Designing the new Wake Island 5-flag layout for Xbox 360 and PS3

Since the release of Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand, a very popular subject has been the be or not to be of a 5 flag Wake Island for consoles. Here’s Gameplay Designer Gustav Halling with the inside story on how the new 5-flag layout came into existence.

Hi all. My name is Gustav Halling, 26 years old, also known by my nickname “cmd” or “cmd85” on Battlelog.

I have worked at DICE since 2006 as Gameplay Designer and have been involved in designing Battlefield: Bad Company, Battlefield 1943, Medal of Honor, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. My latest project is Battlefield 3, and most of my time is put into the expansion packs such as Back to Karkand, Close Quarters, and now most recently turning Lead Designer for Battlefield 3: Armored Kill that launches this autumn (which I’m very excited about!)

In this “Inside DICE” post, I’ll explain the reasoning behind adding the new 5-flag layout to Wake Island on consoles. I hope you like the new layout and that you find this post interesting.

Why didn’t we have 5 flags from the start?
So why didn’t we have a 5-flag layout for Wake Island Conquest on consoles to begin with? There is no simple straight answer, but it was a mix of design decisions and technical challenges. When we decided to make a remake of the classic Wake Island map, we wanted it to be the same scale as it was back in Battlefield 2, not the 30% smaller variant that I designed for Battlefield 1943. The reason Battlefield 1943 shipped with 5 flags was because the game was a standalone game where all air and land vehicles and distances could be tweaked specifically for those distances.

This time, we wanted to keep the epic scale that Wake Island is on all platforms, and we play tested the map a lot with 24 players and found that the gameplay was suffering by the big spread of players that occurred over 5 flags. It easily turned into us just going around capturing the bases in a circular pattern, without really seeing any enemies – that was not very fun.

That was when I designed the new variant instead, where the US started on the two capes instead of on the carrier — and at the same time focusing the gameplay down to 3 flags. The gameplay based on this flag layout turned out much better with a lot more action and awesome tank battles.

An excellent byproduct of our latest patches is that we found a way to fit even more content into console memory – primarily vehicles — which made it possible to look into the original 5-flag layout again. So we did!

Designing the new 5-flag Wake Island
After the release of Back to Karkand, we received a lot of feedback from you, our community, that you wanted to have a 5-flag variant on Wake Island. The feedback was very much focused on that it wasn’t a true Wake Island without 5 flags and also that it worked in Battlefield 1943 on consoles already. It wasn’t a big surprise for me but I also felt that many players didn’t see the whole picture on why this happened and why it provided a more intense battlefield so I did a big post on reddit about my design decisions behind Wake Island 3 flag and got a good response from that.

I was actually already looking at the possibilities how a 5-flag Wake Island on consoles would work, both from a gameplay perspective and the technical challenges it would present. I knew that we had a big patch coming out at the end of March/beginning of April. This would give  us the time needed to add the new design layout, playtest it on consoles, and make sure it was to quality and get it into the patch before heading into the certification process with first party.

So I set the project up and started to look at it from a technical angle to make sure it was possible to do in the first place. Next step was to playtest the new layout with 24 players and adjust the experience to make sure each base had a valuable asset that the team wanted to own.

After play testing, the in-house feedback at DICE was clearly that the best layout was the same as the one we use on PC. I went with that as a basis, but made some tweaks to both the PC and console layout. Perhaps the most important change being that we moved the mobile anti-air to the Beach capture point instead of having it at Airfield – this makes Beach a more strategic base to own.

Two layouts – two experiences
I personally like both variants of Wake Island on console, and having the two to choose from, you can make sure you get the experience you want for each session:

3-flag Wake Island provides the more action orientated experience for when you want to get into the action fast! It’s less about travelling and more about fighting, with a good mix of infantry and vehicles.

5-flag Wake Island is the more strategic choice and the more vehicle focused experience! It will give you more choices on how to tackle the battlefield – making a head on assault on airfield or slowly working towards it from the bases surrounding it, one flag at a time.

With the Spring game update being live on all platforms, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 players alike can finally enjoy a 5 flag variant of Wake Island. We hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the poll below!

Gustav Halling
Designer

Comments
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  • rare_cash 05.06.12 at 05:30

    This is great, i wish this would also happen to other maps

  • eagleeye723 04.22.12 at 23:15

    Hi im a new player and i think the game is great as thay get thanke,s for a real playing game that is so good

    • Erickj157 05.24.12 at 21:43

      You have a really good point,the tanks are really good and for a game like battlefield 3 the tanks are awesome

  • bf3pro56 04.22.12 at 00:36

    The update you are designing right now seems pretty cool.Honestly I think battlefield 3 is better than modern warfare 2 and 3 because you make the game feel and look so real.I like games that are realistic.But on the co-op part the mission were you have to drive the helicopter kinda sucked a little bit.But still bf3 is way better than cod games

  • Major_Barf 04.21.12 at 21:57

    DICE, me and my friends wives thank you for the update. We are getting more honey do’s done now we don’t have our regular play parties. Went from fun to frustration. My COD buddies gave me the old, “I told you, you would come back to COD.” Rethink the changes for the one’s that don’t play it 24-7. Tks.

  • Major_Barf 04.21.12 at 21:52

    Weapons kit not recommended.
    -LMG’s are only suppression now. Some else gets the kills.
    -Can’t shoot mines anymore.
    -Enemy still spawn behind you at start of game.
    -IRNV is useless.
    -Claymore’s don’t protect your back anymore or dn’t go off.
    -Takes a full load to kill someone.
    -Increased the camping Snipers now you can’t spot on TDM, Conquest, etc.
    DICE needs to fix the fixes.

    • MarxistReform 06.03.12 at 07:23

      I get a decent amount of kills using LMG’s. Maybe it’s your aiming.

  • New_Anarchy 04.21.12 at 17:07

    Well at least they’re worrying about the platform that started everything … >_>

  • bryann_82 04.19.12 at 15:55

    ola

  • Project_K-2 04.19.12 at 14:54

    ALE-F’CKING-LUIA!

    Now bring back Wake Island 2007 for Battlefield 3, because Wake Island 2012 sucks.

  • TwiztedMannix 04.19.12 at 00:49

    They should do this to all the big maps or the ones that have more flags on PC to be included in the console version, 40 percent of my matches included capping all the flags with no competition and spawn trapping without the intention of it.

  • Regional_Emperor 04.17.12 at 02:34

    Cool a map change. Now fix the game-breaking screw up of the DART glitch.

  • xLoCk 0nx 04.16.12 at 22:20

    I have to be honest, I like both versions of Wake Island equally. I voted 5 flag because I feel there’s always something to do, it’s very rarely the case that one team controls all 5 flags. The 3 flag version definitely seems more action focussed when both teams have flag(s), but often the whole island is controlled by one team and it takes longer to get back into the action if you are the other team. I need to play the 5 flag version a little more to see if I prefer it overall. One thing I can say for certain though is I’d be quite happy playing both versions, whereas I’m not a fan of the small variants of karkand, gulf of oman or sharqi (they’re completely different from the larger vehicle versions).

  • LT Shisno 04.16.12 at 20:35

    I’d honestly prefer equality between the console and PC versions of BF3, seeing as not everybody is able to afford a decent PC that makes games look and play brilliantly, hopefully this offering of the five-flag variant will be the start of that.

    • andrewcrowley 04.20.12 at 00:16

      But that’s just stupid. PCs are better, therefore the games should be better. If games are designed for the weakest link in gaming, then how can we expect innovations in gaming? Why would anyone buy a gaming pc?
      Lots of people can’t afford a ferrari, so lets make the shit cars equal. Would that work? No. So why apply the same reasoning elsewhere?

  • ProF4nn9Hunter 04.15.12 at 12:42

    The game needs a 5 flag variant of both karg island(around the radio tower)and caspian border(the radio mast thatfalls over) and strike at karkand the D objective should be moved to the top of the hill inbetween C and E there is far to much of these maps which are not fort over it was the same with 3 flag wake island but now with 5 flag it feels epic again.i think even operation firestorm could benifit from 5 flags but there is only really 4 places you could put one and you have 3.

  • Pudding Skins 04.15.12 at 07:40

    Why does it matter offer both.

  • Sean TripleX 04.15.12 at 01:21

    Once you get One service stars on over 3/4′s of the weapons in the game, will you be “too good”

  • Sean TripleX 04.15.12 at 01:18

    To anyone bragging about getting triple kills from Shotguns using slugs or any type of ammo. Get a life and use another gun. Show your true skill.

    • Justinbro13 04.17.12 at 10:15

      This is a response to my comment.I have way more kills with the m16 than all the shotguns combined.I have 40 with the m16,23 with f2000,17 with m416,16 with aek, and more service stars.I dont have to brag about getting triple kills a shotgun.com

  • CoLFC 04.14.12 at 14:30

    I loved BF3 before the patch and even more after.
    For those of you complaining about getting kicked from servers for being too good, come join a game on UK ARMY CREW CONQUEST 300 TICKETS. Its been live for about 2 weeks now and we haven’t kicked a single player for anything yet. Cheating will not be tollerated though so dont think you can come take the piss. We dont try to restrict any kits or play styles so come have a game and play how you like…

  • Justinbro13 04.14.12 at 04:52

    I hate it when you are doing great and you get kicked because you were doing to good.I was on metro the oppisite team had 1 high rank and most of the rest was 14 and under.I dominated with the 870 slugs,i was getting triple kills and stuff.While my points were 4000+ everybody elses were like 1900.Next thing you know i was kicked by admin.If you are going to be a bitch about somebody doing to good have a fucking sorry people only server.

  • xX ZyxxaN Xx 04.13.12 at 23:07

    dice please take back the old quick match system PLEASE!!! its god damn annoying to join op metro 24/7 and maps with 1000 tickets! so dull so please i beg you get the old system on quick match back!!!

  • DKARMY 04.13.12 at 20:09

    5-flag layout

  • salvucci91 04.13.12 at 08:09

    BC2 > BF3 .

  • sonicdragon1234 04.13.12 at 03:53

    No one should just vote for this because it doesn’t matter! DICE just turn my favorite war game into a fucking joke! I bet all of those noobs who fucking complain about getting killed by good players! And the noobs don’t realize they fucking suck and it’s not the game! GOD! WHY WON’T FUCKING DICE RESPOND TO ANYTHING WE SAY! HEY DICE THESE ARE YOUR FANS THAT ARE SPEAKING! ERASE THE FUCKING GODDAMN PATCH AND CHANGE IT TO THE BATTLEFIELD 3 ALL OF US KNOW AND LOVE! THIS GAME IS BULLLSHIT! IF YOU WON’T FIX, THEN I WANT MY FUCKING MONEY BACK! I PRE-ORDER THIS GAME, WHICH MEANS I PAID ABOUT $65 OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY! YOU SUCK BALLS NOW DICE! I’AM NEVER EVER BUYING YOUR GAMES EVER AGAIN OR PLAYING BATTLEFIELD 3! ARE YOU HIDING BECAUSE YOU’R AFRIAD TO FACE ALL OF YOUR ANGRY FANS! I HAVE BEEN A BATTLEFIELD LOVER SINCE BAD COMPANY. GO CHANGE THE FUCKING GAME RIGHT FUCKING NOW! YOU HEAR ME! WE WANT IT CHANGE BACK FUCKING NOW!

    • killuminati360 04.13.12 at 06:18

      wow. u mad bro? THANKS DICE! “You guys” just made my f@!king war game MORE AWESOME!!

    • Dnice704 04.13.12 at 12:16

      A phrase i like to use is “IT’S A EA THING” some many people complain about the game the have to change it. EA has done this to a lot of great games for example Fight Night : Champions one of the best boxing games out intill the skilled challenged kids start to complain because there getting knocked to fast and EA had to update it now no one plays it because it takes no skill to win

    • warmonger367 04.13.12 at 16:10

      The next day, he finds out how much better the game is now and that its not DICE’s fault that the patch ruined your favorite things to do. (rape with USAS FRAG, kill people with MAVS)

    • Justinbro13 04.14.12 at 04:55

      I know bf3 can get frustrating and shitty,but i could never say im not going to play it again.That would be the biggest lie i ever told.

      • sonicdragon1234 04.14.12 at 07:28

        My battlefield 3 game is literally in my closet right now in a bag.

    • aH3RDofTURTL3S 04.16.12 at 01:24

      Bad Company came out 4 years ago, compared to many other players that a pretty small amount of time to be a battlefield fan, so it’s not something i would list to try and validate your all caps rage

    • wesm87 04.16.12 at 22:07

      you are a penis

  • drumscarinbr 04.13.12 at 00:08

    Let me first say that I apologize about the long posts. My other one that is on page 5 of this thread was lengthy too, but it needed to be, sorry.

    I have posted this feedback many times over with no response or acknowledgement from EA/DICE, so I’m posting it here too as a last resort. I have seen very similar comments throughout all of the official forums as well, since the game was launched.

    The HUD elements in this game are beyond obtrusive. They really impact and hinder gameplay, IMO.

    This is what I mean:

    1. Please use the conquest flag capturing indicator that is in BF Bad Company 2. Do not bring up the large circular ‘C’ meter right in the middle of the screen just above the gun’s sights, as it just obscures the player’s view far too much. Just stick with BFBC2′s audible ‘ticking’ meter at the bottom left of the screen.

    2. Please reduce all icons and fonts by @25% for the console. Most people use larger screens these days and if you compare console to PC, it is noticeably smaller. This looks better and opens up the screen more. Can you mirror the sizes of the fonts/icons on PC over to the console and/or give the player two sizing options?

    3. Please remove the names of the conquest capture points/flags (warehouse, docks, construction site, etc.) and just stick with A, B, D, etc. This does NOTHING for the player and it just clutters up the screen even more. I HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM IN COMMUNICATING TO MY SQUAD THAT “I’M CAPTURING B”, for example. If you insist that those names must be kept in the game, then why not just list them on the large map, when you press the start button, or are choosing a spawn point? IMO, this is just extra font that obscures your view of more important things…….LIKE THE ENEMY!

    4. Treat the way your squad’s (green) name tags show, just as the other (blue) team mates, by that I mean don’t show their name unless you point your sights directly at them. Just show their green kit icon (wrench, cross-hair, medic symbol/cross) to distinguish them from the rest of your friendlies.

    5. Remove the squad leader icon (star) from the player, just leave it next to their name in the lower left squad list. This star should especially be removed from the other blue team member’s names……..there’s no point in knowing who the squad leader is in a squad that you’re not in. In many rounds you see that there are 3 or 4 players that are in squads by themselves, making them the squad leader. Now you have the star and triangle floating around, totally unnecessary.

    I realize some of these things may seem small, but I think you’ll agree that collectively, they add up to a bunch of on screen clutter that obscures your view and detracts from the beauty of the game.

    • BlankSpac3 04.13.12 at 01:12

      agreed, I play on a hardcore realism server with NOTHING on the screen not even the HUD and I find it 10x better playing experience simply because nothing is distracting me. My HP and where everyone is on my team is not a concern as I can just turn my character and see the arrows around the map.

    • FiLtHRoT 04.13.12 at 07:47

      you tell em

    • Justinbro13 04.14.12 at 04:58

      Like they always say,dont try to fix anything thats not broke.

    • EliteRifleman 04.17.12 at 12:55

      You know I never thought about half that stuff you mentioned but I totally agree. Especially about the circular flag capture icon.

  • the_bradlesnake 04.12.12 at 17:37

    I still want the Battlefield 1943 version where no one starts with flags and both teams start on a carrier and have to fly or use a boat to get the island and then start capping…

  • AlexandER-i0_0i 04.12.12 at 17:19

    “… and now most recently turning Lead Designer for Battlefield 3: Armored Kill that launches this autumn (which I’m very excited about!)”

    Paper Tanks!!! –> No more excited about!

    • E7-2521 04.12.12 at 22:53

      They aren’t paper tanks. They are realistic.

      • aH3RDofTURTL3S 04.13.12 at 00:28

        hardly. an Abrams main battle tank has taken over 7 RPG’s before and kept the crew alive. I believe you mean to say balanced not realistic.

        • Doldol 04.13.12 at 16:10

          True sadly the Russian tank is way weaker then the M1 irl, still the Tanks should be buffed.

      • BlankSpac3 04.13.12 at 01:05

        If a tank shoots you from behind, you have a small chance of getting one hit. If not one hit, your going to have less than 30% health left. Its bullshit, the last match I played I saw 4 engineers running after a tank. yeah… realistic my ass…

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