Smuggler’s Lagoon is a Far Cry 4 custom map that I made in the game’s editor. I made it into a Assault-map, which simply means that the objective is to defeat all the enemies on the map.
The map takes place in a hidden lagoon, where a band of notorius smugglers have built their hideout. After searching high and low after this gang, you have finally found the secret hideout. They've hid themselves inside a lagoon, previously untouched by civilization. I designed the map so that the player had freedom in playing the way they would like to play Far Cry, be it the stealthy approach or the guns blazing-approach.
Far Cry 4 Assault map
Made in Far Cry 4 Map Editor
Created in 2 weeks half-time
Iterations on design
The actual size that you can make maps in the editor is fairly small, but the gameplay of Far Cry 4 endorses very big areas. This forces me to enclose the player in the map. I didn’t want my map to just take place in some crater. That felt to simple and unnatural. This is why a lagoon fit my vision perfectly. It was a natural way to have the player be in a environment where they are enclosed.
In the early drafts of my map it was designed as Outpost-mission. The objective in those are that the player attacks a base that has multiple alarms that the enemies can use to call for reinforcements if they notice the player. Apart from that the two game modes are the same; just kill everyone.
The reason why I changed the game mode was because Outpost-missions heavily promote the stealthy approach. Killing the enemies without triggering the alarm is easiest if you don’t get noticed, killing them one by one and it feels the most rewarding.
If the player goes guns blazing, the enemies will most likely trigger the alarm and call in reinforcements.
Unlike the enemies that has been placed out, these guys just goes in without much rime or reason. They seldom feel like much of a challenge, but rather a annoyance. This always makes me feel like I failed the objective, even if I technically didn’t.
But I also wanted the narrative to fit in with the mission design. These enemies are supposed to be smugglers that hide out in a lagoon. Where would their reinforcements even come from?
I felt like the Assault-mode offered a more fitting narrative and the player could experience a stronger sense of gameplay-freedom and they don’t have to worry about triggering any alarms and therefore they can use whatever tactic and route they want without feeling like they failed.
Designing the lagoon
I wanted the lagoon to feel like it was a place of untouched nature that has been disturbed. The closer the player gets to the smuggler’s base, the more destruction and death the player would see. I wanted a feeling of reckless abuse from the smugglers in the lagoon.
When I was in the early iterations of the map I tried having some wild predatory animals in the nature-part of the map. The problem with this was that the animals got to the smugglers before the player did. Players could be driving up to the base and see the Enemies killed-counter raising without them actually doing anything. Because of this I had to have enemy hunters guarding the entrance, so that they tamed any wolf that got too close. The map still feels alive, but it would’ve been fun to have some animals that weren’t as aggressive.
I wanted the smugglers to not feel like the most experienced bunch of thugs. As if their hidden base was more a accident and less a stroke of genius. To relay this to the player I made their base messy with flasks and trash everywhere. I placed some narrative in the base to further show this such as the base having a bunch of monkeys around, their targets having a bunch of throwing knives on the ground and the mountain goats having eaten parts of the fence.
With dynamic gameplay in mind
I wanted to make full use of the player freedom that Far Cry offers and designed different routes for the players to take. At the start of the level I placed a car for the players that want to just go guns blazing immediatley. But even if the player wasn’t sure of how the wanted to approach the map at the start, I placed a grappling point that is visible when driving on the road leading to the base. If the player chooses that path, they reach a small camp before the base. Here the player can get a bow and also get access to the cliffs overlooking the base. They can get a clear overview from all angles of the base before commiting to the tactic that they want to use.
For the player that instead chooses to go in guns blazing I placed a body armor, shotgun and grenade launcher at the main entrance of the smuggler’s base. These are the two main routes to enter the base, but I made other routes for the player to chooses to take the backways in. For example I placed a grappling point by the harbor as an extra way in.
As I’ve touched on before I wanted this map to really support the player’s freedom, because I feel that the option to choose is one of Far Cry’s greatest strength.
The editor was fairly simple with limitations that I discovered during the making of this map. There is very little control over what the AI did, so I was forced to trick it. One example was that I wanted snipers to be on the lookout in the watchtowers, but they always wandered off instead of actually guarding. To force them to stay there I simply removed the ladder to the watchtowers! That way they had no way to get down.