This level was released as part of the Canadian Armed Forces DLC. It’s based on the real-world location of the same name. Nanisivik is an arctic refuelling station built by the Canadian Navy to anticipate future conflicts in and around the Arctic. I took over development during the middle of the grey box phase. The level presented several challenges that required significant revisions.
When I began work on the map, I took inventory of the existing topography and points of interest. From the start, the design principles of the levels proved challenging to work within the context of Squad. The biggest challenge was creating a compelling combat zone set in one of the most remote locations on the planet, the Canadian Arctic.
My process began with an analysis of the map. To determine the best way to proceed, I drove across all the roads and walked across the mountains. My results showed that the map was filled with steep inclines that created pain points for vehicles and minimal cover that infantry could effectively utilize. I had only two months of work to bring the level to a shippable state. To achieve this. I created an action plan that accomplished the following tasks:
- Revise all roads so the LAV (A new vehicle that debuts on the map) will reach an average of between 30-40 km/h climbing up any road across the map
- Create additional depressions along roads to mitigate the power of emplaced missile launchers across the level.
- Complete first pass of 16 points of interest across the level
- Create three high-quality gameplay layers for the level
Post launch development
Following the release of the Canadian Armed Forces, Nanisivik received mixed reviews. Much of the critique came from the emptiness of the arctic tundra. Players experienced repeated pain points travelling across the level without armoured vehicles. On the other hand, Armoured vehicles were far too often shot down by emplaced missile launchers from long range. After combing through feedback from both twitch streamers and the official squad discord servers, I put together an action plan.
- The map was far too open
- The terrain was far too jagged, causing difficulties while traversing
- Not enough paths through mountainous areas
- Lacked visual appeal and smaller points of interest
- Polish pass across the terrain
- Created additional pathways across mountainside accessible by infantry
- Implemented pipeline between main road and mountain to mitigate camping by emplaced missile launchers
- Sixteen additional smaller Points of interest have been added across the level.
Rebirth as Goose Bay
After I switched projects to Beyond the Wire, ownership of this level was given to Alex Boyce, his answer to the persistent design issues not resolved through my iterations was to change the location from the arctic tundra to the Boreal forests of Labrador. The addition of forests and removal of mountainous regions proved to be effective at addressing the problems presented. Much of my original design in the form of roads and points of interest have been retained whilst many new PIOs were added to areas previously occupied by barren mountain tops.