Regarding map/level design, I am interest in understanding what kind of mapping tools are being planned.
Are we talking a BSP/CSG system for iteration, followed by mesh imports? Or is this going to be a more simple approach, with drag n drop of existing assets like buildings/barricades/dumpsters?
I'm thinking Trenchboom, UnrealEd, Radiant, Hammer ét all are certainly better than using Maya/Max for white-boxing, as they are are immediate and allow for extremely fast iteration.
Additionally, I have concerns that if it's drag n drop of existing assets, there shall be either a series of maps which all use the same assets and become too samey, or the variation is stunted due to all buildings having the same dimensions and room numbers.
With a BSP system, you would have greater freedom.
In part, I think it is also difficult to understand how BF3 maps were designed in Frostbite. Looking at the levels, there is a lot of simple geometry for walls/floors/ceilings/roofs; and it looks very much like the environment obstacles are meshes from Maya/Max. If that is correct, then a BSP system is certainly the preferred option, with everything else meshed-out.
Then we got time of day, which I believe are just a change of cubemap and pre-baked source lighting, so night-time maps are easy to pull off and just need a pre-runtime calc at the design stage. It may be just a switch you flick and it just 'figures it out' or it may involve some serious calcs/rendering to get the desired effect. In either case, there is clearly the chance of 'doubling' the map content currently available, just by making every map a night-time map...which could be interesting. Night-time metro rush, anyone?
I'd certainly be interested in knowing more about the level design details, as and when they come.
btw, congratulations on being awesome