The Cake is a medium sized action-oriented Unreal Tournament Capture The Flag map designed for 8 or 6 players.
The map is designed for dramatic changes of pace and basic but balanced strategic planning. Ideally the setting of the map should be a space station or similar sci-fi ambient.
The gimmick: the cake
The gimmick of The Cake is the cake-looking structure at the center of the map. The structure works both as a simple hill where getting to the top allows for a tactical height advantage but also as a way for player to quickly get cover: going up a level gives coverage, at least until the pursuing player follows.
On the top of the cake are placed a rocket launcher and a minigun, two health packs and a redeemer. Getting to the top, however, is not free of risks. To make climbing with Translocator less overpowered and make players think before teleporting a level up, some killing fans are placed in the second ring.
The circle motif of the cake is repeated throughout the map, as all rooms are circular and even the placement of the spawning room and the flag room is based on an ideal section of a circle.
Originally the “cake” was supposed to slowly spin. The first section would spin clockwise, the second counter-clockwise and the top would stay still. This worked very well in local play, and created very interesting dynamics (notably by making the use of the Translocator much riskier) but, unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to make the segments move smoothly during LAN play.
The spawn room
The room where a team spawns can be both used in defensive and aggressive ways. If they have a sniper rifle, defenders will be able to shoot attackers passing the bridge visible from the big window, which is wide enough to not allow defender to camp because it keeps them too exposed. Also, the room contains a BioRifle, which is especially useful for protecting the flag in the closest room. Attackers will be able, if quick moving, to gain the best protected access to the flag room.
The flag room
There are no long sight lines to or from the flag room. The reason is that I wanted to have easy enter and exit from the room. The flow of the room is very circular: all entry and exit points in the room are placed in a way that creates circular motions. The room is designed for quick incursions and quick exits. If the flag is stolen, defenders have a better chance retaking it by using the spawn room or the closest part of the main room.
I tested the map throughout development and this is the feedback I got:
- The map is fun and balanced
- The weapons are well chosen and placed in interesting locations – the placement of the Biorifle, in particular, was appreciated by several players
- The map is small and may not be suited for teams of 5 or 6
- The cake structure provides good variety of situations. Some players were slightly frustrated by the fact that it’s not always easy to climb up one level in the structure, but others appreciated that because it gives a bigger advantage to those who do climb, so I decided to not add more jump pads or ramps