Last Dance is a multiplayer map for Unreal Tournament 3 based on the layout of the original DM-17 map for Quake 3. Last Dance takes place in a rooftop disco club on top of a skyscraper that overlooks a futuristic cityscape, and everything about this map, from the frenetic gameplay to the disco floors, reinforces this funky mood.
- Engine: Unreal Tournament 3
- Map Type: Multiplayer Deathmatch (2-8 players)
- Dev Time: 80 hours over 1.5 months
- 17 new or modified materials
- Custom disco ball mesh and textures
- 7 unique scripted sequences (including interactive dance floors, homicidal disco ball, and dancing spectators)
- Catch Disco Fever: Create a humorous map that captures the essence of disco in both its look and play style
- Use Scripting to Keep it Funky: This map constitutes my first efforts with Kismet and matinee, and I wanted to use them to reinforce the disco theme and enhance the gameplay
- Create a Bumping Club: Create an environment that looks beautiful and feels alive, even if it means creating custom assets
What Went Right:
- The disco theme came through really well
- The scripted additions to the gameplay (especially the disco ball) added a fun, new element
- The flow of the level captured the fast and frenetic pace of both the original game and disco
What Went Wrong:
- Overreliance on BSP left some sections feeling blocky and less detailed
- Making more changes to the standard DM-17 layout could have made the level feel more unique
I was fresh off my first team game project when I received the assignment to remake the famous DM-17 map. That first project was an emotional platformer about a bear made of stars that sacrificed itself to save its child. Apparently, I thought that emotional style would translate well into a game where the announcer frequently yells out thinks like, “Triple Kill!” and “Rampage!”
My original concept for the level was going to take place in a land of rolling green hills, white marble, and a cleansing fire that rolled through the landscape and took the player on a journey of rebirth and discovery.
Not even considering the horrible scope issues this presented for a wee lad who was about to get his first hands-on experience with an Unreal engine, let’s move on to the biggest problem with this concept: my concept wouldn’t work not because it was bad (although it was kinda pretentious), but because it just didn’t fit the style of the game.
If I hadn’t come to my senses, I would be here trying to write about how the announcer yelling out, “Killing Spree!” is actually a deep commentary on the nature of death in our modern society. But instead, I get to write about how I made a disco ball shoot rockets at people. I think I made the right choice.
Unreal Tournament 3 is on the faster side of the FPS spectrum. That frenetic, fast-paced feel permeates everything from the weapons to the freedom of player movement, and it complements the speed and fun of disco music as well. I designed the map in a way that would capture both the style of the original game and the world of disco.
Unreal Tournament 3 does a fantastic job of communicating key points of interest in their multiplayer maps. Movement, lights, and particle effects all draw attention to the weapons and health packs and jump pads positioned around the map. I maintained that level of communication in this level, but I adjusted some of them to stand out more in a bumping disco scene and better communicate gameplay information.
I simply couldn’t do a disco level without including some kind of disco ball, but I wanted it to be an interactive piece of the environment instead of a static setpiece. Thus, I came up with a simple concept: create a disco ball that shoots rockets at players. Simple, elegant, and classy. I modeled and created two materials for the ball (lit and unlit), and I scripted the ball sequence to begin every time the level played the song “Burn, Baby, Burn!”
One of my goals was to create an environment that felt dynamic and alive, so I wanted to fill the disco club with dancers! Again, UT3 does not have a lot of ready-made dance animations, so I improvised by using some of the existing animations in creative ways. In addition to using the obvious taunts, I also slowed down, broke up, and adjusted many of the death and impact animations to simulate a host of dance moves.
The dance floor is another iconic element of disco, immortalized in scenes like the John Travolta dance scene from Saturday Night Fever. But this is the world of video games, and I knew gamers could never be content with just one disco floor–so I made three.
Second Level Disco Floors
The Electric Gardens
The Center Pipeline