a Chunk

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  1. @SaltyKoalaBear https://teambeyond.net/forum/topic/17952-classic-halo-esports-and-hcs-grassroots-2019-discussion-thread/?do=findComment&comment=1065256 Speaking of Gods... You have an admirer.
  2. a Chunk


    Share Images that inspire you to design game spaces
  3. Intro This is one part in a series of articles that will attempt to explain how I think when I design. The purpose of these articles is not as much to provide a hands-on practical approach – just to explain how I do stuff. Once I finish this series, I’ll focus on some more practical applications of this stuff. (Link to Part 2) Important points from the last article The Big Principle: A game is fundamentally a conversation between the designer and the player. Principle #1: As a game designer, your job is to ask your players questions. The players’ job is to answer those questions using the tools you give them. Choice Field: A collection of spectrums all of which describe a single game mechanic. Spectrum: Any two opposing concepts which are the same in nature, but differ in degree. Binary choice: Any two opposing concepts that differ in nature, but are the same in degree. Dimension: An individual spectrum or binary choice within a choice field. Game Mechanics The focus of this article is going to be game mechanics, which I was pretty vague about last time. “Game mechanic” is a term I use a lot differently than some other people who write about game design. I tried to make up a new word, but it made reading and writing this impossible – so I’m going to stick with game mechanic. I’m not trying to say my way of using it is better or anything, just when you hear me say it – this is what I mean. First off, a definition: Game mechanic: A game mechanic is the meeting point of two design ideas: a Question the designer asks the player, and the Tools the player has for answering that question. Each game mechanic contains at least two choice fields – one for the Question and one for the Player Tool that answers it. wrenches… cuz game mechanics!! Another way of saying it is that the Question and the answering Player Tool are two sides of a coin, and the coin’s metal is made out of “game mechanic.” For example, let’s examine one of the game mechanics from the combat system in games like Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders: Giants or Ratchet and Clank. There are several overlapping mechanics that all affect combat in these systems, but for this article I’m going to focus on just one so you can see how a mechanic’s two choice fields are related to each other Mechanic: Enemy Placement VS Weapons The game mechanic I’m describing here focuses mainly on the interaction between A) where enemies are placed in the game world in relation to other obstacles (Question) and B) the player’s weapons (Tools). Hopefully from this example you can see how both of these are two sides of the same coin – and how both inform each other. Question: Enemy Placement This question asks the player “how do you want to attack me.” By placing the enemy across, on, or behind obstacles – enemies gain an advantage that the player can overcome with good weapon choice. The choice field attached to this game mechanic looks like this: Spectrum #1: Horizontal (near/far) Spectrum #2: Vertical (low/high) Each dot in the diagram represents a type of terrain variance that is an example of the extremes we’ve built into this choice field Flat Terrain (low/close) – Control case. Everything is effective on a flat plane, given no other wrinkles. Horizontal Gap (low/far) – Blocks movement but not projectiles. Ranged enemies placed across gaps have an advantage the player will need tools to overcome. Vertical Ledge(high/close) – Enemies up on a ledge are hard to hit unless the player can get up on the ledge, or has tools to overcome that advantage. Line-of-fire-blocking Cover (high/far) – Blocks some projectiles and affects movement. Enemies placed behind cover are immune to horizontal attacks unless the player moves around it, or has a tool. Each of these represents a question the designer is asking – which requires that the designer give the player tools to handle it. Tools: Weapons In this example, I’m ignoring a number of spectra that exist in this combat system and focusing mainly on two: Range and Directness. Range is how far away the enemy can be from a player before a weapon gets useless. Directness is whether the shot travels directly at the target or takes another indirect route. The choice field attached to this game mechanic looks like this: Spectrum #1: Range (near/far) Spectrum #2: Directness (direct/indirect) Each dot in the diagram is a category of weapon we used in the design of Skylander characters. We chose the categories because they offered players a tool to solve the extremes of enemy placement questions. Note: If you’ve seen my Skylanders GDC talk (link), this might start to sound familiar. EXAMPLES: Close (Short/Direct) – Weapons that do damage very near to the player, like a knife or sword. These are good on a flat plane, or when close to an enemy behind cover. Weird (Short/Indirect) – These attacks usually affect large parts of the combat area with damage coming from nowhere in particular – like flaming skulls raining from the sky. Because this is obviously very powerful, we usually limit it with extra rules: e.g “You have to stand still to use it” would make it worse against close-range enemies. I’ll get into how that works, later in this article series, hopefully. Straight-ahead (Long/Direct) – Weapons that fire projectiles at range. The projectiles fly straight in the direction they’re fired until they hit a wall or a target. These fly over gaps, but are usually bad at hitting guys on ledges or behind cover. Lob (Long/Indirect) – Weapons that fire projectiles in an arc, or otherwise along a non-direct path. These are good for getting up on ledges or behind cover, but may arc over closer enemies. Principle #2: Put Them Both Together Together, these two choice fields make up a single mechanic from a combat system like those in Skylanders, Ratchet, or God of War. There are far more mechanics, which I hope to get into next time, but for now what I want you to see is how the two halves of a mechanic relate to each other. This leads us to Principle #2: When the designer creates a challenge to ask the player a Question, the designer must also create Tools for the player to answer it. The task of designing the one IS the task of designing the other. The player’s abilities and the challenges you create to test those abilities are two sides of the same coin. “Game Mechanic” is the term I’m using to show how the two combine to become basically the same thing. It is possible to design each half of the coin separately, and I hope to explain how to split things up like that later in the series, but for now I just want you to know that it’s pretty difficult if you aren’t careful. (Link to Part 4 - To be Updated) *Note: This article is published with permission from the author, and in accordance with Creative Commons guidelines. Source: http://www.chaoticstupid.com/trinity-part-3-game-mechanics/ Follow Mike Website: www.ongamedesign.net/ Website: http://www.chaoticstupid.com/ Twitter: twitter.com/MikeDodgerStout Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  4. a Chunk

    Week 46 Recap

    The vast majority of my effort this weekend has been focused on procuring and prepping content (articles). Sent out messages via email and Twitter to multiple authors, seeking permission to share their work on NLD. One of the authors I've had a fair amount of communication with recently is Abhishek Iyer, who's article on Super Mario Bros level design we re-published recently. His articles tend to focus on a particular game, and generally a specific aspect of a game. He's breaking things down from a game design perspective, which isn't the primary focus of NLD, but I'm really impressed by his breakdowns, and overall writing. Looking forward to sharing more of his stuff in the future. Also prepped several articles for posting over the next couple of weeks - Finding Header images, formatting the articles, creating lists of 'Tags', and writing article descriptions. We'll be publishing part of a 250+ page dissertation on level design this coming week. Glad to have that one wrapped up, as I logged probably close to 20 hours of prep work into this one between reading and formatting. Full articles are typically easier to prep than partial re-publishing's like this one, because even though partial articles are typically shorter, it becomes challenging to determine which sections will be included. This took quite a bit of time and tinkering to figure out for this specific article. So yeah, definitely feels good to have it ready for release. Also this week, the team is prepping to start sharing our content on Instagram. We'll also be looking into allowing users to login with their Instagram login info with this addon: https://invisioncommunity.com/files/file/8011-instagram-login-handler/ I'm always monitoring various addons, and looking for new ones that can potentially improve the site. There are a couple I want to take a closer look at soon. Here's one that would change the appearance of the Articles section: https://invisioncommunity.com/files/file/8969-pages-listing-view-like-article-view/ And another that would change the appearance of the articles themselves: https://invisioncommunity.com/files/file/9490-40-axen-article-system-in-pages/ Not sure if these will be an improvement over what we're using currently, but we'll give them a look. That wraps it up for this week. Though it won't take priority over some of my other site-related activities, I be sporadically updating this Blog, when I have the opportunity.
  5. 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. *Note: 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 1? Read it here: First Impressions Intro You ever play a map in which you felt like you were at a disadvantage because you didn’t know where a particular weapon was? Where is that rocket launcher when you need it for that warthog racing around the map? Isn’t there a sniper rifle on this map to get rid of that guy chilling on the turret racking up kills? And where the hell does that guy keep getting the sword, cuz I’m tired of dying to it? Why the hell am I playing this map if it doesn’t give me the tools I need to succeed? An accurate assessment... So I have witnessed many times where a player reviews a map and says something along the lines of “This map needs a sniper rifle on it”. The response they get back; “There IS a sniper on it, it is at the sniper tower.” However the player never comes back to see the response and hence never feels that the map was balanced enough and hence not worth their time. Anything that you feel is important to enjoying the experience on the map you need to have your map show the player where it is on their first run through. If they can’t find it then it might as well not be on the map. As a result the player receives a bad first impression due to an inaccurate review and you lose that player forever. Obviously, we do not want that. Why is it your job? Why do I have to teach them where the key weapons are? Why not just let the players explore the map and find it eventually? Because it is not a player’s job to learn the map... it is a player’s job to play it and enjoy it. The average joe does not have time to study your map, they have tons of other maps to play. So teach them while they play, or else they start to question your map. Where is that rocket launcher when you need it for that warthog racing around the map? Imagine feeling like this the whole time you play the map... is the average person going to go back to playing something that just causes them frustration? Isn’t there a sniper rifle on the map to get rid of that guy chilling on the turret racking up kills? Here’s another example of “if they can’t find it then it might as well not be on the map.” And where the hell does that guy keep getting the sword, cuz I’m tired of dying to it? How many times have you played on a new map and got destroyed because you didn’t know where the power weapons were? Not everyone has the persistence to go back through the map and find all the weapons. Remember that it is your job to teach them while they play. They didn’t download your map to learn, they downloaded your map to have fun. So my goal is to teach, but how? In later sections I will teach you techniques I utilize to be successful. Now that you are informed, try going back to some of the maps that you have designed yourself. Will players be able to find the anti-vehicle items on the map? Will they be able to memorize the layout fairly easily? Will I be able to give them the tools they need on their first run through to be on even ground against players who have played this map before? Read Chapter 3: (to be updated) Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0D
  6. Hi drigax!

    Thank you very much for joining Next Level Design.  Feel free to contact myself or anyone else on staff if you ever need assistance with anything.  😉


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  7. I'd rather have the Puma brother design a logo, so he's got that going for him. 😋
  8. a Chunk

    NLD Update: Week 46

    Another week has flown by. Now's your chance to check out the Next Level Design content you may have missed. *Note: Clicking an image below will bring you directly to the content. Articles: Reaching Perfection is a series of short articles on Level Design, written by Ray Benefield over the course of several years, covering everything from Threat Zones, to Peer Review, to Cohesion. Chapter 1 digs into the subject of First Impressions. Part 2 of this series on Playtesting from Pascal Luban has him diving deeper into the subject. The final part of the series gets into the logistics and organization of them, along with how to collect and communicate the resulting feedback. Super Mario Bros is widely recognized for its levels, masterfully designed to teach players about the rules of the universe they've jumped into. In today's featured article, Abhishek Iyer effectively uses level 1-1 to demonstrate how this is done. Choice Fields - "a collection of spectrums, all of which describe a single game mechanic." Mike Stout lays out multiple types of choice fields, providing examples of each, along with thoughts on how to implement them into your game. Backtracking in a game is boring - there's just no denying this fact. In this video, Extra Credits addresses this issue, pointing out pitfalls to avoid, and providing numerous methods of designing levels so that backtracking isn't a necessity. Forums: @S0UL FLAME dropped a couple of teaser images in WAYWO We've shared Module 2 of The Architectural Imagination. Much to be learned from this series for level designers, so we strongly recommend checking it out. Take a look at the Twitter Thread to see some of the level design and game design content share in the last week Contests: Our November Challenge is where card lovers and game designers collide. Your mission is to design a card game. Read more in the announcement article. New Members: Hello, Hello, and welcome to our newest Next Level Design members: @Brad @tigerssj @Will Le Beouf For those of you who are reading this that haven't yet joined Next Level Design, now is a great time to become a member. Follow the link below to get signed up. We've also recently updated the Next Level Design Discord Server. It's now more fully integrated with the website, and when new content is shared on the website, you'll have visibility to it from Discord. It's definitely worth joining if you spend any time on Discord. Check out the links below to join the website and Discord. Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  9. Lecture 2.5: San Sebastiano & Sant'Andrea
  10. Lecture 2.1: Wittkower's Theory of Architecture