Combat space exercise

Ghost Recon


The Challenges

How to create a good combat space for different playstyles

The design of combat spaces can be different according to the type of games we work on. Combat spaces are not the same in an FPS, a Beat’em up or a Twin Stick Shooter. I chose to work on a Third Person Shooter combat space. It allows me to create an interesting layout especially through a cover system generally used in this genre.

It's supposed to be an exercise, I didn't want to recreate an entire gameplay system when using an existing context is much better. So I decided to work on a combat space that we can find in the open world of the latest Ghost Recon games.

I designed my combat space according to the base of the Ghost Recon's 3Cs. I chose to take playstyles that are similar to the Wildlands's one, where players can choose their weapons and capacities  before or during the action. It allowed me to create characters that choose their playstyles and change it as they want : Long range shooter, Middle range tank, Middle range flanker and Short range shooter. Like that, it can be played by four players or less.

Ingredients and Metrics

Crate & Cover Railings:
1 meter high
The players can crouch behind to cover themselves. They can step over it.

Marble Bloc & large crate:
1. 75 m high / 2 m high
The players can stand up and be covered. They can 't step over it.


 2 meters high
The players can stand up and be covered They can’t step over it from the side but they can jump on it from the back and be covered in crouching position


Construction Truck:
2 meters high
The players can stand up and be covered. They can’t step over it. They can shoot trough the excavator and have a chance to take less damage


1 meter high
The players are blocked and not covered.

Marble Surface:
3 meters high
Representative of the marble structure of the level. The players can’t climb it but they can fall from it like the enemies.



Ladder & Zipline:
The players can interact with it to move from a point to another.

The players can interact with it to climb a surface.



The players can shoot them and create an explosion or burning areas.


The first spawning zone is always the same for every scenarios.


The fact that the enemies are already on place fit well with the objective and the story of the space.



Second scenario

During the beginning of the second wave the enemies arrive by boat.

  It’s offering an opportunity for the players to take the advantage of the verticality.


This gives the opposite situation compared to the third wave.

Third scenario

In this scenario, after finishing the second wave, the players take the last enemies' defence zone.

They have to deal with a wave that comes from a  helicopter. They rappel down and take the middle area as their defence zone.

  • Focusing on combat space theory and its replayability
  • Defining intentions and references
  • Defining metrics and creating gameplay ingredients
  • Creating 3D layout in Unreal Engine 4
  • Creating documentation

Work Highlights

Location : a Marble quarry in Bolivia

Made in 3 days

Unreal Engine


My intentions were as follows :


  • Create a space big enough to let the 4 players experiment with their environment and deal with their threat accordingly.


  • Multiple layers of verticality to support the different playstyles


  • All the elements of the space can be used by the players but also by the enemies


  • Create a feeling of siege, the players have to keep their position and stay in danger to save people

Time of the day : The action takes place at the end of afternoon, 4pm

Synopsis : A militia took control of a Quarry, using the locals as labor force. Being part of a special unit, the players must save them.

Ambiance / Flavor  : Rock and Dust , strong wind but sunny weather.


Objectives : The players have to free the locals from the militia. They have to stand against waves of enemies, organize the locals escape and evacuate the site with them.


Players abilities  : The players can shoot at explosive objects to create explosions. They can also shoot at some rope to make rocks or enemies fall. The players can use ziplines or ladders to get around faster.


Graphic References

Scenarios and enemy waves

The focus was put on being able to replay the combat space at least 3 times with a different experience each time.

The combat space is including 5 spawning points for the enemies where they will create their defence zones accordingly. The players must deal with the situation and build defence zones as well. The playstyles can generate different situations depending on the player's choices. They will be defined later.


The first wave is composed of 12 normal enemies.


They spawn when one of the players enter the trigger box at the entry of the level.


They are already in the field, they act like soldiers and patrol.


The players can arrive from two different spawn points represented by blue arrows

First scenario - wave 1

The second wave is composed of 10 normal enemies and 2 Elite enemies.


They spawn after all the enemies of the first wave are dead.


They go to the defence zone close to the mines


They come from the biggest entry of the mines. These enemies act like backup for the first wave.

First scenario - wave 2

First scenario - wave 3

The third wave is composed of 13 normal enemies and 3 Elite enemies.


They spawn after all the enemies of the second wave are dead.


They go to the defence zone at the main entry of the site.


They arrive with a truck that will serve as an additional cover.


At the end of this wave, the locals will regroup in the Truck at the blue star, and leave the space.


Long Range Shooter

For the purpose of replayability and create an interesting layout, the combat space is designed to accommodate different playstyles.

It’s a work on different aspects of the combat space: It’s a work on the cover system and how the players will use it. It’s also a work on the layout itself, the players should navigate in the space easily without being blocked by anything, each of the playstyles should be able to find a way to be covered and find good lines of sight.


The long range shooters have to find the right spot to practice their playstyle. One of their main interest is to find a line of sight that can allow them to shoot at an enemy without putting themselves in danger.


Specific spots are created for them. They can be used to have a view on the different spawn points.


These spots are mainly placed near spawning points putting them in danger and forcing them to move.

Middle Range Flanker

Short Range Shooter

The combat space is built with different layers of verticality. This component is essential for the Flankers.


Thanks to this, they can navigate around the map from top to the bottom.


It takes them some time to go around the entire combat space, but they will be constantly covered, or they can cut the path at their own risk.

For the short-range shooters, the focus was on the management of covers.


The idea is to give several options for the players at each cover placement.

There is also a nuance to make between the different covers and their orientations in space. Covers of 2m will be more efficient than 1m ones where the player must crouch. However, the cover of 2m can be not oriented as desired  and can protect only in one direction.

Middle Range Tank

This playstyle is based on crowd control and keep a position safe.


They actually suit any kind of playstyles but preferably in one zone : the defence zone of the players. So, they have covers and use verticality to contain the wave of enemies and find better lines of sight.

Benoît Cassin