About Reaching Perfection
Reaching Perfection consists of a series of short articles on Level Design, written by Ray Benefield over the course of several years. The articles were originally published on his website (www.reachingperfection.com), and are republished here on Next Level Design with permission from the author. The subject matter is wide ranging, covering everything from Threat Zones, to Peer Review, to Cohesion, and many, many other aspects of level design.
- These articles are a snapshot of the authors viewpoint at the time they were written, and should not be interpreted as 'truth' - take them as food for thought, and an impetus for discussion on the various topics.)
- The website these articles were published on was focused exclusively on the Forge mode within Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, so there will be many references to Forge and these games.
Missed Chapter 17?
Read it here: Color Contrast
Never rush your map. I know you are in a hurry to show it off to the world and get your name out there, but make sure you have taken the time to test, tweak, and review every little facet of your map. Sure you have contest deadlines at times, but most of the time you are on your own timeline. Don’t set deadlines for yourself. The only thing that will result it is you pushing the design and the building too fast and you end up missing things that you know you shouldn’t have missed. This is your creation; make it the best that it can possibly be.
Don’t lie to me
I know a lot of you will tell me that you definitely follow this guideline, but don’t lie to me. Designers are always anxious to show off what they have been working on all this time. Don’t get careless. Go over every lesson and every possible trick that you know. Have you taken the time to check every single one of your spawn perspectives? Have you observed what kind of paths a player will take from that position? Have you made sure that all of your weapons can be found easily? Does each area of your map have enough area introduction to spread out traffic and control combat congestion? Have you taken a look at the path maps for all of the important areas of your map? Look at every lesson one at a time and go over your map. Remember the importance of first impressions and knowledge of a map? Making sure your map is the best that it can be will help your map get out there and spread to the masses. Remember your credibility as a designer is on the line. If you lose your audiences trust, it will be hard to earn that trust back and you are going to have to use some crazy innovation techniques to re-grab their attention. Remember when I reminded you about how you scroll through the map forums and skip over thousands of maps? If you lose your player’s trust, that player will scroll past your creations on that forum. Don’t be one of those designers that get scrolled over. Take your time.
Considering a change takes time
While designing maps I have noticed a major mistake that many designers make because they are afraid of adding more time and effort into their creation. This mistake is setting your ideas in stone. Remember that while you did have a vision, maybe the way you went about it can be done better. If someone gives you a suggestion of changing something major, take that into consideration. Weigh the pros and cons of the change; don’t shut them out because they didn’t design the map and don’t have your vision. It is your player that you want to appease. Do not be afraid to make a big change to a map due to time or more effort. If you truly analyze it, you will grow as a designer. People tend to ignore suggestions of changes when they are done or close to done with their map. Even if you were about to publish it and show it off that night, if someone suggests something then put off that publishing time until you fully consider their suggestion. Remember that even after you have published your map that it can still be improved. Go back over your past creations and apply new things that you have learned to it. Take the time to improve it instead of just saying “I will follow that guideline on my next map”. Take the time to improve your skills as a designer with maps you are already familiar with. By doing this you improve all of your future creations exponentially. It takes patience to be a great designer and you can never practice too much. Trust me when I say that if you keep attempting tips and advice you will grow whether or not that advice was good. Experiencing what is bad is just as important.
Read Chapter 19: (to be updated)
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