Monaco: Traffic Jam

Games

TrafficJam_title

Traffic Jam is a level I made with the built-in level editor from the game Monaco by Pocketwatch Games.

It begins in the middle of a highway accident involving a separate group of criminals, different from the main cast. Six of the playable characters have to find the Mole and the Hacker before the authorities do, picking up the lost loot in the process.

You can play it by subscribing to the level on the Steam Workshop, it will then appear in the list of subscribed missions.

TrafficJam_SteamWorkshop

Have fun and when you’re done playing it, I’d love to receive your feedback.

Feel free to read the rest of this post if you’re interested about some of the thought process behind this map.





A couple of months ago I decided to try out the Monaco map editor and after taking a tour on the available assets, I toyed around with the idea of a getaway gone bad in a packed highway. I wanted to use cars as cover for the players but no matter how tall the cars could be in real life, the game simply lets enemies look over them. I tried placing walls hidden inside taller vehicles like trucks and vans and it worked like a charm.

TrafficJam_post1Players can’t hide behind cars in the main campaign,
thus the need for some 
awareness.

Using one of the official levels as an example of how roads were placed, I noticed how the container from a large truck could be used to hide inside and provided a good cover around it. This lead to the second set piece of this map, which is the truck container crashed into the side of a building.

While building the highway, I was placing enemies according to what I thought that made sense for the scenario, and then sculpting the gameplay around that but testing proved it to be a harder floor to sneak by than what I initially intended.

I remembered how in the latter levels of the main campaign I would cause distractions to move a group of enemies away from their patrol area, like planting C4 charges or shooting windows. With all these cars stopped in the middle of the road, they could be of better use than just hiding.

Some vehicles in Monaco are rigged with a car alarm, but only when they’re active escape exits. With a bit of trial and error, I managed to place a hand scanner on the side of a car connected to an alarm and it did the job.

TrafficJam_post2Two alarms to distract two enemies at the same time.

Unfortunately, having a building in the upper part of the map would require it to be smaller than the normal indoor areas from the main game, and I couldn’t find it believable that the players would just run around on one half of a bigger room. I just had to make due with the available space.

Without a solid idea of what this building was all about, I started working on the floors above the office that’s in front of the highway. If I didn’t know what to do with all these rooms, maybe neither did the contractors. So a floor that was under construction was in order.

Besides having a plan for the roof, only during the last two days of making this map was when I came up with the scenario of a newspaper office. Bookshelves for an archive room, printers with conveyor belts pretending to spit out newspapers, even the cliché helicopter on top of the building made sense.

TrafficJam_post3This room had no cover, so placing some hidden walls actually helped
disguise the machine that was acting like a huge printer.

The last two floors were different kinds of challenges.

The subway had to have every tile perfectly placed so that the players couldn’t just enter a carriage and jump to the other side of the tracks. So I took my time resizing the cars, changing the number of doors, moving the pillars with the same space between them, so that nothing felt it was blatantly there to block the players.

I had no idea of what to do with the sewers, even the escape route felt unoriginal. I only knew what materials to use: stone platforms surrounded by water and metal bridges connecting them. So I started drawing random shapes linked to one another on a piece of paper until something interested popped out.

One of the things that made me nervous was that after all that work, I discovered that players could actually walk over deep water tiles. The whole layout of the sewers was useless, players could simply destroy one of the railings and avoid the whole thing. So I experimented, and ended up deleting most of the water around the platforms, and filled the empty areas with water puddle decals.

The boat stayed though, because I couldn’t completely hide a car underneath a submarine and pretend it was the escape vehicle.

TrafficJam_post4See? Impossible!

In conclusion, I had a great experience with this level editor. It’s probably one of the most user friendly tools I’ve seen for content creation, and while it didn’t let me do everything I originally wanted to, there was always a workaround.

What were some of the things I wasn’t able to do? Well…
– Make the players walk on a tightrope.
– Have rain only inside a building to fake a fire sprinkler effect.
– Have wall lamps that are turned off in addition to normal and flickering ones, just for decoration.
– Make a random AvatarEscort, so that in each playthrough one of the characters that players have to save would be in one of multiple other spots, across all floors.
– Make any other door besides Unlocked Door to be unlocked, because every other door looks different from the Unlocked Door.
– Use the submarine as an escape vehicle.