Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'map design'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Design
    • Projects
    • Design Discussion
    • Tools & Tutorials
  • Off Topic
    • Games Discussion
    • General Discussion
    • Site Support & Feedback


  • Articles
  • NLD Originals
  • News
  • Projects


  • NLD Dev Blog

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



About Me

Found 12 results

  1. Small 2v2 map called «Alsaleh Factory» (My fourth try! for «Asymmetric» multiplayer level design) Modes: TDM, Skirmish (Note: Some 3D models in the level are premade Unity assets from «POLYGON») CS:GO Workshop link: See more images here:
  2. Small 3v3 map called «Double House» (My third try for «Asymmetric» multiplayer level design) Modes: TDM, Skirmish (Note: Some 3D models in the level are premade Unity assets from «POLYGON») UPDATE: Playtest video added. See more images here:
  3. 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:
  4. Here's my first try for «Asymmetric» multiplayer level design Small duel [1v1] map called «Ammo Storage» Mode: Skirmish (Note: All 3D models in the level are premade Unity assets from «POLYGON») See more images here:
  5. 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: Twitter: Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: Follow us on Twitter: Discuss on Discord:
  6. 'Map Design Theory' comes from the heyday of Halo 3's Forge Mode. This one holds a special place in my heart because it's one of the first articles that got me thinking seriously about level design. It covers all of the essentials of level design, and use examples to support the discussion points. This article was written exclusively with Halo 3 in mind, but is most definitely applicable to Level Design in other FPS games as well. Understanding map design can be a daunting task for anyone, but with a little perseverance and open mind it should be relatively easy to grasp. To start, design is all about having the right sets of mentalities and understanding, and three over-arching categories drive successful map design; Gameplay Knowledge, Vision, and Creativity. These three elements need to come together in unison for a map to work well on various levels. If you focus too heavily upon creativity and vision, the map may end up more aesthetically pleasing than it would have, but won’t necessarily play well. If you know gameplay and have a vision for map design, your map may come out a little dull even though it might be fun. I had a third point, but it left me, and now I have to pay alimony every month. Balance between the three separates the novice from the exceptional. There are no simple tricks to suddenly finding the balance; as with everything, it requires practice and mental familiarity.Knowledge:"Knowledge is power"Sir Francis Bacon said thatHe didn't work out.Knowledge boils down to understanding the various mechanics in Halo 3 in both general terms and specific ways such as; anti-camping concepts, getting a feel for the spawn system to encourage routes and flow, recognizing and preventing choke points (sometimes even effectively implementing them) and much more. However, the point isn't to be rehash previous ideas, rather to know WHY things are and WHY they are subsequently successful or not in their attempts. There's really no limit to what you can learn about map design. It’s just about taking the time to understand how each each aspect works in principle and how to use it effectively. Vision:Psychic map builder?That makes it sound difficult.Just think your map through.In a few words, vision can be described as being able to mentally visualize the next step like some sort of psychic map-builder. This can be difficult for people as not everyone is able to imagine in 3D, and the good news is, this isn’t always necessary for proper map design. Basic questions you should ask: What will the player movement be like? How do you want it to look and what are the major points of interest? Is it going to be mostly flat (too easy a joke) What of elevation changes? Will there be rooms, and if so how will you prevent camping? These are all things that you should think about while designing a map. Knowing what devices to envision results from a solid understanding of gameplay and design fundamentals. Essentially, the key to it all is trying to imagine how your idea will actually play out as a map within Halo 3, translating the physical form of the map you're imagining in to an actual gameplay environment, and determining whether or not it will work effectively. Creativity:Creativity, like any other expressive medium, is an important part of any effective map design. It determines uniqueness, flow, supported playstyles, weapon use, and key areas, if any. These should be minimally addressed in your design before you even start building.Thousands of downloadsfor a pallet conveyorCreative. 'Nuff said.It’s difficult to describe how to be creative or what spurs a design. Sometimes it’s a quick flash of inspiration; other times it’s a focal point that it is built off of. It varies on its creator, and from an ironically objective standpoint, it's luck. What complicates it even more is it can be often difficult to tie everything together, so having a clear vision of what you want to create before focusing on specifics is very important. A Haiku:Forge guides are fun, butdisclaimers are important.Please, please don't sue us.First, a few disclaimers before we start: the focus of this Forging 201 will not be to show you some new Forge tips or a solid set of information, in fact probably nothing will be particularly new. Everything that we'll be saying here you should think critically about; in other words, map design mentality.Second, while we'll try to leave things vague and open for you to think about, we'll be making our own assumptions and assertions throughout the piece. It's a guide, not a law, if you can give good reason for anything, supportive, contradictory or unrelated to the topics presented, and it helps your design, it's perfectly fine. Our assumptions are not necessarily fact, just keep that in mind.Map design is a puzzle; everything fits together to form one final product. All of the following topics are important interrelated factors in defining the resulting gameplay. Much as map design is being broken down in to various aspects and considerations for the purposes of this article, the real point of map design is understanding them not only in distinct terms, but most importantly how they interact to form the greater whole of a successful map.In no way is this discussion close to complete, nor can it ever really be. Map design is a constant learning and innovative process. There's no limit to what you can learn and do with it. As a whole, this guide has been a collaboration between Insane54 and MickRaider.Knowledge Player movement, often known as "flow" (and what it will henceforth be referred to as) is the base for map design. Player movement is how the players progress through your map in relation to the various objects in it, or in simpler terms, how players prefer to move about the map. There's no good or bad flow. Your map starts with a vision and the flow is the result. Different people have different ways of approaching obstacles in the environment, but as the map creator you can streamline (or expand) routes to better suit certain approaches. Flow is invariably affected by the map itself, so the design process should bring about the following questions: What's the ideal amount of players? How big is the map? What playstyles do you want to encourage? What weapons do you want players to use, and how often? i.e. weapon balance In Halo, players do not traverse the map on a cover-to-cover basis like Gears of War, nor do they move between random structures; open-area combat is a significant, if not defining, aspect of Halo 3's gameplay mechanic. Therefore, your map design should never be based off of cover or structures themselves, rather any cover provided should be a part of the larger scheme of things. In essence, the cover defines player flow (or choice of route) as opposed to giving them set paths to follow in order to remain behind cover. This will be expanded upon later.In general, every area on the map should be accessible by at least 2 paths. The more paths you put into an area, the more it will turn into a transitory area (as opposed to a camp spot). For example, players will more often traverse through Guardian's sniper area via the middle level than on the bottom, simply because it has four paths instead of two. Simple enough. That being said, you don't necessarily want to put many different paths for the sake of having them, just understand which areas call for it, and address them to prevent camping. After all, Halo is about movement, not "tactical waiting" as Sarge would say. Furthermore, your paths should have purpose as opposed to just diversifying routes, that is, they should affect gameplay in some way. Example: Guardian. A person is shooting from sniper spawn. Regardless of position, there are various ways to take him out, such as tactical BR shots or providing a distraction while teammates sneak from behind, among other avenues of attack. The point is, the map affords plenty of options, and each has a different level and type of risk associated with it, a balance of advantage and disadvantage. To summarize map flow (and subsequent player movement options) for a given situation should not only be suited to this situation, but also balanced with one another so that situations don't arise where one route is overplayed and the other, underused. Lines of Sight: What you can see at any given point, or rather, the damage you can inflict within your field of vision. In quantitative terms, it is your entire 360 degree viewing angle, adjusted by obstructions in your view (walls, barriers, etc).This can be accomplished due to a variety of weapon and grenades. However, the concept of 'good LoS' is somewhat misguided and inefficient in practical terms. In fact, lines of sight aren't particularly important in the first place. A player doesn't look directly at one point the entire game. Games are dynamic and have more to do with field of vision than lines of sight. Let's do away with the lines of sight idea (again, we'll continue to use the name for simplicity), and think about a very similar but much more important definition:Field of Vision is the angle at which the user can see enemy players. In normal circumstances, this angle is approximately 90 degrees. Unaffected "Field of Vision" Field of vision is, of course, different depending on the situation you're in, such as being in a tunnel with a shotgun or atop an open ledge with a sniper-rifle. Thus, determining what players will be able to see, and where, will have a significant effect on the routes they will use. In general, if the player can see the enemy at long range, a direct run is inadvisable by common sense. This changes at close range, especially with the use of the shotguns or assault rifles, as bullet spray is lessened. With this in mind, as a map builder, you can guide gameplay to preference in your map. On that note, you still want to include enough routes for escape, flanking, and other maneuvers.Height is important to lines of sight. People on towers have the advantage of cover from people below, and can use that to their advantage. Balancing power points with path and line of sight options is important and can be accomplished through clever grenade bounces and alternative paths.Players are dynamic and adjust to the situations they are in, and though you can't control their specific responses, you can set the stimulus that provokes those responses. In other words, you can't control the bee and its honey, but you can determine what flowers it has access to.Here are some of the generic comments you'll often see by forger and other players; "Cool structures", "needs more cover", "too open". A well designed map is not comprised of any of the above, or rather trying to understand map design in these simple terms is essentially flawed and misses the point of how larger design works in Halo 3. Structures, cover, and open areas are a part of map design, sure, but they are nowhere near the major focus of a map, they're more the result of design than an actual part of the design process. If you are ever finding yourself designing a map around random structures or cover, you should be going back to the drawing board and figure out how you are going to tie everything together.We've all encountered plenty of awesome structures out there. Structures are capable of defining a map, such as "Relic". You must be careful to have the map tie together though. Structures can be beneficial to a map design by directing players where you want them on a map. An interesting central structure that also has a tactical advantage can direct attention towards that structure and create interesting hot spots and gameplay opportunities. Let me take this moment to say that the goal for map design is not always to create some perfectly designed map that plays exactly evenly or balanced. Your goal should be to create a fun and unique experience that's balanced enough for both teams to have fun. Most importantly your design should offer different options to the player and allowing each of these to have a variety of possibilities. Therefore, there is plenty of room for structures to be a big part of your map design, but don't let that overshadow the overall design, any structure should instead be thought of in terms of whether or not it compliments the overall design. The most notable problem you'll find in structure-based maps is that they are reliant on players to run around in those structures. There should always be advantages and disadvantages to various flow routes, as explained before. Forcing players to be on some kind of structure to do well should be avoided at all costs. Players on the ground should be able to have fun, and people playing on structures should have some sort of advantage and disadvantage against those players.Cover can be thought of in the same regard. A map should never be defined by it's cover. Though at some point you will likely be giving players a chance to get out of a line of fire. Never, ever randomly place cover in a "middle" areas to make it "less open". When players make a decision, such as to go one route versus another, there should be another driving force. Throwing down a block in the middle that he can hide behind turns that into bland and repetitive game. In a good design the natural cover is often more than adequate. Though chances are at some point you'll need some kind of additional cover. Specific cover objects should be used as a last resort if a natural approach could not be found. Keep in mind that what you build should be what players will use to move around the map. In general, objects should be used to compliment lines of sight and flow. If you find that players are getting cut down in an undesirable crossfire, cover might then be necessary to break up the action. An area you designed should never be "too open". The amount of an open area varies depending on several factors, and quite often an open run might be desirable as opposed to the same area littered with unnecessary structures and cover. If you find that players are not using your routes as you had originally planned, cover can be used to help solve this issue if nothing else will work.Though spawns and objectives are generally placed once your map is already built, it is still good practice to keep them in mind when designing. This foresight can make the difference between a good map or a great map, and if you build a whole map without considering how you want spawning to work, then when you come to placing spawns you may find it hard to implement an effective spawning system.In general, it is important to have, at a minimum, two major areas for each team to spawn at. Applying what we learned before, try and visualize what the players will think once they spawn. How many route options do they have? Do they encompass the necessary possibilities that will allow the player to make proper use of this life? Will they be aware which direction they need to travel without taking the time to analyze their surroundings?While planning spawn points in advance can be difficult; it is important to remember that the way spawn points are placed is vital to how the map will flow. A player should have options straight off of his spawn, thus it is important to make sure that there is at least two paths from every spawn. Also it is important to check each and every spawn. Stand directly over the spawn, exactly copying what it will look like when the player spawns, and then consider exactly what a player could do with the spawn you have given them against various scenarios. Alternatively, you could kill yourself repeatedly. Things to keep in mind when placing spawn points. You should be pointed towards a possible path; you should be able to run straight forwards for 2-3 seconds without turning at all. In addition, put yourself in the shoes of a player who doesn't know the map. What options do you have? The player should never be completely hopeless. In general a spawn point should point towards a point of interest, such as an objective or a power weapon. It is bad form to point a player towards their own base and will often confuse and frustrate a player by doing so. Always give them an objective when they spawn. This can be especially useful in situations where players are not finding your weapons, having a spawn pointed at them will almost guarantee that they will happen upon it. The counter to this is that if a power weapon is over used, don't have spawn points directed at it or too close to it and it's use will decrease. Objective planning is similar. Make sure attacking and defending teams both have at least three options, and that each of these options have varying pros and cons. Often this fits directly into flow, but objectives offer some variations on the normal flow. A flag can be thrown down a higher area into a more open run, or can sneak around. The defense should have options as well. Once a flag is taken or a bomb is armed, what possibilities do they have? Again, make sure they are all different. There should rarely be a case where the defense has very little chances of success of returning or disarming. And of course, neutral objectives should be even for both sides. One last point we'd like to make: in most cases, don't put your objectives in corners! It's amazing how many maps make this mistake, not only does it limit flow possibilities for both teams, it turns the corners into camping areas and renders them highly susceptible to grenades. Some map designs require it, but this a rare occasion and should be avoided unless you've really thought about making this decision.Aesthetics often play a major role in the player's decision on where they choose to go. If we look at typical play styles, a player is generally reluctant to move from a normal hot spot of the map, even if it means getting to a higher point. This tends to only happen if they have a long ranged weapon. There are some important points to think about here also. Players want roam to run around, even if only in a small area. A cramped tower is much less likely to be used than one that is well spaced and flows well with the rest of the map. Never throw a random sniper tower to the side of a map, assuming that people will want to use it because it's a high tower. Expanding on this; a bland, basic area of the map will often be used less than a nice looking one, particularly by new players. The designer can use these visual cues to direct players to places they want. One mistake often made is "mounting" weapons on walls. Though this looks great and can often work wonderfully for more basic items, if the weapon or equipment is poking out sideways it can get in the way, and if the item is pushed to the wall (as it normally is), it can be hard to find if the player does not know the map. Therefore, if you want players to go to your power weapons, make them obvious to find. Exhibit them to the whole map, not just those who are standing right next to it. Consider the Rockets on The Pit, for example. They can't be seen from a large amount of the map's area, but as long as you are on the long hall/needler area you can see when they have respawned without being right next to them.Continuity is an "uninterrupted connection or union", and should not be confused with our earlier discussions on cover and structures or flow. Continuity means players make choices based on the choices available on the map. Good continuity lets players choose routes that will always lead to the destination they had in mind. Whether the destination is to flank an enemy position or a route to the opposing team’s high ground. Every part of the map the player can walk on has a specific purpose and eventually leads to a specific place on the map. A path/tunnel or corridor that appears, in terms of its direction, to lead to a given area of the map, but actually curves around and leads to a different area, can be confusing to players.The Pit is truly one of the greatest Halo maps of all time. There has never been a design that uses so many staple Halo weapons and play styles and combines them so well. You could spend a week looking at every part of it and appreciating it for how great of a map it really is. For this example we'll try and analyze what the designers were thinking and how this great map came about. FlowThe Pit generally plays towards BRs and Snipers, or mid to long range weapons. That doesn't exclude anything else, like the Sword, but close range is obviously not the main gameplay focus. There is enough variety of close, medium, and long range routes to keep the player on their toes. Let's take a look at some closer examples. How many times have you been rushing through the long hallway and just get demolished by grenades? Wouldn’t it make sense for Bungie to have put a block there so that wouldn’t happen? We realize that this aspect is built in to the design. By having the longest and straightest path to the enemy base, this encourages the player to subconsciously try to get there as fast as possible, although they know the risk. This is made fair and fun due to the fact that you’re rewarded by getting there faster than anyone else with the rockets, but with a high risk of dying. This is bluntly called "risk vs. reward." When looking at The Pit there are either 3 or 4 main routes. Each route should have a different advantage and disadvantage, height advantages, weapon spawns, line of sight to popular areas, etc. The hard part is not just balancing these, not to encourage even use, but so that each one has a different and interesting playstyle that all come together for a fun experience. A great example of this is "Runway" on The Pit (where the overshield is); it obviously is not a place that's good for slaying, being it has few lines of sight and field of vision to anything important, however it is an excellent flank, most particularly to the sniper tower. A sniper usually has his field of vision trained on the more traffic-heavy parts of the map on the opposite side. Another interesting point is that routes to an area have an effect on how it’s used. For example, let's examine the shotgun cave or sniper tower from The Pit. It is obvious that these places encourage players to use their respective weapons. These only have two main routes to them thus the foot traffic is naturally low, but increases due to the power weapons effect. If you want players to be moving to other areas of the map, they tend to have more paths such as each sides "Training" on The Pit). Knowing where you want players moving is what player movement is all about. Lines of SightWe can see how The Pit has a wide variety of sight lines. Though the cross map sniper battles from the tower, to the narrow and dangerous sword room. Each of these sight lines allow for a good variety of gameplay and excitement. We can learn a lot about the effect the sniper has on the map by examining one point in particular, the sniper tower. From the sniper tower the player can have a view of essentially their entire side, though the view of the oppositions base is drastically limited. This accomplishes two things, the first being so that the player is not able to dominate the entire map from one spot the entire game, which lends itself to the second, that the player is forced to leave his perch to find the enemy when they become wise and avoid his position. By providing a series of safe routes for the players to use the sniper tower's power is severely limited. This encourages map flow by directing players to certain areas to both prevent and defend against snipers. The sword room also provides an interesting assortment of lines of sight. The first and most obvious is the back hallway where a sword can dominate. This is cleverly countered by a long line of sight from training and green box where players can throw grenades and shoot in at a safe distance. This balance allows the area to be both powerful and vulnerable in a way that makes the gameplay fun. CoverThe Pit is a great example of a map that uses natural cover very effectively and in a way that works well throughout. Only in a few notable places do we see the addition of cover. The first obvious point is training's "Corner." This simple design allows for a safety area from the sniper tower or sword room, but as it has opening it is very easy to detect when a player is there. This makes it so the player must move from the area quickly or risk being spotted and grenaded out. The natural cover of The Pit shows us how important elevation changes are in a map. Simply by lowering the middle parts of The Pit it allows the player an alternate route to move around without being easily detected from other areas on the map. The height of the sniper is countered by the elevated height of the rocket tunnel entrance. This use of high and low areas allows The Pit to play dynamically and uniquely every time. Spawns and ObjectivesThe spawns on The Pit are well laid out to encourage the flow of the map. In general the spawns are weighted such that the players will spawn at the higher portion near green box or the shotgun tunnel. This is by design as this area is intended to be the highest trafficked area. The designers knew that as most battles would take place in this are they want to allow players the quickest routes back upon respawn. In order to prevent spawn trapping the second alternate spawn area is below the sniper tower. This area is less used, though serves important functions to separate the base into two distinct spawn zones. If we analyze the spawns further we'd notice how they always point towards a main route or looking at a power weapon/equipment. Even in some cases spawning directly on the overshield. The objectives on The Pit were obviously something the designers had in mind from the start. Getting the iconic callout, "The Pit," describes the room in which the objective will spawn. If we look closer at this we can see how the objective is located in the center of the room with two main routes in or out. The third route is through the front but requires a teammate to catch the objective or a box to jump out on. This balance makes it a challenge to get the objective both in an out, but not an impossible one. Points of Interest and ContinuityThere are a few main points of interest on this map. The first plays a crucial role in the map design even though it could be argued it was added as an afterthought, "The Green Box." This point on the map plays a very crucial role. It offers a safety zone from the sniper tower while still providing a variety of routes. The player could choose to continue through green tunnel to acquire the Active Camo, continue to the long hallway to get the rockets, or move down the map towards Training to flank the opponents. This point is something that the player is naturally drawn to due to it's color and size. This simple use of aesthetics plays a huge role in how the map ultimately plays. Continuity on The Pit is rather obvious. A friend said it best when he described a map as being "Wheel Chair Accessible". Every point is walkable by more than one route, even though every route is not necessarily connected. If we look again at the "Runway" we can see how this route connects both sniper towers through a safety route, while still having a connection to the middle of the map. If that middle route was not there this route would have been dangerous to the point where it would rarely or never be used. Guardian is a spiritual successor to Lockout of sorts. Being primarily designed around a center "circle" the map itself plays very uniquely to even it's predecessor and is definitely amongst the top ranking halo maps.FlowIf we look at an overview of Guardian we can see how the major player movement is designed to move in a counterclockwise circle. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s the only way people will go, but it’s actually the basis on which the map runs. The uniqueness of Guardian - it's counterclockwise movement, use of low and high routes, and successful mancannons - is what makes it so intriguing and fun to play. From this we can see an emergence of 4 major "bases". The sniper tower, Green platform, Gold room, and blue room. Each of these areas plays a major role in how Guardian flows. In general the play tends to focus heavily around controlling sniper tower or gold lift, but as Guardian has a tendency to support close range combat this is not it's only function. There is plenty of opportunities for flanking due to the assortment of low and high routes. Lines of SightBeing a room-based map the lines of sight on Guardian are broken up well and efficiently. There is a good assortment of long line of sights from the sniper tower and bottom of sniper tower to gold. The number of long lines are contrasted by the increased number of short ones such as green platform, blue room, and gold room. These short sight lines help to encourage the use of short range weaponry, which outnumbers the long/medium range weapons. The shotgun, hammer, and mauler play a critical role in how the map ultimately plays out. However, controlling the sniper rifle is very important as essentially the entire upper portion of the map can be controlled with it. CoverGuardian is another example of a map that relies on it's natural cover without the need for extra cover in most cases. Only in a few points do we see the addition of cover which is cleverly blended into the map itself. The first of which being the cover around the hammer.This cover is useful in a number of ways. The first being that it slightly breaks up the lines of sight between the bottom of sniper tower and the bottom of gold room. The second being that it provides cover in the likely event that a battle takes place between green platform and hammer. This cover is definitely an important element of the map design and without it the map would play very differently in these areas.The second use of cover is the trees on green platform. Again a very important use of cover to break up the sight lines between elbow and green platform. This makes it more difficult for a sniper to control the map from elbow and thus forces him to a higher location, where everyone on the map can easily see him. Without this cover it would be possible for a sniper to control elbow very easily and make a flank extremely difficult. The third use of cover is the glass window that protects blue room from the sniper tower. Without this critical piece of cover the sniper would be able to dominate the entirety of the upper portion of the map. By using this glass window a player could place shots on a sniper in the tower while still having a safety zone to retreat to when the situation turns against them. This window is very vulnerable from the green tree thus has a good balance of power and weakness that forces players to act fast and move on. Spawns and ObjectivesAs Guardian is an asymmetric map, spawning and objective balance is much more difficult. One team should not feel at a disadvantage by spawning at one side versus another. It is also important to have a good spawn spread so that predicting the spawns is difficult. Each of the main area on the map has a balanced assortment of spawns, with the main rooms having a higher weighting than the connecting walkways. This means that players will tend to spawn in one of four critical areas, while still having backup spawns in the event that each of these rooms is compromised. The objectives on Guardian are definitely something to take notice of. If we look at the transition between Lockout and Guardian we can see why they chose to take it in a different direction. In Lockout the flag spawned on the elbow, which made it difficult to move it away from. This played well due to the emphasis on short range combat. In Halo 3, the emphasis is more on medium to long range and if the flag was placed on the elbow then the player would have had an incredibly hard time moving it to a safer location. To help fix this problem they made the elbow the return point and placed the flag underneath blue room. By doing this they accomplished a balanced location that provides the player with a multitude of possibilities. The player could choose to run it towards the lift, which would take them to sniper and a short safe route to the flag. The downside of this being that that they would be very vulnerable while traveling through the man cannon. The second alternative is to take it up the ramp to blue window and run across the middle. Another short route but this requires that the attacking team controls the upper portion of the map. The final possibility is to take it back down towards gold room. This is the "safest" of all the routes as the flag runner is well covered, though the danger being that they will be running into the defense's major spawn areas. Points of Interest and ContinuityThe two main points of interest on Guardian are the sniper tower and gold room. The sniper tower is a very important location as it houses the sniper rifle and a sort of sniper perch. With the right skill set a player could control a large portion of the map from this location. This makes it very important to either control or prevent the other team from controlling this area. The gold lift is also an important point of interest as it provides a good variety of close and medium range combat and houses the active camouflage. The camo plays an important role in balancing the sniper's power so it is important that the player controls one or the other of these power items. It is also easy to defend gold room as they are somewhat protected from the sniper tower and can monitor 2 of the 4 main routes in by listening for the lift sounds. Being a circular flow map, the continuity is easy to identify. As the player could walk in a complete circle around the map it is important to connect routes together to provide enough variety so that they don't. The middle platform is an obvious connection point that connects the four main rooms with the quickest routes. As these routes are vulnerable from the sniper tower another combination of lower routes help to connect the map together without being too vulnerable. This combination of quick and dangerous, and slow and protected is one of the reasons that Guardian plays so well for almost all gametypes. While map design is of course an abstract business, designing of your own maps is even more so. We'll go through the process that the authors go through, and it should be noted that any way works fine if it works for you.Designing your map requires an understanding not just of what we've put above, but of the mentality that it gives you. You should be able to take any given map and break it down to it's core elements, and say what parts are what, why, and how it works. Depending on the person, this will often take anywhere from a day or two to weeks or months to truly understand. Once you've got that under your belt, you're ready to start designing your own maps.The first thing you want to envision is how the players will move through the map, or path planning. This can be done as simply as a 2D sketch with major path lines planned. The idea is that it's vague, but shows where I want my players to be moving around, and shows the basis of map movement. It's quite simple, but without one of these at least in your head, your map can be significantly worse. Your basic paths should be simple and well-thought out, from our example, The Pit has 3 or 4 major paths. All of these offer wildly different possibilities. Alternative paths are wonderful, and you're free to work with those, but for now we're only talking about major flow.Once you've got your flow down, you'll want to think about how people will interact with each other by lines of sight, field of vision, and height differences. Try to envision yourself in this kind of blocky, empty map, and what kind of gameplay you'd like to see yourself playing. Then, just think about how that gameplay can be encouraged by your design. Lines of sight, field of vision, and height differences can help that enormously.Well, we hope you've enjoyed our Forging 201 on the knowledge portion of map design. Remember that the point of this isn't to give you a set of information, but to start you in the right mindset. There's no way to ever know everything in map design; it's a constant learning and thinking process that we're hoping this may possibly spark.If it's clear you've got the drive and enough smarts to think through all the stuff above, that's all you'll need to be great at map design. Source: Follow Insane54 Website: Follow Mick Raider Twitter: Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: Follow us on Twitter: Discuss on Discord:
  7. Pascal works as a freelance game designer and creative director since 1995. He was commissioned by major studios and publishers including Activision, SCEE, Ubisoft and DICE. In particular, he was Lead Level Designer on the multiplayer versions of both Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, lead game designer on Alone In The Dark - The New Nightmare and Creative Director on Wanted – Weapons of Fate. Leveraging his console design experience, he is also working on mobile games, including freemium ones. His first game for mobile platforms, The One Hope, was published in 2007 by the publishers Gmedia and received the Best In Gaming award at the 2009 Digital Media Awards of Dublin. In the first part of my series devoted to the design of multiplayer levels, I offered a detailed view of typical design constraints in multiplayer compared to that of a single player level. I would now like to give some suggestions to remedy these problems with intelligent map design. A good level design for a multiplayer map should respond to three challenges: • Durability - A map should withstand thousands of game sessions without letting players feel bored. It must provide continuous tactical challenge. • Accessibility - Navigation in a map should be clear. Remember that complex map design is one of the main difficulties a new player is confronted with. • Entertainment - This need is obvious, but its rules are difficult to define. Challenge 1: Durable Maps Let’s begin by the durability of the map. What are the level design rules that I recommend to respond to this challenge? 1.) My first recommendation, and probably the most important, is to put the third dimension to good use. Use and exploit the vertical dimension in your maps and give the players reasons to use the volume of the map and not only its two-dimensional layout. The example below is taken from the Museum map, available in both Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrowand Chaos Theory. This medium sized room perfectly illustrates how a very rich gameplay, based on movement and dissimulation, can be created by applying this rule. Players have several partially overlapping circulation levels at their disposal. They can move vertically by using the stairs, climbing the beams or simply by jumping. Finally, the room includes enough objects to enable players to hide, but also to use these surfaces to make their grenades bounce. One of the rooms where the third dimension is well used in the Museum map (Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory) This rule may well be applied to exterior settings, too, such as in Battlefield maps, where the players can climb roofs, cranes or towers and can also take flying vehicles. 2.) My second recommendation is to build open maps to enable the creation of an infinite number of paths. The warehouse, plant or building site themes suit this kind of map perfectly. Take for instance the Deftech map, published in the multiplayer version of Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory. The inner courtyard, although a very simple design, provides a practically infinite number of movement possibilities. It contains three main levels of movement – the yard, the footbridge and the roof of the containers – as well as two secondary levels: a network of underground tunnels and overhead cables. By combining these different levels of movement, a significant variety of movements -- and therefore of tactical possibilities -- is obtained. It’s not by luck that Deftech yard is one of the most appreciated maps by deathmatch fans. The yard of the Deftech map (Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow) illustrates how vertical movement is created in an exterior setting 3.) Increase the number of events in the map, especially those that make the players change their tactics. The Aquarius map, available in Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory, is a good example of the use of events. In my previous article, I explained how certain ill-considered actions of the defenders open new possibilities of infiltration to the attackers in this map. But Aquarius also provides other map events that have a direct impact on players’ tactics. Each time the attackers take over one of the five mission objectives of the map, they trigger an event in the map that handicaps the defenders: smoke release, unlocking of doors, lights turning off etc. All Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory maps, as well as the two maps available for download for Pandora Tomorrow, are full of interactions like these. Experience shows that gamers really appreciate this extra dimension of gameplay. The game design itself must contribute to the map durability, by producing features that acquire their importance according to specific elements of level design. In the Assault mode of the multiplayer version of Far Cry, engineers can build fortifications or turrets in predetermined locations. This game design feature makes sense when the level design provides locations where these buildings offer a real tactical interest. Thus, a turret may cover an access path or a wall may block an entry to allow the defenders to concentrate on other entries. A room in the Aquarius map (Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory) in its normal state. It is well-lit and provides few hiding places for the attackers. It is a “safe” room for the defenders.. Here is how the same room looks when the attackers reached one of their mission objectives. The darkness of the smoke makes the room very dangerous for the defenders. Challenge 2: Maps Where Navigation Is Clear The second challenge a multiplayer map designer should respond to is accessibility. It’s a major problem for players who discover a new map, and especially for beginners. Designers should keep in mind that the stress and the game rhythm decrease the player’s capacity to properly analyze the setting. The objective of the level designer is to design the map in such a way that the player can always answer three basic questions, regardless of his location: - Where am I? - Where should I go? - How do I get there? Where Am I? By looking at the environment, the player should be able to determine his current position and locate it on the map. In Pandora Tomorrow, the Krauser Labs map contains three rooms that shelter the mission objectives. Each of these areas is characterized by a different colour. It is therefore easy for the player to determine his current position and to guess where the passage leads him, thanks to the color light that filters through the entries to the areas in question. In an exterior map, it is still simple to enable the player to determine where he is, by adding setting elements that are visible from a distance, as is the case in this multiplayer map of Halo 2. A second technique consists in building asymmetrical maps or areas. Long Run, a map designed by one of the level designers of my team with the free level editor of Pandora Tomorrow, is built on an inclined plane, like a gigantic staircase. Simply by noticing his position in relation to the other levels of the map, the player can immediately locate himself. The tower is visible from all points in this Halo 2 map and makes it easy for the players to get their bearing. Long Run, a complex yet easily navigable map thanks to its asymmetrical design. A third technique consists in proving the map with a simple block plan, as shown below. Where Should I Go? We have just seen a few techniques meant to assist the player in determining his position in the map. Let’s see now how we can help him understand where he should head to achieve his mission objectives. Many multiplayer games ask the player to reach such objectives as to capture a flag, plant a bomb or hack a computer terminal. The player should be capable of identifying and especially guessing their target’s location simply by analyzing the map layout. Two rules should be applied: - The mission objectives, or a related setting element, should be visible from far away - The mission objective itself should be clearly distinguished from the surrounding environment. The flag poles in Battlefield perfectly apply these two rules. If the game imposes more discrete mission objectives, such as planting a bomb, it is possible to associate a large object such a radio aerial to the objective itself. The location of game objectives cannot be made easier than in Battlefield. We have seen that it is pretty simple for outdoor game objectives. However, it is more complicated for indoors objectives because the players can’t see though the walls. The solution is to create an obvious link between the map layout and the objectives. Thus a map designed around three areas will contain one objective per area. As soon as the player understands that there is one objective per area, it will be easier to guide him to the objective, as soon as he gets to the right area. The second rule, which consists of mission objectives that are slightly different from the surrounding environment, will direct the player toward his target. These rules were successfully applied in the Deftech map of Pandora Tomorrow. The mission objectives are distributed in three separate buildings. They are all located on the first floor. Although the map is huge, very few navigation problems were encountered during the playtests. While I was supervising the playtests, I noticed how quickly the players were learning to navigate. I will finish with a comment on using overlay icons as an aid to navigation. We widely used them in Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, but their efficiency is questionable. In fact, when indoors, they often tell players to go straight through the walls, as they indicate the shortest route. These icons may be useful, but do not represent a miraculous solution to the navigation problems and could disturb the player by overloading the screen. How Do I Get There? There is still a challenge in terms of ease of navigation: to help the player understand what paths he can take to reach his mission objectives. The best solution is to show him both the objectives AND the means to get there at the same time. One way to do this is to design maps with average-size areas and give the attackers the possibility to have a panoramic view. In the example below taken from the River Mall map, a very popular map available for download for the Xbox version of Pandora Tomorrow, the attackers start their infiltration through the top of the first area. That way, they can see mission objectives, marked by overlay icons, and all the paths that lead to them: staircases, footbridges etc. In River Mall (Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory), the attackers can see both their game objectives and the means to reach them. Challenge 3: Fun Maps The biggest challenge for us is to create a fun map. If the rules described in the previous parts are applied, all maps would resemble each other, but all gamers like to be surprised and challenged. From the gamer’s point of view, having a large number of maps that all look alike is less satisfying than a smaller number of varied maps. My first suggestion is to use diversity as much as possible. In Chaos Theory, we made it a key point to search for original graphic themes: the Aquarius map represents an oceanographic museum, Orphanage takes place in an old abandoned school in the middle of a forest, the theme of the Missile Strike is an old bunker complex, etc. But diversifying the graphic theme is not enough. It is also necessary to differentiate the gameplay offered by each map. Thanks to the wealth in game design, we were able to bring diversity that is unusual for multiplayer maps. Each map forces the players to adapt their tactics in function. The table below summarizes the main features of the Chaos Theory maps from the gameplay perspective. Orphanage: a map of Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory Missile Strike: a map of Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory Aquarius: a map of Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory Aquarius - Open map. Various types of mission objectives are available. The taking over of one of them affects the defending of the map. Clubhouse - Open map. Many destructible background elements. Factory - Open map. Certain mission objectives are only available thanks to the concerted action of the two attackers. Missile Strike - Linear map. Various types of mission objectives are available. Orphanage - Linear map that provides a large outdoor area. Station - Linear map that begins with an assault area. A year after the release of the multiplayer version of Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory, all its maps are still being played. My second suggestion is to provide the maps with secrets or actions that require complete mastery of the game. Such aspects of the maps are very rewarding for experienced gamers, who make up your target audience. In this way, certain Far Cry maps include ideal places for snipers, whose positions are camouflaged by vegetation. In Chaos Theory, we included specifically designed locations for the spies to use when undertaking their most spectacular but also their most dangerous attacks: to catch a mercenary who crosses over a footbridge and knock him off into space. The Factory map contains mission objectives that are only reachable if the two attackers carry out an action in cooperation, a dangerous action, in the Versus multiplayer mode. My third suggestion is to plan a number of map events such as moving elements or destructible background sections. These events must respond to a gameplay objective and multiply the tactical opportunities; otherwise they will only have a superficial contribution to enriching the map. I have already mentioned map events that modify the gameplay in the Aquarius map, here are a few more: Attacker getting ready to grab a defender and throw him over the guardrail in Club House, one of the multiplayer maps provided in Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory. In Factory, the attackers can turn on a digger and break down a wall to clear a path to a new mission objective (see the screenshots below). Besides being spectacular, this type of event is very interesting from the gameplay perspective. By hacking the digger, the attacker shows his presence and exposes himself to the defenders’ firing, but if his action succeeds, he enlarges the perimeter to defend and therefore makes his team’s job easier. In Club House, the attackers can make new paths by destroying suspended ceilings or raised floors, but by doing so, they also give the defenders their position and enable them to throw grenades. In Bank, the attackers can hack consoles and cause lighting breakdowns or a jamming that disadvantages the defenders in the room that shelters the mission objectives. Because these operations can only be triggered away from the main room, the defenders must make a difficult choice: to defend these secondary objectives and weaken the defense of the mission objectives, or to concentrate the defense on the latter and bear the consequences of the hacking undertaken by the opponents. In Factory, one of the multiplayer maps of the Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory Versus mode, two mission objectives are not reachable at the beginning of the game. They are located behind a wall. To destroy it, the attackers must hack the digger. As soon as the digger is activated, the wall breaks down, giving access to two new mission objectives and increasing the space to be defended by 30%. Practically all Chaos Theory maps, as well as those available for download contain this type of event. Highly appreciated by gamers, they are a tribute to the talent of the Ubisoft Annecy studio where the “versus” multiplayer modes of Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory were developed. In my next article, I will tackle the problems of map setting and game system, the design around the technical constraints and the design of a multiplayer game that is more accessible to a wider public. Source: Follow Pascal Website: Twitter: Follow Next Level Design Join the Forum: Follow us on Twitter: Discuss on Discord:
  8. This is my approach to map design, it is not the ultimate view of halo map design, there are many different approaches to take, and this is one of the many that has been shown to work.During the early days of forge I contributed many things to our development and understanding of asymmetrical map design. Some of this work dates back 6 years. All of my post and articles were recently lost when MLG deleted the Halo 3 forge forums post. I am posting a compilation of my work on asymmetrical map design that has been edited and expanded. This post is an accumulation of a large chunk of my knowledge of map design, to which I want to share with the rest of the community.Some of this information is now common knowledge, but I think it is important to have it set and well defined. This also helps newer designers and forgers understand and develop their concept of map design. I hope that this will be of help to new and old forgers alike. It is a long and extensive read, so be ready to set some time aside for this. All together it is 8 full pages on a Microsoft Word document.Thank you and Enjoy,John “Darkling Ninja”Section 1: FlowA. Defining FlowFlow is basically the way in which player(s) move through a map during the course of a game. As stated by Bungie flow is very hard to define and talk about being that it is an abstract concept. Here are two articles from professionals that talk about flow and explain it better then I can.Bungie: Games: Circular FlowA circular flow is a common and great way to create successful flow throughout a map. That does not mean that players should be running around in a circle the entire time they play your map. Instead of thinking about this idea geometrically think of it in terms of conceptual movement. Conceptually a circle is a consistent, easily repeated, and natural pattern of movement.A good analogy for this would be rocks moving around in circulating water. The rocks move around in a circular motion within the water, occasionally they will run into another rock or two. This run in will cause those rocks to be set off course with the circular flow of the water. The rocks might end up moving through the center of the circular flowing water or go outside of it. Even though those rocks where set off course they will eventually be drawn back into that circular movement, flowing around inside the water. This process would repeat itself over and over.Although this might sound odd, think of the rocks as players and the circulated water as the map they are playing on. Players are going to be set off course of your maps flow over and over, your job as the designer is to make sure the player can once again be easily drawn back into the flow of your map.As a designer creating this within your map takes time, thought and testing. When designing a map, you want to make sure that the flow of your map extends to all areas. A majority of the time, the reason why an area on a map is underused is because there is no flow into that area. Paying attention to flow of your map will help contribute to the overall game play of your design.Section 2: ConnectionsA. IntroConnections are basically the way in which a player transitions from one part of the map to another. There are many ways to create connections in your map design. In the end these connections are what determine the flow of your map. There are many different ways to create and use connections. In the end the connections on your map will be its life line. How you use connections will determine whether or not your map plays well.B. Types of Connections and TransitionsThere are many different types of connections and transitions. So I will just list them in a simple way.Types of Connections:1. Hard Connection - Hard connections are basically routes from one place to another that do not involve the player to do anything but move through it. They do not involve jumping, or going out of the way in any fashion, it is just a straight walk from one point to another. Examples of this would be a bridge, floor, ramp ect…2. Soft connections - Soft connections are routes to a location that involves the player actively doing something in order to use. In most scenarios this type of connection involves jumping, thus the term “jump ups”. Lifts and drop downs are also forms of soft connections.3. Direct Connections and Indirect Connections - A direct connection is one that takes a player directly to where they want to go without having to go out of the way to get there. An indirect connection usually involves the player having to go out of their way in order to get to an area. An example of these types of connection would be bottom middle of guardian. If I am bottom middle on guardian and I want to approach Snipe tower I can either take the direction connection through S1 or take the indirect connect through Green and L.4. Controlled and Uncontrolled Connections - Most connections are controlled connections, meaning the player has full control of what they are doing.An uncontrolled connection is a connection that when used a player does not have control over their movement. In Halo there are really only three ways to create uncontrolled connections, and that is a Lift, Teleporters and drop down. In all three cases the player does not have control of what they are doing while they use the connection.C. Designing ConnectionsEach type of connection has its own advantages and disadvantages. Balancing out these advantages and disadvantages is very important. Halo 3 Construct is a good example of connection usage. The lifts are direct, soft, uncontrolled connections. The speed of the lifts allows the player to quickly reach the top most powerful part of the map. In return the player cannot control themselves until after they have used this connection, making it a risky connection to use.Players also have the option of taking the gold ramps up to open street, this is an indirect, hard, controlled connection. The ramps allow a safer transition to the top then the lifts, but the amount of time it takes gives the enemy team a chance to set up.The ramps up to sword room give the player a third option of approach creating a direct, soft, controlled connection. A player must go out of there way, and do something just to use this, but it results in a direct path to the top of the map and a possible flank.Putting to much emphasis on one type of connection can make it over powered or useless. Making a route to indirect can make it take so long to use that its pointless to give the other that much time to set up, so by they time you get there you just get destroyed. Having a route be direct can result it the route being over powered and over used, restricted the flow of your map to that section.As one can see designing the connections on your map can be a real pain, and take a lot of thought, but it is a vital part of your design.Section 3: VerticalityA. Intro to VerticalityVerticality, one of the hardest things to pull off right, but important in every map design except for a griff ball court. Many terms and phrases are used to describe verticality, “height variation or changes”. “Different Levels”, we all have a term or way to describe this. The ubiquitous nature of verticality shows its importance to map design. Without verticality all you have is a flat map like most griff ball courts. For most forgers verticality is a wall that we all must climb over in our development as designers.This section on verticality explored the properties, and usage of verticality in map design. Many new forgers do not take proper consideration into the vertical space that their map occupies. A map can have the same width and depth of the original guardian, but the vertical height of the map can make it 5 times larger then guardian. Realizing this, the application and usage of verticality in your design has a huge impact on your map.B. Properties and Functions of VerticalityThis section is short and sweet, I am just going to list some of the main properties or functions that verticality can have. If I miss some, please comment and I will do my best to add them in.1. Dynamic and Versatile - Verticality creates dynamic and versatile game play in a map. The height variations prevent stale and repetitive game play.2. Divisions - Verticality creates divisions between the difference levels of your map. This can be for better or for worse. Divisions can be used to promote movement and create dynamic game play. They can also cause your map to be sectioned off and disconnected. You can prevent this from happening by proper use of connections.3. Advantages - Verticality can create advantages for players. Verticality can provide control over a fight, superior angles, height advantage, Cover and many other things.4. Disadvantages - Verticality can also create disadvantages for players. Being high up and out in the open can result in a player becoming an easy target or a swift death.5. Flow - Verticality has a clear impact on the flow of the map. Instinctively players will travel to the highest point of the map, thus verticality can make the lower part of your maps underused or even ignored.C. Usage and Application of VerticalityThe primary concern when using vertically is how you make the connections from one level to the other. Making sure there is adequate and balanced connections is what will make or break the verticality on your map. A player should be able to move from varies level changes smoothly. A good way to create this is using Drop Downs and Lifts. Lifts and drop downs allow for instantaneous vertical movement up and down. In the best map throughout the halo series lifts and drops downs are common place. Wizard, Pirate, Midship, Lockout, Foundation, Ivory Tower, Construct, Guardian, The Pit, Narrows all had lifts and drop downs.Making sure there is also a diversity of all the connections that balance out with one and other is key in creating successful vertically. In order to make sure the lower portions of your map are used, a good trick is to give them an ample supply of connections that are greater then their higher up adversaries. When designing the vertically make sure to take everything into account.Section 4: Asymmetrical Map DesignA. An Intro to Pie MethodNow after all that reading we finally get to the bread and butter, Asymmetrical Map Design. There are multiple ways to approach Asymmetrical Map Design. Asymmetrical Maps are maps that are inherently are not balanced. Thus when creating an asymmetrical map you are creating an unbalanced map. That does not mean the map will not work, that means that you have to find a way to create a form of balance or asymmetrical balance. This does not mean making the two uneven sides equal in power, that usually results in standoffish game play.Pie method is a layout that Bungie was very fond of using in their maps. I am sure they have a more technical name for it, but until they tell us what it is pie method will do. I posted pie method 6 years ago as a way to layout out a functioning asymmetrical map. This was during a time when forgers where struggling to find a way to create a proper asymmetrical design and find a way to make asymmetry work.Note that pie method is not the only way to layout an asymmetrical map, but for those who want to learn how to design asymmetrical maps or better their asymmetrical design it is a successful ad easy to use template.B. TerminologyControl points: Control points are areas on the map that offer rewards for controlling. The rewards can range from controlling other areas of the map to shooting angles, power weapons and/or connections.Dominate control points: This refers to the parts of the map that have the most power or rewardsSecondary Control points: These parts of the map are usually checked by one of the dominate control points on the map, and are controlled by the team in control of the dominate control point that checks it.Checks: Checks refer to areas on the map that counter another area of the map, or put them into check.C. Pie MethodPie method lays out 4 sections of the map, dividing it into two dominate areas, which both have control over a different secondary control point on the map. Pie Method Layout:• Red is the most dominate control point, the most powerful area of the map• Blue is the sub-dominate control point, the second most powerful area on the map.• The shooting angles on Red allow it to check Green, making it Green Red’s secondary control point.• The shooting angles on Blue allow it to check Gold, making it Gold Blue’s secondary control point.• Red checks both Green and Blue, and has a slight advantage on Gold but not enough to check or control Gold.• Blue checks both Gold and Red, and has a slight advantage in Green but not enough to check or control Green• Green and Gold check each otherExample:A team’s objective is to control the Dominate Control Point, due to the fact that it offers the best rewards and advantages to control.Red team will be in control of The dominate point, while blue team is in control of the Sub-dominate control point. Blues teams objective is to take control of the dominate control point, While Red teams objective will be to keep control of the dominate point.By being in control of a dominate control point, a team also controls a secondary control point that is not as powerful as a primary control point, but allows players to move about the map more, and have more shooting angles.As players fight for control of the different areas of the map the flow around it shifting control of different areas, and flowing around the map like a circle. You can easily shift up where the control points are on the map, making Gold dominate and Blue a secondary, or do the same with Red and Green or both.D. Power weapons and Balance"Your map should not support your power weapons, Your power weapons should support your Map." - Darkling NInjaBasically what this quote means is that an area of your map should not be designed around a power weapon. The power weapons that are placed on your map should reinforce the structure and flow of your map. No area on your map should rely on power weapon support to function properly. The best way to avoid doing this in a design is to not even think about power weapons on your map until after it has been completely forged.I personally do not even begin to place or think about power weapons until after I have placed the spawns and set up all game types. This is so that I can gear the spawns and game types in the way that will play best with the structure of my maps. The power weapons go last, because they allow me to place weapons that reinforce not just my maps geometry but also every game type and player spawn.When balancing out the many different areas on your map, you do not need to rely on power weapon spawns to create flow and movement. Instead use Flow, connections and verticality to strengthen the core of your map design. Flow, connections and verticality will give you more then enough ways to balance out your asymmetrical map. Instead of relying on gimmicks like power weapons use your knowledge and tools as a designer to create harmony within your map.That doesn't mean that a map is not good if it has an area that relies on a power weapon to function properly. My personal opinion is to avoid it though.E. ConclusionPie method can be seen in multiple asymmetrical maps throughout the Halo series, including Chill out, Hang'em High, Lockout, Guardian, Prisoner, Headlong, Damnation, and Ivory Tower.Pie method is not the only way to approach and design an asymmetrical map, but it is a reliable and easy method that works. For those of you just starting off or veterans who are struggling with an asymmetrical map design, Pie Method can be a valuable asset.For those trying to learn asymmetrical map design, creating a map using pie method can teach you a lot about making an asymmetrical map. It can be a great tool that will help you understand and learn how to make successful asymmetrical maps.I hope You all enjoyed the read!Source:
  9. Elevation Modulation One of the most important things to remember when making a map. You always need variation in the Z axis. If you ever find yourself with a long, straight walkway or corridor, consider changing it to ramps up and down. If you can cut down the line of sight so that people aren't fighting from miles away, it's probably a good thing. Also think about platforms that are "looking out" at each other. If there's a line of sight between them, you'll probably want to put them at different Z heights. You want to make sure that your level is played in 3 dimensions, not 2. Make sure that your elements have some wrap-around. Wrap-around is when a path interacts with itself by ramping up or down, then circling back over itself. A great example is on Damnation. If you're at sniper by pipes, you can go up pink tunnel, circle upwards, and end up peering out on top of the pipe.Also, one of the best things you can add to a map to increase skilled game-play is a ramp that is exposed on its lengthwise side. Shooting somebody whose strafe takes them both left-right AND up-down is much more difficult. An excellent example is standing in front of a base on Onslaught looking at somebody who is moving up towards top A or B. You've probably noticed how difficult that battle is, and it's not just because of the elevation.As a final note, you should think about elevation in several ways. Firstly, you can use it to give one area a height advantage if you wish. As a corollary, you can use ramps to give one pathway an advantage by making them particularly hard to shoot at on one axis. Secondly, you can use elevation to break up lines of sight that are too long, or boring. Finally, you can use it as a general technique to make geometry more interesting by having wrap-around.Walkway Continuity One less recognized piece of making maps is consistency. In every map you will have tunnels, walkways, or paths that take you here and there. It is important that you keep these walkways smooth and uninterrupted. Nothing ruins the look, feel and flow of a map more than failing to do this. There are a number of don'ts here.Don't make people jump. Let me re-iterate. Don't make people jump! It's bad map design. The only time you can break this rule is if you have a power-weapon or position that you want to make extremely dangerous. Examples are Chill Out's Rocket spawn and Wizard's top center. Outside of this type of conscious decision, the map should smoothly move up and down to where it needs to go. It will help you in the long run if you are forced to fit ramps between various areas, because it will likewise force you to keep good distance between your map elements. Don't lie dumpsters next to every box-height platform. A dumpster jump-up is by definition a piece of un-continuous walkway. If you want to let people up to a place, make a ramped walkway to it. People should be jumping from continuous element to continuous element in a perhaps unforeseen connection.Keep the walking space the same. Remember, we're talking about walkways, not rooms. In a room, it's fine to condense the movable area as you move to the edges by adding doorways that channel people through. But if you have a walkway, which by definition connects you to different parts of the map, its width should stay constant. Don't randomly widen it and then contract it without good reason, because you create hiding spots and bad aesthetics. A strong width for a walkway is, conveniently, the width of a box. For a more treacherous walkspace, bridges are fine. Try not to modulate straight between these two widths, because the result looks sloppy. Let them each be their own surface that is continuous until it meets a larger area. A good example is on Mecro. Notice how the Rocket S Curve is bridge length, but garage (under window panels) has a box length walkway. To resolve, there is a much wider lookout hole that is wider than both.Tight Corners Tight turns and corners are a no-no. The most you should be doing is 90 degrees at a time, and if you are turning 90 degrees, it's preferable to do it with a bit of space around you and not in a tight corridor. One of the most frustrating areas in the game is from Snipe 1 of Guardian up to Snipe ramp. How many times has some infuriating melee battle occurred there? In general, soft turns should be used to keep people out of short range, the same way elevation is used to break long range. Lockdown and Midship do this well. We've already talked a bit about this before, by saying you shouldn't widen corridors without good reason. We'll talk about it much more in a second.Chunky and Technical The hardest concept to understand, the easiest to identify if you're experienced. Beyond all other pointers, if you can grasp this idea then it will guide your element design the best. The best existing forge that exemplifies this is Xyience (Reflux). The best Bungie map that exemplifies this (indeed, the best Bungie map period) is Damnation. K, here we go.When making a map and its elements, you want to keep the geometry either chunky or technical. What the hell does that mean? Let's break it down. We've said we want to avoid tight corners, and we want to keep walkways consistent. We've said we want good elevation modulation. We also want to keep things simple. Adding too many paths interacting makes it too confusing to play, and skill gets lost in confusion even for great players. When we say we want to make a map's geometry chunky, we refer to the ratios of its walkway widths and heights, the lines of sight, and the walkway continuity and elevation all at the same time. Essentially, we don't want random crap littered through the map.Make maps, not clutter. There is no such thing as "adding cover" in the way that most people think about it. You can add cover in the sense that you can cut off lines of sight by walling something off, or making a window or railing. But adding cover to an open area should not be done. Your level is your cover. That's why we say that things should be chunky. Geometry should be substantial and looming. Its wrap-around should encompass your view and define your movement. It is not just some stuff in your way.When your chunky map structure is made, with large pieces creating soft angles, elevation changes, and comfortable flat areas where you can catch your breath and look around, your next step is quite different but very subtle. The other half of making the map is the wispy technical pieces. This does NOT mean sticking signs in the ground, or blocking half of a walkway with a door. We already know the latter is wrong because it interrupts walkway continuity. When you're doing this, think about Damnation's central area which has narrow girders that connect the chunky top walkway and above shotgun areas. The wispy part of your map is what we're calling technical.The technical pieces of your map should very rarely be open on one end. Almost always, they should connect a ceiling and a floor, or two adjacent platforms. Technical elements are so-called because they require highly technical play to use them correctly. The map cannot be totally covered or made from these elements, because as we said above, the player needs a breather. The general map structure should be simple but elegant. The pieces should strongly define where you can see and where you can't, and define where you must go to see certain parts of the map. Technical pieces are things like thin columns and narrow walkways. You can use them in high-risk or high-traffic areas to break things up and separate the men from the boys. A great situation for a BR fight is to be fighting around a pillar that is just barely wider than a player. This is why Warlock was a good 1v1 map - it had lots of technical fights because of all of the narrow columns. Think also (you guessed it) of Damnation. By angling yourself you can use the column as cover when the enemy fires, then open the FOV for your firing. Great players can put even good players to shame in this environment, and you get some amazing 1 on 1 battles this way. If the wispy elements are horizontal instead of vertical, they can act as a difficult walking surface. It should not be a common path that always needs to be used, but rather a place that if you could maneuver well, you could cause some damage. Think big window on Chill Out - easy to fall off, dangerous to be on, not necessary for flow, but delicately powerful when used correctly. A more current example is the columns used on Xyience, along with the two walls right above the OS spawn. A common area of battle using thin geometry. If you've ever played Zanno's Greenhouse, the courtyard makes great use of columns to make OS battles interesting.Source:
  10. Splash Damage has released the Game Design Document for Dirty Bomb to the public. One section of this document consists of notes on the Map Designs. This section can be seen below:Map Designs: Gallery: Terminal Redux: Dome Redux: Vault: Heist: Castle: View the entire document here:
  11. Using CS:GO and Overwatch as the main foundations upon which to builds his case, Flusher shares his views on what makes a good competitive FPS map in this video: Here are the main points of discussion: Level Design is tied to Game Design Mobility and Perception (or Movement and Lines of Site) Loops Timing Management Skill Opportunities Follow Flusher Flusher on Youtube: Flusher on Twitter:
  12. In this video from Ars Technica, Blizzard's Aaron Keller Breaks Down the Overwatch map Rialto. It offers some great insight into the thought process and developmental process that was used in the making of the map. Give it a watch and share any feedback you have. Here's a portion of the video description: Blizzard Entertainment just released Rialto, a new map for its hero-based first-person shooter Overwatch. Set in Venice, Italy, Rialto does a few things differently from past Overwatch maps—it has more water than any before it and uses 90° angles in tightly packed streets to create choke points in addition to narrow archways, to name a couple changes. What surprises you? Are they insights that will influence you own process?