What is Titan Factory?
Titan Factory 1.0 was the very first Titan Mode map we worked on after picking up the Minimum property from its original developers, Timegate. The level was in bad shape, largely unfinished and totally untested, a situation which makes sense given the unfinished state of both Minimum and Titan Mode at the time. The overall layout boils down to two cramped spawn rooms on each end of the level, with four smaller creep spawn rooms in the middle that connect together to form a large mess of an arena. It has some catwalks, and a basement area that runs underneath the center, but otherwise that’s about it.
What is wrong with it?
Quite a bit. Long story short, Titan Factory is, by far, the weakest of the Titan Mode levels. It’s boring and uninteresting. It wasn’t very well designed in the first place and, being the first level we worked on, we lacked experience regarding what made a great Titan Mode level. Even thornier is the fact that we were in the process of making major changes to the game mode itself while trying to bring the level to completion. Most importantly, Titan Factory lacks many of the standards set forth in our other Titan Mode leves: floor-based barriers, modern vs ancient visual fiction, and Power Cores as the ultimate objectives.
Titan Factory’s layout is uninspiring, flat, and awkward. The spawn rooms are perhaps the worst part of Titan Factory – rather than giving the spawning team a position of power, someplace safe, it can be incredibly easy to choke off a team and keep them locked in their spawn. There are three exits from the spawn areas, each one is overlooked by at least one catwalk. Before we implemented the Spawn Container system, it was possible to sit on the main path overlooking the pit and not even let the team out of their spawn at all.
The four creep spawns are also poorly designed. They actually violate the general guidelines for creep spawns. We’d prefer creep spawns to be somewhere neutral that both teams can fight over, so that they’re a point of contention. But the way the level is set up, it’s very easy to play passively, ignore the enemy team, claim one side of the level as your team’s “creep side,” then just farm. If an enemy attack is overwhelming, it’s easy to retreat to the other creep spawn.
The level has some awkward areas. The center between the two Titan paths is a cramped mess, with a drop that leads to the mostly-neglected basement. We placed the Golden Creep spawn in that area, but other than that the basement remains largely useless (except for the occasional flank.) Elevators up to the catwalks are poorly placed. The layout often leads to cumbersome matches.
To make a long story short: Titan Factory just isn’t up to the standards of the other Titan Mode levels. To read part 2 of this series, which covers what we’ve done to improve the map, click here!