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    Reaching Perfection, Chapter 20: Safe Spawning - Ray Benefield


    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 19?

    Read it here: Threat Zones




    Have you ever spawned into a map and were instantly being fired upon when you spawned in? Do you remember how frustrating that is? How about when you spawn and walk a couple of steps and instantly fall victim to a grenade due to all of the combat nearby? Have you ever spawned at the same time as someone else facing each other only to run at each other spraying and praying that you will be the one that lives? Remember not having any time to react or strategize? Not a fun feeling, is it?

    Flat-footed is an adjective that refers to someone as being “unprepared” or “unable to react quickly”. Being flat-footed is not an enjoyable experience for most of those who enjoy fighting. Most fighters love being able to strategically prepare for each incoming attack while removing every possible disadvantage that they may have. Flat-footedness is one of those disadvantages and as a designer you too should do your best to remove this uncomfortable feeling from your maps. No player enjoys being caught off guard unable to use their skill to the best of their advantage. It is one thing for the player to put themselves in that position, at that point they blame themselves and you have nothing to worry about. However if they are caught flat-footed when they spawn that is the fault of the designer and you will be blamed for your poor design skills. Don’t let the player blame you. If you do, you have given your player a bad first impression and that isn’t something that we want.

    Avoiding the “unfun”
    So how do you avoid making your players miserable? First thing you want to do is observe high traffic areas with high combat congestion. The more traffic an area is receiving, the higher chance that a player is going to get thrown into the middle of it. Another thing to take a look at is how your map’s path manipulation is moving player’s around the map. Observe where you have placed your incentives and if nearby player’s are going to follow the objective path of their path map towards a nearby spawning player to obtain that incentive. Even more so if the player has the knowledge of the map to know that there is a sniper that spawns around there at certain intervals. Spawn players in low eye catching areas of popular perspectives. If you know that a player on the sniper tower is always looking down at a certain spot in his threat zone, don’t spawn a player near the eye catching portions of his perspective. It will just result in a very sad spawning player. And a sad player is a player not playing or sharing your map.

    Spawning is important
    Spawning is one of the most important parts of level design that needs to be handled with care. You’ve already seen how important spawning is through spawn perspectives and smooth spawning. This is just another thing that you need to look out for. Remember that a player’s first impression is everything when they play your map and that spawning is the first few seconds of that experience. If you disappoint them in those first few seconds then you have failed your player and they may not come back. Think about all of the things that you have stopped after experiencing the first few seconds, minutes, or hours. Don’t make that kind of stuff. Trust me.


    Read Chapter 21: Incentive Weighting



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    Article Preview: "Remember that a player’s first impression is everything when they play your map and that spawning is the first few seconds of that experience." Let's talk about Safe Spawning.

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