DM-Psi was inspired by Jim Jennings’ Palm Spring retreat displayed in the September 2009 issue of architectural digest. The contemporary design around a swimming pool seemed like an environment that could be fast and fun for Unreal Tournament players.
After choosing water as a central design element, I decided on a small map and started drawing. I find that smaller maps are more valuable in a small online community. Also my plans for water emitters and light functions had a potential for damaging the frame rate, and managing water on a larger level could have meant removing the water entirely.
After one work week and many changes to both layout and visuals, the level reached its current state. The original visuals were left behind in favor of a neo-Egyptian look with heavy tech influences. The light functions, which replicated water caustics, were also cut due to performance constraints on lower end computers.
The gameplay went through significant iterations. The original concept of the water was to have a non-lethal risk zone. Instead of damage upon entry, as was the case with the lava in CTF-Vogel, players would have a chance at escaping unharmed. However, testing proved this slow-down in game speed was frustrating, so the water height was decreased. Walking through the water is still dangerous, since players can hear the splashing from anywhere in the level, but it is not frustrating.
Credit for the video goes to Fuzz.