Ben’s Small Bible of Realistic Multiplayer Level Design

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Ben’s Small Bible of Realistic Multiplayer Level Design

GodlyPerfection
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Ben’s Small Bible of Realistic Multiplayer Level Design


I didn't miss yesterday. I skipped it. ;) Why? Because this resource is a doozy. Almost 40 pages of level design discussion. It is one man's in-depth look into his take of level design. You may or may not agree with any particular parts, but it is important to open your mind to other people's point of view and use it to help further define yours. How do you feel on particular topics that he touched on? Do you agree/disagree? How would you define quality in that aspect in terms of your own experience? Again pace yourself with this one.

Here is a question that can help get your reply started:

- What parts of this "small bible" hit you the hardest?
- Where his visual resources helpful as an aid to his concepts?
- What sections would you add to this "small bible" to make it more comprehensive in your own eyes?



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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

AtlasisShruggin
Wow, just wow. This is incredibly complex... If you don't bookmark this you will be putting yourself at a great disadvantage. I really enjoyed how he organized the information. It really starts off basic and builds on the complexity.

One thing I noticed in his process vs my personal process, is he seems to take gametypes into account right from the beginning. I usually concentrate on slayer before considering the other gametypes. If anything territories or Crazy King may be considered, but only because I like that feeling of conflicting power positions. The details he lays out for each gametype is amazing, it really is a bit of a one stop shop.

I also appreciate how he emphasizes gameplay before aesthetics. He states this at the beginning and the very structure of the 'bible' lends itself to the sentiment. He doesn't start touching on the aesthetics, lighting, etc... until the end. Comparing realistic and arcade style of games is also a very important aspect of level design that doesn't get talked about very often.

I also really like his breakdown of time and when the action should occur. I've only timed out the total time of a match, but never to the depth he does. Timing out first conflict is especially important. I for one dislike maps that start players facing each other as it gives players no time to orient themselves in the map. I do like a quick encounter though. I can see myself timing everything out to find the averages of all timed events in my designs.

Loved this and will return to it time and time again I'm sure to delve deeper into it. It is a doozy and a lot to take in all at once. Maybe next time  post these longer articles on the previous day to give us two days to read and digest it? Just a thought.

I still enjoyed the article on modular design the most and found it to be the most immediately helpful. But this is an amazing resource to be checked for the long term as well. Thanks for this one!
"This dread born of risk is not the opposite of joy, or even of quiet activity and calm enjoyment. It transcends such oppositions and lives in secret communion with the serene and gentle yearnings of creativity."
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

DarkJediMasterX
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
There is a lot of great information in this file. Some is common sense, but he goes into great depth and it is very easy to understand. I found this to be one of the top most useful articles and will be using this! Thanks man :)
Halo 4 walkthroughs, lets plays & more http://www.youtube.com/user/darkholegames

For daily game news go to http://darkholegames.net/
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Valiant Outcast
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I have a problem with the word small. That is a lot of information (although I guess that "small" is relative).
I like that he included a section on special pathways. I personally love using unusual movement and tactics, and always include them in my maps.
I think that players love the thrill of taking risks.
In the map " Oxide" that I am planning for Halo 4, I am planning on having a hangar to hangar jump. While it should always be successful if properly executed, it will be possible to fail. Players should feel that sense of "Oh yeah, I just did that" every time they complete it successfully.

The risk factor is also the reason that man-cannons were created, as a fun and risk alternative to teleporters.
I am neither the Judge or His jury; only His witness.
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Dr D04K
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I'm just going to reiterate couple of points I found particularly relevant for H4 forge:
- "Battle areas are the places where the two teams meet if they start running from their spawn points with the same speed. If you have a game where not every player has the same speed, you should think carefully about where to place your battle areas."

- "...small levels with very simple design are often the most successful ones."

Something I disagree with: Camping is necessarily bad.  Especially in Halo, there are usually pretty obvious spots where certain weapons are most effectively used, and this includes snipers.  It is not necessarily bad to build those areas into your maps and reward players who use situational awareness to gain an advantage.  Some of the most rewarding gameplay in slayer games derives from one team getting a strong position on a map, and the other team being forced to take it from them.  Maps like Damnation, Lockout, and Guardian come to mind as exemplars of this kind of gameplay.  Often it is the asymmetries that make things interesting.

Very interesting read none the less.
Gamer tag: "Dr D04K" (thats a zero and a four)
RP Portfolio
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Wishbone Alley
Dosado
Infinity Garden
Epicurean
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

LieutenantNasty
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
First off this is for games where 1 shot from most weapons will kill the players, players can start with what every weapon is in the game, and most of the maps are flat with buildings to go in to. In Halo when we ingage the enemy its not usally who gets the first shot, we fight using a combination shots, melees, and moves that the map gives us. Most of the time in the realistic game your stuck to the ground and jumping does not matter most of the time, in Halo we have multi layered stages so using sketches from over head can only get you so far.                    I agree with making sure both teams have the same rush time to certain ereas or power weapons some of the time, it depends on if your map has something to balance it for the other team. I think it is good to start with basics and move up step by step like shown in the small bible. I also agree with making sure timing of a player moving through a certain path is not so predictable some of the time, Halo a lot of the time is like a sport with play by play routines wicth some predictions is needed, look at MLG. It does make some good points about shot paths and navigation so this would be a good start for some one new to forge, but I wouldn't make it m bible. Just remember we are making maps for Halo not COD, we fight not just shoot.
Play Hard Start to Finish
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

SmartAlec13
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I am going to just type this post while I read it...

Right off of the bat, I like it. One of the first things he says "gameplay is EVERYTHING". I agree completely. He doesn't say a map can't look nice, but that most energy needs to be put into making the map play good.

At first, the diamond-shaped CTF sketch he has looks like nothing. Then I realize. Its Narrows. CTF on Narrows, strait up. There are 3 ways to get across the map, and 3 entrances/exits into the main room of the base.
Oh wow his next sketches look a little more complex. I didn't completely understand what he was showing, but I do get that the general idea he is portraying is that if a route is easier, it needs to either be longer, or have sight from another route. And that you need to give players options (unless its Conquest ;] ).

Although most of this stuff about painting doesnt pertain to us, it does bring up a point that sometimes you may come up with some cool gimmick or eature of the map, but you need to put it aside untill you have the basic form of the map.

I am liking this guy already. I always like to asses the different paths that players can take, even if its just some small skirmish between two players on the battlefield. And he agrees that campers suck.

"Include special ways for special players...Real special ways should support people who like to take extreme risks or absurd ways to really surpass the enemy."
Thats me. I love trying to find just ridiculous ways to get to enemies, especially ones that aren't normally used.

I skipped through some of the parts that didn't pertain to Halo4.

Wow what a long read. Its a lot of good stuff, even if most of it is stuff we already have absorbed
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Gnappy As5A5sin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Nice to see a page I had bookmarked come up. :)

I've been rolling through this guide for a while now and Ben here and I see eye to eye on a great many things. I've been building CTF off the basic pathing and path mixing. Three paths, with intermixing. Seafort was how that played out, and that's the single most venerable map I've made. I look forward to playing more with the format in 4. I might make Spacefort, who knows. :)
On Skype Wolfpack Dragon wrote
"i came on the radio so I had to mention it"
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Randy 355
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
The idea of laying out something as simple as map movement is an interesting technique. Seems like a no brainer, but I can’t say I’ve been so simple. The diagrams do help convey his example ideas, and it helps readers understand what he means by drawing layout diagrams.

Now, I’m skimming this for now, but I will read it all at some point in the near future. Fav’d.  But, something that caught my eye was Movement Modifiers.  You might could base an entire map around what he says. Each time you sketch a new pathway diagram, you’d have these guidelines to guide the general creation into a solid foundation.

Digging this guide. Seems straight forward and will aid me in my next original map design. This challenge does come with a lot of benefits, some people are really missing out I’d say.
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

deathxxrenegade
In reply to this post by Dr D04K
Dr D04K wrote
Something I disagree with: Camping is necessarily bad.  Especially in Halo, there are usually pretty obvious spots where certain weapons are most effectively used, and this includes snipers.  It is not necessarily bad to build those areas into your maps and reward players who use situational awareness to gain an advantage.  Some of the most rewarding gameplay in slayer games derives from one team getting a strong position on a map, and the other team being forced to take it from them.  Maps like Damnation, Lockout, and Guardian come to mind as exemplars of this kind of gameplay.  Often it is the asymmetries that make things interesting.
I agree with you completely. If you think about it, realistically there are only two major ways to play any kind of FPS game. Campers and Hunters. Campers hold the ground they find and stay there. Hunters are constantly moving about the map searching. Sub categories of these two groups aside, you need to be able to balance these two types of play into your map. Most times people tend to switch back and forth between the two, especially in objective game modes.  What if your play test has a people who like to camp? Very slow game play, possibly boring too. On the flip side, you could have people running around like nuts, no one camping and the map will be chaos. Balance the two and the game will flow, to where people are trying to hold defensible positions and gameplay will become more focused.
To command the past you control the future. To command the future you conquer the past.    

Kane
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Spiteful Crow
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Yeah, I'm gonna agree that I don't think that camping is inherently bad, as the author suggests.  Obviously if your map favors campers too much it's a bad map, but arguably if your map favors any certain playstyle too much it's probably not a great map anyway and a lot of people will dislike it.

I love that this article gets things as simple as possible and builds up from there.  You can really break down a map into simple elements and truly understand it from the ground up.  A lot of times as players we take the finished product and "reverse-engineer it" to what it looks like as a simple map, and as forgers our job is to fight the urge to build the map and then reverse it.  Build from the ground up with a solid understanding and you will end up with a solid map.

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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

P1 Mario
In reply to this post by deathxxrenegade
deathxxrenegade wrote
Dr D04K wrote
Something I disagree with: Camping is necessarily bad.  Especially in Halo, there are usually pretty obvious spots where certain weapons are most effectively used, and this includes snipers.  It is not necessarily bad to build those areas into your maps and reward players who use situational awareness to gain an advantage.  Some of the most rewarding gameplay in slayer games derives from one team getting a strong position on a map, and the other team being forced to take it from them.  Maps like Damnation, Lockout, and Guardian come to mind as exemplars of this kind of gameplay.  Often it is the asymmetries that make things interesting.
I agree with you completely. If you think about it, realistically there are only two major ways to play any kind of FPS game. Campers and Hunters. Campers hold the ground they find and stay there. Hunters are constantly moving about the map searching. Sub categories of these two groups aside, you need to be able to balance these two types of play into your map. Most times people tend to switch back and forth between the two, especially in objective game modes.  What if your play test has a people who like to camp? Very slow game play, possibly boring too. On the flip side, you could have people running around like nuts, no one camping and the map will be chaos. Balance the two and the game will flow, to where people are trying to hold defensible positions and gameplay will become more focused.
One thing I think the Camper/Hunter system misses is the influence of mid-long range weapons.  It allows for another class of players, essentially Aggressive Campers.  Essentially, they can hold on to a small, easily defensible room and protect it with close range weapons.  But their secondary slot can be filled with something like the DMR or BR, and when they're not directly under siege, they can use those weapons to aggressively attack other positions, especially since Hunters must move in on them.  I differentiate Aggro Campers from normal Campers because I see normal Campers as holding a room or building, with maybe an adjacent room or short sightline as a buffer.

I guess the point of this addition is to make sure camp-able areas of your map do not provide too much advantage to long-range players as well, or you could present a near-unassailable position.
~Ask not why I get to be Player 1.
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

Spiteful Crow
P1 Mario wrote
I guess the point of this addition is to make sure camp-able areas of your map do not provide too much advantage to long-range players as well, or you could present a near-unassailable position.
This is a good point.  There were a lot of campable positions in a lot of my favorite maps, and I did camp them, especially if I had the shotgun or in close games... why give away a good position and give the other team easy kills?

At the same time, the beauty of a good camping spot with a good weapon is that if you die, your enemy now has the good weapon and the good camping spot, so good luck getting it back.

But yeah, the key is making sure those camping spots are short range defense.  If you can defend a camped area with a sniper too easily then it's just a bad experience.
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Re: Resource #12 [10/17 & 10/18]

external memory
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
In terms of advice, this text seems really solid, but the diagrams he uses can be pretty confusing as far as paths go. Okay, we're imagining paths here, but color-coding them as types of areas, open/closed/cqc without actually defining the space of the areas seems like an unneccessary level of abstraction. It's purely for theoretical discussion perhaps, but given how much he talks about the hallways/canyons or transitions between areas that are not visible from other areas, the diagrams look like all hallways. So my contribution is work with whatever visualization works best for you, but don't overly abstract it until you really need to rethink encounter times, and mixing up the different combination of types of areas before you can visualize the new iteration.

EXEM
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