Ns2_Power is a level designed to be intuitive and simple for newcomers while still allowing for a competitive and challenging experience for oldschool ns players. To that end, I decided to focus my efforts on keeping the design of the level straightforward and put more detail into making each res room and tech point unique and instantly recognizable. I adopted a variant on the basic figure 8 layout with 5 tech points and 7 res nodes. The end goal was to eliminate a common frustration for new players: getting lost in the sprawling sci-fi complexes that are the heart of the ns world. With that said, each power grid area of the map looks completly different from another through the use of varied color schemes and landmarks. To avoid making things look too out of place or random, I tied the map together through a common theme of yin and yang, represented by the positive blue power streams and negative red power streams. Most rooms have a nod to this dualistic signature in some form or another depending on their relative position to the rather unique center of the map. The result is the Alterra Idle Fusion Reactor Plant on Minerva Prime or ns2_power.The Core
The center of the map needed to be both an important strategic location and a suitable combat area for all classes of marines and aliens. The original design was for a shrine-like theme with tall columns and a catwalk system that surrounded the core over a chasm. I scrapped the catwalk idea when I realized that I needed more space for Onos travel and buildings on the all-important center tech point. There are effectively 4 ways into this room at each cardinal direction, including a ramp that drops into the floor at the far end. I expect most of the fighting to be in and around the room but I also didn't want it to become an insta-win for the team that locked it down. With that in mind, the aliens have vents leading from their start that outlet very near the core and the marines have a tram system that carries them to a station very near (but not in siegable range, although I believe this is LoS now) the center tech point. This should allow for organized comebacks even when a side has captured the center as their 3rd tech point. Eventually I would like to make the core open and close to varied degrees based on which team controls the tech point. The open, powered core would brighten the room with it's light and the underpowered, closed core would make the room darker.Operations
The marine start location was designed to have a feeling of a home on the precipice of danger. The cobalt blue and fiery orange are made to contrast in a way that gives the impression that while you are safe in front of the hearth, the night outside is waiting to consume you. The hanging bundle of monitors on the ceiling are a tribute to the original Starcraft's Terran briefing screen. Perhaps in a latter build of the game, the screens can display live views from security cameras from around the level? The lighting is rather dark and the area seems confided in the screenshot, but the unfinished room behind the camera branches into a broad "L" shape that contains a brighter res node and tram entrance tunnel area. There is also a pre-sealed door in Operations, only openable by an Onos or dynamic infestation reaching the bordering res node power grid. If the Kharaa team are able to break this door open, it makes the final elimination of Marine start much more viable.The Plug
The Plug is the marine's natural tech point expansion. I wanted to give the area a strong but dwindling quality, so I employed a lighting scheme of twilight blue and sunset gold to give an impression of standing between the calm of the day and the chaos of the night. It's position between marine start and the core makes it an ideal spot for a defensive "castle" design. The tech point itself is elevated above 3 of the 4 entrances into the room. Fences and support beams allow the marines to get semi-clear lines of sight on direct incoming attackers but the "back door" connects to the adjoining res node room and allows the aliens a chance for a sneak attack on the tech point if they take the long way around.Socket 7
Socket 7 is the connecting res node area to The Plug. Being tucked away in the far corner of the map, this room needed a special, "hidden" quality to it's color scheme and design. I wanted this area to have a goldmine twist on it's sci-fi powerplant look. The res node itself is tucked away in the wall in a way that it perhaps could be hidden if the facility were fully running properly. The two weld bots hanging in their repair bays are just decoration for now, but perhaps they could be activated as a bonus for marines claiming the res node and powering up that section of the grid? This room is also my place to have a little fun with inside jokes. Of course I have my NS2 map pre-req FWLBT here. But why Socket "7"? If you have been using Spark long enough, you'll know the answer to the naming quirk.Neutral Breaker
This res node connects with the core down the middle of the map. It is an important alien res capture point not only because it is the closest to their start point, but also because it has a weldable door that allows the marines an alternate access to assault their main hive. I really had no preconceived theme when I started building this room. The eventual "beehive" transformers and "honeycomb" wall outlets materialized as the res node came together. The rust and red colors just came from this being in the negative power stream side of the map. The Surge Breaker res node on the other side of the core will probably have a similiar blue theme when completed.
This is just a rough overview of the pre-playtested version of the map. Keep in mind that the halls that lead out of marine start and alien spawn at the very top and bottom are either going to be weldable/onos breakable locked doors, alternate res node areas or completly scrapped once I get an idea of how the map plays. Several areas are unfinished which would account for their empty look.
I am currently sitting at about 40% complete. While most of the marine side of the map besides the tram system is done, I still have alot to do on the kharaa side. Still to come is the "Dark Cathedral" themed tech point The Switch, the "Viper Pit" themed res node Crescent Coil and the "Gateway to Hell" themed alien start Transformer Outlet. I'd appreciate any comments or criticisms of the map. I have no illusions that this is anywhere near the quality needed to become an official map, but hopefully some newbie friendly servers will pick it up for some playtesting once alpha rolls around so I can clean up the layout and balance things where needed.