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January Challenge: Resolutions Submission and Discussion Thread

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Welcome to the December Challenge Submission and Discussion Thread! As stated in the announcement thread, each submission must include at least 1 image of the design. You should consider including a name that you would like attached to your level (real name or alias). The deadline for submissions is February 2nd at 11:59pm.

 

As stated in the announcement, we recommend that you post your goals with this challenge and how you intend to achieve it. Writing it down, even digitally, helps with retaining that information, thus remembering it more readily.

 

A couple of details that could be included in the level post as a way to better convey the design process are:

  • The sandbox of which the level is designed for (Quake, Halo, Call of Duty, etc.)
  • Multiple Pictures, and/or video footage of the level
  • An overview of the layout
  • A flow diagram of the map
  • An explanation of the source of inspiration for the level
  • Anything that helps convey the thought process behind the level

 

Here's an example post in the Spoiler:

 

Spoiler

My goal for this month is to address one of my main issues: commitment to a project. I've been an easily discouraged designer, whether it be due to a lack of confidence or pure boredom. I'll be pledging to fully commit to a new multiplayer level in Halo 5, getting it playable as soon as possible and then playtesting multiple times to then iterate upon it at least once a week. Something that I really hope to have improve along the way is a feel for how Halo 5's combat flows. Because I'm always designing, I end up only designing for a theoretical game in my head rather than the one that I actually am making it in. I'll need help, of course, tons of it, but that's what this forum's community is for; you show a commitment to your design and a willingness to improve and people will be happy to help.

 

For the level itself, anything above 2v2 doesn't seem very viable. Outside of the recent Mythic playlist, it's been near impossible to find or even create 4v4 testing lobbies. Thankfully the majority of forgers in this forum seem to prefer designing for the lower player counts anyway, so there's plenty of levels that I can look at and play for reference and experience. This has lead me to choose 2v2 to design around. I'm unsure of a theme as of yet. This map is only intended to be a polished blockout, so theme will influence some of the micro and a bit of the macro at best. Now that I have this, it's time to get to forging! I'll be posting updates in the Submission and Discussion thread.

 

And with that, post away!

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Here's a non design-related resolution I've made: read at least one book a week, AND take notes as I go. This way I'll not only have exercised my brain and added some subconscious ammunition to my belt, but I'll also have a record of what it was that I learned or noticed while reading, and can relate it more easily - and more permanently - back to what it is I've already learned.

 

As to how that's going, this week I've read Arthur C. Clarke's 1973 Rendezvous with Rama, which is a direct ancestor of Halo in a lot of ways. A wholly artificial world, complete with automatic processes and life-storage/categorization/manufacturing centers makes a stop in our Solar System, throwing Humanity for a loop. Highly recommend it!

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Try "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson. I'm not a huge reader ATM, but I go through phases. This is my favorite cyberpunk/science fi book and it gives a really interesting look at what our future may be like hundreds of years from now. If you get a chance to check it out, I'm interested in your impressions. 

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A book a week is an awesome goal.  I was a really avid reader at one point, and would like to get back into it at some point. Right now I'm reading Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.  Finding it to be pretty interesting so far.  I have about 15-20 books piled up waiting to be read.

 

My resolution for 2020 is very simple - actually spend time designing levels. Over the past 5 years, I think I've only released 2 new levels. Everything else I've released was something I had already built and/or released in a previous game.  The only time I've actually spent working on levels during the past year was the 2 maps I did for the 1 hour mapping challenge last June, and some time tinkering around with an old level in Halo Reach.  So yeah, definitely needs to change.

 

My plan to make that happen is just to spend time designing levels, lol. Of course, it's not that simple otherwise I would've already been doing it.  So, to be more specific, the thing that I really enjoy and want to increase my skill at is in designing spaces that create interesting gameplay, while still being balanced. I'll be focusing on this.  My levels are not going to be anywhere near polished, as at this point I have no intention of releasing anything.  I'll be working on breaking some existing habits and thought patterns.  I'll be working on many different and varying designs, since my pattern over recent years has been to continually flesh out the same designs.  I need to drop those and create new stuff.  I don't have anything more specific than that at this point, but I'm confident that this will keep my creative juices flowing, and get me thinking about design on deeper levels once again.

 

Started out today by revisiting an old map, lmao.  Just needed something simple that I could spend some time on and get a sense of completion. This one was named Eventide, and it's one that I started about 5 years ago. After an initial playtest I realized that it played nothing like what I wanted it to, and honestly just didn't have any interest in fixing it.  So I knew it needed some revising, and tried to come back to it with some fresh ideas. The primary things I wanted to improve were the scaling (it was way too big on both a macro and a micro level), and the pathing (needed to add some different connectivity through the center, without making those paths into power positions.  

 

I addition to pulling in a lot of the edges of the map, I made the paths narrower and more winding than they had been previously.  Added connectivity through bottom mid that didn't exist previously, and a variety of other changes that aren't really that important to point out.  The important thing was that I started thinking about the design in a way I hadn't previously, and was able to implement those ideas quickly, so that I can move onto something new.  Here's a quick walkthrough of the updated Eventide Blockout.  Sorry all of the textures and colors are the same, lol.  Didn't want to waste any time thinking about visuals, for fear of getting distracted from my goal.

 

 

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2 hours ago, purely fat said:

My resolution...

 

Grind

You going to share some of the results of this grind with us?

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2 minutes ago, a Chunk said:

You going to share some of the results of this grind with us?

The map posts are coming. I just don't have a pc at home right now. The posts on Forgehub were done from my phone. lol

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1 minute ago, purely fat said:

The map posts are coming. I just don't have a pc at home right now. The posts on Forgehub were done from my phone. lol

 

Ah, I thought you meant grinding on new stuff.  

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I love how it took me about 20 straight blockouts to finally not have forge block lol. The 2v2 map i talked about in the article is just about ready for testing. Literally just one room and a bunch or rocks and it's there. I'll see when i can try to test it considering I start a new job today

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Put together another quickie.  My design skills are really rusty right now.  The goal with this particular piece was just to work on adding in angles and curves, since my brain only wants to think in squares.  Gotta break that restricting tendency.

 

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As you can see in the next image, the level is still very 'square' in a vertical sense, with very distinct levels.  This is something I want to work on as well, because while encounters when each player is at a different elevation are certainly good, encounters where both players' elevation changes dynamically throughout a battle are even better.  This is something I've not spent much time working on historically, so it's a good opportunity for improvement for me that's still out there.

2.thumb.png.c3831dcff1310fc01ce0800710402d5b.png

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On 1/3/2020 at 2:06 PM, Chronmeister said:

Try "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson. I'm not a huge reader ATM, but I go through phases. This is my favorite cyberpunk/science fi book and it gives a really interesting look at what our future may be like hundreds of years from now. If you get a chance to check it out, I'm interested in your impressions. 

I haven’t read that one yet, but I did read Wells’ “Time Machine” and Ipsen’s “The Master Builder” this past week. Two very interesting stories, and obviously related to LEVEL DESIGN.

 

Here’s another one related to level design:

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@Soldat Du Christ 

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A revelation as of late: Halo and most of its community (especially forgers) are not fun to design for/with nor is the process worthwhile. Instead of continuing with the 2v2 level in the article, I should work on the card game from last year. It plays great and only really needs graphics and art before it's finished.

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It's kinda funny that designing for CS:GO is infinitely more fun to design for than any of the Halos. It's just as toxic of a community if not worse than that of Halo, but the fact that there's only one life takes away the anger of respawn, die, respawn, die, respawn, die in quick succession. I might get into designing for that game because it at least is more fun to see a successful bombsite take than any Halo flag run.

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