From the very start of developing War Yards over two years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate a mine-themed map in some way. The mine setting allowed me to create an environment that was a significant departure from the rest of the maps’ wide-open western vista styles. Aside from the visual differences, this type of scene allows allowed me to really focus in on more close-quarters combat scenarios. Originally I had intended for the map to be made up solely of mine-shaft tunnel components, but I realized this might lead to repetitive gameplay and limit the amount of strategy that can be used. This led me to the idea of having a large open cavern in the middle of the map, with the mine shafts surrounding it. I think this layout ended up working really well since it allows for a balanced mixture of close-quarters tunnel combat as well as more open-ended encounters in the cavern. There’s also an element of chance that comes into play. Since the each player only has two routes to choose from in order to reach the cavern, there’s a 50/50 chance that they’ll first encounter each other in the tunnel instead of the cavern.
Another aspect of this map that is a bit of a departure from the others, is the mostly symmetrical design. Aside from the layout of the minecart tracks, the map is almost entirely symmetrical, to the point where it can be difficult to tell which side you’ve spawned on. There’s some strategy involved here, since reaching the upper level of the minecart tracks generally provides a superior vantage point, and only one path enters on the side of the ramp. If one player chooses the path closer to the ramp, they can make it very difficult for the other player to reach the upper track level (assuming they chose the other route). Overall I think this design definitely leads to more balance between the spawn points as opposed to the other maps.