Payday 2



I was part of a team of designers at Starbreeze Studios AB who were tasked to design tutorial levels for Payday 2 and the goal with my map was to teach the player some of the basic aspects of stealth in Payday 2.


This map was designed, built, scripted and arted from the ground up by me using modular assets, meaning the entire environment (apart from a few background units) has been built together using individual pieces. Including everything from walls, trims, fences and lamps to crates, ventilation ducts, water puddles, grass, rocks and even indivually placed electrical wires going along the roof tops.


And as the other tutorial maps were already existing Payday 2 maps, repurposed and redesigned for the tutorial, this map had to uphold the same quality standards, both visually and functionally, as the other tutorial levels as well as the rest of the game, to be accepted.

My first task was to create a design document containing a detailed breakdown of objectives and make a basic layout for the map, based on instructions and wishes from the producers and the game designer of Payday 2, on what they wanted to see in the level.


This was then, after some adjustments and iteration, made into an early version and slightly more detailed in-engine overview map of the level.

When the map was approved, I started working on the basic script for the level to make it playable as quickly as possible.

The diesel engine (the in-house engine for Payday 2) uses a visual scripting system, where you create and connect a network of scripting nodes of various functions and attributes in the game world itself, that follow the flow of the code as soon as the map is loaded as well as when various conditions are met or triggers are activated.




For example:

When the player enters the trigger box (white area), a signal is sent to the sequence node (yellow) which can access a range of functions that the door mesh contains, in this case enabling interaction, letting the player interact with and open the door.

A sequence trigger (blue), that is set to detect when the door has been opened, will then send a signal to an enable unit node (green), which will then activate the light actor in the middle of the room, turning the light on. I.e. door opens, light turns on.

Visually, the idea with the level was to give the player a moody atmosphere and reinforce the stealth aspect, while at the same time being readable and easy to understand what to do and where to go.




I also created a custom ground mesh for the level in Maya using vertex painting to improve the overall visual fidelity of the ground texture:

And the result in the editor:


On this map my job was to change the look of it to differentiate it from Firestarter Day 2, an already existing Payday 2 map, which the map is based on.


My pitch was that since the tutorials chronologically happen before any of the events of Payday 2, the building that is owned by the FBI in Firestarter previously used to be a police station, before they took it over.


Essentially, it is the same building, but some time prior to the events of Firestarter.


On day 1 of The Biker Heist (The clubhouse), I did some prop work in the garage as well as one of the entrances to the club house.