objectives and much of the core game loop plays out in areas known as Compounds. In these areas the player either seeks out clues in search of the bounty, or come across the bounty itself which is located in the central structure known as the Boss Lair. As much of the core gameplay takes place in these Compounds, this draws in most of the players around the map and thus most of the PvP takes place here.


Its unique approach to Level Design pulling inspiration from immersive sims and incorporating them into a Multiplayer PvP setting, coupled with my experience working on other PvPvE titles such as HYENAS led me to produce this blockout and flex my skills as a Level Designer. 

Compound Design

I designed the compound around a partially sunken Steamboat moored within a dock used for both freight and leisure. Instead of sticking with one type of dock, the location was designed with multiple functions so as to not limit myself and create greater opportunities when it came to layout, cover and interior spaces. One area is presented as the "customer facing" side, containing things such as the ticket office and the clubhouse. On the opposite side of the river is the docks used as freight, this side contains the trainyard and the warehouse. I bisected the Compound with a river that flows out to sea creating a natural feeling inlet to position the Steamboat within while presenting a clear division between the different themes of the Compound. The main methods to cross the river are intentionally designed to obscure the other side to push this division as well as act like clear transitions between the two.

  1. Boss Lair - Central Unique structure housing the Boss if one spawns within the Compound. Also acts as the pinpoint or "Weenie" to draw or orient the player in the game world. 

  2. Bunkers - Smaller outbuildings to aid attacking players pushing on the boss or banishing teams by providing a fortified forward position. They also house clues if the Boss isn't present in the Compound and pick-ups such as ammo, first aid, cash etc.

  3. Pockets - The negative space between Bunkers and the Boss Lair. These are divided to cut up lines of sight, provide adequate cover in exterior spaces, impede the player so they cant approach the Boss Lair as quickly or silently as possible and simplify the perception of the layout.

  4. Perimeter - A clearly defined perimeter with several obvious (Large Arrows) and hidden (Small Arrows) passages.

Boss Lair Design

As the Boss Lair is the key location within each Compound it needs to achieve a number of things:

  1.  Stand out amongst the other structures within the Compound.

  2. Work as a pinpoint or "Weenie" within the wider game world.

  3. Contain a clear cut Boss Chamber that can also act as a defensible position.

I felt a Steamboat (Which surprisingly hasn't been done yet in a game set in 1890's Louisiana) really nailed the first two points. Its unique silhouette stands out amongst the rest of the structures within the Compound and the tall chimney stacks can be seen above the buildings and a fair distance outside the parameter. To make sure visibility was emphasised, I made sure the surrounding structures were lower than the 3rd floor of the Steamboat.

One of the challenges that came with building a Steamboat was having multiple points around the exterior to ascend and descend the different levels without choking players. Because the game is set in a world post zombie rising, this gave me creative license to destroy sections of the ship to create interesting routes around the boat. 

The Boss Chamber itself was the most challenging section to build. The rooms and routes need to be large enough for an enemy that's roughly twice the size of the player in both height and width, provide adequate cover from the boss and other players and be highly defendable but not so much that its impenetrable by other players.

I designed the Steamboat as a pleasure cruise, with the main rooms (Boss Chamber) being a Bar on the upper level and Live Music Hall on the lower level, both connected via staircases at either end to allow players to loop around the chamber. Due to these design choices it made higher cover harder to rationalise. Utilising the games narrative to my advantage, I replicated hive husk towers found throughout the game as floor to ceiling cover. This not only helped with cover throughout the space, it also helped percolate a narrative around the Steamboat being one of the birthplaces of the Zombie outbreak.

Entry into the Boss Chamber comes in two forms; Exterior entry that leads directly into the space and Antechamber entry (Marked 2) which act as a buffer zone between the outside and the inside and give attacking players strong position to push upon the Boss Chamber by providing greater cover from the inside and the outside and greater rotational value.

One of the Antechambers I gave particular focus to was the one on the top level of the Steamboat, not only does this provide a high vantage point, it allows players to directly drop into the Boss Chamber and take defending players by surprise. As the Boss Chamber leans more on the stronger side in terms of defensibility, including this drop down weakens and hopefully balances this out. 

Level Design Considerations

Visual language in Hunt is very important for communicating interactive elements within the environment. Most interactive objects (Doors, Gate Controls etc.) are highlighted in red.

Dangers are also communicated through the use of the colour red as well as using specific shapes to standout (eg. Lantern towering over the dog cage.) Audio traps such as birds and horses are positioned so the player can spot them well before they are within their radius. 

Visual Language

Often, Watchtowers can be found on the outer Perimeter of Compounds. These are positioned on the approach and serve as an early bunker and advantageous position. From within the Watchtower players can examine the Perimeter and assess from a safe distance.


As the Perimeter around the Compound compromises mostly of high fences, creating a variant of these with eye level gaps allows players to peak within the Compound and fire while having some form of cover. 


At various points along the inner Perimeter are positioned what the Hunt team call "Springboards". These provide the player a quick exit out of Compound after finding the clue or killing the Boss.


When designing the Compound, I made a rule that all elevated positions should have at least two routes of entry. This rule is intended to balance out the high ground so elevated players cant choke a singular entry point , as well as add more levels of rotational value.

Elevated Positions

Soft Cover plays an important role in Hunt: Showdown. In exterior locations, it encourages stealth playstyles and provides an adequate hiding spot that gives players the ability to take others by surprise or disengage from combat. Within interiors, soft cover helps with obscuring sightlines and prevents players feeling like they have been hit by a "cheap shot" from both inside or outside of the interior. 

Soft Cover

Structures are often designed with vulnerabilities in mind. These are gaps in the structure that give attacking players a viewpoint into the interior of a structure, weakening the defenders position. They're good for throwing equipment in such as explosives or stalker beetles to help push on the defending players position. 


Interactive Elements

One of the key elements in Hunt: Showdown is the games variety of audio/visual traps. When alerted, they indicate a players presence within a rather large audio radius that stretches to neighbouring Compounds. These long range traps come in different varieties; Dog/Chicken Cages, Injured Horses and Crows/Ducks. Crows/Ducks in particular utilise a visual element by flying into the sky and giving opposing players a relative idea of the players position and direction from a distance. Each of these traps can be avoided or neutralised.

Long Range Audio/Visual Traps

Every surface in the game makes a sound depending on whether the player is standing or crouched, this encourages players to be sneakier if there are enemy players nearby. Around the environment there are also short range audio traps that have a more specific audio cue that indicates a more precise location to other players. These come in the form of glass/can floor traps the crunch when the player walks over them, and hanging traps the clang together when players pass through them. These are often placed around doorways, windows and other points of entry. 

Short Range Audio Traps

Whats an FPS without destructible barrels? There's no shortness of Barrels found within the Compounds of Hunt, their main purpose is to damage or kill inattentive players and temporarily block passages. Red Barrels are explosive and can down players who are too close. Yellow Barrels are incendiary and ignite nearby players and enemy AI, they are often paired with oil slicks that will ignite and burn for a few minutes.


Obstacles are interactive elements that impede the players movement and require some form interaction. The forms of Obstacles I used within my blockout are Gates and Bolted Doors. Gates require the player to hold F to slowly open the Gate, this can leave them exposed. Bolted Doors can be set to locked or normal (act like normal doors) and can be controlled by the player, when locked they are only accessible from the interior and require considerable melee force or explosives to open from the outside. Obstacles such as these also allow defending players to control their position and give them some peace of mind by blocking off entry points. 


AI Mark-up

As there is no form of AI systems in my blockout, I still wanted to take AI into consideration and discuss their placement and how this affects the design of a space. AI is an important element to the PvE portion of Hunt: Showdown and their placement informs the level design a great deal. 

Grunts are the typical enemy type found throughout the game. Usually found in small clusters of two to three, they act as an obstacles to the players goals. They can impede their progress forward, act like audio traps if they are alerted and of course, cause damage to the player. Placing them in small clusters throughout the Compound achieves these goals while not overwhelming the player. 


Hives are the only ranged AI in the game, when alerted to the players presence they throw a swarm of insects that inflict damage and a poison affect. Due to their range, elevated positions are the best location for their mark-up. 


Enemies such as the Armoured or the Meathead are designed for blocking routes and causing problems at close quarters. Armoured enemies are often placed in areas where the player is likely to come into close contact with them such as choke points and interiors. Meatheads block primary entrances to Compounds forcing players to find alternative routes.

Blocking Enemies

Water Devils are the only water based enemies in the game. They lay dormant until the player enters the water where they start to school and rush towards the player. Their positioning discourages players from entering waterways unless absolutely necessary.

Water Devils

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