Open World Points Of Interest

Open world POIs that allowed diversity in style but still respected game play metrics.


During downtime and while multiplayer maps were going through the art pipeline I was given a few tasks to create open world POIs for Defiance. These POIs would be where players would complete story missions and side quests. During this process I would work very closely with the content designers to make sure the play spaces met their requirements while also meeting with the artists during my block-out phase to make sure I was going to deliver content they were able to work with without fear of delivering something they were unsure what it could turn into.

Competitive Multiplayer Map - Waterfront - 6v6 Deathmatch

Challenged with leading the charge to bring a map from concept to completion in 6 weeks for Gamescom 2012.


I was challenged by the upper management staff at Trion Worlds to create the map and user flow for Gamescom 2012. All of this was designed, concepted, and built in just under 6 weeks and this included not only the map but the custom UI/UX flow required for the show.  The team came together and delivered a map and a build that we were not only proud of, but a build that showed extremely well and ended up in both digital and print media forms.

Cooperative Multiplayer Map - Explosions 101 - 4 Player Instance with Vehicles

The first instance in Defiance that players experienced featuring unique vehicle based combat.


Explosions 101 was the first level I designed at Trion. It is a 4 player cooperative instance with a large vehicle segment in the middle as well as a boss fight at the end. One of the key design aspects for Explosions 101 is that the player can see the final boss island only a couple minutes into exploring the level. As a player progresses the final island keeps returning to the scene so the player is continually reminded of where they are going and what they're working towards.

Level Design Examples

Main POI Design - Morton's Shipping and Distribution

Brought on for world clean up, quickly transitioned to main POI design.


I was initially brought onto the H1Z1 team to assist the Level Design team with cleaning up the world in an effort to make navigation more accessible, reduce the performance hit from environmental clutter, and clean up play spaces to allow game play to flow better in general. After a couple of short weeks I was given the opportunity to create a new POI from scratch and the following is a collection of examples of the work.

One of my main goals for the "Morton's Shipping and Distribution" POI at the time was to bring in a more constructed play-space that offered game play similar to what players may find in main stream, smaller scale, multiplayer maps. The layout was constructed with verticallity in mind which was important as the entire map, with the exception of cities, was relatively flat and very one dimensional at the time.

Competitive Multiplayer Map - Freight Yard - 16v16 Area Control

Vehicle centric combat with carefully constructed infantry play spaces.


Freight Yard was designed for high player counts and a solid number of vehicles as well. There are a few major structures in the map and most were designed to support vehicles navigating inside of them. The map did have specific multilevel infantry only structures to support players who would rather play on foot instead of behind the wheel. This was the second area control map in Defiance and much like the Military Academy it support 32 players.

Miscellaneous Buildings

A collection of random structures I created for the rest of the team to use as needed.


I'm a designer that enjoys variety and as long as it doesn't soak up a lot of time, I enjoy trying multiple things to see what would work best. During my gray-box stage on Defiance I created a ton of different buildings that came in all different shapes and sizes. Some can be seen below. For each of these buildings I would work with the content designers to make sure the play spaces fit their needs and I'd work with the artists to make sure we were staying on track on the design side.

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Competitive Multiplayer Map - Military Academy - 16v16 Area Control

Large scale control point map with vehicle support and intense interior play spaces.


For the Military Academy we wanted to a blend of large open exterior play spaces and tight intense interior play spaces. In order to accomplish this the engineering team buiit portaling tech that would allow me to cut up the level in order to maintain performance (the Maya breakdown can be seen in the lower 3 pictures). From a creative and development standpoint the teams were excited to tackle this level because it allowed us to build something in a style that was deemed impossible before the portal tech was added.

Competitive Multiplayer Map - Observatory - 8v8 Deathmatch

Based off the real world location, Chabot Space and Science Center.


Observatory is a very unique PvP map for Defiance as it was the only map that was designed after a real world location. The Chabot Space and Science Center offered a unique footprint and it was deemed a solid foundation to build a multiplayer level on.  The ruleset for this map was a straight forward 8v8 team deathmatch. The combination of verticallity in the height map as well as the quick and easy interior to exterior transitions helped the map flow extremely well and allowed it to maintain a very high pace.

General World Clean Up

Assisted with clearing out cluttered play spaces, increasing the ease of navigation, and developing a design test for applicants.


While working on the large POI mentioned above, I also had duties to go through the world and clean up some of the other general POIs and buildings. While there are only a few images below, I cleaned up over 600 buildings that are on H1Z1's current Arena. Outside of environmental clean up I was also put in charge to create a level design test for future applicants. Due to NDA, I'm unable to share that test.

Below you will find a few images of the updated playspaces I created. Ease of navigation was a primary goal and the removal of clutter while keeping the world from looking barren was also a primary goal. One of the biggest restrictions for this segment of the project was in the fact that I could not, in any shape or form, alter the overall size of the footprint of the POI. So I accomplished the requested tasks while assuring the overall footprint remained the same.

Game and Level Designer

​San Diego, CA

Anthony Morton

Metric Discovery

A world should be built on metrics you can trust. Measure twice, cut once.


When I joined the team at Trion the one thing I felt that was missing was a metrics bible. When you're building a game like a shooter, everything in the world should be built to a proper spec so the player can clearly understand what is cover, what isn't, what they can run up, what they can't, etc. The following images are some of the metrics tests that I conducted to understand some of the more basic values we used for level design in Defiance. Ideal room width, ramp angles, cover heights, cover widths, etc. I setup different rooms with different floor colors and held team play tests. Once the tests concluded I gathered feedback via email and surveys to understand what people preferred so we could make an educated decision on what our metrics should be. From this point on the game was built around the metric standards I discovered and provided.