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  1. WAYWO has landed. This is one giant leap for Level Design, one giant leap for Video Games. Or anything else you all deem appropriate to discuss in here, since it is traditional to go way, way, WAY(wo) off topic.... 😉
  2. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 26? Read it here: Nurturing Intro Some of you have heard of my works. Some of you have heard of my past. Some of you recognize my name from somewhere. You judge me and my works based on the reputation that I have created. Good or bad. Remember that as a designer, you too are building your reputation for others to judge you by even if they have never met you and you have never met them. Always consider what the future will bring based on your actions, your content, and what you say. An image of you Consider yourself an artist of a painting that all will see when they hear your name. You decide whether it leaves a good first impression or not. Consider how you carry yourself when you speak with others and take the time to nurture your fans. Always keep in mind that you are being judged every minute of every day. Your works speak just as much about you as you do. Some will know you from only the creations that you have built. Some will know you from seeing your feedback that you give to other designers. Some will know you from the help that you have offered others. And yes... some will know you and remember how you acted in a heated argument. Always tread lightly when doing anything. Remember what rewards and what consequences will follow. They will affect the future in a huge way. I have made some mistakes myself in the past, but I am learning. Despite that, the bad in my past will continue to come back to haunt me as it will to you if you don’t learn quickly. It matters This doesn’t really seem like a level design lesson, now does it? Well it is. As you advertise your content people will judge you based on what they have seen from you. Some will make the decision on whether or not they will try out your content based solely on your reputation. So you must always make sure you understand the image you are creating when you do anything. Bad decisions and a bad reputation will cause people to not listen to your advertisement attempts despite any nurturing you may do. While this may not seem as apparent when you first start out it will definitely start to show itself as you continue on in your pursuit to build your credibility as a designer. Making a name Now that you are warned, it is time to go out and start painting that picture for all to see. People that recognize your name are definitely more likely to try out your content. The best way to build that image is to find a community and start painting. Offer to help out. Give your feedback to those who request it. Build memories and make friends. Do this in the most selfless manner. In the future it will repay you as a designer. You will be rewarded for your selfless acts. Remember that bad actions, content, and words will follow you forever. You don’t want to be known as the guy who spams advertisements or the guy who always starts arguments. You want to be known as the guy who has helped everyone else out and deserves to be helped out back. Forget about advertising when you are making your name. It will only lead to bad decisions. Be a loyal member of the community and then advertise to those who know you. Then create, nurture, expand, and profit. What are you waiting for? Use these lessons to invest in your future. Read Chapter 28: (to be updated) Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  3. Max Pears, host of Level Design Lobby, discusses the Illusion of Space in games. What is it, and how can this tool be used give players the sense that they are in a real life place? Follow Max/Level Design Lobby Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaxPears iTunes: https://apple.co/2CwAkqD Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2ybMelK YouTube: https://bit.ly/2XUXcLf SoundCloud: https://bit.ly/2XYIo9K Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  4. Always be creating...New content! It is easy to stop or pause after finishing a project and not move on to something else. If the last project was too stressful or demanding, then try something with less detail or scope, start experimenting with new brushwork building methods or different gameplay setups. Stop the dust from settling and dive right back into your next masterpiece! There are many ways to keep momentum going between projects. Experiment with new themes or texture styles, try to build some architecture at an odd angle like at 30, 45 or 60 degrees or find some concept art you like and recreate it to scale! Set yourself deadlines It's easy to get distracted adding details and being absorbed with tangent ideas when you should be focusing on the end goal, finishing and releasing your map! Setting yourself goals will focus your time on what is really needed and make you think twice about adding stuff that is not really necessary for the final outcome. A series of short deadlines are especially good if you are working with a limited time frame project because you can see progress much quicker and be more motivated to finish. Deadlines help to break a map down into smaller steps and more manageable tasks which can create a much better focused and rewarding map making experience. Never stop iterating I was once asked to create three different versions of the same encounter and at the time I could not understand why. It is impossible to know if your first version is going to be the best iteration if there is nothing for comparison. What may seem like a waste of time with duplication of work can be a useful validation of what design you have finally picked. Always consider the iteration process if what you are creating is nothing special or remarkable. Some might say the downside to the iteration process is that you can create more work than is required, but that does not mean the process is worthless. Don't be afraid to iterate because of the extra work involved, just save the different versions as prefabs. A real world example of iteration is city architecture, which often changes as people adapt places to suit their current needs. Expansions, extensions, extra routes and different styles of details can all work towards creating a better visual tapestry. Be inspired by others Hardly anyone can be creative in isolation without being influenced by something else around them. There are countless images, films and books that swim around our subconscious allowing us to come up with fresh ideas. If you are suffering from a creative block or not sure what to do next then search for concept art, go to the library or buy a coffee in a bookshop and browse some architecture books. The Internet has a vast collection of concept images, architectural photos and plenty of other types of artwork (sculptures, videos etc.) that can be used as sources of inspiration. Even if you take a concept image literally and create something similar, it will still be your interpretation and be a useful exercise for building new content with the editor. Try to avoid symmetry It is so tempting to create symmetry in architecture or gameplay setups because we see mirrored structures around us all the time and think it is the right thing to do. You can easily find a church or modern day building with identical sides and matching facade features. Symmetry is something you should be aware of at all times and actively trying to break. Try to use 90 degree rotation steps instead of mirroring functions when copying and pasting architecture (especially floor layouts) Move various facade elements vertically up or down to create an imbalance. Look for obvious vertical or horizontal lines and move elements around to break the pattern. Change the size of matching (size of flames) objects and change the style of identical pairs by removing/adding (boarding up windows with wood) something. *Note: This article is published in accordance with Creative Commons Guidelines Source: http://www.simonoc.com/pages/articles/gamedev_advice.htm Follow Simon Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimsOCallaghan Website: http://www.simonoc.com/ 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
  5. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 25? Read it here: Investment Intro Have you ever taken the time to tell someone that you love their work and that you can’t wait to see more? Well if you have, how many times has that person gotten back to you personally? How much more excited are you for their product when you get that personal message back saying that they thank you for your support? How much more willing are you to share that person’s work with your friends? That person just scored themselves’ more credibility. What it means to nurture Nurturing is the act or process of developing a person. It is bringing them up and developing them into something else. As a designer your goal is to nurture your fans from being casual fans to hardcore fans that will likely spread your creation. Casual fans just like your product and when they see it they will likely download it. Hardcore fans on the other hand, will take the time to spread the word because they feel that your work is worthy of others to experience. While casual fans are important, they are not what make the difference in advertising. Hardcore fans will get the word out that you have something new out and the casual fans will hear the word and download it. Hardcore fans will advertise for you. The more you have, the less you have to advertise, and the more time you can spend on working on new amazing content for your fans to enjoy. The way of nurturing Nurturing fans can be done in various ways. If I receive a comment on one of my creations, I take the time to personally message that user and let them know that their opinion does matter to me. If someone asks for my help I do my best to take the time out of my day to try to work with them. Because I am giving back to them my credibility is raised in their eyes and they are more likely to come back and ask for more help and more likely to help advertise my works. As you get more popular though it becomes harder and harder to nurture all of your fans. At that point you have to take the time to decide who to help and for how long. If you spend too much time nurturing you won’t have any time to finish any of your works and you will start losing fans that are waiting for content. However if you spend too much time making content then you lose that strong advertisement base and the time you spend trying to get your future works out doubles. It is a difficult balance to find and one that you can only find through years of experience. Always respond If you do not have time to nurture every person that comes to you or every person that enjoys your work at least take a little bit of time to acknowledge them. Something is better than nothing and most people will understand that you are busy and will still take the time to look out for your work or wait until you are less busy to ask you for help. Never leave a person hanging because the same way that one person can make you popular, one person can bring you down. You never know who will do what for or to you so never let something just slide by. Nurturing has been one of the best advertisement strategies that I have used to get my content out there, including these lessons. Don’t under estimate the power of personal and direct interaction. Remember that your time is money and giving it to others means a lot to them. Invest in your fans and future. Read Chapter 27: Reputation Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  6. 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
  7. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 24? Read it here: Advertising Intro Do you have a great map that you designed that got very little attention way back in the day? How about that crazy little prototype layout that you threw together a couple months ago? Do you have goals of being an iconic figure in the level design world and having everyone enjoy your content? Then everything that you worked on will not go to waste. Quite the opposite, everything you make is crucial to your success in the future. Every little thing you do is an investment towards your goals of being a great level designer. Every little thing matters So what exactly is it you are investing? Well any content you make is an investment. Every person that you talk to is an investment. Every minute of every day is an investment in your future. One step leads to another and you are who you are today because of what you have done in your past. Do you want to make that “you” of today famous? Then you have to start thinking in terms of what you did to get to where you are and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. You remember that kid you helped back on Halo 3, Farcry, Unreal, etc? He could be the key to your success. He could be the person that tells Bungie’s Halo: Reach executive producer that your material is worth looking at. You remember that map you made 3 years ago that you thought didn’t get enough attention? Well that may be the map that tells that executive producer that you need to be working on their next game or future downloadable content. Everything is important... including those 10 minutes you spent helping a new level designer with their first map. That new designer may become your next big follower that gets you that lucky break. Time efficiency So now you know that everything you do matters. But now you need to start figuring out and deciding what your best courses of action are. Is building your map more important than helping your new friend with his map? Is responding to a private message for help worth more than trolling the forums? Is taking the time to respond to someone’s thread about their map a better investment than posting your own map in a thread? You want my opinion? Take the least selfish route. Remember the mention of learning to be selfless for advertising purposes and how you are only good to people for what you can provide for them? Well mix that with the concept of investment. That person you just sacrificed your time for just so happens to be best friends with some big shot... who knew? Sometimes you can only do so much for yourself and you need the help of others which is why investing in being helpful and selfless to others will benefit you the most. Trust me on the sunscreen. Time is money Time is money. Giving your time to others is just as or more valuable than giving those people your money. And some will see it as that and be very grateful. Giving that hour of your time to teach them to fish instead of paying $10 for a meal at Applebee’s will definitely be worth more to them in the long run. Use that never ending cash flow that we call time to your advantage. You never know when one of your selfless investments will pay off and win you the lottery. Read Chapter 26: Nurturing Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  8. So how do we handle cover placement? What’s the thought process that we should apply? How combat spaces are composed You can’t have cover without thinking about what it’s good for, and depending on what game your are making it can stand for a lot: In a stealth game it serves as a path tracer. So the player can actually maneuver around the NPC’s placed in the map. Stealth Game — Cover Placement Illustration The way cover is placed in this example is based on a few simple principles: Player will move from cover to cover to avoid NPC detection This implies that exposure to NPC line of sight acts like a window of opportunity moment. The player waits for the NPC to look away before moving to the other cover spot. Based on the turning patterns of the AI you can break down parameters that can affect how hard this scenario ca be. Examples of parameters: Traveling Distance and NPC Look Duration Window of Opportunity Chart — Traveling Distance vs NPC Look Duration This could lead towards interesting combination that juggle with the distance between covers and the NPC looking/turning direction. Of course other parameters could be applied as well. In cover shooters it serves as a way for the player to avoiding the enemy, survey the battlefield and move from cover to cover to circumvent crossfires. Cover Shooter — Cover shooter simplified In this kind of situation we can apply the same chart as before but we need to replace Look Duration with Shooting duration. Window of Opportunity Chart — Traveling Distance vs Shooting Duration Some hybrids use a blend of Stealth and Combat cover to facilitate both play-styles. Games like GTA, WatchDogs, Mafia 3 blend stealth and combat spaces into one unified space that serves both purposes. However since these games area also open world games, for the sake of immersion have to also reflect the world where they exist. This means they have to justified from a narrative standpoint. In order to do that in a way that doesn’t raise any eyebrows, one method of actually placing cover in a realistic space is to actually consider the concept of: Implied Spaces An implied space is a subdivision of space that is implied by it being delimited by other bits of geometry or functions. Example of Implied Space This concept from architecture and can be used to solve cover placement in level design. For example: Implied Space integration — Example By creating a niche inside a space we can actually imply the idea of an auxiliary space that can serve both as cover placement and decorum, all without sacrificing the leading lines needed to establish direction within a layout section. Direct application withing an actual layout Here are some other examples for a more combat oriented space: Halo Reach — Level Exploration Example Realistic Layout — Example Another example of implied space are shadow/shade spaces. These kinds of spaces exist simply because they are shaded and provide a different type of visual cover for the player. Example of shadow space For this sort of cover placement there is a need for us to have some sort of control over the sources of light inside the environment. *Note: This article is shared in full on Next Level Design with permission from the author Source: https://medium.com/@iuliu.cosmin.oniscu/how-to-handle-cover-placement-d10580faac66 Follow Iuliu Twitter: https://twitter.com/notimetoulose Blog: https://medium.com/@iuliu.cosmin.oniscu Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  9. My level design Case Study 03: Recreating «KING» map From COD:MW "King is a multiplayer map featured in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that is exclusive to the Gunfight mode." (Source images are taken from callofduty.fandom.com) 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/YaNGPq Any feedback would be appreciated.
  10. Create layers over time A classic mistake to make when setting up game encounters is to allow all of the AI to attack at once without any spawn delays. The player will end up just being overrun by AI from all directions and the encounter will quickly descends into chaos. There is a good chance that most players discovering this 'surprise' will not enjoy it. The trick to any encounters is pacing, to stagger the spawning over time and create different waves that are triggered via an event. As the different waves are spawned in, the encounter can eventually build up to a crescendo event and a distinct pause. The break in the flow might seem counter intuitive, but this is the moment to look around, investigate and explore the environment. Limit attack direction Most players approaching an encounter will expect the enemies to be attacking them from one direction and will not expect attacks from multiple angles (side or flank) all at once. This does not mean multiple attack directions should never be used, but wide angle (135+ degrees) attacks should either be linked to a skill level or that the player has plenty of good equipment to cope with the situation. Often players will claim they want enemies to be smart and more intelligent/aggressive with their attacks, but there is a point at which enemy attacks from too many different angles at once can be regarded as cheating or a cheap trick by the level designer. If you are planning to attack the player from multiple angles be aware that this kind of tactic can become tiresome if used too often. Compliment attack types Most game enemies have a couple (1-2) of different types (range, melee, AoE or debuff) of attacks and the level designer is responsible for creating different combinations of the enemies with complimentary attacks to challenge the player in different environments. Each enemy individually should not be much of a threat, but once they are grouped together they should become part of a complex puzzle of different threats which the player has to learn how to prioritize in order to survive. Some group encounters are more difficult than others and that is mainly to do with how many of their abilities overlap and how diverse they are with attack types. A group of enemies which has a single attack (1 melee or 1 range) will be far easier to deal with than a group with a large variety of different attacks because of priority concerns. This is how difficult can be scaled up or down when creating encounters for the beginning or the end of a map. Roller coaster pacing Many games are built with a pacing, a distinct ebb and flow to how events unfold and an intensity to the encounters. Some games vary the rate of pacing by using different activities like using reflexes for encounters and lateral thinking for puzzles. When designing a map try to break it down into zones or bubbles of player activity. Consider each zone being a mixture of different types of encounters and try to vary the pace by having sections where there are puzzles. Remember to keep the combat away from the boundaries to each zone and don't be afraid to create empty spaces to allow players time to breath before the next climb upwards on the roller coaster. Always iterate As encounters become more complex with larger groups, multiple waves, and special events, the testing of the pacing can quickly get time consuming because the order of each new encounter will affect the overall flow. I highly recommend to start the testing at the beginning each time to make sure the encounters are balanced in sequence, otherwise there is a good chance a gameplay difficulty spike will appear due to lack of resources. *Note: This article is published in accordance with Creative Commons Guidelines Source: http://www.simonoc.com/pages/articles/gamedev_advice.htm Follow Simon Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimsOCallaghan Website: http://www.simonoc.com/ 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
  11. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 23? Read it here: Static Perspectives Intro So you’ve been reading all of the previous lessons and now you are prepped and ready to go. You feel you’ve got a great map that follows many of the principles of level design that you have learned. You go to play your map and realize that you have no one to playtest it with you. You post your map on the forums and receive little to no replies on your map. Remember the whole deal about if a player can’t find something on your map then it might as well not exist? Well if players can’t find your map then... well, it might as well not exist right? For those demented ones out there do not relate this to suicide. Grrr... Spreading the word You’ve got your beautiful creation... now you have to spread the word. You have got to share it to the world. Just like anything else that you can possibly make you have to advertise what you have created. Whether it is a new map, a new game mode, a new game, a new community, a new shower head, etc. you need to show what you have created to people who will enjoy it. Everyone has their own way of advertising, some better than others. Some spam every person they possibly can on the internet. Some pay hundreds to get some popular hangout to advertise them. Advertising is a big part of becoming successful and I’m going to share my secrets of success to you, my faithful reader. And my tricks work. Don’t believe me? You are reading these lessons aren’t you? Advertising is everything Think about how you found these lessons. I will be honest with you my friends. You fell for my advertisement tricks. There was something that I did successfully to get you to read this right here and now. You are one of hundreds and maybe even thousands of people reading what I have to say. But why are you reading this? What did I do to draw you in? Who was it that introduced these to you? How did I bring you here to ReachingPerfection.com? But it isn’t just me who has fooled you. Do you have a favorite news channel? There is a reason that you watch it over other news channels. How about a favorite restaurant? How did you find that restaurant? Why do you like it over all of the other ones? Now how do you get people to play your map? How do you get people to enjoy your map better than Joe over there? Advertising is a skill that is used in everything. It’s time somebody let you in on the tricks of the trade. It’s not about you The most important thing to remember is that in order to get people to experience your content you have to forget that it is all about getting your content popular. Nobody truly cares about what is in it for you. They care about what is in it for them. The trick to successful advertising is giving, not receiving. Learn to give and eventually you will receive. People want to know what you have to offer them. Before people will give your map a chance you have to give them something they want. If you are only focused on getting your map popular then you will fail. However if you are focused on offering your help, time, services, and whatever else you have to offer they will give back to you. So the first rule about advertising is learning to not be selfish and learn to give rather than receive. If you do this, then you will receive advertising naturally. Read Chapter 25: Investment Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  12. My level design Case Study 02: Recreating DOCKS map From COD:MW "Docks is a multiplayer map featured in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 that is exclusive to the Gunfight mode." (Source images are taken from callofduty.fandom.com) See more images here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/N5Anmq 2D Drawing, 3D Modeling and Rendering: Rhino v6 (Note: probs are taken from «POLYGON- Battle Royale Pack»)
  13. Below is the only available YouTube link to this presentation which we've been able to locate. It focuses primarily on the presenter, rather than on the slides. Scott has hosted the slide show on his website, so you can follow along by having this open also: http://mrbossdesign.blogspot.com/2009/03/everything-i-learned-about-game-design.html Alternatively, the presentation is hosted by the GDC Vault. This cannot be embedded here on the Next Level Design forums, but it provides a good view of both the presenter and the slides. Watch the GDC Vault presentation here: https://twvideo01.ubm-us.net/o1/vault/gdc09/Videos/8662_1238169435968WZHR-1000.mp4 Follow Scott Twitter: https://twitter.com/mightybedbug Website: http://mrbossdesign.blogspot.com/ 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
  14. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 22? Read it here: Rule of Thirds Intro Sometimes when a player experiences a map for the first time they don’t start with a spawn perspective. Sometimes they get an overview of the map that allows them to make decisions and gain a first impression before they start playing or have any sort of control of what they are seeing. Sometimes a player doesn’t have control over what they see during cinematic sequences and where they look next. These perspectives that players do not have control over are what we call static perspectives. Your terms Static perspectives are a powerful tool in a designer’s toolbox for creating the experience the designer envisions. The designer has full control over static perspectives. They are something that are fully owned by a designer and are very predictable experience-wise when compared to other design theories that rely on hypothesizing what players will see and do. However, with great power comes great responsibility. When things don’t go a player’s way while traversing a map they have the chance to blame themselves because they control their own perspective. However they have no control over static perspectives like map overviews so if they have a bad map overview or see a bad screenshot the fault falls on you as the designer. Don’t ever give your player’s a reason to doubt your credibility as a designer. Remember how important those first impressions are. Painting a picture When preparing a static perspective, always remember that you are painting a picture or film that your players are witnessing. Remember that you are an artist trying to sell your work to your audience. Use whatever techniques you can think of to make your static perspectives as pleasing as possible. Take note of the color contrast that exists in your picture. Remember your eye catching techniques to draw attention to things. Remember the rule of thirds and place important landmarks, incentives, and deterrents on the focus points of the static perspective. Remember the importance of teaching your players your map to provide them the knowledge they need to have a full and enjoyable experience. Static perspectives are also a great tool for area introduction. Remember that level design is a smooth cohesive process, not just a bunch of individual parts. Everything works together as one and learning to combine and mix and match techniques is a delicate but powerful skill. Examples Static perspectives can be many things. Screenshots of your map in a thread on a level design forum are a great example of static perspectives. Sometimes a camera exists that is used to give an overview of a map while players select their weapons. Maybe there is a security camera that players have access to but can’t control and can see the map in the camera’s perspective. Perhaps you created a film to show off your map. In the case of batches of perspectives, remember the perspective variance concept when using various techniques. Games have used many static perspectives throughout the ages and learning to see them as pieces of art will allow you to adjust them and plant a particular opinion or impression on your customers. That. Is. Power. Read Chapter 24: Advertising Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  15. Follow Game Design with Michael YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDJsz_SgRaV96Xd9gqEemg Twitter: https://twitter.com/GigityMcD 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
  16. Light is a path Often the primary route through a map is highlighted with arrow signs, architectural shapes and item/encounter placement. Another possible type of pathing is the placement of lights, because most players will automatically be drawn to light and avoid darkness. To create a path of light place strong light source next to all architectural exits, highlight the most obvious route through an area and try using light styles (flashing or blinking) to focus the player's attention. The lit path does not need to be the most direct route, much like road signs in cities are not always the fastest route the same can be said for paths of light! Keep creating contrast A map with uniform light levels is a badly lit map! Just like architectural details create better location visuals, the same can be said for contrasting light. The intensity of light is a way of drawing attention, moving the player towards a point of interest. A map full of flat uniform lighting has no sense of direction; it might as well be a maze! To create contrasting lights start with darkness and gradually add light sources with a high intensity value and a long attenuation to reduce the harsh light boundaries. Once the light sources have been setup then add ambient fill lights either to smooth the shadow gradients or if darkness is a prominent game mechanic keep the ambient fill lights near the light sources instead. Shadows are dramatic When films were black and white cinematographer understood the value of shadows and realized that architecture was a canvas, a surface to splash silhouettes upon to suit the mood of the film. Shadows are more than just blobs of grey thrown in the corners. Shadows can accent architecture, create tension and enhance the atmosphere. When placing light sources always consider nearby architecture and look for the possibility of a dramatic shadow. A way to distort a row of bars across a wall, project a silhouette of a cage upon a ceiling or frame the outline of building across the sky. Dramatic shadows are impressive, memorable and bring an ordinary flat surface to life. Colour is emotional The colours we see around us in nature often invoke emotional responses and coloured light is no different. From a blue cloudless (cold) night sky to a yellow bright (hot) midday sun, the colour of a scene can help to build an emotional narrative. Coloured lighting come with player preconceptions and strong reactions to certain colours that often create an emotional response like blue/grey for coldness and yellow/red for warmth. For example a giant two storey wood/stone banquet hall could have warm fires (yellow) at ground level and be cold (blue) lights close to the ceilings and around the first floor balconies. Always break symmetry Lights are probably the worst offenders for symmetrical placement because the lighting is often the final phase to the level design process. Easily copied and pasted around, many designers will ignore what should be highlighted and simply duplicate the lights around and sometimes even match symmetrical architecture at the same time. The problem with symmetrical light placement is it creates a uniform light level which is visually dull and to make matters worse the layout of the shadows are mirrored as well! A quick and easy solution to this problem is to switch off some of the light sources and vary some of the light intensities. This will break the uniformity of light/shadow and create the illusion of a location which has aged over time because of missing light sources. *Note: This article is published in accordance with Creative Commons Guidelines Source: http://www.simonoc.com/pages/articles/gamedev_advice.htm Follow Simon Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimsOCallaghan Website: http://www.simonoc.com/ 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
  17. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 21? Read it here: Incentive Weighting Intro Have you ever taken a picture of yourself or family and friends centered in the picture? Have you noticed that the picture just doesn’t feel right and doesn’t feel pleasing? Have you ever placed an object directly in front of someone for it just to go unnoticed? That’s because a person’s focus is typically not on the center of their current perspective. Learning to place objects at a player’s focus point is key to ensuring that they notice what you are trying to show them. Rule of thumb Remember when we talked about how perspectives are like pictures or photographs? Well applying common techniques used in art and photography can be used to truly help enhance a player’s experience on your map. Photography is all about object placement, depth, scene composition, as well as various other techniques. I’m not an expert so don’t judge me when I talk about their techniques. However I do know that one common rule of thumb that photographers use is known as the “rule of thirds”. The rule of thirds states that if you divide a picture,photograph, screenshot, or whatever into thirds both vertically and horizontally, the perspectives main points of focus lie at the intersections. Not the center So taking the basic definition of the rule of thirds we can take any good screenshot and divide it with two lines going vertically in thirds and two lines going horizontally in thirds and find the main focus points of the screenshot. What you end up getting is a little square in the center with its corners being used as focus points. This is why you see many pictures and self portraits with the subject slightly to the right or left and not directly in the center of the picture. If a painting is being drawn with the sun as a main focus it is normally placed at one of the top two corners of that center square. This rule is one of the simplest rules of photography and will help assist you in your quest towards becoming a great map designer. Application So now you’ve got the gist of the rule of thirds so let’s take some time to re-tie it back in with level design. You should be very well versed in the definition of a perspective. Let’s run through a scenario to help you get a bit more acquainted to working with the rule of thirds. Imagine setting up a spawn perspective for your map. You want a player to first spawn and pickup the sniper rifle that is in front of them. First of all you want to place the spawn facing towards the general direction of the sniper rifle. Second, you want to set the sniper rifle a good distance away from a player in order to follow the smooth spawning concept. Now keep in mind the spawning default eye level of the player. Tweak the spawn perspective so that the sniper rifle is placed near one of the four points of interest. Apply whatever eye catching techniques you would like and viola you have encouraged your player to take the role of the sniper. Well done. This technique doesn’t just have to be used on spawns. It can be used for when a player first walks through a doorway. Take the time to imagine the general direction that the player is facing and setup your objects based on the rule of thirds in order to maximize their attention. Make your map fun to play by making what they need to have fun easier to find. Don’t you hide that good ol’ rifle. Read Chapter 23: Static Perspectives Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  18. This is the final part of a 2 part series from Mike Stout on Designing FPS Multiplayer Maps. Missed Part 1? Read it here: https://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/content/articles/designing-fps-multiplayer-maps-part-1-mike-stout-r304/ What is not Fun in Multiplayer? Incredibly long view distances This was covered a bit in the “cover” section, but it is important to break up long views with cover. Failing to do so reduces the importance of skillful close combat and increases the importance of “fire and forget” splash weapons and long distance sniper weapons. It also makes large open areas less useful as good “risk/reward” areas. Linearity The ability for players to choose their own routes, lines, and flows is essential to good multiplayer gameplay. Extreme linearity is a barrier to this and should be avoided except in the case that you want to present a “risk/reward” scenario. Unassailable ambush spots / sniping positions Sniping and ambushing people is a lot of fun. However, being on the receiving end of either of these things is not fun at all – especially if you can’t stop it from happening. To that end, sniper and ambush positions should be carefully placed and balanced. Any unassailable position should either be opened up or removed from a good multiplayer map. Secret areas While secret areas are fun to find in single player, every attempt should be made in a multiplayer game to remove intimate map knowledge as a major determining factor for victory. Secret areas, especially those with very potent powerups or weapons, encourage intimate map knowledge or hiding to the detriment of skillful combat. Creating a Multiplayer Level Determine Requirements Does it need to be symmetrical? Objective-based modes, such as Capture the Flag, are usually well-served by symmetrical maps. It’s very difficult to balance non-symmetrical objective-based maps, but it’s definitely possible. What kind of level is it? Natural, alien, man-made? Is it a city? What kind of assets will you be using to make it? By establishing this early on, before you do your first maps or blockouts, you can get a head start on what basic shapes you’ll want to use to construct your map. While it’s tempting to jump right into construction or mapping, I’ve seen plenty of maps get ruined because not enough thought went into this part of the process. Does it need to support multiple modes or game sizes? In Resistance: Fall of Man, most of our maps were constructed to take advantage of different player counts and game modes. Because we had to balance these maps for so many different variables, we made a lot of choices to ease in the balance process. That’s why most of the resizable maps were symmetrical, for example. Choose your Areas I define an FPS multiplayer level as a connected series of “areas”. A good area is any space which: a) Has a focal point, b) Is a good space for 4-8 players to fight, c) Contains a good amount of terrain choices (like verticality), and d) has at least 2 (preferably 3) entrances / exits. Choose Focal Points When thinking of focal points, you need to think of them in two scopes: Area focal points and Map focal points. Both serve the same twin purposes: 1) To serve as navigational aids and landmarks for the area / map. 2) To provide a gameplay and artistic focus for the area / map. Focal points also tell the players what an area is. “The Lighthouse”, “the base”, “the cave”, or “the docking bay.” Each of these gives you an idea of what it basically is, and what a focal point might be. For example, the docking bay may have a space ship in it that you fight on or around, while the lighthouse is pretty self explanatory. Here’s a number of guidelines that I found useful in constructing maps for Resistance: Every map should strive to have one major focal point that the whole map is based around. The focal points must serve to add visual interest and to drive players towards a goal. Focal points can be gameplay objectives, structures, powerups, etc… The best multiplayer “spaces” are built around a focal point that attracts both visual AND gameplay interest Determine Flow / Connectivity A good first step when starting a Multiplayer design is to create a simple flow diagram. A flow diagram is simply a series of simple shapes representing areas (squares, circles, triangles, etc) with arrows between them which represent connectivity. You may remember me talking about these in a previous article. I called them “Bubble Diagrams.” Pictured above are three examples of simple flow diagrams. Every simple shape represents a different type of area, while the arrows show the flows between them. Keep in mind that these arrows only indicate flow. They don’t necessarily convey any information about number of entrances, exits, or anything else. When thinking about flow, it’s good to consider the following: Global flow (pickup placement) Local flow (focal points, terrain advantages) Think about how to best encourage the player to make good decisions Entrances / exits (every area should have at 2, but preferably 3) Good deathmatch maps connect everywhere to everywhere else Good node / CTF maps strategically block off some connectivity (to make chasing your opponents or defending objectives more possible) Begin Roughing out the Areas Now that you’ve got your flow down, it’s time to start roughing out your areas. This can be done on paper or in 3d, as suits the individual designer. When coming up with gameplay for these areas, it’s good to begin considering the other aspects that make up an area. Most important of all, however, is to add verticality. Verticality is important! Adds visual interest Good re-use of space Fit more gameplay into smaller footprint Gives players interesting choices You’ll also want to start thinking about things like view distances, how good you want your various spaces to be for camping, or what (generally) you want the gameplay to be in those areas. Open Space Vs. Covered Spaces In general large open spaces should be avoided in favor of spaces with lots of cover and/or verticality. The exception is when you want the player to be vulnerable, such as when creating a risk-reward scenario Risk / Reward Scenarios A good way to encourage players to make choices is to place a few “Risk / Reward” setups into your areas. These are any time you want to tempt the player into taking a big risk to obtain some big reward. An example would be a powerful weapon in a vulnerable spot (such as on a small beam, or in a large open area, or near a wall). Other times you can tempt a player with an eventual strategic advantage. For example, you could place two paths leading into a base – one has good cover and excellent spots to attack the defenders. The other has a short patch that is open and easily defended, but leads to some good high ground you can use to further demolish your opponents. A Few Extra Notes CTF Support (Symmetry) CTF and Node modes almost require symmetry to achieve balance. CTF requires that the flag carrier have good places to run, but not to hide Useless Spaces Sometimes you will have places in your map that a good player will never go, since it only gives them a disadvantage. Try to avoid this, whenever possible. If you find, through testing the space, that a part of the map is useless space, try creating a risk/reward scenario there. Put a pickup there or create some other reason why it’s a good place to have. Failing that, block the area off to keep newbies from having enough rope to hang themselves. FPS-Specific Tidbits Avoid extreme changes in terrain grade. Not only do they look too steep to walk up, but they are also pretty hard to see when walking towards them. More gentle grades will often be more obvious. When designing corridor style spaces (Pathways, valleys, streets), determine the minimum amount of space needed for the game play you are intending on before designing these area. If possible, strive to use to already built (to-scale) assets when roughing out a 3D space. This can give you a good idea of whether or not a space you designed is going to be big enough once it has been populated with art assets. Player Map-Knowledge While knowing a map well is a key to attaining vicory, in general it should not be an incredibly important arbiter of who wins or loses. Skill with the core mechanic fills that role. Knowledge of the map as a determining factor of who wins the map is a bad thing when you have: Secret areas – Secret areas allow flag holders to hide in CTF, and reward map knowledge over skill contests. Powerful hidden pickups – Only people who have played the map will know where to get these. In general, place your most powerful weapons in easily accessible places and use them as focal points. Hard-to-find gimmicks – Things like buttons hidden in the level that call in airstrikes make everyone else explode. These can be cool when they’re in an easily accessible area and provoke a gimmick that you have some countermeasure against, but not when hidden or secret. Teleporters (sometimes) – Teleporters in general discourage fair fights, since only those with knowledge of where they go can make good decisions on coming out the other side. Teleporters can be good in some instances, but unless you really have some really good gameplay in mind, there’s usually a better solution *Note: This article is republished in its entirety on Next Level Design with permission from the author. Source: http://www.ongamedesign.net/designing-fps-multiplayer-maps-part-2/ Follow Mike Website: www.ongamedesign.net/ Website: http://www.chaoticstupid.com/ Twitter: twitter.com/MikeDodgerStout Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  19. This Sheridan College online lecture features Chris Totten and is hosted by Jeffrey Pidsadny. In a format that's more akin to a conversation than the typical slideshow presentations typically seen at conferences, the main subject covered by Chris and Jeff is the overlap between Architecture and Level Design. It's ultimately a wide ranging discussion on many other subjects also, such as the Vitruvian Triad, Patterns, and Card Games, and their relationships to level design. Follow Chris Website: http://www.pfbstudios.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Totter87 Follow Jeff Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeffreyPidsadny YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsXz5jujyeiy77KmpQVAxFw 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
  20. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 20? Read it here: Safe Spawning Intro There’s a word that is always thrown around when talking about great maps. What is that word you say? My friend... that word is“balance”. Is your map “balanced”? How do you go about answering that? How do you weigh your map? Well typically you measure the map by comparing all of the advantages throughout it to ensure there is a balance of advantages no matter where you are. What do we call advantages again? OH YEAH! Incentives... Weighing the un-weighable So here’s a quick overview of incentives. Incentives are areas, objects, course of actions, etc. that help you achieve your current goal easier. These incentives can be a height advantage, a good defensive position, a rocket launcher, a shortcut, a batch of grenades, etc. There are so many types of incentives and they are all completely incomparable to each other side by side. So how do we weigh them? We make up a weight for each based on the experience that we want to create. As a designer it is your job to set a weight or priority for all of the incentives in your map to meet your map’s essence. Did you plan to setup a huge long range combat focus for your map? The sniper probably has a higher priority/weight than the rocket launcher on that map. Does your second map essence focus on vehicle usage? Well now a rocket launcher is probably much heavier than that sniper. Think about how important each incentive is to your players based on the experience you are trying to create and the objectives you are setting for your audience. A balancing act So now you know how to find the weight of all of those advantages. It is time to start spinning plates on sticks. Imagine a massive overview of your map, something like a heatmap. Now imagine as many incentives across your map as you can. Create a radius of effect based on your map’s essence for each one. Mentally tally up the weight of each millimeter of your map and imagine darkening up the heavier areas. The heavier incentives and a lot of incentives will cause darker areas. Always keep in mind each incentive’s individual weight as well to help you move things around. Imagine having a pistol and assault rifle in one corner of a map and a sniper and a rocket on the other corner. Which corner do you think is heavier? Typically, it’s obvious. Now what if it was a pistol/rocket vs. an assault rifle/sniper? It depends on the map’s essence. Spreading the love So now you’ve got your “heatmap” of advantage. What do you do with it? Well typically you want to spread out the incentives to have the weighting be “balanced” around the map. Why? Because players are drawn to incentives like lions are drawn to meat. Do you have an armory on your map? It is probably a good place to chill if your map’s essence is about killing. However its weighting goes down if the goal is to capture the flag and the armory is out of the way. All situations are different and it is your job to create the situation that you want. Maybe an armory is fine for your map as long as you weigh the rest of your map to balance it out. An armory is a bit extreme, but you get the point. Learning to balance the advantages of your map is a delicate and essential skill. It will help you control the traffic of your map and ensure that every part of your map is worth traveling through. That is what path manipulation is really all about,right? Read Chapter 22: Rule of Thirds Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  21. "Environment artists and level designers are faced with a difficult job of creating whole worlds from nothing. Many developers have found thoughtful methods for addressing this task through experience and personal research, but what if someone else could do that early research for us? Enter, Interior Design. Last year I presented how some simple Interior Design Theory applies to games. This time we will deep dive into more complex Interior Design techniques and practices and examining how to apply the principles of Order, Enrichment, and Expression to master space and place." Follow Dan Twitter: https://twitter.com/danjohncox Website: https://danjohncox.com/ 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
  22. Landmarks Are Signposts If a play tester is getting lost then it may be due to the map architecture or colour scheme being too similar. Bold unique details or colours can make a big difference with helping players build up a mental picture quicker in their head for navigation. A landmark does not need to be something ginormous or even visually impressive, but it does need to be something visually unique with regards to the rest of the map. A way to see if this approach is working is trying to describe every location to a friend using 5 words or less. For example, the lake of lava, the giant waterfall, the blue tile room etc. If a location cannot be easily described with something unique then it is unlikely to be memorable or a good sign. Once every location in a map has an unique architectural feature or colour style, the player is much more likely to be able to move around the map quickly and spend more time exploring instead of wondering where they have been already. Materials Have Weight When a game location is built using materials like wood or stone they will come with preconceptions about their weight. Building materials often look and feel better when they are a certain shape relative to their weight. The player is unconsciously expecting them to be a certain look relative to their surroundings. For example a giant undamaged stone pillar should look like it can support its own weight and stand upright. The thickness, angle and shape are often derived from the material used and if the pillar has odd proportions then the presence is diminished. The same could be said for a stone wall between rooms that is too thin for the material used and the structural weight looks wrong. Regardless of how much a game may want to surprise a player with unbelievable structures and scale, the weight of real world materials has a great impact on the players impression of a scene and how believable it looks. Always Iterate This should be a mantra muttered every morning before breakfast! I cannot stress this enough that most tasks associated with game design rarely work first time, they are often tweaked, updated or changed over time. Architecture will often have more detail added, existing routes moved around and even silhouettes manipulated once the lighting is done! Always allow extra time for this by learning to build architecture over time in layers. Create Prefabs Not everything in a map has to be unique, interactive objects especially should be visually consistent. A classic use of prefabs is where an object (button/door) needs to be easily recognizable by the player for its functions and pop out from its surroundings as something important. Some projects like jam or speed creation events do not have the luxury of endless time and prefabs can be used to fill in details quickly. If there is enough time left after gameplay and lighting has been completed then the prefabs can easily be replaced with better unique detail. Embrace Vertical Designs When walking down the street most people will be looking forward and rarely will they be looking up at the top of buildings or down at their feet. People look forward because of their eye position and do not notice the details in their peripheral vision. This is why many games take advantage of this by hiding objects above or below player height. The trick to vertical designs is to find the right gradient angle, the right balance by which a player will be willing to look up or down to notice details and consider it a relevant path to explore. The first type of vertical design is varied floor heights that have obvious connections via steps or moveable objects. These types of designs create better spaces for exploration and encounters while challenging the player to be spatially aware. The second type of vertical design are generally isolated or areas high above the players movement/vision height and not obvious how they are reachable. These ledges, routes or secret places should be reusable spaces and offer the player an alternative viewpoint, a chance to enjoy the previous location but this time from a height advantage. A classic mistake that anyone new to level design makes is create a single floor height room with very little Z axis interaction. The best way to think about vertical design is like a Celtic knot, where floors weave up and down, over and under and create the surprise of an interconnected location to explore and take advantage of! *Note: This article is published in accordance with Creative Commons Guidelines Source: http://www.simonoc.com/pages/articles/gamedev_advice.htm Follow Simon Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimsOCallaghan Website: http://www.simonoc.com/ 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
  23. Edgemister Gaming (@Edgemister) has started up a new level design YouTube series. The first video in this post is an introduction to the series. The second video dives right into the subject matter. Hope you all enjoy! Follow Edgemister Gaming YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/edgemistergaming/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/edgemister_ 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
  24. An Overview: What is Fun About FPS Multiplayer? Choices Sid Meyer once said that “a game is a series of interesting choices” and nowhere in game design is this more true than Multiplayer Design. In a single player game, the designer has access to design tools to help guide the player, like linear progression, or even just general good crafting of gameplay segments. In a multiplayer game, the player is constantly having to make his own experience using only the tools you provide him to do so. As such, it is important to approach multiplayer map design from this perspective: Provide the player with good tools and he can create a good experience. All this sounds blaringly obvious, of course, but given how many people get this basic tenet wrong it deserves stating. Terrain Options One good way to provide players with interesting choices in a multiplayer FPS map is to give them a variety of terrain options to choose from. (Elements like walls, cover, high ground, and low ground are all examples of these terrain options.) Good players learn what terrain to use depending on the situation – for example, it’s usually just a better idea for a player to have higher ground than his opponent. Not only does it provide him with an excellent angle to fire at them with, it also usually provides partial cover. Now lets say you place the high ground near a wall – now the player has a choice to make: Does he go for the high ground and attempt to get cover, or does he stay in the open to avoid getting hit easily with a splash damage weapon? A good multiplayer designer is always thinking of terrain options and trying to engineer them to provide as many good choices for the player as possible. Multiple Paths In single player games, it is often beneficial to lead the player towards the best gameplay experience your game has to offer. Often, this leads to a linear level design (which is, in most cases, best suited to the experience you want to provide). In multiplayer a linear path is rarely beneficial. A good player is constantly varying his route through a level, sometimes to shake off pursuers or sometimes in order to go after desirable weapons or pickups. Either way, it is always advantageous for the player to have a number of paths to get to and from every major area in a multiplayer map. As a general rule, a good multiplayer design should strive to make sure all major areas have at least three ways in and/or out of them. As with all rules, there are exceptions — and I’ll get into those in future installments. Flow In addition to multiple paths, a good multiplayer level designer is constantly thinking of how he wants the players to move globally through a multiplayer map. This level of understanding, called flow, affects everything from pickup placement in a deathmatch map to node placement in a node-capture map. It is often beneficial for a designer to come up with a rough bubble diagram before attacking the level. Such a diagram will usually just consist of simple shapes (circles, squares, triangles) representing major areas. Once you’ve got a nice area layout, you connect them with arrows showing the different ways in or out of that area. Then you start to think about how you want a player to travel from one area to the next and where the points of interest are on that path. If you’re ever having trouble coming up with a good flow, there are several default shapes that you can always fall back on that work almost every time. The Circle A circle is the simplest kind of flow a level could have. While you would almost never design a level that only flowed in a circle, sometimes you can define your major flow path as a simple circuit through the level. This is often a good springboard that gets you thinking about even better flows. The Figure 8 If you play any competitive multiplayer games (most often FPSs) you will notice that a lot of levels are based off the simple figure 8. Figure 8’s are a very interesting shape for major flow. While they offer all the benefits of a circle, as far as providing interesting flow, they also have the added benefit of an additional major flow path that cuts through half the circumference of the circle. Often, you can get incredibly involved and complex flows out of a few well-placed figure-8s. Interesting Spaces Focal Points Focal points are a particularly important feature of multiplayer maps. Not only do they divide up the players’ interest to many different points on the map, they also provide areas of visual interest. Every well designed map will contain a focal point at the most important point on the map (usually the center) as well as minor focus points in every major area. Examples of focal points include really tall structures, interesting terrain formations, gameplay-required elements (such as nodes), pickups, and anything that adds particular visual interest to an area. Verticality The terrain options section touched on this a little bit, but verticality’s importance in multiplayer design can not be overstated. Verticality increases the amount of player choices in an area, but also increases the “gameplay per square meter” that a map has. A completely flat map that supports 32 players might be 400m x 400m, but you could fit the same number of players into a 200×200 map just by adding one or two levels of verticality to all the major areas on a map. In Resistance, for example, we found that adding verticality to a space in 3 meter increments (specifically 3 and 6 meter height differences up or down) made our spaces much more interesting and allowed them to be a lot denser and generally more fun. Cover It’s important in multiplayer that your players not be able to shoot too far ahead of themselves most of the time. Large open spaces should usually be broken up with a lot of full cover. This also allows players to advance through areas without being vulnerable for too long. The exception to this rule is any area where you want to encourage a risk/reward scenario (for example, with a large open space with lots of cover on the outskirts and a nice powerup in the center the player is encouraged to take a risk and get the powerup with the possibility that someone might shoot at them from the well-covered spots.) We’ll get more into risk/reward scenarios in future installments. *Note: This article is republished in its entirety on Next Level Design with permission from the author. Source: http://www.ongamedesign.net/designing-fps-multiplayer-maps-part-1/ Read the second part of this series here: Follow Mike Website: www.ongamedesign.net/ Website: http://www.chaoticstupid.com/ Twitter: twitter.com/MikeDodgerStout Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp
  25. About Reaching Perfection Missed Chapter 18? Read it here: Patience Intro When playing a map if you see a set of explosives you tend not to worry too much about them until you are in their proximity. If you see a player with a shotgun you tend not to be too worried until he gets up close and personal. If you see someone on a turret from sniper distance they tend to not bug you due to the turret’s spread of fire. All deterrents have a set area where they are most effective and where they aren’t very scary. I call these areas around a deterrent a Threat Zone. Threat weighting Understanding the threat zone of a deterrent is important to placing them effectively throughout your map and controlling their effectiveness. A threat zone is more than just an area that a deterrent affects. Imagine the zone being cover by a very opaque color where it is most effective and the zone getting more transparent in areas where it is most ineffective. For example a shotgun has a very opaque center at point blank range, but as you observe the zone farther out it gets more and more transparent until it is completely ineffective. Sniper type weapons tend to have an opposite style for their threat zones. Typically the closer you are to the origin of a sniper the more difficult it is for the sniper to kill you. So in this scenario the area around the sniper would be very transparent but as you get farther the zone would get more opaque up to its max range and the get more transparent to represent the more difficult longer shots. Static vs dynamic Static zones are typically the easiest to manipulate and control. They typically don’t move from where you place them. Good examples of these static zones are explosives, turrets, poisonous areas, etc. The real difficulty is learning to control dynamic threat zones. All players are threat zones as long as they hold the ability to disturb you in your pursuit of a goal. The problem with players is that they are technically uncontrollable and unpredictable. The best way to control a player is to use path manipulation and path maps in order to best observe how they will move. Keep in mind where you place weapons or anything that may change the player’s threat zone. If you place a sniper rifle on the top of the base it is a good chance that a player up there will pickup the sniper rifle and have their current threat zone be weighted more towards long range. If a shotgun is in a hallway it is probably safe to assume that any player that is down there may have the shotgun and has a very heavily close range weighted threat zone. Assumption of threat zone Players will make decisions based on assumed threat zones. If players see a person in the shotgun tunnel there is a certain distance away from that area that they feel safe traversing by assumption. The reverse is true if a player sees someone around or near the sniper spawn. He assumes that the player has the sniper and is more cautious at long range but more aggressive at close range. Use this knowledge to help adjust certain areas of your map. If you know a certain area is vulnerable to the sniper’s threat zone that originates where the sniper spawns then add things accordingly. Understanding what sort of threat zones a player may have in certain areas will help you make decisions on how and where you want to push players on the map. Read Chapter 20: Safe Spawning Follow Ray Twitter: https://twitter.com/RayBenefield Mixer: https://mixer.com/RayBenefield Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: http://www.nextleveldesign.org/index.php?/register/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NextLevelDesig2 Discuss on Discord: https://t.co/hkxwVml0Dp