Preacher001

That je ne sais quoi

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That seemingly indescribable special something that makes a good map is always a little different for each game.  What may make a map on one game feel perfect is likely what may make another game feel "off" or blatantly wrong no matter how seemingly perfect the design.    The subtleties that mark the differences between ok and good maps are typically built around design that makes players of all levels feel confident and creative, while providing varied encounters, but what makes a map legendary and can that be recreated?  

 

A simple way to make players enjoy a map is to root it's level design in nostalgia or familiarity.   Whether that means staying true to it's most popular map styles or it's most popular equivalents.  Trying to recreate the magic that makes a timeless map are not only difficult for community level designers but the developers that created the iconic maps in the first place.  If that wasn't going to be hard enough in the first place they also have to try to tap into the universal community conscience and determine if they want more of the same or something new.  What may have been amazing last year may be a disappointment in the next title.  Finding that balance of new and old and where it stands in your community can be tough.  Some games opt for constant change while others stand firm to what their community knows. You need not look further than Counter Strike to see how little change is required as long as the community is getting the nourishment that it needs.

 

I would love to see a compendium of threads that try to break down and discuss the special sauce that makes a legendary map for each IP.  What are the communities most beloved or hated types of encounters for that game?  How can we take advantage of familiar design ques, encounters and nostalgia to make the best map for that title we can?

 

 

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I find that there are many ways to categorize designers.  One of the most obvious would be to categorize them in one of 2 main groups - those that focus on creating based upon an existing archetype, and those that seek to break existing archetypes.  This thread could be a good resource for both, because understanding the fundamental building blocks of an existing archetype allows us to better imitate it and how to avoid imitating it, while also offering plenty of gray area in between those 2 generically stated approaches.

 

For what it's worth, we've published articles from Dave Johnston, creator of Dust & Dust2, on the making of those 2 levels.  They're thorough and educational articles.

The Making of: Dust

The Making of: Dust 2

 

I don't have much else to add at the moment, but I'll give this subject some thought.  Also, I've moved the thread into the Design Discussion section of the forum.

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Ya, I just think it would be interesting and informative to have a section of the forum with individual threads for each game title that dedicate themselves to attempting to quantify the uniqueness that defines an epic map for said title.  Not only what makes that type of map but what key and recreatable encounters that gives that dopamine hit for players.  Sure there are commonalities but what's different.  Maybe in searching for those differences it further defines what is the same.

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2 hours ago, Preacher001 said:

Ya, I just think it would be interesting and informative to have a section of the forum with individual threads for each game title that dedicate themselves to attempting to quantify the uniqueness that defines an epic map for said title.  Not only what makes that type of map but what key and recreatable encounters that gives that dopamine hit for players.  Sure there are commonalities but what's different.  Maybe in searching for those differences it further defines what is the same.

 

I hear you. 

The Games Discussion forum is meant to be for general discussion on games. 

The Design Discussion forum is for discussion games from a design (game design and/or level design) perspective.  

 

I could see potentially having sub-forums for detailed design discussion on specific games.  Or at least for different genres.  But there really needs to be sufficient activity to justify that.  For now, the Design Discussion forum is a good place for it.  If you, I, or any other member wants to discuss design for a specific game or genre, an individual thread for it would be a great starting point.  

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Oh, of course and I don't specifically mean here but I also don't specifically mean elsewhere.  It's just a generalization.

 

I spent some time the other day trying to analyze what it was I liked so much about certain maps in Halo 1-3 and didn't like in most maps in Halo 4-5 outside of movement and the weapons drops.  It made me think about what I liked in some Unreal Tournament maps and not in others.  That lead to Quake and so on.  This got me wondering if they were all the same and what might be unique.  Hence my post. 

 

I feel it's better to separate them into individual threads as opposed to trying to discuss them all in one thread. Not that it's not worthy of discussion I just thought it would be better to keep them seperate so that they would be easier to use as a reference tool.

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3 minutes ago, Preacher001 said:

I feel it's better to separate them into individual threads as opposed to trying to discuss them all in one thread. Not that it's not worthy of discussion I just thought it would be better to keep them seperate so that they would be easier to use as a reference tool.

 

Yep.  I think that's a good approach.  😉

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