Boardwalk was a Left 4 Dead 2 scavenge level called 'Pier Pressure' I had been working on before I was hired at Raven. I grew up going to the Ocean City / Seaside Heights boardwalks every summer in New Jersey and wanted to capture the area in a level. I loved the juxtaposition of a beach invasion with the boardwalk setting. The music pier in Boardwalk was inspired by the Ocean City Music Pier and the laser tag place was inspired by the arcade at Seaside Heights. Also managed to include rooftop golf! Couldn't get a haunted house in though.
With Decommission wrapping up, I did my post mortem for the level and felt it turned out less structured than I desired. Combat was fun but hard to predict and only catered to the close quarters fast paced engagements that enamored me of COD in the first place. I felt I could do a better job for long range players and more predictable engagements. With Boardwalk I gave those players the center lane, letting them take potshots at anyone trying to cross the map perpendicular to the desired flow.
Boardwalk didn’t change much from the first playable to when environment art started. The only layout change was the removal of an under the boardwalk path that let players access the beach from where the roller coaster bus is. The path proved too chaotic to flow and undermined predicted combat in both the bus and beach areas.
We had a lot of fun with this map, everyone trusted me with the setting and added in their own elements so the boardwalk became less of a New Jersey thing and more of a global ideal of a boardwalk. I had just come back from a trip to the East Coast so I had a camera full of reference photos for art. Everyone got to be involved through the ride photos of the rollercoaster. Art Direction took an empty office, a broken couch, and a green sheet to greenscreen all the ride photos. I'm wearing a green shirt, riding with the environment art lead. Gameplay scripted up some working carnival games, and even made the balloons pop if you drove the remote UAV into them.