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Found 11 results

  1. My second try for «Asymmetric» multiplayer level design Small 2v2 map called «Ammo Storage 2» Mode: Skirmish (Note: All 3D models in the level are premade Unity assets from «POLYGON») See more images here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/ZGgy8N
  2. icyhotspartin

    Sextant

    Soon this page will be updated with links, a short description of the level, its contents, and the thinking behind the design. Enjoy some pictures and sounds. 🙂
  3. I limited myself with «Inside Circle» theme For releasing my creativity and starting level design, Here's my result: (It looks like a Sci-Fi map for Halo or Destiny, isn't it?🤔) 2D Drawing, 3D Modeling and Rendering: Rhino v6 (Note: probs are taken from «POLYGON- Battle Royale Pack») See more images here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/w81wEX
  4. 10-hours Blockout for FPS genre (aim map for CS:GO almost) 2D Drawing, 3D Modeling and Rendering: Rhino v6 (Note: probs are taken from «POLYGON- Battle Royale Pack») Playtest engine: Unity More shots: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/QzAZQ8
  5. a Chunk

    Diabotical - Beta

    Diabotical is "A fast-paced multiplayer Arena FPS set in a colourful robotuniverse developed by former Quake and esport professionals." The Closed Beta for Diabotical begins later this week. Among the included options is the in game Map Editor, which allows testers to create their own levels and play them in custom lobbies. Follow this link for more details on the Beta, and to sign up for it: https://www.diabotical.com/ Follow Diabotical Website: https://www.diabotical.com/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCephVCPj97LWTeGagjlsPWQ Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlayDiabotical 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
  6. This article is a portion of a dissertation by Kenneth Hullet. The source writing is over 250 pages in length. We share this in hopes that it will further the learning of level designers. The Table of Contents is listed directly below, within a spoiler. The parts marked in Orange are included here. Follow the link at the end of this article to read the full writing, as it contains much value. TABLE OF CONTENTS - In Spoiler ABSTRACT Level designers create gameplay through geometry, AI scripting, and item placement. There is little formal understanding of this process, but rather a large body of design lore and rules of thumb. As a result, there is no accepted common language for describing the building blocks of level design and the gameplay they create. This dissertation presents a set of level design patterns for first-person shooter (FPS) games, providing cause-effect relationships between level design patterns and gameplay. These relationships are explored through analysis of data gathered in an extensive user study. This work is the first scientific study of level design, laying the foundation for further work in this area. Data driven approaches to understand gameplay have been attempted in the past, but this work takes it to a new level by showing specific cause-effect relationships between the design of the level and player behavior. The result of this dissertation is a resource for designers to help them understand how they are creating gameplay through their art. The pattern collection allows them to explore design space more fully and create richer and more varied experiences. INTRODUCTION Level designers create gameplay through geometry, AI scripting, and item placement. There is little formal understanding of this process, but rather a large body of design lore and rules of thumb. As a result, there is no accepted common language for describing the building blocks of level design and the gameplay they create. This research creates a science of level design based on design patterns for first-person shooter (FPS) levels and data analysis to show cause-effect relationships between level design patterns and gameplay. Level design is often viewed as an artistic endeavor, so the applicability of purely scientific approach may be considered controversial. This research argues that level designers employ design patterns while creating FPS levels, whether advertently or inadvertently. Furthermore, analysis of gameplay data can show distinct patterns of behavior in different situations. If we control for all factors besides the design of the level, we can claim that significant observed differences are due to the level design. To show these cause-effect relationships, we conducted a user study and performed analyses of the collected data. The user study explores what effects the patterns, and variations within the patterns, have on players’ in-game behavior. Based on deviations from the expected results, we are able to adjust the theory, improving our understanding of the relationships, and increasing the usefulness of the taxonomy as a tool for level designers. For each pattern explored in depth, we created multiple instances of the pattern, each with a different set of affordances – for example, with a sniper location, some instances were high, some low, some with good cover, some without, etc. Based on our surveys of existing FPS level design, we expect a lower sniper location to have less of an effect on the level’s pacing; we should observe less of an effect than we would when subjects encounter a higher sniper location. These instances are placed in the user test levels played by the subjects. From the data collected during the user study we can determine how gameplay is affected by the pattern, and if this is different from what we expect. This research is necessarily reductionist in its approach. In practice, design patterns are rarely distinct, instead overlapping with other patterns or elements to create varied effects. Nonetheless we will argue that design patterns provide a useful analytic framework for thinking about level design in a scientific way. The lowest possible segmentation of level design elements, the actual placement of individual walls, floors, items, and entities, is far too granular to elicit any understanding of designer intent or to observe an effect on player behavior. The highest level, a complete level, is far too coarse, as FPS levels generally contain multiple subareas with different gameplay objectives. Design patterns are a small enough unit that a clear distinct purpose can be elicited, but not so small as to be overwhelmed with details of pixel by pixel placement of objects and geometry. THE FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GENRE FPS games are combat-oriented games where the player engages other characters with a variety of projectile and melee weapons. The player navigates a 3D world while looking through the eyes of the main character (i.e., a first-person point of view), though some games where the camera follows the player character (third person shooter or TPS) have similar gameplay and are generally considered to be in the same genre. FPS games are one of the most popular genres of commercial digital games, with many published titles on multiple platforms. Seven of the top-ten all-time best-selling games for the Xbox 360 are FPS games. Due to the processing power needed to render realistic-looking 3D environments, FPS games are often credited as a driving force behind technological advancement in personal computers and gaming consoles. Beyond entertainment, FPS games have been used for a variety of training and other serious game applications. One of the most notable is America’s Army, a training and recruitment game released by the US Army. Its intent is to provide a realistic simulation to familiarize recruits with modern Army combat procedures. The platform has been used as the basis for more advanced Army training programs. As a popular and broadly relevant genre, any research that improves our understanding of FPS games is likely to have significant impact. There is also a large body of in-depth analysis which can be drawn upon, including books and articles on FPS design in general and level design specifically. While the results of this study are specific to FPS games, the techniques we propose are generalizable to other game genres. FPS games are also a desirable genre for this study as the level design is a major component of the game and has a significant impact on the player's experience. Levels in commercial games are designed largely by hand and play tested extensively by designers to create specific gameplay effects. It would be difficult to conduct research of this nature on a genre of games where the level design was not as impactful. Furthermore, while the player's experience is by the level design, the mechanics of the game allow for enough variation in individual choice that these impacts are apparent. For this research, we have chosen to focus on single-player levels, though multiplayer is increasingly becoming the dominant gameplay mode. In multiplayer, players are generally playing against other players, rather than environmental challenges created by the designer. For this reason, it would be more difficult to conduct an experiment like the one described here for multiplayer levels. However, it is likely that level design does have an impact on gameplay in multiplayer FPS. Early exploration of patterns specific to multiplayer level design is described in Appendix A. LEVEL DESIGN The precise definition of a level varies by game and genre, but it is generally thought of as a subdivision of a game. Specifically, it is a space where gameplay occurs. While the mechanics of the game define the choices available to the player, the design of a level defines what the player experiences at any given point. It is through level design that level designers craft gameplay experiences for players. Levels for FPS games are generally designed for single- or multi-player play, but not both. Single player levels tend to be a linear sequence of challenges the player must overcome to reach the final goal, whereas multi-player levels are designed to create areas for player-vs.-player combat to occur. While level geometry is the most noticeable aspect of the level designer’s work, other considerations are important in the creation of gameplay. Level designers place objects in the world, including weapons, ammunition, and power-ups. They must be sure to provide enough so the player can complete the level, but not so much as to remove all challenge. They also place Non-Player Characters (NPCs), both friendly and enemy, and use AI scripting to control their behavior. When designing an FPS level, there are many factors the designer must consider, including challenge, pacing, and ease of navigation. Though many FPS games have been made, and numerous books have been written on the subject, there is little formal understanding of their level design. The existing literature conveys design lore and industry practice without exploring how levels create gameplay. Experienced level designers draw from their extensive knowledge of existing games when they create a level. They have an intuitive feel for what features they should include in a level to create different types of gameplay. They may imitate and adapt elements they’ve observed in other levels. Presently, there is no structured way for experienced designers to pass on this knowledge to less experienced designers. A more formal framework would improve designers’ abilities to communicate design ideas as well as provide a reference for possible features to incorporate into levels. For example, one of the design patterns identified is a sniper location. This is an elevated position from which a character can engage other characters in relative safety. There are numerous variations on sniper locations, including their height, amount of cover available, and whether it is intended for use by either the player or an enemy NPC. The effect of an enemy NPC-occupied sniper location is to slow the pace of the level – the player must move slowly and be more cautious to avoid taking fire. While we can predict this behavior based on our understanding of FPS gameplay, it is unknown if the effect is consistent in all cases, or how it is affected by variation within the pattern. Would the effect be less if the sniper location was lower, as it would be easier for the player to engage the enemy NPC? User tests where a number of subjects play levels with different instances of sniper locations will provide empirical evidence of these relationships. The taxonomy of design patterns is a useful tool for improving designers’ abilities to communicate design ideas and as a reference for possible features to incorporate into levels. However, the process by which it was created is necessarily subjective. Designers’ intentions in using certain features may vary, and how players react to the patterns may vary. DESIGN PATTERNS As described above, our user studies are focused on single player levels. While we have explored design patterns in both multi- and single player levels, level design necessarily has a greater impact on single player gameplay, as the players' only interaction is with the environment, rather than with other players. As such, this research is primarily focused on the design patterns developed from analysis of single player levels. The patterns are described in terms of their intended use, effect on gameplay, and variations within the pattern. Examples from popular commercial games are given. The use of design patterns to describe levels is inspired by design patterns used in both software engineering and architecture (the latter of which also inspired the former). A set of design patterns form a language for describing design practices in the domain. Duffy et al. characterize patterns in software engineering by the following: “Noticing and naming the common problems in a field of interest, Describing the key characteristics of effective solutions for meeting some stated goal, Helping the designer move from problem to problem in a logical way, and Allowing for many different paths through the design process.” This research adapts these characteristics to the domain of level design in FPS games. For level designers the problem is creating an entertaining and engaging experience for the player, and the solution is in how they design the level. We adapt the above to define characteristics of a pattern language for the domain of level design, described in detail below: Noticing and naming common structures that produce specific types of gameplay The taxonomy presented in this dissertation was created by identifying design patterns in levels and the gameplay they produce. Examining existing levels and inferring the intended gameplay is the most common means of identifying design patterns, but other methods were employed, including interviewing designers about how they design to elicit certain types of gameplay and reading books and articles that describe common practices. Describing the key characteristics of these structures and how they affect gameplay In identifying the patterns, we noticed that significant variations exist within any given pattern, and those variations have an impact on the gameplay produced. As examples of patterns are identified, variations and their effects are noted, resulting in a more complete detailed view of the pattern and its parameters. Helping the designer address level design concerns in a logical way Armed with knowledge of level design patterns, the designer can tailor a level to the desired gameplay. For example, if a designer wants to change the pace of a level, they can add or alter instances of patterns that are known to affect pacing. If, during gameplay tuning, they discover a problem in a level, they can use the taxonomy to modify existing patterns to address the issues. Allowing for different approaches to create the desired gameplay The taxonomy identifies different design patterns that will affect gameplay in similar ways. If the designer wants to create a certain type of gameplay, they can identify multiple elements in the taxonomy that would be suitable, and pick one that is appropriate for that instance. They are not limited to repeatedly using the same patterns in the same ways; they can use different patterns, or variations with patterns. RESEARCH QUESTIONS The goal of this research is to use data analysis to develop the science of level design through a deeper understanding of FPS level design and how it creates gameplay. The research questions can be broken down into questions about design patterns, player behavior, and the applicability of the work. RQ1: Are level design patterns useful for developing levels, communicating ideas, and teaching about level design? We have already identified level design patterns to create a language for describing levels. The application of design patterns to FPS levels and the patterns themselves are described in Chapter 3. These descriptions provide insight into the designer’s intent and the gameplay that will result. It should be possible to take an existing level and describe it extensively in terms of design patterns. We give an example with a level from Bioshock, a popular commercial FPS. Such description often reveals sections of a level that are not describable with the existing taxonomy, leading to the elicitation of a previously undescribed pattern. Through study of FPS levels we can improve and expand the pattern collection. Besides expanding the pattern collection, it is important to validate the effects of the patterns. The results of this study have helped close the loop and improve the descriptions of the patterns and their gameplay effects. The end result of the study is a set of patterns that has been shown to create specific behavior in the player. RQ2: Can we use data analysis to understand player behavior in FPS levels? To test the cause-effect relationship of the patterns and their variants on gameplay, it is necessary to understand player behavior. What exactly does it mean, for example, when the tension of a level is increased? How is this reflected by the player’s in-game actions? Can this be observed and reported? While previous user studies provide some guidance, it was necessary to develop methods for identifying and classifying player behavior. How this was done in this research is described in Chapter 5. Subjects’ in-game behavior was studied in the video recordings of their level play-throughs and the logged gameplay data. This was correlated with the pattern variants that the subjects encounter to see what the effects are. RQ3: Do the identified design patterns and their variants create the intended gameplay effects? Patterns are used in levels to affect gameplay – for example, when a player encounters a choke point where they have an advantage over enemy NPCs, the expectation is for increased pace and reduced challenge. This should be reflected in the player’s behavior by traits such as engaging enemy NPCs more aggressively, using weapons more frequently, making less use of cover, and moving more quickly. In validating these relationships, we are developing the science of level design. Chapter 5 describes the user study we ran to explore these cause-effect relationships and Chapter 6 explains the results of the analysis. If the expected behavior occurs when a player encounters a design pattern variant in a level, then the theory is validated. In the example above, when the player encounters the choke point, their behavior should be close to our expectations. If for some variation of the choke point, they instead begin moving more slowly and playing cautiously, then there is something about that instance that is creating different gameplay. We can identify what affordances of the pattern vary from other instances and adapt the pattern description to match the observed results. To fully explain the impact of this research, this document is broken into multiple chapters. Chapter 2 covers related work in the existing literature on level design and data analysis in games. Chapter 3 presents the taxonomy of design patterns that we have developed for this research. Chapter 4 explains the major sources of data in games and their impact on game development. Chapter 5 describes the user tests performed, and Chapter 6 details the results. Chapter 7 summarizes the findings and the contributions of the research. RELATED WORK There are three broad streams of work related to this research. First, previous work on applying design patterns to games in general and level design specifically. Second, previous work on exploring, understanding, and communicating about level design in general, mostly from an industry perspective. Third, previous work on understanding player behavior and how data analysis can be used to identify such behavior. These three areas are described below. DESIGN PATTERNS The use of design patterns to better understand levels is inspired by their use in software engineering, which were in turn inspired by design patterns in architecture. Kreimeier was among the first to adapt the concept of design patterns to the domain of digital games by identifying game design patterns. Björk et al. extend this work by studying how players interact with games and how entities in a game interact with each other. They identify over 200 patterns in game design ranging from the basic building blocks of games, such as the game world, to abstract concepts like player collaboration and immersion. The patterns are organized in broad categories such as “Patterns for Goals” and “Patterns for Narrative Structure.” Patterns are described in terms of how they are used, the choices a designer must make when using them, their consequences and relationships to other patterns. These patterns do not specifically deal with level design, but do relate to some level design concerns, such as balancing, goals, locations, and objects. For example, one pattern identified by Björk et al. is Pick-ups, described as “elements that exist in the game world and can be collected by players.” They go on to describe how pick-ups are used in a variety of games and the considerations a designer must make when choosing whether to include them or not. They describe general consequences of pick-ups, but they do not describe the immediate effects they have on a player’s behavior or the flow of a game. The level design patterns presented in this dissertation address these considerations. Björk et al. suggest four ways patterns can be used to support game design: idea generation, structured development, solving design problems, and communication. The level design patterns identified in this dissertation support these same uses. Another application of design patterns to games is Plass et al.’s study of educational games. They identify common patterns in educational games that increase enjoyment and engagement in players. These are high-level conceptual goals for designers to pursue, not patterns of mechanics as in Björk et al.’s work, or patterns of level design as presented in this dissertation. Examples include “Constructing things is fun and helps learning” and “Time and resource constraints make games fun and can improve learning.” These patterns were discovered through observational studies and interviews with children playing educational games. LEVEL DESIGN There are many books on level design written from an industry perspective. They discuss common practices and provide instruction on tools for aspiring level designers. In his book, Co takes the reader through the process of designing an FPS level, from brainstorming initial ideas, building the level using Unreal Editor, to testing and improving the level [6]. While useful references, neither this work, nor similar books by Bryne, Clayton, or Feil et al. present deep analysis of how level design creates gameplay. For example, Feil et al. describe the importance of overall pacing in a level. They discuss how a rhythm of rising and falling tension can contribute to the overall flow of a level without providing methods for creating these effects. Similarly, they discuss strategic considerations of terrain, such as access and height advantage, but do not discuss how they create gameplay. In contrast, the work presented in this dissertation provides specific, concrete idioms of level design described in terms of their direct impact on gameplay. Several shorter works examine single aspects of level design, from both academic and industry perspectives. The aspects examined can be broadly categorized as relating to gameplay – pacing, tension, and challenge – or space – spatial configurations and how the player navigates. PACING Pacing is the density of actions taken by the player in a level. Coulianos proposes methods to analyze and improve level pacing. Designers can plot the expected pacing as a sequence of gameplay elements. Playtesting can then be used to see how closely the player’s experience matches the designer’s expectations, leading to a series of iterative changes until the designer is satisfied. Davies also explores aspects of level pacing and suggests techniques designers can use to control pacing. For example, the player’s impetus to move is a key aspect of game pace, which the designer may want to increase or decrease. Movement impetus can be increased by elements such as a time limit or a threat from behind, or decreased by an obstacle or NPC interaction. TENSION Tension is the mental strain a game can create in the player as they struggle to survive or complete objectives. Level designers use tension to affect pacing. For example, NPCs can create tension by urging the player to move through the level faster. Its use is examined in depth by Wright, who conducted a study with subjects playing one of three levels that used NPCs to create tension differently. Completion times as well as the subject’s subjective impressions were compared to evaluate the methods. He found that urgency imparted from a friendly NPC was the most effective method, while chasing or being chased by enemy NPCs were less effective. CHALLENGE In his study of what makes games fun, Malone identified three main elements: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity [18]. All three of these are useful to level designers, but challenge is the most critical. Malone found the best way to create challenge is to provide clear goals whose attainment is uncertain. If the goal is unclear, the player will become frustrated. If the goal is too easy to attain, the player will become bored. Furthermore, if the goal is long range, there should be feedback given to the player that communicates progress towards the goal. SEGMENTATION Segmentation is a broad concept that can be applied to the examination of levels both in terms of gameplay and space. It refers to methods for breaking down aspects of the game into smaller elements. Zagal et al. describe three types of segmentation: temporal, spatial, and challenge. Temporal segmentation is closely related to pacing, as increasing or decreasing the length of time allowed for gameplay can affect tension and challenge. In terms of spatial segmentation, levels themselves are a form of this, but they can be segmented internally as well. As a player moves into a distinct section of a level, their behavior may be affected. For example, moving into a large arena with enemy NPCs will increase tension and difficulty. The third type of segmentation, challenge, also relates to pacing. Breaking up the challenges presented to the player allows the designer to control the level pace. SPATIAL CONFIGURATIONS Within spatial segmentations, the configuration of the environment is also a key concept in level design. Chen et al. compares level design to the architectural design that is used in real world buildings. When designing a building, the architect includes architectural devices to create specific effects, such as customizing a space to a particular use. The authors identify some architectural principles that level designers can apply to create spaces for gameplay, including having a clear path through the level, how to use different spatial organizations such as linear or hub and spoke, or including unique elements to break up the design. An examination of how space is used in team-based multi-player FPS levels was presented by Güttler et al. They identified common spatial configurations and how they contribute to gameplay. The key elements they studied are collision points and tactical choice. In a team multi-player level, the designer provides multiple routes through the level, allowing players the chance to make a strategic decision. The choice of route determines where in the level the two teams will eventually clash; these collision points are the major contested spaces where the game is played. There are some significant empirical studies that evaluate the effects of level design on gameplay. Gee studied the use of dead-ends in FPS levels. He identified ways in which dead ends are used and built example levels that included them or not. Subjects were observed playing levels and their preferences and playing time were reported. Results indicated that dead ends did not negatively impact FPS levels. An empirical study by Gonzales explored directional choices in FPS levels. Similar to the Gee study, they identified different techniques for presenting alternate routes and performed user studies on a set of representative levels. Survey responses and subject observations contributed to their conclusion that choice improves player immersion, as the lack of choice in a linear level can break the illusion of being in large, dynamic world. NAVIGATION A key use of spatial configuration in levels is in providing navigational cues to the player. This is particularly true in FPS levels as they are generally large, complex environments. Nerurkar examines some means level designers use to aid player navigation. Some, such as maps and navigation markers, are separate from the level design, but many are a function of the level design. Examples include features that attract the player’s attention, use of light and contrast, and directions from NPCs. Hoeg performed an empirical study of player navigation and player types in FPS levels. He identified elements that designers use to influence pathing decisions, including lighting, sound, and resistance, and formed a theory about how Bartle’s player types would react in each case. He constructed a level with multiple decision points, using different navigation cues. Subjects’ player types were determined by a survey, and their routing choices were recorded while playing the level. The results were compared to see if the theory was consistent with the player’s behavior. They found that some elements, such as placement of doors and motion, had strong correlation, whereas other factors had weak or no correlation. DESIGN PATTERNS While our user study is primarily focused on the effects of design patterns in single player levels, we explored design patterns in multiple aspects of FPS games. Of particular relevance are the patterns for combat NPCs and for weapons. Weapon and NPC design in FPS games fall into a grey area between game design and level design. While they are aspects of the game mechanics, and therefore game design elements, they are greatly influenced by the work of the level designer. Tuning of weapons and NPCs generally occurs late in the development process, and is a function of the constructed levels. As the final tuning of these elements are dependent upon their placement and use by level designers, they can be considered an aspect of level design. As such, patterns for these elements are described here along with the single player patterns. Other pattern collections are presented in Appendix A. SINGLE PLAYER FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER LEVELS The descriptions of the patterns explain how they can be used, the concerns designers must address, and the gameplay created. The fields are listed below: Description – A high level description of the pattern and the major design considerations. Affordances – Aspects of the pattern that can be varied by the designer. Consequences – A description of the gameplay the pattern creates. Relationships – Some examples from popular commercial games that illustrate the pattern. The use of the term "affordances" in this research is a bit idiosyncratic. In the field of design, the word typically means "the perceived or actual properties of the thing, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possibly be used." For example, the presence of a doorknob is an affordance that signals that a door may be opened. For this research we modify this definition slightly, so affordances are aspects of a pattern that can be varied by the designer ("perceived or actual properties") to alter the effect on gameplay ("how the thing could possibly be used"). Essentially, affordances are the knobs a designer can twist within a pattern to dial in different gameplay effects. The patterns are grouped into one of four following categories based on the type of gameplay produced. The categories are Positional Advantage, Large-scale Combat, Alternate Gameplay, and Alternate Routes. These distinctions are not mutually exclusive, a pattern might be perceived as being in one category or another based on its affordances. Furthermore, specific patterns may overlap, resulting in different effects and described in the relationships sections of each pattern. Positional Advantage – Spaces where one entity has an advantage over another. Sniper Location – A protected, elevated location that overlooks some portion of the level. Gallery – An elevated area parallel and adjacent to a narrow passageway. Choke Point – A narrow area with no alternate routes, causing entities to be exposed to engagement as they move through. Large-scale Combat – Areas designed to facilitate combat involving large numbers of entities. Arena – An open area or wide corridor. Stronghold – A confined area with good cover and limited access points. Alternate Gameplay – Introduce new elements that break from the established mechanics of the game. Turret – An area with a high-powered weapon where one side has a clear advantage. Vehicle Section – Sections of alternate gameplay where the player drives or rides in a vehicle. Alternate Routes – Create alternatives for the player in how they approach the level. Split Level – A corridor with an upper and lower section, where those on the upper section can attack those on the lower section. Hidden Area – A small area off the main route that contains items for the player. Flanking Route – An alternate path that allows characters to gain positional advantage. PATTERNS FOR POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE These patterns all result in one entity gaining an advantage in position over another entity. A positional advantage usually affords opportunities to attack other entities without being exposed to counter attack. SNIPER LOCATION Description: Sniper locations are one of the most common patterns. A character in a sniper location can attack other characters with long-range weapons while remaining protected. Any elevated position that overlooks some portion of the level is potentially a sniper location. They may be intended for use by either players, NPCs, or both. Creating a sniper location for use by an enemy rather than the player requires additional consideration. Enemies positioned in the sniper location may require special scripting to create the desired behavior; they should remain in place, using cover if available, and engage the player with long range weapons. Affordances: The height of the sniper location over the main part of the level How large of an area is available for the sniper The amount of cover available for the sniper The size of the area that the sniper can cover from the sniper location How accessible the sniper location is from the area overlooked Consequences: When confronted with an enemy sniper location, the player is forced to make careful use of cover or seek alternate routes to avoid being exposed to fire. This can increase the tension and slow the pace of a level while creating a challenge for the player. A player sniper location generally slows the pace of a level while lowering tension as the player is able to engage enemy NPCs without being exposed to enemy fire. However, if the sniper location is not isolated from the rest of the level, the player will have to defend the access point as well, increasing tension. Relationships: Sniper locations interact with many other patterns. They may be placed to cover an arena or a choke point. Most stationary turrets are also sniper locations. A shooting gallery is specialized type of sniper location. A sniper location with access may be a type of stronghold. Examples: In the level “Route Kanal” of Half-Life 2, the player encounters an enemy sniper location, shown in Figure 1. It is high above the player’s position, but has very little cover. The player can engage the enemy NPCs, but is exposed and needs to be cautious. Figure 1: Sniper location in Half-Life 2 There is a sniper location in the level “Corinth River” of Killzone 2. The player is on an elevated walkway overlooking a medium-sized area containing enemy NPCs. Both the player and enemy NPCs have cover, but by looking down from above, the player is able to locate the enemy NPCs and engage them. PATTERNS FOR LARGE-SCALE COMBAT These patterns provide areas for combat gameplay, with the player either engaging large numbers of enemy NPCs or a single powerful enemy NPC (a boss fight). STRONGHOLD Description: A stronghold is a confined area, generally with good cover. Characters in a stronghold can defend against attackers while remaining protected. A stronghold has limited access points so the defending characters can cover them easily. Affordances: The size of the stronghold The amount of cover available in the stronghold The number and type of access points If defending/capturing the stronghold is a level objective Consequences: Generally a stronghold would be designed as a defensible location for the player. The effect is usually to reduce the pace of the level, but in some cases, a large number of entrances or advancing enemy NPCs can have the effect of increasing tension and challenge. Relationships: A stronghold can be considered a specialized type of arena or sniper location. Entrances to the stronghold may be choke points. Examples: The Halo 3 level “The Covenant” contains a stronghold. The player is in a large open area and engages enemy NPCs entering through multiple entrances. These entrances are choke points that help keep the player from being swarmed by enemy NPCs, but it is challenging to cover them all at once. There is an instance of a stronghold in the level “Fish in a Barrel” of Gears of War, shown in Figure 2. The player and friendly NPCs are in a central area with minimal amounts of cover while being engaged by enemy NPCs from multiple directions. The effect is challenging and high tension combat. Figure 2: Stronghold in Gears of War PATTERNS FOR ALTERNATE ROUTES These patterns provide players with choices about how they want to engage the level. SPLIT LEVEL Description: A split level is a corridor with an upper and a lower section. Characters on the upper section can attack characters on the lower level. Players can choose the upper or lower route, or switch between them. Affordances: The difference in height between the levels The degree of openness between the levels, in terms of empty space The number of paths between the levels Consequences: Allows for different strategies and can increase the pace of a level as the player moves back and forth between levels. Relationships: If the corridor is narrow, the upper section could be a gallery. Using one section to avoid enemy NPCs in the other section makes it a type of flanking route. Examples: There is a split level in the “Lowlife” level of Half-Life 2: Episode 1, shown in Figure 3. The player is moving through a large open area with elevated passageways. The player must switch back and forth between the two paths to avoid the most powerful enemy NPCs. Figure 3: Split level in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 The Halo 3 level “Crow’s Nest” features a long split level section. The player may stay on the upper level and engage enemies on the lower level, or use the lower section and engage them directly. COMBAT NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS IN FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GAMES - The work presented in this section is based on material originally developed in collaboration with Gabe Rivera. The patterns presented in this section are for the enemy NPCs in FPS games. Enemy NPCs are controlled by the game engine and are the main source of conflict during gameplay. While they could be considered aspects of game design rather than level design, they are placed by designers and their tuning and behavior are highly dependent on how they are used. Designers can control not only where the NPC is placed but also the NPC’s scripted behavior, how they are equipped, their level of health, their level of armor, and other variables. For this research we explored elements that pertain to all NPCs within the shooter genre and then analyzed various games to see if NPCs consistently fell into patterns. Patterns were identified by observing NPC behavior and discerning which elements were combined in the same way within a number of games. Each pattern is accompanied by our observations about how it’s used by designers to create gameplay, as well as a list of elements that define the pattern. ELEMENTS OF A NON-PLAYER CHARACTER Below is a list of elements that make up a NPC as well as a brief description of how they can be used by a designer to create gameplay during combat. These will be used in the pattern collection to categorize the specific patterns. Movement Type – This describes the way the NPC will typically move in a combat situation. Many NPCs employ multiple Movement Types and can switch between them depending on the situation. Flanking Intensive – The NPC will move to attack from unexpected directions, i.e. the NPC tries to approach the player from a different side than where the player’s attention is directed. Passive – The NPC will not move when attacking. Never straying too far from that location and available cover. Slow Push – The NPC will slowly advance on the position of the opposing force, usually in a straight line. This can be without the need for cover, but it is possible for the NPC to utilize cover while making its way forward. This main difference between this and Cautious is that it will constantly try to close the distance from its target and not try to stay away. Rush – The NPC will make a dash at a specific target without any regard for their safety, typically in a straight line. However, the main aspect of this movement type is that they will attack very fast and often try to close the distance between themselves and their target as fast as possible Cautious – When used, it means that the NPC is opting to move around the battlefield but tries to maintain a distance from its target. Often trying to utilize cover when possible and not closing the distance when possible. This is different from a slow push because this NPC tries to maintain a specific radius around its target, without advancing. Movement Range – This is how far the NPC will move during an engagement. This can be Low, Medium, or High. Movement Frequency – This is how often the NPC will change their position during an engagement. This can be Low, Medium, or High. Attack Frequency – This describes how often the NPC will initiate an attack. This can be Low, Medium, or High. Weapon Type – The patterns include the following. They are described in more detail in the following section: Sniping Weapon Close Blast Assault Weapon Projectile Power Weapon Melee Weapon Weapon Damage – A general indicator on how much damage the NPC will do to the player’s Health, Shields, or Armor. This can be Low, Medium, or High. Armor/Health – This denotes how much damage the NPC can take before being killed. This will typically be linked to how hard the NPC is to defeat. This can be Low, Medium, or High. Motive – This is an indicator of what type of combat encounter the NPC would create and shows its purpose to the designer. This hinges on three main factors that an NPC can affect: Challenge – The degree of difficulty within a combat encounter. Tension – The degree of mental stress the player experiences during a combat encounter. Pacing – The degree of movement that the player will engage in during a combat encounter A pattern can affect each of these three factors by creating a situation where they can be at Low, Medium, or High. PATTERN COLLECTION Below is a list of all the patterns that we have collected during our research. Each base pattern specifies the primary function of that general type, while each sub pattern denotes how that function is carried out. Soldier – An NPC that pressures the player from range. Grunt – A weak enemy that attacks from a medium distance, often in groups. Elite – A strong enemy that works to contain the player from a medium distance. Grenadier – A weaker enemy that maintains long distance to encourage players to move forwards. Sniper – An enemy that deals high damage from a long distance to force players to move carefully. Aggressive – An NPC that attempts to close the distance between itself and its target in order to increase pressure. Suicide – An enemy that immediately rushes at the player, at the cost of its own life. Swarm – An enemy that rushes the player in groups, but deals low damage individually. Berserker – A strong NPC that deals a high amount of damage over a prolonged amount of time. Carrier – An NPC that will spawn more NPCs during an encounter. Sacrifice – An NPC that creates more NPCs in the case of its own death. Summoner – An enemy that spawns more NPCs at a distance Tank – An NPC that poses a significant singular threat and prevents the player from proceeding Stationary Tank – A slow-moving NPC that deals high damage at a long range. Shield – An NPC with a large amount of armor, but only in a single direction. The following sections detail all of the base patterns and at least one of their sub patterns. SOLDIER Soldier is a NPC that will pressure the player from long range. Its main strategy is to control the available space in the encounter. NPCs of this type make up the majority of units during an encounter. They are primarily used to control pacing by forcing the player to take particular paths through the environment. These NPCs will have a weapon type that is an Assault, Close Blast, Sniping, or Projectile. Grunt Description: The Grunt is a weak NPC that will try to maintain a medium distance away when attacking. The main function this serves is to draw the player to forward through the level and increase the player's confidence. This pattern is distinguished by always having medium movement range, medium movement frequency, and light armor. The motive of the Grunt pattern is to create a situation with low tension and low challenge. Affordances: Movement type can be Slow Push, Flanking Intensive, or Cautious. Attack frequency can be either Low or Medium. Weapon damage can be either Low or Medium. NPC Relationships: The grunt has a special relationship with the Suicide pattern, because sometimes a grunt may change to the suicide pattern in the middle of an encounter. Examples: Halo: Combat Evolved - The Grunt is a small unit that appears in every game within the Halo franchise. It has a low amount of Armor and is usually to be equipped with an assault weapon that does a low (Plasma Pistol) or medium (Needler) amount of damage. They exhibit the special relationship with the Suicide pattern in that they will self-destruct in times of desperation. The range it keeps is either short or medium but tries to pester the player by implementing the Cautious movement type. During the campaign they primarily occur within encounters to create a lower challenge but increase the pace of the encounter. As a consequence, the player feels more empowered and will pursue a route that contains a higher ratio of grunts compared to any other path. This occurs in the level The Pillar of Autumn; often the designers put grunts down a particular corridor to encourage the player to move in that direction. This signals to the player that it is the correct route to follow while lowering challenge, increasing the pace, and lowering player tension. Figure 4: A Group of Grunts in Halo: Reach Half-Life 2 - The Metro Police Officer utilizes a Slow Push or Cautious Movement Type and primarily is equipped with an assault weapon, typically a sidearm. They will shift between the movement types in an effort to move a player forward. Typically this means that they will begin in a cautious movement type and, if they player doesn’t pursue them, will move toward the player in order to get the player to move. This doesn’t occur in any particular instance but can be seen where there are Metro Police Officers in levels such as Route Kanal or Water Hazard. In the game, they basically act as bait to simply pull the player forward. They are primarily seen as the main enemy in the early game and are increasingly used as bait in the latter half of the game. Figure 5: Two Metro police officers in Half-Life 2 EXAMPLE ANALYSIS To show the usefulness of NPC design patterns we will use them to analyze a short encounter and generate a new enemy type. The level Winter Contingency in the game Halo: Reach contains an encounter in which the group is tasked with bringing a communications outpost back online. This sequence starts with the team landing in front of the communications outpost in order to secure the location. After starting the level, the player encounters their first group of enemy NPCs in an Arena with Flanking Routes to the left and right. The NPCs that populate the arena are a small force of Grunts and Jackals. This encounter has a low amount of challenge and allows the player to gain a foothold without much effort. It is fairly easy for the player to move forward and incapacitate the Grunts, which fall under the Grunt NPC pattern. However, it is much harder kill the Jackals in a head on attack since they are a part of the Shield NPC pattern. The interplay between the Grunt and Shield patterns help to create a much easier encounter for the player by driving them to explore the area and flank the Jackals. The player goes into the encounter and immediately recognizes that most of the Jackals were located in the Arena, where the player is at a disadvantage. Since that place is the hardest to break through, the player is drawn to the left because the Grunts offer a lower level of resistance. The Grunts signal to the player this path is safer and encourages them to move through the Flanking Route. The player can now flank the exposed back of the Jackals, which has a pattern specific weakness of only being able to withstand a large amount of damage from one direction. We can analyze this encounter and explain it through the enemy NPC patterns that we have created. The designers used Shield NPCs in order to bar the player’s way from one direction and give the illusion of a higher degree of challenge. However, by adding in the Grunt NPCs it allowed them to encourage the player to move into an advantageous position. The interplay between these two types helped to create an encounter with a low amount of challenge but high amount of tension. WEAPONS IN FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GAMES *Note: The work presented in this section is based on material originally developed in collaboration with Rob Giusti. To define and discuss weapons, game and level designers have re-purposed an existing classification system: the terminology used to refer to real-life weapons, terms such as “Sub-machine Gun” and “Sniper Rifle.” Though these classifications do easily explain the mechanics of the weapon, the use of such terminology fails to accurately describe gameplay behaviors and to encompass the fictional aspects of digital games. Knowing how a particular weapon functions in real life does not actually give an accurate depiction of how the weapon functions within a game. For example, the shotgun in Halo has a much shorter effective range than its real-life counterpart. Many similar weapons fall into different weapon patterns depending on how designers implement them. Though many action and adventure games use weapons, shooter games are affected by this lack of terminology more than others due to the fact that weapons are at the core of gameplay. In the vast majority of first-person shooters, the player's weapon never even leaves their view. In addition, weapons are the central method through which players interact with the world in these games. With this pattern collection we hope to create a language that can be used to describe weapons in a way that encapsulates the gameplay behaviors that each pattern elicits. Each pattern is named in a way that aims to be inclusive of all weapons, fictional or nonfictional, that elicits similar player behavior. We accumulated these patterns through analyzing weapons in popular and historically significant first- and third-person shooter games. ASPECTS OF WEAPON PATTERNS To provide a basis for defining patterns in weapon design, the following template will be used: Name – A descriptive identifier used to refer to the pattern that is recognizable and imparts the core functionality of the pattern. Description – A brief explanation of the typical features of a weapon derived from this pattern. Affordances – Aspects of the pattern that can be varied between different weapons within the pattern. Consequences – How use of the weapon pattern affects gameplay. Level Patterns – Relationships between the weapon pattern and patterns in level design. NPC's – Relationships between the weapon pattern and patterns in non-player character design. Examples – Uses of the weapon design pattern from popular commercial shooter games. Patterns contained within another are considered to be super- or sub-patterns of each other. Patterns are not mutually exclusive from each other; a weapon can fit multiple weapon patterns. A large number of affordances can be considered universal among weapon patterns, including: How much damage the weapon deals The range of the weapon The area of effect of the weapon How often the weapon can be used ("Cooldown") How many times the weapon can be used before needing to be reloaded (“Capacity”) How much ammunition a player can carry How carrying the weapon affects the player’s movement How the weapon imparts damage to the enemy (On hit, delayed, continuous, etc.) Any special effects that the weapon has on the enemy Any special abilities that the weapon bestows Repetition of a Universal Affordance within a particular pattern description signifies that pattern differs significantly within the pattern in that aspect. PATTERN COLLECTION PROJECTILE Description: Objects thrown or fired in a physics-defined arch. Most often, Projectiles are explosives that deal damage in a large area of effect. Projectiles are also associated with long reload times and small capacities. Projectiles also often have a low amount of maximum ammunition. Affordances: The range of the weapon If the effect is immediate or delayed The area of effect of the weapon Any special effects of the weapon Consequences: Projectile weapons are useful for circumventing cover. Also, they heighten the challenge through being more difficult to aim than other weapons. Level Patterns: Projectiles can be used to harm enemies in Sniper Locations or guarding Choke Points without directly engaging them. Players using Projectiles are often vulnerable to Split Levels and Galleries, due to ammunition limitations and a lack of sufficient cover. NPCs: Grenadiers, Elites, and sometimes Tanks use Projectiles to force the player out of cover and impose a greater threat. Projectiles allow players to take on large groups of enemies, such as Swarms and Carriers, and fight against heavy enemies, such as Tanks and Snipers, without engaging them directly. The long recharge times and tendency for Projectiles to have large areas of effect make them less effective against Berserkers and Suicidals. Examples: The Demoman class from Team Fortress 2 [54] has a Grenade Launcher that allows the player to fire pipe bombs at enemies. These pipe bombs explode on impact with an enemy; otherwise the bombs roll for a few seconds before exploding. In the Halo series, the rocket launcher is a weapon that is both a Launched Projectile and Power Weapon. The weapon launches a rocket at high velocity, creating a large explosion that can instantly kill targets, both those on foot and those in vehicles. However, the weapon carries very limited ammunition and takes up space in the player’s limited arsenal. A player firing Projectiles in Team Fortress 2 Thrown Projectile Description: A non-bullet object thrown by the hand of the player's character and categorized by short range and highly affected by gravity. Thrown Projectiles often have high damage or severe special effects, balanced by scarce ammunition. Affordances: Special effects associated with the physical object of the projectile Consequences: The player is able to attack opponents who are behind cover, however they are forced to keep in mind their ammunition and range limitations. Level Patterns: Thrown Projectiles allow players to defeat an enemy guarding a Choke Point, or players on another level of a Split Level. In areas with long distances, such as Sniper Positions, or with enemies at multiple angles, such as Arenas and Flanking Routes, Thrown Projectiles are not very effective. NPCs: Elites utilize Thrown Projectiles in order to pressure players who are taking cover. Some Summoners use their spawned units as a sort of Thrown Projectile as a way of deploying them. A player can use Thrown Projectiles much like normal Projectiles to attack heavy Tanks from behind cover. Thrown Projectiles are often more effective against solitary, close-range targets and less effective against loosely grouped Swarm and Grunt enemies. Examples: In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 [52], the throwing knife is a powerful Thrown Projectile with harsh limitations. The weapon has a short range, however a hit with the knife immediately kills the enemy. A player also may only carry one knife at a time. Halo 3 offers players a handful of varied thrown projectiles. Fragmentation grenades can be thrown a good distance and rebound off any obstacles until they detonate after a set amount of time. Players also have the option of using plasma grenades instead, which attach themselves to level geometry and players on contact, but have a shorter range and smaller blast radius EFFECTS OF WEAPON PATTERNS ON LEVEL DESIGN By forcing the player to use particular weapons in certain parts of a level, the level designer utilizes the relationships between the weapon and level to best control the experience and gameplay. For example, in the Ravenholm section of Half-Life 2, the player begins the level with a weak Melee Weapon, Sidearm, and Assault Weapon. The player progresses through Arenas and Chokepoints with a numerous number of Grunt and Swarm enemies, resulting in high tension and challenge. Later, the player fights Berserker and Carrier enemies, but acquires a Close Blast weapon and moves into Choke Points where the player has the advantage. The tension and challenge drop to give the player a respite and allow them to learn how to utilize the weapon. As the player proceeds, the level patterns become more Arenas and Split Levels, forcing the player to use weapons accordingly, bringing the challenge and tension back up for the climax of the level. In multiplayer levels, weapon placement allows the level designer to direct players. The designer can hint at what weapons are best suited for a certain area, force players to carry an unsuitable weapon across an area to get somewhere where that weapon is more useful, or even make it more difficult to use a particular weapon from a particular location. The multiplayer level Blood Gulch in Halo has Sniping Weapons atop each base at the ends of the map, overlooking large amount of the level and subtly hinting at the advantageous Sniper Position. A Power Weapon, the rocket launcher, is placed in the center of the map, forcing players to travel a long distance and expose themselves in order to procure the weapon. The multiplayer level Blood Gulch in Halo APPENDIX A - ADDITIONAL DESIGN PATTERN COLLECTIONS MULTIPLAYER FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER LEVELS *Note: The work presented in this section is based on material originally developed in collaboration with Chris Ueda. In our examination of multiplayer levels, we will be paying particular attention to their relationship to single-player levels and their associated patterns. Certain elements of multiplayer design patterns have parallels to their single-player counterparts. While these parallels suggest a large overlap in design principles for the design of levels in a (FPS) game, there is a difference in design goals between single and multiplayer levels. The goal of the level designer is to provide a specific gameplay experience to the player. Experiences such as a distinct gameplay experience or narrative diegetic effect can be produced by designers through the use of level geometry, item placement, scripted events, and other level design elements. A single-player level is designed as a linear space, segmented into rooms separated by corridors. This allows the designer to create highs and lows in player tension, pacing the gameplay and giving the player opportunities to experience moments of intensity without tiring themselves out. For example, Half-Life 2, a single-player FPS, often makes extensive use of open spaces in which the player is guided through the level while being given visual cues tying narrative and world space together. The level tells the story rather than large blocks of text or cutscenes, adding to a sense of immersion. The difference in player count between single-player and multiplayer affects the way in which the designer needs to approach level design. When crafting a single-player level, the designer aims to tailor an experience to one player, but in designing multiplayer levels, the game state is now based on the inputs of other players, whose game-playing experiences the designer must all consider. An example of the differences between single-player and multiplayer levels is apparent in spawning points for players versus spawning points for NPCs (non-player character). While they have similar purposes (introducing new entities into the level), in multiplayer levels additional players are spawned in place of NPCs. In a singleplayer level a NPC can be created whenever the designer chooses, but in a multiplayer level, the designer must equally consider all players when designing spawning points in a level. As the spawn points of each player affects the encounter rate, and therefore the pacing of the game. If too high, a player may get exhausted by constant action, or get bored between respawns if it's too low. Level design patterns are employed by designers to explore design choices and craft the desired gameplay for a level. These patterns vary based on the requirements of the game. For example, FPS gameplay involves the use of space and resources in real-time in a way that makes cover or item pickups useful. Therefore, patterns emerge that relate to the placement and frequency of these objects, and these patterns differ according to the unique features that distinguish multiplayer from single-player gameplay. KEY CONCEPTS CONFLICT POINTS A conflict point is a location in a level which is designed to bring opposing forces into an encounter. These locations are key in managing rhythm and flow in multiplayer levels. By designing a level with conflict points in mind, the intensity and pacing that a given player experiences can be adjusted. To do this, designers can utilize elements of a conflict point such as chokepoints, strongholds, pickups, and objectives. Chokepoints and strongholds change the movement of players in and about a conflict point, while pickups and objectives provide players a focal point for encounters. A powerful weapon or a bunker may motivate players to prioritize combat in that area, increasing the overall intensity of the location over others. Examples include the flag's location in a CTF game of Halo: Combat Evolved, Control Points in Team Fortress 2, or the Farsight XR-20 (an extremely powerful weapon) in Perfect Dark. These are objectives that players can obtain to get an advantage, and naturally conflict will occur in their vicinity. Use of conflict points is critical to many design patterns, as multiplayer FPS levels depend on them for creating player encounters. For example, bomb sites in CounterStrike serve as the objective destination for the Terrorist forces. The objective of the Counter-Terrorist forces is to prevent the Terrorist demolition mission, and both teams are aware of the state of the bomb sites through in-game HUD cues. These areas are often camped, with one team lying in wait to ambush the other team. The expected combat in the conflict point reinforces player planning and coordination followed by a burst of high-intensity combat. To support this style of gameplay, these bomb sites often contain various types of cover and are connected to the rest of the level via small, easily ambushed entryways serving as chokepoints. PATTERNS IN MULTIPLAYER GAME TYPES Multiplayer FPS games require a different set of game rules and objectives from single-player. Sets of rules collectively known as game types are defined in order to provide specific gameplay experiences. These may include rules such as a priority object or location, or a score objective. Level designers apply key concepts of multiplayer level design in the context of a specific game type in order to create a playable level. CAPTURE THE FLAG (CTF) This game type has both teams simultaneously on offense and defense, trying to claim the other team's flag and bringing it back to their own base while protecting their own flag. The game type is similar to Control Point, especially when the flag is located at a team's base. The flag's starting location serves as a point of conflict, and is often a strongly fortified location, making defense easy and requiring coordinated offense to capture. After claiming the flag, a player must bring the flag to their team's own base. The enemy team must prevent the flag from being delivered by attacking the carrier. Flag carriers are encouraged to use alternate paths and shortcuts in order to evade the opposing team. Levels are often symmetric to ensure balance. Respawn times are long, allowing a team to press their advantage after defeating opposing forces. Examples include Unreal Tournament - Facing Worlds (symmetrical) and CTF4 in Quake 3 Arena. Blood Gulch in Halo: CE is a classic example, set in a wide, open canyon with rolling hills. On the two far ends, a single bunker houses each team's flag. Teleporters quickly move players from a base to the middle of the stage, but not the other way, allowing respawned players to return to the action. Team Fortress 2's Payload maps are a variation of the CTF format. In this game type the offensive team moves a cart forward by standing besides it, while the defense sets up fortifications to prevent progress. The linear path of the cart and the respawn system of TF2 distinguishes this game type as being closer to CTF rather than Delivery, described further below. Team Fortress 2's Goldrush, a Payload map where the blue team moves the cart along to its destination PATTERNS IN MULTIPLAYER LEVELS Multiplayer level design strives to create a level playing field. To provide gameplay options while maintaining this balance, beneficial structures such as sniper locations and alternate routes need to be viable, while the opposing players are provided with a valid counterstrategy. In Halo: Combat Evolved single-player, a sniper location provided a significant advantage to the player. In the multiplayer game, players in sniper locations must also be wary of counter attack from the complementary sniper location on the other side of the level, or rely on their teammates to protect a poorly defensible position. Team strategy may be required to make the most of a given pattern's potential, often reflected in a strong offensive or defensive feature of a location. ARENA Description: Open areas with good sight ranges. Promotes encounters as a result of visibility or traffic – arenas are often conflict points Affordances: Can contain a Control Point. Pickups will increase traffic and conflict in the area. Can include features such as battlements and alternate paths to prevent overcongestion. Consequences: If surrounding area is confusing or congested, adding arena features may improve traffic flow. Has sporadic cover, providing good defense but not concealment. Examples: de_aztec (Counter-strike) - The terrorist force cross an open, unprotected area and take cover behind the crates located at demolition point A. A ramp up from a lower floor and a hallway with clear view of the bomb point threaten the terrorist force's objective. Hang em' High (Halo: Combat Evolved) - An extremely open map, with small blocks for cover, and ramps leading up to a second level which surrounds the map. Catwalks crisscrossing the level can be accessed from the second level. These lead to powerful weapons, but players are vulnerable to attacks from below. Halo: Combat Evolved, Hang em' High: Many catwalks cross the length of the map Follow this link for the full writing: https://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~ejw/dissertations/Ken-Hullett-dissertation.pdf Follow Ken Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/khullett 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
  7. Level design is something you almost always have to go through when making a game, but it’s one of the most overlooked segments of game production, especially on small/indie production teams. Here I’ll try to give some advice on how to make a good level design, by using examples from my own experience. I’ll mostly use recurring games as references (Bad Company 2 and Mirror’s Edge), because they are games I played a lot and feel comfortable mentioning, and because they have fairly different gameplays.WHERE TO START ? Mirror’s Edge The first step before making any “real” level design, is to put everything in perspective before going blindly in any direction. Define what actions are allowed (and what aren’t) by the game design of your specific game, then what intentions or constraints you want on your level. Focus on what makes your game unique. What can the player(s) do in the game? What elements of my game can harm, kill or put the player(s) close to the losing conditions? Is there a theme, or a particular focus I want to put in this level/area of a level? What mechanic stands out in my game? USE GUIDELINES TO TEST & CREATE YOUR LEVEL When making MAZE’s safe zone, we put some clear guidelines down: “We want the safe zone to be square-shaped, with one door on each side of this square, and it should not take more than 30 seconds to run from one side to the other. The safezone is also a “vegetation backup” so it should contain… vegetation.” From these precise directions, we made a huge, square shaped forest, with all the liberty to put any type of vegetation, terrain modifications, little landmarks… Editor view of the safe zone (the train wreckage at the left can be used for scale) Before asking a playtester, or just other people to give you feedback on your level, you must be able to clear your own mistakes and correct your level accordingly. To do so, define key points to help you create your level. It can also help you when testing the level on your own. Having precise constraints allows you to take more liberty to design around them. In my opinion, it’s better to have some rock-hard, definite constraints than no constraints at all, especially when making a game aimed at someone other than just yourself. It gives you directions, and you can be as free as you want on every other part of your level when creating it. DESIGN LEVELS SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR GAMEThe more you design your level while keeping in mind your game design, the better it will be. An example of this can be seen clearly on Source games. When playing Counter Strike, try to play 2Fort (a Team Fortress 2 map) on a community server. You can also find any classic CS map on a custom TF2 server. If the map has not been altered, you’ll see that most of the depth of each map loses its value. It’s not as fun playing de_dust2 on TF2 as it is on CS. This is because dust2 was (brilliantly) designed with Counter Strike’s gameplay in mind, which is very different from Team Fortress 2’s. 2Fort — Team Fortress 2 Try to do the same for your levels: If your environments are imported in other games, they should not be as equally rewarding to experience than in their original game. If your level seems really classic, well, you fucked up. No harm done, but my advice at this point would be to delete completely the faulty level, erase its dullness from existence and start again, from scratch.USE REFERENCES FOR YOUR FUTURE LEVEL The most obvious references when designing a level are the visual ones. Find architectural drawings or photos who capture well what you want to implement in your environment. If you have some references & concept art used in your art direction, be sure to include them. Your artist(s) will be happy to see their work was not only used to be put on the studio walls to look cool. A reference for a level I’m working on(Photo by Asia Chmielewska) Here’s an easy trick that often pays off when I’m looking for references: If you find an image that you want to use as a reference, try to find the author of the picture. The artist’s style, eye, whatever you want to call it, will not be in the one picture you randomly found on Pinterest. Use it to your advantage. This is what I did with the photo above, and looked at other photos from Asia Chmielewska (check her out if you like architectural/urban photos she makes awesome photos). The main problem I had when making a paper level design (I’ll talk about it in literally one paragraph), is that slopes are cool, but they need to lead somewhere. So I found other references I can use to create what’s at the summit of the slope, and it will probably be super coherent because it was in the same photo collection. Neat.DESIGNING ON PAPER Once you have all this preparation part down, you can start actually designing the level… on paper. It’s way faster to iterate on paper than recreate your level digitally.  My point here is that you should find a "way" allowing you to design your level quickly, so you can iterate swiftly and easily change layouts, details etc. Most people would use paper, but if you prefer using Photoshop, Paint or woodworking, go for what is best for you. From this point on, I’ll drop different points and things I use to design levels, without any ranking. Once you are designing your level, iterating over and over again, you can use or focus on these points to help you enhance your design: VERTICALITY The intro cinematic of The Shard, Mirror’s Edge’s last level. The Shard is the tallest building in Mirror’s Edge’s city, and also the last level of the game. The introduction cinematic of the level gives you the feeling that you are against your biggest challenge, like if the building itself is the final boss. How? By making you enter from the parking underneath the overwhelmingly tall building. You haven’t even started playing this level, but you already know the stakes are high. One of the simplest elements that often separates a good level design from a bad one is verticality. Verticality creates, vantage points, Landmarks, Occlusion and Focal Points (see the other points below). Vantage points are really important to give exposition to your players. They are probably best used when creating a multiplayer map, as they can be fully utilized by players, whereas AIs usually aren’t advanced enough in games to use vantage points at their fullest. It still is important in single player games to give exposition to your players, give them a better view of what challenges will come next. It’s also a really easy way to give your player a powerful feeling. Anyone standing on top of something will tell you: you’re better here than if you were standing at ground level. Anatomically accurate representation of Verticality In MAZE, we use verticality to convey the aggressiveness and strength of the maze itself: The walls stand tall, trapping the players. The maze walls would look inoffensive if they were just too high for the player to vault over. In Mirror’s Edge, verticality is also used as an “enemy”: You have the cool, powerful feeling I described before when you are on top of a building, but you also know that if you slip, you’ll die. In short: Verticality is easy to use because it’s a natural feeling. Utilize it and don’t overthink too much.LANDMARKS Screenshots from the 3rd and 7th level, located at different places in Mirror’s Edge’s city The Shard (the big rectangular building) and the “multiple white tips” building are visible throughout the game and help players locate themselves inside the city. Valparaiso’s lighthouse (Bad Company 2) Most of Bad Company 2’s maps have a singular building, or setting, to help player differentiate the maps and also give them more personality. For example, Valparaiso’s landmark is its lighthouse. It’s probable that most players refer to Valparaiso as “the lighthouse map”. Landmarks are unique and memorable locations in your level. They help players locate themselves, in the level but also inside the whole game, and will make your area/level stand out.FOCAL POINTS The clear focal points (and landmarks) of Heavy Metal are the wind turbines. Heavy Metal is the biggest map in Bad Company 2. Heavy tanks fight each other while infantry tries to escape the firefight and go from one flag to another through areas with little to no cover, all while being careful about the choppers hovering over them. Wind turbines are scattered all along the area. Apart of being a memorable landmark, they are a really practical focal point: by looking at them, players watch the sky, and thus are reminded to be careful about the choppers in the area, as well as the many snipers who are waiting on top of the mountains on the edges of the map (and sometimes on the wind turbines). A simple focal point can change a lot on how people will experience a level. Put focal points wherever you want to guide the player’s eyes. From that point, you just have to choose how to make your focal point stand out. Going to extremes is the easiest way to go: Big, bright, colored.COVER/OCCLUSION Panama Canal — Bad Company 2 The Bad Company series offered a new way of designing cover, with a fully destructible environment. As you’re playing, walls explode, leaving players more and more vulnerable. Shootmania grids In Shootmania, you’ll often find grids in levels. You can’t shoot through them but can watch your opponents movements and give the info to your team. These grids offer cover, but no occlusion. Cover is about providing… cover (yay!) to the player(s), but can also be used to hide informations from them. It’s called occlusion. Cover and occlusion naturally happen whenever you put some solid object on your map, like a wall. You can’t shoot or see through them. You can create cover/occlusion with verticality (like the canal in the Bad Company 2 screenshot above), but also less tangible ones with lights, shadows, sounds, etc. Just think about providing interesting situations to your players. The more cover and less occlusion they’ll have, the safer they’ll feel. A simple situation involving cover in Mirror’s Edge: Players must take cover to the right to avoid being shot by the cops in the main hallway WORLD COHERENCE This industrial area seems functional. (Mirror’s Edge) Buildings in Bad Company 2 lack coherence. You can’t imagine that someone was living here. Make sure your environment is coherent with the game’s reality. To hem your level in the game world, it should always stay coherent: If your enemies are supposed to exist (as in “living THE LIFE”) inside a level, make sure the hallways are wide enough for them to use, that they have toilets and stuff like that. In the photo above, you can see that Bad Company 2 lacks coherence in its building interiors. It was probably done on purpose to offer better situations in mutliplayer. You sometimes have to sacrifice coherence to offer a better experience, but try to avoid finding yourself in these position. DESIGN COHERENCE Red is used to suggest a way to go to the player. The cop is in red too, so you know you’ll have to deal with him at some point. (Mirror’s Edge) In Mirror’s Edge, the red color is associated with Faith, the character embodied by the player, contrary to usual game codes with red being the color of negative stuff (enemies, traps…). Some areas are highlighted in red too guide the player in case he doubts what he should do. You’ll never see red used for something not related to Faith/the player. If the player is used to shooting red barrels every time he sees them because it has always given him some kind of reward, DO NOT create a new situation in the same level / area of the game where he might kill himself if he shoots a red barrel. It is important to be aware of the “codes” you put down on your game. Players are used to playing this way. Their behavior in games are heavily influenced by other games they previously played before trying yours. They will then confront these global video game codes to the first situations of your game, to try and figure what codes are applying to your game. You must be aware of the messages you convey, especially in your first levels, as they will be the bases the player relies on while experiencing the rest of the game. Think of your player as a child, with your game being his upbringing. If you send mixed messages to your kid early on, he’ll be really confused later. Be clear about your messages. Have great kids. One way to fix our red barrel problem, could be to change the color of the new barrel, so the player is aware that he should approach the situation a bit differently.CHOICES “Arland”: The first part Mirror’s Edge’s first level There are at least 4 possible routes to go over the electric fence: 1. Use the easy, suggested route and use a springboard (the red pipe) 2. Jump over on the right from the little chimney-thing 3. Wallrun then walljump from the wall on the left 4. Go to the middle roof on the left and jump over the fence from there These 4 choices are presented to the player in a smooth, binary way: you first have to choose whether you want to go to the right (1. and 2.), or to the left (3. and 4.). Then another binary choice is presented. It adds a lot of value to the level, while still leading to the same place. The player doesn’t feel trapped, or lost, when seeing this situation. Games are mostly about making choices, and Risk/Reward situations. Be sure to offer your players multiple approaches to the same situation. It adds replayability, and gives the player a better sense of freedom. Putting minor choices such as the one in Arland is also an easy way to prevent boredom for the players. Side note: Arland is at a point in the level where the player can take the time to choose his approach. On a chase scene later in the level the player shouldn’t, and doesn’t want to stop running: a unique & clear route is presented. ASSET LIST/ PRODUCTION LIST The same building is used all over the same area. And it’s not really a problem: people just want to shoot at each other. At some point you’ll have to start listing what props, sounds, effects and whatever other thingies you want to use on your level. That way, you can ask the qualified people if they can make these assets for you, or not. In this case, you’ll have to think about optimization, and modularity. Your assets should fit well with other assets, in order to have as many combinations as possible among them. FLOW Flow is a very important part of game and level design. I recommend that you check Jenova Chen’s thesis on flow. I can’t explain it better than him. Flow is mostly about making a level challenging enough for the player , without it feeling too hard to overcome. It is also about making sure the player doesn’t experience any snag: You have to make sure your player doesn’t get stuck on corners, or fails to interact with something etc. RHYTHM Rhythm is something I really like to focus on. It’s very close to the Flow and the Game Design itself. And just like Flow, it’s kinda hard to explain, as it’s really about feeling it. One way to feel it for me is to think about the inputs the Player will most likely do. Mirror’s Edge is very good for this. Most of the game revolves around muscle memory, and being in rhythm when doing runs over and over. Putting rhythm in your game will help players get into the Flow. CHOKE POINTS Isla Innocentes’ 2nd base — Bad Company 2 To arm the two objectives from Isla Innocentes’ 2nd base, infantry has to go through a narrow road, heavily defended by the opposite team. They can also try to attack by sea or land, but time has shown that the victory for this base is almost always determined inside the yellow zone on the image above. Whoever controls it wins the round. Choke points are the areas of your level where your opponents will most likely meet, and a big part of the fight will go there, with restrained movement. Counter Strike maps are all designed with choke points in mind. I would suggest you study these maps if you want to learn more about it. MULTIPLE I wrote “MULTIPLE”, all caps and everything, on my draft. It must have seemed very crucial at the time. So it’s staying here until I find what important piece of knowledge MULTIPLE refers to.CONTRAST — OUTSIDE INSPIRATION Mirror’s Edge Contrast is something vital in black & white photography. In order to have a more pleasing photo, and add depth, you have to think about alternating between dark and white zones. It’s a really precise thing, but a good segway to talk about using other medium’s rules. If you know rules used in photography, painting, cinema, or something else (gardening or sports for example), put them to use when designing your level! Of course every medium has its own rules and it’s better to design with them, but some of these rules may overlap, and it probably won’t have been done before.COLOR THEORY, COLOR HARMONY Same game, different areas, different moods, different colors. (Mirror’s Edge) The same level (Isla Innocentes) can relay a drastically different mood when changing atmospheric colors (Bad Company 2) Colors convey different emotions, and can be used to transcribe a specific mood you want to emphasize on your level. Having the same palette used in similar areas of your world is a good thing to do. You don’t need to use extremely different colors by level like in Mirror’s Edge, nuances always are a good option, and better than just throwing random colors around.BALANCE Balance is more important in multiplayer games than in solo ones. It’s about providing a fair encounter for all the players. The easiest way to balance your level is to use symmetry. But it’s been used over and over since the beginning of level design, so now we’re kinda forced to get more creative, and it’s for the best. If you give an advantage at one area of the map, using verticality or cover for example, be sure the other side also has the same kind of area somewhere else. N.B.: Most Counter Strike maps are not balanced (and mostly CT-sided), but the halftime alternation in the game design provides some sort of balance to the whole game. Seeing the big picture is important. Visual balance is also important in levels. Just like composition in other visual arts, most of the time you want to present balanced images to your player, and sometimes surprise him with a very harsh composition. Here again, symmetry is always the easy and sure way, but getting more creative to find balance is way more interesting for you and your players. DON’T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE Side note: During this scene, walls are left naked to encourage the player to use powerful wallrun kicks instead of pick a gun and shoot his way out. Mirror’s Edge run & gun gameplay is shitty: it lacks feedback, slows you down and is overall very limited and boring. It’s like the designer didn’t want you to use guns. And it’s the case. They made a design decision, and it payed off. The game distanced himself from other FPSs, by emphasizing the lightweight running and hand-to-hand combat. Your level and your game don’t need to be the best at every possible thing you can find in games.MENTAL MAPPING Arica Harbor — Bad Company 2 Arica Harbor is one of the most played map in Bad Company 2. There are many reasons to that, and one of them is the depth and various situations it offers, while staying simple. Players can locate themselves really easily. They have a mini-map, the A,B,Cflags appear at all times on the screen. Flags are aligned along the main road. There are different heights in the map (to add verticality), but it is painless to remember: It goes down like a stair, from the mountain to the sea. You should always be careful about your players mentally mapping your layouts, especially when making a game aimed at a large audience. The easier it is for a player to remember where he went, how the level is arranged, the better his experience will be. To facilitate mental mapping you can provide unique props or details to help differentiate between two almost identical hallways, put floor numbers in stairs, vantage points, landmarks, focal points etc. Keeping the same logic throughout a level also helps a lot. If your game involves backtracking, mental mapping goes from important to REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT. No-one wants to get lost in a game, trying to find an exit. Make sure you are helping the players as much as possible to avoid frustration.CUT THE NOISE As fun and tempting as it can be for a level designer, you shouldn’t add too much to your environment. Having dull and empty areas is not a good thing, but over-saturating it with props everywhere will just make it worse. Details in your map must not come in the way of playability. DO WHAT YOU ARE “Leper Squint” At the end of the day, you should still feel that the level you designed comes from you. These points are important, but it’s the only one you should always respect. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to make your level/game feel different, or look like a particular style, it will never feel unique unless you invest a part of yourself in what you create. . . . . . Alright, that was my advice on level design. I’m a piece of shit, so some of these points might seem wrong to other gamedevs, or wrongly named etc. But hey, feel free to call me out on it, or write your own advice piece. I like talking about LD in general so whether you have a different opinion, or are a beginner seeking advice, drop me a DM, a comment, a mail, shout my name really loud… be original, I’m not going to list all your options. Although they’re here. - Niels . . . . . *This article has been posted in its entirety with permission from the author Original Source: medium.com/ironequal/practical-guide-on-first-person-level-design-e187e45c744c Follow Niels: Website: fuckgamedev.itch.io/ Twitter: twitter.com/fuckgamedev
  8. In this 8 page paper, Ken Hullett and Jim Whitehead seek to more clearly define "how levels create gameplay". It's written in a very formal and structured manner, which we will try to keep mostly intact. There will be a LOT of sections and examples that are left completely out of our recap here. The authors have requested that their work not be shared in its entirety without permission. Therefore, it's being posted here in a very brief form as an attempt to share their insight while also respecting their request. We strongly suggest following the link at the end of the article and reading their full paper if this subject is of interest to you. In fact, if you know that you want to read the entire paper, we suggest skipping this article entirely and simply reading the paper in full. It will be worth your time. Consider this article a teaser for those who may not be sure whether they wish to read the full piece.Here's a small part of the introductory statement of the paper: After the Introduction, the authors move on to the subject of Design Patterns: And now we move on to Level Design: Next, we take a look at Pattern Collection: Category 1 - Patterns for Positional Advantage: The above is of Sniper positioning one of many example of Positional Advantage provided in the paper. Other examples cover Galleries and Choke Points. Category 2 - Patterns for Large-Scale Combat: Follow the link at the end of this article to read much more info on the categories above, and these which we've not included here:Category 3 - Patterns for Alternate GameplayCategory 4 - Patterns for Alternate RoutesThe authors then use the Bioshock Level "Medical Pavilion" as a case-study example of the patterns described above. Here's a brief snippet of this section: And then we reach the conclusion, where the authors sum up their findings: Source: https://games.soe.ucsc.edu/sites/default/files/khullett-fdg-camera-ready.pdfJim Whitehead Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJimWhitehead
  9. In the video below, Extra Credits analyzes the implementation of asymmetrical levels in Overwatch. Follow Extra Credits Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg Twitter: https://twitter.com/extracreditz Website: https://becausegamesmatter.com/
  10. The story behind Dust 2 - the map that was never meant to happen and at best, I thought, would be a foolish attempt to repeat the success of Dust. I gave it a go anyway.IntroductionDespite the success and overwhelming popularity of Dust, the thought of making a sequel took a long time to cross my mind. Although considered by some to be it’s spiritual successor, Cobble failed to find the same audience, and there was clear demand for a ‘real’ sequel. Dust 2 didn’t arrive until March 2001 - nearly 2 years after the original.It was never going to be easy creating a successor to the most-played FPS map in the world. Even with the benefit of the same texture set, an established theme and innumerable number of salivating CS players, it was an incredibly daunting task. I didn’t want to call it “Dust 2” for this very reason. Instead, on the basis that the third installment of any movie trilogy is typically never as good as the first one, I decided to call it “Dust 3”, and hoped no-one would notice. My assumption was that everyone would just carry on playing the original.So, I opened up Hammer, and started laying out “Dust 3”.Sticking to a ThemeFirst things first, I had to ensure that this new map had everything in common with Dust, without actually being Dust. I had to identify the elements that defined a Dust map.The ArchesPerhaps the most iconic aspect of Dust are the arches that separate main gameplay areas. Aesthetically they neatly compartmentalise the map, framing entrances and exits between areas and helping players create a mental picture of the layout. From a gameplay perspective, they produce tight choke-points between objectives, and block out unwanted lines-of-sight. Consider how Dust would have looked without the arches: Lose the arches and you get a deathmatch arena It’s worth reading the original Making of Dust if you haven’t already, as you’ll see the arches (amongst many other elements) were lifted directly from Team Fortress 2.The RoadThe stone roads through Dust were like arteries, giving players clear paths to follow towards the main objective areas. The sequel would do the same, connecting spawn points to the primary objectives.As an example of the importance of these paths, here’s what Dust would have looked like without them: Where we're going, we really do need 'roads' The TrimThe much-abused ‘trim’ along all the walls and ceilings of Dust was perhaps the single element that gave the world a hint of relief and purpose, and helped separate distinct geometric elements. It was incredibly important in a world that was almost otherwise entirely made of the same colour stone.I therefore tried to use the trim very carefully, only exactly where needed, and not just as filler. I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of many Dust-alikes where it had been peppered everywhere it fitted, flooding the visual cortex of players with the excessive complexity. Neither did I want to under-employ it, and end up with a world looking flat and barren.I tried to formalise the rules I’d employed. The trim would never appear on a floor or ceiling, or anywhere a player could stand on it. It would never be striped or tiled vertically across a surface. Finally, for any given flat wall, it would never appear more than twice (e.g. at the top, and at the bottom, but never in the middle as well.)The SunThis was perhaps the element of Dust that underwent the most tweaking - every BETA release of Counter-Strike saw it moved ever so slightly, lengthening the shadows each time. It was key to making Dust distinct amongst the other maps in rotation, and keeping it accessible and pleasant to play in. I considered giving the sequel a night setting, but in doing so would have removed a vital element of the Dust theme. The best I could do was make it exactly the same.The DesignThis new Dust had to bear resemblance to the original beyond the texture set and sunlight. It had to copy important design elements that players had become accustomed to: the ‘Dust doors’, simple structures, ramps, crates and arbitrarily raised concrete areas. In fact, I’d have to copy some areas nearly verbatim to ensure the lineage was present.At the same time, while trying to differentiate the sequel from the original, I’d have to be conservative about any new elements I was introducing. These came in the form of the half-spiral staircase, and the rock face adjoining the two bomb spot areas.There were also two distinct boxes that Dust 3 needed to tick - a place for close-quarters battles, and a place for long, drawn-out AWP fights. Dust had the central corridor and the underpass to fulfill these requirements, and I’d have to create something similar in the sequel to cater for both types of player.It was a lot to juggle.Keeping It SimpleOf course, the most important element that would make or break the sequel was the overall map layout. It had to be Dust-ish, without being Dust, different enough to give players a fresh challenge, but maintaining the balance and pace of the original.I had already spent a long time trying to work out what vital layout ingredients had Dust tick, and reached the conclusion that the simplicity and concise connectivity were key. In it’s most basic form, Dust was little more than a figure-of-eight that had grown a pair of arms and legs, centralising the battles but providing tactical wiggle room.To maximise the sequel’s chances, to make it feel like Dust and play as well as Dust, I’d have to adopt this same structure.Starting OutUnusually, I opted to draw out some doodles, rather than just diving in as I typically would. This sequel was important - it deserved careful, considered, detailed and thorough planning, a long and arduous process that would eventually span literally minutes.One of the most peculiar decisions I took at this stage was to add rock to the Dust theme. The textures had always been there, but I had never used them. It was a (miniscule) risk to adopt them now, knowing the challenges of creating believable rockery with the Half-Life engine, but I took it anyway. I needn’t have worried.The Early Dust 3It took a couple of days to convert the paper design into a playable map, although thankfully was a relatively straightforward process. Through habit, I strayed a bit from the paper designs, but maintained the overall layout that I intended, correcting the scale as I went along.The biggest problem was dealing the relative proportions of gameplay areas. I had inadvertently built the map and filled in the details in such a way that I was now hitting the very edge of the permitted space allowed by Worldcraft. But, rather than just moving the entire map a few thousand units in the opposite direction, I stuck with it, and that’s how the Terrorist spawn area ended up so long in the final revision.AlphaThe alpha version of Dust 3 was pretty close to the paper design, but lacked any character. While it was clearly a Dust map, and had both old and new Dust elements, it was far from being finished. Much like Dust, Dust 2 briefly had a cavern You can see in the shots below that the area I was most unhappy about was the second bomb spot. It only had a couple of entrances and a few crates for cover (just like the original), but clearly needed something more. The road leading from it was also a straightforward junction. All these elements were clearly derived from Dust, but detrimentally so.Around this time I invited Gearbox’s Brian Martel to offer some feedback and advice. He suggested adding arrows pointing toward bomb locations to support the existing floor markings, features that would radically improve the accessibility of the map (and were later introduced into the original Dust and indeed all other official maps.) Bomb site B Bomb site B BetaHeading to beta, I massaged the bomb site with Dust’s bomb site B in mind, adding a raised platform and shuffling more crates in to break the space up and offer more gameplay opportunities.In the process, I managed to find a way to open it up by creating a hole in the wall connecting it to the junction to bomb site A. I considered this risky - Dust had no such elements, and I wasn’t sure quite how it would look or indeed play, but it ‘felt’ right, and the objective became a far more comfortable area to navigate. I pictured how much fun I’d have armed with a Steyr Scout perched as lookout for enemies trying to breach the gates.I also took some liberties with the crates, which were sitting nervously at awkward angles, as if the laws of physics had tumbled them around a little. Again, I was wary that this was a break from the rigid, grid-like nature of Dust’s crate arrangements, such was my concern that such minor elements had been what made Dust a success. While primitive by today's standards, I was still unsure about introducing irregular shapes and a rounded staircase to the Dust theme The staircase was also unnerving. Dust never had stairs of more than a couple of steps, and this map was set to have a half-circular staircase, and in a tight area too. However, I needed some passage between those two areas, and the staircase seemed to fit and provide some interesting conflict.Despite these changes, this map had some familiar elements too. In fact, some elements were ripped nearly verbatim from the original. Dust 2's Terrorist spawn echoes the CT spawn in Dust The ramp pictured above always seemed particularly ‘Dusty’ to me, perhaps because it harked back to the TF2 screenshots that inspired Dust. The CT-side entrance to the underpass in Dust 2 bears similiarities to the T-side entrance to the underpass in Dust Again, notice the similarity - two ramps which both head down into darkness. In Dust 3, the T’s would have started at the higher end of the ramp. This later changed to the CT’s in the underpass in Dust 2.ReleaseThis had all been happening in relative secrecy. I had been intentionally keeping it quiet, not wanting to raise expectations, assuming that once it launched on a new website called GameHelper that would be the end of it. I was convinced that compared to Dust, “Dust 3” would be a failure, despite my efforts.Alas, it was not to be. Jess insisted it became part of the official Counter-Strike rotation, except under the far more sensible name of “Dust 2”. As with Dust, Jess was vital to getting the final balance of the map just right, suggesting new spawn and bomb locations.Dust 2 was released in March 2001, as part of Counter-Strike 1.1. Unlike Dust, it received no further layout tweaks after that. Dust 2's overview image from CS 1.6 Just like Dust, Dust 2 excused itself from my pessimism and became incredibly popular, not just on public servers, but in clan matches too, which Dust had become ill-suited for. Dust 2 later also stole the “most-played map” crown, sharing it only occasionally with Aztec as Dust fell down the charts to newer and better maps. I had never expected Dust 2 to compete with Dust for longer than a few weeks, but like Dust, “Dust 2 24⁄7” servers sprang up everywhere and it’s popularity meant it earned places in later versions and ports of Counter-Strike.Counter-Strike: Condition ZeroLike Dust 1, this version of Dust 2 shares much in common with the original, and is largely based on the original brushwork. The map is notably more vivid and strong in its appearance, with an overall more colourful appearance helped by the additional detail. A few changes have been sneaked in, such as crate placement around bomb sites, but otherwise the map serves as a nicer updated version of the original. Dust 2's received a fresh lick of paint in Counter-Strike: Condition Zero This version was primarily worked on by Ritual, although some finishing touches were added by Valve just before release of the game.Counter-Strike: SourceThis Dust featured a whole host of improvements, from the improved skybox (it really does feel like the middle of a desert now), improved building structures, additional detail, village clutter, as well as slight changes in the layout of the bomb sites to improve the game. Dust in CS 1.6 vs CS:Source From the overview above it’s clear that there were a number of small changes to map proportions versus the one that shipped in CS 1.1. Various passageways have been widened and made more accessible, while others have been lengthened or squared off to improve gameplay and rendering performance. The additional detail also cuts of some lines-of-sight and adds cover where there was none before, but otherwise it’s reasonably faithful to the original. Dust 2's overhaul in Counter-Strike: Source This renovation of Dust 2 was performed by Valve following the renovation of the original Dust.Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFar and away the most beautiful version of the map ever created courtesy of Valve’s crack team of artists and designers. You can almost feel the breeze brushing around these parts This version was developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment and evidently based on the proportions set by the CS:S version of the map (many CS:S assets can be seen around the map, albeit in updated forms). It’s absolutely stunning.ElsewhereDust 2 has also made appearances in other games, courtesy of the modding community. One of my favourites is the Dust 2 conversion for Far Cry 3, showing the mapping process from start to finish: There’s also the obligatory Minecraft version.ThanksAs with Dust, none of this would have been possible without the help of Joe Markert of GameHelper, Jess Cliffe, Minh Le, Chris Ashton, Brian Martel, Richard Gray, Kristen Perry, Ido Magal, and all sorts of other people.Also, of course, ultimately I have to thank Valve Software for the idea I stole in the first place… erm, twice.Source: https://www.johnsto.co.uk/design/making-dust2/Follow DaveWebsite: https://www.johnsto.co.uk/Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnsto*This article has been posted with the permission of the author, and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  11. For a long while Dust was the world's most-played Counter-Strike map and it's still the one for which I am best known. Yet few players realise it was the product of thievery and luck... For many FPS players Dust - and the later Dust 2 - are the quintessential Counter-Strike maps. They’ve been featured in nearly every major Counter-Strike tournament, and been responsible for countless millions virtual deaths, bomb detonations and defusals. But these maps actually owe their existence to Team Fortress 2 - a game that was released eight years after Dust became a staple of the Counter-Strike map rotation. Time Travelling It started in the summer of 1999, Suffolk, England. I was 16 years old, recuperating from end-of-year exams and enjoying my newfound freedom from school work. Half-Life was only a few months old, yet was scooping up more ‘Game of the Year’ awards than there were game magazines, leaving gamers desperate to know what Valve Software were going to make next. Thankfully, news broke that Valve had hired the team behind ‘Team Fortress’, a free mod for Quake that added class-based team multiplayer to the game. Like any responsible teenager, I’d spent more hours sat staring into a screen zooming around dodging rockets, slinging grenades and capturing the flag than I had with my head stuck in schoolwork, much to the chagrin of my parents. Their next project? A sequel, excitingly titled ‘Team Fortress 2’. It seemed that whilst I had been busy ambushing my future educational prospects, behind closed doors Valve had been hammering away at updating and upgrading Team Fortress for a new generation of hardware. News of Team Fortress 2 was rare and sporadic, but occasionally a tidbit here or a screenshot there would nervously peer out to an excited but nervous audience of TF fans. Before too long, a handful of screenshots started their steady journey around the gaming websites of the late nineties. Two particular screenshots leapt out at me: Two early screenshots of Team Fortress 2 The seed had been sown. Meanwhile, a new Half-Life modification known as ‘Counter-Strike’ had been picking up a steady stream of players. In the autumn of 1999, Minh ‘gooseman’ Le and Jess Cliffe released its second beta - and it supplanted Team Fortress to become my new addiction. It came with a texture pack of urban textures (‘cstrike.wad’) that, upon discovery, I set about making a map with - this became ‘cs_tire’, a hostage rescue map set in (of all places) a retirement home. Surprisingly, this map was deemed good enough to be included in the third beta release of Counter-Strike, and Jess subsequently asked me if I’d be interested in making a map for the fourth beta. He was very keen to hook me up with their texture artist to help me make something absolutely and completely original. Jess introduced me to artist Chris ‘MacMan’ Ashton - the same artist behind the urban texture set used in my retirement home map - and we got to work creating a new, totally original Counter-Strike map. Unfortunately it was too late to save me from TF2’s influence and I asked for these instead: Team Fortress 2 screenshots were used to create a core texture set Undeterred by my complete lack of originality, Chris quickly got back to me with beautiful lookalikes. While not exact replicas, I selfishly became completely infatuated with them, just like I had the screenshots they were based on . I quickly bundled them all together into my own texture pack and called it “cs_dest.wad” - shorthand for “Destiny”. With these TF2-alike textures I could finally make a map and pretend I was playing Team Fortress 2, but something was wrong. I felt guilt - TF2 wasn’t even out yet and I was already trying to sap all the effort Valve had been putting into it. It was akin to snatching a duckling from under its mothers beak. “But surely”, I thought, “Valve wouldn’t mind one me making one small map for one small mod for their one and only published game? A map that maybe only a handful of people would ever play?” I marched on. Copy and Paste Starting the map was the easy bit - the first area boasted a long road flanked by buildings, leading to an archway and a wall dividing it in two, just like I’d seen in the screenshots. I decorated every building and wall with ornate trims along the top or bottom, again aping TF2, as I tried my hardest to evoke the same sense of place, desolation, and scale. These features would go on to define the underlying architectural style of Dust. My effort wasn’t quite identical to the map featured in those coveted TF2 screenshots, but it was close enough, and - somewhat more importantly - it was a start. The arched doorways became a hallmark of the Dust theme - a Dust map is simply not Dust without at least two or three arches dividing the map into distinct zones. Creating the first one was at the time a great test of my technical mapping ability, and I struggled for a little while before landing on a technique that worked. My design eschewed the Reuleaux triangle shape of the TF2 arches for a simpler semi-circle, partly because it was simpler, but primarily to ease player passage through them. I extruded the arches from their adjoining wall - lifted straight from the screenshots. The first incarnation of what became the CT spawn I considered against copying the screenshots verbatim for fear of upsetting Valve, and so started guessing how the rest of the area should look. I’d already created a raised platform, and had decided that this could be the area that the Counter-Terrorist team would spawn in at the start of the match. This necessitated defensive measures to protect their spawn area, so I made some windows: The view from inside a building next to the CT spawn Not only did they look hideous, but the windows didn’t give the defensively-advantageous views I wanted the CT team to have. Nor did they fit with the intended gameplay. I didn’t want to encourage the CTs to hold back, and removed them - although in all honestly, at this point I really didn’t know where the map was going. Under the Influence Side-by-side, the TF2 ‘influence’ is plain to see: Side-by-side, the influence of TF2 on the design of the CT spawn area is apparent TF directly influenced building placement and the design of the arches In many respects, the TF2 screenshot looks nicer to me - smoother and softer than the harsh edges of the Dust buildings. I was far more comfortable working with standard geometric shapes, 90 degree corners and 45 degree angles, which is why Dust looks far boxier in comparison to the TF2 screenshot it was based on. That was the easy part done - after all, Valve had already created this much of the map for me and all I’d had to do was copy it. But what I had wasn’t much - it was barely enough for a one-on-one deathmatch, let alone two teams of eight players gunning it out. Worse still, there were no more screenshots to use for ‘inspiration’ - I had to make the rest of the map off my own back and imagination. Extrapolation Having nailed down the design of the first area, producing the rest of the map was merely a case of extrapolating it into a complete, playable environment. However this was much easier said than done - the next section of the map proved rather more challenging. I had created a T-junction out of the CT spawn, but struggled to know what to do with it. My past mapping experience was mostly creating tight interiors rather than not vast exteriors, and so I was feeling very lost. Desperate, I shoe-horned a bend in the road leading to a downward slope, and at the end of it - an underground cavern. The underpass originally descended into a vast underground facility, but this was scrapped the moment I played it It didn’t work, of course. While the CT spawn area was light and airy, this giant room was gloomy, boxy and felt dead compared to the sunny exterior I’d already made. Observing it also lacked any gameplay potential, I swiftly deleted it. Dust would be an outdoor map. I was still stuck. It’s at times like these where working without an initial design can prove extremely difficult. You look at what you’ve got, and struggle to see where to take it, knowing that a step in one direction is a step away from a solution in another direction - and you don’t know which will turn out better. It can be very tough and incredibly tempting to just scrap everything and start again. I’d made all my previous maps one room at a time, making it up as I go along with precious little pre-planning, and they had gone reasonably well. I had to hope I could do the same again. Mercifully, that’s exactly what happened. The Terrorist spawn area, and shallow decline into the underpass Within just a few hours - and seemingly out of nowhere - the Terrorist spawn area was complete. I was far happier with this side of the map, perhaps a product of becoming comfortable with the visual and architectural style. The shallow decline into the underpass is perhaps one of my favourite aspects, both aesthetically and as a player who spent many hours armed with a Steyr Scout at the crest popping off opponents’ heads. At one point I planned an alleyway from the Terrorist side of the underpass that fed around to the CT ‘sniper nest’, but this path seemed like it would be too long, too linear, and simply too dull. I just blocked it up with crates instead, still visible in the original version of the map (and the screenshot above.) Dust’s central hallway was pivotal in tying all these pieces together. Unfortunately, I can recollect very little about its creation, bar my explicit efforts to ensure players couldn’t see all the way through it from one end to the other. Every crate found in the intersection was strategically positioned to cut off lines-of-sight and improve performance. It was in this corridor that each team would typically meet, and so it needed to be fair, and balanced, with a slight defensive bias. The central corridor, Terrorists approached from the top, Counter-Terrorists from the bottom. Note the stack of crates opposite the doorway in the bottom-right corner blocking the long sightline In retrospect, it’s clear the upturned ’T’ shape of this corridor - which gave the CT team two points from which to defend against the single Terrorist entrance point - played an important role pacing each team. A good CT team would hold steady in these locations, forcing Terrorists to check both corners before advancing. However, the Terrorist team had a similar advantage if CT’s became over-confident and tried advancing too far. Getting this balance of opportunity right came down to timing. The aim was to ensure both teams caught first sight of each other in this corridor. Knowing that most players will start running the second the match begins, I did the same, timing how long it took to go from each team’s spawn area to the central corridor. By making sure each team had exactly the same distance to run I could dictate exactly where first contact would be most likely to happen. Bomb Planted Despite the map layout being largely complete, I’d paid very little attention to the core gameplay. Dust would be one of the very first ‘Bomb Defusal’ maps, a new gmetype that was due to be introduced at the same time as the map itself (all previous CS maps had featured hostage rescue.) No one had played a Defusal map before - least of all me - and so I had to rely on guesswork and logic to place the spawns and bomb locations. Bomb Spot A was easy to place - the courtyard area had no purpose otherwise - but Bomb Spot B proved more difficult. I thought about putting it the underpass. This suited better - it was equidistant between the two spawns, and I thought offered a reasonable amount of cover. So it went there. Bomb location decided, I zipped up the map and fired it towards Cliffe for the first round of playtesting. He immediately suggested that the bomb spot below the underpass should be moved directly in the CT spawn - a change that was undoubtedly crucial to the map’s success. The problem was I’d been treating this brand-new ‘Defusal’ gametype as if it was one I knew already - Capture the Flag - except in this CTF mode the flag (the bomb) started at the Terrorist spawn. But Defusal wasn’t Capture the Flag. In fact, it was so utterly different that hardly a comparison could be drawn. Placing the bomb in the CT spawn hadn’t even crossed my mind. I made the change, and sent it back for playtests. Playtesting is an important stage of any map’s development cycle. While thoughtful logic and engineering are incredibly important to help ensure a map’s success, player feedback is critical. There’s little way of knowing exactly how a map will play when faced with real people. It’s playtests that uncover deep and subtle-but-damaging flaws that need fixing before release - if the map is even fit to be released at all. The map overview from CS 1.6 I didn’t get to play in the playtests (by virtue of being in a different timezone) but I heard that they went well enough to be included in BETA 4. To have one map (‘cs_tire’) already in the official map rotation was great, but to have two? The pressure was mounting. What if it didn’t live up to people’s expectations? Would people even take to this new ‘Bomb Defusal’ mode? What if players didn’t like the sunny golden demeanor of Dust, and really did prefer dark, gritty urban maps? A few days later, on the 5th November of 1999 - a Friday - I got my answer. BETA 4 was released as I slept. Saturday morning arrived, and I - skipping breakfast - rushed to download the new beta, just like everyone else had done hours before. There were already hundreds of servers and on them thousands of people were already planting and defusing bombs on the map I’d designed, and I’d not even got to play it myself yet. It seemed as though Bomb Defusal mode was a hit, and thousands of players were already enjoying the change of pace from hostage rescue maps. But how about Dust? Well, this was the day that the first “Dust 24/7” server appeared… …and players seemed to like it. Getting BETA Dust underwent changes in almost every subsequent release of CS during the BETA phase. These changes were frequently somewhat speculative, more often they were aesthetic, and sometimes they changed the game play entirely. BETA 4 Comparing the first version of Dust to CS 1.6’s shows the major differences that were made in its lifetime. BETA 4 Dust had far fewer crates and cover than in CS 1.6 - all added to help balance the map and embellish defensive/offensive strategies. Aesthetically, CS 1.6’s Dust is also far cleaner and warmer, having benefited from a custom skybox and tweaked sunlight. Between CS BETA 4 and CS 1.6 the sun shifted slightly, elongating the shadows and upping the contrast to match the new skybox Between CS BETA 4 and CS 1.6 the Terrorist spawn also had a minor facelift with additional graffiti. The source of the sunlight and the shadows it created helped draw Terrorist players towards the bomb spots BETA 5 The BETA 5 version of Dust consisted of both aesthetic and gameplay changes. One seemingly small gameplay change was introduced in the form of a crack in the wall of the CT sniper nest overlooking the underpass. The intention was to expose CT snipers, making it easier for Terrorists to advance through the underpass. I reinforced this principle by adding more crates in the underpass as cover, strategically placed to let them get close enough to toss a grenade into the sniper nest. The underpass in BETA 5 had a distinct CT bias, with a crack in the wall and very little cover making it hard for Terrorists to get through The crack in the wall backfired. Rather than hinder CT snipers it had helped them by offering a wider, unobscured view of Terrorists entering the underpass. Miraculously, the full wall was restored in BETA 6. BETA 6.1 and 6.5 BETA 6.1 contained a small change to spawns that had big consequences. I thought the map had become unbalanced in the favour of the Terrorist team, and wanted to find a way to address this advantage. My fix involved moving the CT spawns forward by a few metres to push back the first line of contact between the two teams. The exact placement of Dust’s player spawns had always been crucial in ensuring balance, so I knew that tweaking them could have large repercussions. However, this was one tweak too far - once 6.1 was released it was clear the change the balance had become worse, not better. What happened? The change had made it easier for CTs to hold down the hallway, and harder for the Terrorists to rush the bomb site - all exactly as intended. However, the balance was now slightly too far in the CTs favour, and while some players welcomed this change, it was an overall worse experience for most. In BETA 6.5 the CT spawns were reverted back to their original positions. (BETA 6.5 also introduced my third Counter-Strike map, ‘de_cbble’. It was very nearly a castle.) Retail 1.0 In April 2000, Valve bought Counter-Strike and secured the right to include Dust in a physical, boxed retail version of the game. It was hard to believe this small map I’d made in my spare time less than a year before would be appearing on store shelves. Yet, on the 1st November 2000 - days before Dust turned one-year-old - that’s where it was. I was now 17, and Dust was now my first published work. (A few months later my fourth CS map - the inventively titled ‘de_dust2’ - was added in CS 1.1.) Rejected Ideas Dust didn’t see any further changes after 1.0. The map was about as good as I could make it without the risk of alienating players who were fans of the map, and I really didn’t want to rock the boat. However, that’s not to say I didn’t toy with a few ideas… The major change that I almost made at CS 1.1 time would have changed the dynamics of the entire map destroyed many proven strategies. I thought a new route directly from the underpass to the very centre of the hallway would help Terrorists form a firmer front-line, and encourage a more defensive strategy. Rejected: a staircase joining the underpass to the central hallway In retrospect, I think it would have just become the fastest route for Terrorists to reach the underpass, undermining and deprecating a large area of the map in the process. It would have removed one of the dynamics that made the underpass so fun. (Note this is not the same as the staircase added to Dust in CS:GO, which connects the platform above the underpass directly to the bottom. I believe the CS:GO solution is far better suited to Dust than my original plan was.) 24/7 Dust was once the most-played FPS map in the world, both in terms of the number of concurrent players, and the amount of time those players spent in the map. There were thousands of “Dust 24/7” servers, and the map became particularly popular amongst newbies, despite falling out of favour from clan matches. Dust turned out to be the perfect place for new players to learn the rules of the game, without being distracted by map complexity. There is no way to know how well the map would have done if some of the changes mentioned in this article remained - for example, the bomb site in the underpass, the sniper house, or the stairs between the underpass and the hallway. I expect they wouldn’t have worked in the maps favour. Ultimately, it’s hard for me to claim I knew what I was doing as I pieced Dust together. I attribute its success more to incredible luck and lack of imagination more than any skill I possess. If anything, I learnt more from Dust post-release (and in writing up these memories!) than I knew when I was making it. Counter-Strike: Condition Zero In March 2004 Valve released Condition Zero, an updated version of Counter-Strike that included a single-player mode and updated versions of all the popular maps from the main game. Its version of Dust shared much in common with the original, being largely based on the original brushwork. The map notably featured more pronounced structural detail supported by an expanded and more colourful palette. Dust got a fresh lick of paint in Counter-Strike: Condition Zero This version of the map was the product of Ritual, although some finishing touches were added by Valve just before release of the game. The Levelord played a hand in the renovation. Counter-Strike: Source Dust in CS 1.6 vs CS:Source In November 2004 - mere months after the release of Condition Zero - Valve released Counter-Strike: Source, a completely refreshed and revamped version of Counter-Strike based on the Source engine. Counter-Strike: Source introduced the biggest changes to Dust in its history, with more realistic proportions and the introduction of physics objects This renovation of Dust was done at Valve by Kristen Perry and Ido Magal who were given the unenviable job of determining appropriate architectural references for Dust based upon the Condition Zero version. I think they nailed the look completely - maintaining the golden tones everyone was used to, embellishing the few details that were there and giving Dust the kind of ambience that it had always lacked. My reaction when I first saw what they had done was nothing short of complete astonishment and amazement. I was proud of what Dust had become and ever grateful to those who had helped get it there. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive The CS:S version of Dust caused my jaw to drop, but the iteration in CS:GO floored me. Easily the most detailed, intricate and life-like version of Dust ever created This version was developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment and evidently based on the proportions set by the CS:S version of the map (many CS:S assets can be seen around the map, albeit in updated forms). This version heralded the most major layout changes to the map since the original release, featuring a bridge across CT side of the underpass, and a staircase by the underpass, refreshing Dust for competitive play and bringing it in line with more recent maps. The underpass has a side passage leading directly to the central corridor At a glance these changes bear a resemblance to one of my “rejected ideas” above, but only in concept. The underpass’s linearity always posed a problem due to its length, and Valve clearly agreed that a third exit right underneath the platform was necessary. But unlike my solution, which would have drawn players right into the centre hallway, Valve opted to put the underpass passage on the opposite side, directing players up to the far end of the platform. It’s clearly the better design and one I wish I had thought of when I still had the chance! Meat-Space Dust has also manifested itself in real, physical forms… Dust manifests itself in real life I still don’t know who was responsible for the sand castle, but the real-life crates were by Aram Bartholl, a Berlin-based artist who is also planning to create a life-size Dust replica. And then, of course, there’s Minecraft: Minecraft This Minecraft version of Dust was made by users of the cdg.net forums, who have also been recreating other popular CS maps. In Closing To this day I am still amazed that Dust was as successful as it has been, and I have a hard time believing that I actually created it at all. But, looking back, its success is hardly surprising given those who helped it along the way, from Minh Le and Jess Cliffe’s invitation and support, to Chris Ashton’s painterly skills, the feedback from players, through to Brian Martel, Richard Gray, Kristen Perry, Ido Magal, and a whole plethora of talented behind-the-scenes clever clogs who I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting, but deserve far more credit than I could ever give. Also, of course, ultimately I have to thank Valve Software for the idea I stole in the first place, and without which none of this would have ever happened. I hope they didn’t mind. Source: www.johnsto.co.uk/design/making-dust/ *Note: This article has been posted with the permission of the author, and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License Follow Dave Website: https://www.johnsto.co.uk/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnsto 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