Inside DICE: Creating an arena for fierce competitive gameplay in Aftermath

While all four maps in Battlefield 3: Aftermath are themed around the same concept of a post-earthquake environment, they all play differently. In this map overview, we discuss how Talah Market brings fierce competitive gameplay into focus.

Team play is always at the forefront when designing maps at the DICE studio, and Talah Market – internally nicknamed simply “Rubble” – is no exception. A lot of the designers at the studio are big fans of classic competitive shooters like Counter-Strike, and some even have backgrounds as semi-professional or professional players. For Aftermath, we wanted to bring some of that old-school shooter tradition into the mix. Our goal: To create a fiercely competitive map where it’s kill or get killed. We created this blog-unique behind the scenes flythrough of Talah Market that shows some of its distinguishing features.

Symmetry brings energy
The way we bring competitiveness to the forefront is by carefully designing the map, deciding where to place walls, covers, streets, plazas, and buildings. One very important area for us was to make it as symmetrical as possible – the thought here being that symmetry brings a simplicity and with it a focused kind of energy into the game.

Symmetry brings an aspect to the gameplay that has always been important in competitive gaming: Once you learn the map, you know it by heart no matter where you are positioned on it. There are no real surprises in terms of the ways you can navigate the map – the challenge instead lies in using your skills within the clearly defined confines of the battlefield. It’s not necessarily “better” than the traditional vast and open Battlefield maps like Caspian Border or Operation Firestorm, but it’s a slightly different flavor of Battlefield.

The desired gameplay shaped how we built the map, rather than the other way around. We wanted to cater for the most competitive players out there by building a level with an extremely streamlined flow. So while the map Epicenter (that you could read about in this earlier blog post) is an exciting and sometimes unpredictable battlefield featuring post-quake tremors, Talah Market is free from anything that can bring an element of randomness to the game. The key to designing this map has been to provide exactly the right amount of cover options, and to make sure that the map has great maneuverability at all times.

Symmetry created some challenges that needed solving, though. Like how do you build a level that plays the same on both sides, but still has a varied look and feel to it? The answer in this case is that the level contains multiple art themes to make the different areas feel distinct from one another. The challenge becomes a bit more complicated than that, though. Traditional shooters have players spawn mostly on one side of the map, but Battlefield spawns work more like a grid, making it more unpredictable how the teams rotate in the map. With this in mind, all areas in Talah Market had to be built in such a way that they can function as standalone combat encounters.

Play it your way
The symmetry aspect shouldn’t be misread as an attempt to force everyone into playing the same way. Rather, we are making sure that the map encourages different play styles. If you enjoy sniping, there is a long street with an open area where you can make good use of your long range engagement skills. If you like big standoffs, the market and its courtyards will be great for mid-range encounters. In addition, there are very tight streets that form a maze with fast paced close quarters action.

In a way Talah Market plays more like an “arena” than your typical Rush mode “journey” (like Operation Métro from the base game, for example). This is the map where, more than any other, you play to show off your skills both as an individual and as a tightly knit team. The focus here is not on scanning a lot of areas for potential enemies, instead bringing focus back to the second to second firefight itself, and how to best use the easy to read environment.

We believe this map will be the perfect fit for players who like to be more competitive, where every step gained on the enemy feels like a victory in itself. When play testing the map at the office, there is always that intense tug-of-war between teams where you know that your every move matters.

We hope you will enjoy this map together with the other three we have created for you in Battlefield 3: Aftermath. This themed expansion pack is out this December and is included with Battlefield 3: Premium. You can also purchase it separately.

Comments
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  • pb74w 02.27.13 at 12:08

    Very nice. It is really pity that on PS3 we will not get such a nice picture.

  • JayPaul9 02.18.13 at 07:26

    This was made my David Spiniard wasn’t it! And that’s David’s “design” that he had in mind for Strike at Karkand right? The same symmetry in all parts of the map. It’s on Seine Crossing too, and ill bet you David made that map too!

  • Rave-UK 01.29.13 at 15:42

    Keep the dialogue open DICE. It’s now been over two months since the post…

  • WarsawDS 01.26.13 at 02:49

    No matter the efforts to create excellent maps – and really are – the camperboys always will be there to destroy the game’s dynamic.

  • Wojtek42 01.19.13 at 23:01

    The maps are works of art.

  • hichem1987 01.19.13 at 19:20

    WE WONT THE MAPS OF
    BC2

  • styrvolt 01.02.13 at 11:16

    BF3 premium is worth every buck – and more. Year 2012 has been a blast. Dice, thanks for countless hours of fun!

  • styrvolt 01.02.13 at 11:15

    BF3 premium is worth every buck. Year 2012 has been a blast. Dice, thanks for countless hours of fun!

  • svlym92 12.22.12 at 16:31

    Hope Dice would sell collections of Battlefield 3 for 60 bucks but not the premium edtion. I like boxes.

  • HARDMIX1933 12.21.12 at 18:45

    Please give us non premium member 1 or more maps to play or game modes
    Please!!!!

  • HARDMIX1933 12.21.12 at 18:42

    Add a new game mode for the next bf3 update or for bf4 for free air fight & naval fight
    For the naval fight we must fight against enemy ship to take control,,
    For air fight only jet fighting
    Please!!!!!!!

  • gammminghulk 12.19.12 at 17:44

    A breif discussion and tips and triks all kind of games including PC,mobile,Video,wii xbox and gaming accesories here ! http://www.gaminghulk.com/forum/index.php

    Request to provide some best browser based games,Which video game console would love to buy,Playing with gaming mouse vs normal mouse,Running Windows hidden object games on Linux platform,Good software to create flash games,Requirement of gaming keyboard and gaming mouse,Simulation games are getting important day by day.

  • gammminghulk 12.19.12 at 16:54

    [URL]http://www.gaminghulk.com/forum/index.php

  • gammminghulk 12.19.12 at 16:53

    A breif discussion and tips and triks all kind of games including PC,mobile,Video,wii xbox and gaming accesories.

    Request to provide some best browser based games,Which video game console would love to buy,Playing with gaming mouse vs normal mouse,Running Windows hidden object games on Linux platform,Good software to create flash games,Requirement of gaming keyboard and gaming mouse,Simulation games are getting important day by day.

  • gammminghulk 12.19.12 at 16:52

    waooo

  • ElevatedBuckle 12.18.12 at 22:18

    anyone anyone anyone helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooooo

  • ElevatedBuckle 12.17.12 at 23:41

    how can you play normal conquest on this map. Getting tired of only playing 3 new maps in the rotation. Kind of like skipping sharqi penninsula on epic battles server on the regular dice servers. A reply would be great. Don’t DICE or EA play on their own servers.

  • cubeline82 12.15.12 at 12:41

    WHERE is Normal Conquest on Market Talah? no every one want play CQA!

  • Coreyweb 12.14.12 at 15:53

    DICE….no other game even comes close to the quality of BF3. It’s just on a completely different level than any other game I’ve played.

    No other game has so many awesome maps…..and no other game has maps that you feel like you’re “in a world.” Rather than just running around in an arena. Every map I play on Battlefield just feels…..like I’m running around in an actual environment. Nothing feels forced. I freakin’ love it.

    I can’t even freakin’ wait till you have more power on your hands with the next consol to see what you do. Battlefield 4 will be the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

    Thanks for working so hard and being so awesome.

  • Alkanida 12.13.12 at 21:45

    I joined a Booster Lobby and served them right
    Enjoy the show here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI6oy5JMFyA

  • stevieray1011 12.10.12 at 19:56

    i love playing tactically with my clan and squads so when you guys make things like this i love it im able to use high low aroung corners and breach rooms and always love having firefights in things like the arena. keep it up dice and when you come out with the next thing Battlefield four please keep this in mind and keep it tactical and realistic like always.

  • XXXX__RICH__XXXX 12.09.12 at 00:55

    Best Map Pack and server update EVER, the gameplay now feels so smooth and the lagg has been minimized a lot……or at least for my part. :-)
    Other than that, then i just love the new maps….witch is also the best ever…closely followed by the Close Quarter Pack and the BTK Pack.

    Have played this game since day one and this is the best thing that has happened yet. Just goes to show that DICE does whatever they can to make this game better and better….even though its lights years ahead of the other shooters out there. No game feels so smooth, with gun feeling so solid not like toy guns, witch is what you see in 99% of the other shooters.

    SO…if you read this “DICE”, then pad yourself on the shoulder and have a GREAT Christmas…witch lots of holiday fun….:-)

  • patzivota 12.06.12 at 22:33

    the new player models are really cool but without new voices it feels odd and incomplete.

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