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About Me

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  1. Welcome to the new decade! This is an opportunity to rediscover what makes us who we are, to reflect upon our past actions and opinions then address them in an effort to work for a better us. Something that may be beneficial to change may be core to how we define ourselves, making it hard to accept that it is problematic to our growth as people. Even though it may be painful, being a better, more capable person is worth it. All of us as designers need to recognize that we can always improve ourselves and our methods to produce even better levels, weapons, and games overall. This month's challenge should be a microcosm of our growth as designers and a detailed focus on what we can do to boost our potential. Find something that you can greatly improve about yourself and your designs and execute a plan to address those faults. Something that all who wish to participate in this challenge should know this: a design principle or quirk isn't the only kind of thing that can be addressed for this challenge. If you feel that a character or psychological or emotional trait about yourself would be more beneficial to your growth as a designer, go for it. No, it's not likely that this trait would be completely changed by the end of this challenge, but this can provide the tools to cope with or even eventually eradicate it. Because of the potential benefits, this could be a recurring process for the whole of the year or even longer. Enough of the sappy stuff, let's get to designing! We recommend that you post in the Submission and Discussion thread that tells of 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. Good luck to all of you in this resolution! Only three guidelines apply to this challenge: The level must be designed around what you wish to improve about yourself or your design choices The level must be posted on the January Challenge: Resolutions Submission and Discussion Thread The post must include at least one picture/sketch of the level If you're not registered on the site, it's an easy process. Here's a link to where you can do so: (link) The submission thread will remain open until February 2nd at 11:59pm. There is no limit to the number of levels you can submit. Submit one and go into as much detail about it as possible, or submit many with little detail. Take whichever route you feel will be the most beneficial to your own development. 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 a link to the Submission thread for this Challenge:(link) 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. If you'd like to suggest some changes and/or improvements for subsequent challenges, feel free to do so in our Challenge Feedback thread here: (link)
  2. Happy Holidays, NextLevelDesign, and welcome to the December design challenge. As many of us are looking to our memories of holidays' past, let's have our players take a glance at what's in store in the coming minutes; let's get them Thinking Ahead. Design a level, encounter, enemy, etc that in some way requires the player to think ahead in order to succeed in the end goal of said level/encounter/enemy/etc. This can be done in many ways, but, for multiplayer experiences, they are all about predicting and countering the enemy player's strategies so encouraging certain ones should be a designer's goal. Objectives, sandbox, and level design are all integral to how those strategies are formed, so everything must be accounted for in order to theory craft strategies into a game through balancing. How will you reward Thinking Ahead? Only three guidelines apply to this challenge: The level must be designed around players acting upon predictions of upcoming scenarios The level must be posted on the December Challenge: Thinking Ahead Submission and Discussion Thread The post must include at least one picture/sketch of the level If you're not registered on the site, it's an easy process. Here's a link to where you can do so: (link) The submission thread will remain open until January 6th. There is no limit to the number of levels you can submit. Submit one and go into as much detail about it as possible, or submit many with the bare minimum of detail. Take Whichever route you feel will be the most beneficial to your own development. 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 (relevant examples) 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 a link to the Submission thread for this Challenge:(link) I've always found pentagons interesting to design around. Back in 2014 I had almost completed a map called "Pentakill" for Halo 2: Anniversary and then reforged it in Halo 5 a year later, playable in it's entirety. Unfortunately I don't have screenshots, so y'all will have to imagine a fairly donut-like futuristic refinery with 4 arms reaching out from a small pentagonal pit in the middle. It took two more years for me to revisit the idea again, but the map that resulted was only there to satisfy my geometric obsession. Speaking of orgasmic shapes, have you heard of a D12? That's what I based my next step into the cult of the pentagon on. With this gorgeous shape in mind, I had to actually make it. First, the basics: the internal angles of a pentagon are 108°, and the dihedral angle is about 116.565°, and with Halo 5's lowest rotation snap being 0.5°, 116.5° should be sufficient for this endeavor. Constructing the shape only took about 5 minutes, but finding a good orientation for the shape took far longer, culminating in the picture below: The structures jutting about the outside are the same set of primitives rotated differently for each face. I think that I was designing for as much randomness as possible because I was watching a metric buttload of numberphile videos to keep me awake as long as possible. The way areas became fleshed out was through giving utility to almost every position on the map. Most of this was through access to additional positions and a plethora of sightlines, seen in the finished screenshot below this paragraph. It has a lockdown on a whole third of the map as well as the top path, including the ability to simply drop down to a multitude of positions, having many varying sightlines of the map. Chasing power was more important than chasing your opponent because predicting their movement enabled taking a power position over their next position. Running for the sake of running is punished harshly, forcing a player in the lower position to instead seek a position of power, creating what I call a cycle of power. Uppermost power position: Sightline from nade platform directly below top position into middle: Sightline from path directly below nade platform into middle: From what you see above, seeing more and more of the map only took seconds, reinforcing that idea that running is not an option unless you know where you're getting shot from and how much time it takes for someone to get sightline on your new position. This is also the cause of it being such a mental tactic; now every decision you make must be done to gain more control, and to do so requires knowledge of the enemy's strategy, position, and movement. A true 1v1 space that let's the smarter, more skilled player come out on top. Now, I must address an issue that persists with this map to this day. If you want to understand the map, you have to analyze it due to the disorienting nature. PC players using the Exuberant Mod aren't nearly as effected as those on console, but the lack but two level surfaces really doesn't help. In the coming months, a reforge should be taking form within the coming months, so stay tuned for that! If you'd like to suggest some changes and/or improvements for subsequent challenges, feel free to do so in our Challenge Feedback thread here: (link)
  3. 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 project (real name or alias). 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 (No weapons, limited weapons/precision necessary, specialized tools, small arsenal, etc.) Multiple pictures and/or video footage of the project An overview of the layout A flow diagram of the level An explanation of the source of inspiration for the project Anything that helps convey the thought process behind the Project You can find an example of a submission in the announcement thread (here). And with that, post away!
  4. Welcome to the November 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). A couple of details that could be included in the level post as a way to better convey the design process are: The kind of sandbox that is being designed Multiple Pictures, and/or video footage of the game An overview of how to set up the game A flow diagram of an example playthrough An explanation of the source of inspiration for the game Anything that helps convey the thought process behind the game Here's an example post in the Spoiler:
  5. Welcome to the November Design Challenge! This month we'll be looking to a more traditional genre of gaming: card games. Card games aren't just about collecting and battling if not for kids; there are single deck versus games like Exploding Kittens and Munchkins, deck building versus games like Magic the Gathering and the base game for Red Tavern Inn, and even cooperative games like Dresden Files and Mysterium. There's even more that can be done when this genre is translated to the medium of videogames; Slay the Spire and Dicey Dungeon are great examples of games that aren't entirely impossible on the tabletop, but, with the aid of AI and algorithms, enable easy ways of placing cards into rogue-like and mission based structures. Also, making an up-to-date digital version of a tabletop game allows people to come together to experience it both face-to-face, state-to-state, and nation-to-nation. There's plenty of potential with this genre, so go out there and realize it! For this challenge, design a card game, tabletop and/or digital. Sounds like a pretty simple base objective, but the game can be as complex as necessary. A major difference from between this challenge and most others planned is that this primarily a sandbox design challenge rather than a level design one . One can take approaches to certain aspects of a game and turn it around, forcing the player to think differently. Don't be afraid to change the game significantly if either emergent elements that aren't too prevalent are more interesting to the core loop or if that core loop isn't entirely that interesting in practice. Look up the variety of games to be inspired by or even deep dive into the building blocks of card games to create something truly unique! Be open to submitting early, even when the game is just a concept, that way other forum members can provide feedback from the start. Who knows, this new concept may develop into a feasible product. Only three guidelines apply to this challenge: The game or concept must be designed around cards and how they manifest in gaming The game or concept must be posted on the November Challenge: Building a Gathering Submission Thread The post must include at least one picture/sketch of the game or concept If you're not registered on the site, it's an easy process. Here's a link to where you can do so: (link) The submission thread will remain open until November 30th. There is no limit to the number of levels you can submit. Submit one and go into as much detail about it as possible, or submit many with the bare minimum of detail. Take Whichever route you feel will be the most beneficial to your own development. A couple of details that could be included in the post as a way to better convey the design process are: The kind of sandbox that is being designed Multiple Pictures, and/or video footage of the game An overview of how to set up the game A flow diagram of an example playthrough An explanation of the source of inspiration for the game Anything that helps convey the thought process behind the game Here's a link to the Submission and Discussion thread for this Challenge:(link) These challenges have helped me understand more about myself: I don't know how players will react to or interact with my environments because I don't play them enough. I'm always theorizing and trying new things without actually bringing them into fruition. This challenge is where I decided to improve myself not only as a designer but also as a person: I will not only think and plan, but I will also do. But first I had to the usual: plan, which was thankfully quick. In only a few days I had come up with the idea of an elimination card game centered around having two health pools: a hand to play from and a stash. The stash is sort of a personal, self-curated deck that certain cards pulled from, meaning that the player was responsible for determining their arsenal. Unfortunately only one card this ability, and it only took the cards that it placed there in the first place. Well, that's problematic. Only two other cards referenced the stash: one placed itself and an additional card from the graveyard into the player's stash while the other dealt the same amount of damaged to another player as sacrificed by the player using said card. This whole conundrum went under my radar until the first playtest. Here's a look at one of the cards: I bought blank playing cards online and some fine tip sharpies to make a physical game to physically playtest, a process a lot more direct than building it on my computer. The cards are crudely drawn, yet still playable. Scratch that, the wording on many of the cards were convoluted; I had written it the night before after a double shift at work, so I hadn't taken the time to simplify and establish a nomenclature. Because of this, the first playtest had everyone barely understand what each card meant. I decided that that could be fixed at another time, changed one of the cards to a base rule, and established some rules: players draw the top two cards of their stash each turn players can only play one card per turn players can place any cards from their hand into the graveyard to draw an equal amount from the deck eliminating a player allows you to add half of that player's stash to one's hand or to damage another player for the same amount (this was the card changed to a rule) With these rule changes and the knowledge of what each card does at least at a base level, the next game had deeper strategy and more interesting gameplay. Now the cards that added to the player's stash, especially those of which allowed the player to choose which cards to add, had a ton more value in the game due to the draw two rule involving the stash. This is what mad the gameplay's intended identity possible. Now I have a unique game that I want to finish, so there's much more work to do. The next step was to create a nomenclature and symbol for each type of action (e.g. attack, deflect, sacrifice, etc.) so that the game is quicker to play and to improve both understanding and the pace of the game. In addition, the frustation of having a few cards and their duplicates take up most of the deck made more powerful cards essentially game enders due to their effective counters also having a lower frequency. This caused me to make the frequency of each card the same: 5 of each card, 18 different cards in total. Here's the finalized rules: 3-6 player count 10 cards in hand + 5 cards in stash players can draw up to 2 cards from their stash on their turn starting after the first round all halving effects round up And a look at the new version of the cards: The first two playtests that I had with the new deck were successful, but a third playtest gave light to one issue: defensive cards are oppressive and slow down the game when attack cards are infrequent. One game I played just today ended up being a boring dwindling match where any attack that was present was either completely negated with a single card then picked right back up with another. No damage was going through with how easily the stash replenished a player's hand, so something had to be done to prevent this unending tankiness in the endgame. It doesn't help that eliminating players in the early game allowed one to tank up with half of that player's stash. A few ideas came to mind when brainstorming: limit stash size to 10 cards - any carryover instead damages that player reduce any damage negating effects (block -> 1/4 dmg rounded up) (1/2 dmg to stash -> 2x dmg to stash) This should help give attacks more value and impact on the flow of the game. Another aspect of the game that slows it down is the remaining redundancy, even seen in the card demonstrated. The card should be less 'wordy,' and a good rewrite would be "deal 2 damage to another player's hand" rather than it's current wording, "pick a target, take 2 cards from their hand and place them in the graveyard". The word 'damage' already implies discarding to the graveyard under the recently established nomenclature. It's pretty silly that this went over my head. I'm not done with this game as I want to see this to fruition. There's wording, nomenclature, further defining the rules, and establishing a unified aesthetic. I'll be posting updates to this in the submission thread. If you'd like to suggest some changes and/or improvements for subsequent challenges, feel free to do so in our Challenge Feedback thread here: (link)