Quake Competitive Design Guide

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Quake Competitive Design Guide

GodlyPerfection
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Quake Competitive Design Guide


This is another popular resource for forgers. It is a very comprehensive article that will get your gears going. Most people have read this already, so I put this next to Carney's Crash Course so that today is relatively easy despite getting two in one day. Sorry to fall behind guys. It won't happen again. There are more articles linked in there... we will go over those one at a time. No worries. So just stick to that article and we will dive into those individual articles in more depth later. And the specific Quake stuff you can skip over if you chose (like the weapons).

Here are some questions that can help get your reply started:

- Is this a guide that you have come across before; and if so did you make good use of it and go over it again?
- What are some of the key differences that make general design and Quake design different?
- When the level design terms were presented, were you able to put them into your own words?



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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

InnerSandman
I haven't seen this guide before, but it seems interesting, some of the key differences are that Quake focuses on physical aspects in map design more than mental aspects of the game. I was able to put them into my own words because I understood what the words and terms already meant, such as different height levels, and multiple routes, which I think are important for maps.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

AtlasisShruggin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Definitely a good guide, really details about how to go about designing a map.

"First of all, many mappers have a misconception that players care nothing for the aesthetics of a map when in fact they do. They like a good looking map just as much as the rest of us. But the crucial difference is that they care for the gameplay of that map a lot more than its looks."

I read this and laughed a bit... I wish it was more true in most of my encounters with the Halo community. Not to disregard aesthetics, but gameplay often gets overlooked.

"As long as the lighting has no affect on the gameplay, feel free to do whatever you want with it to make it look good in lightmap. Once players start complaining about dark areas in the map, you better get it lit."

I feel like this is the bare minimum we aim for as forgers. Lighting should complement gameplay, not just exist without hindering it.

I enjoyed the article. Most I had heard before, but still a good read and some good pointers in there.

 
"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 #7 [10/12]

Der Flatulator
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
As you can see, the first pic is simply a room connected to another via a simple stairway. Not only does this create a very bad choke point, but it also creates bad connectivity. The second pic shows another possible way, which would provide much more connectivity. There are now 3 possible routes from the lower level to the upper level. One route via jumppad takes you to an even higher level (3), the second route uses a teleporter, and the third route use the stairs method.

This was one of the more important things in the article regarding flow and choke points that is easily transferable to Halo. Having many ways to go from A to B is always good, so long as the routes are simple.
"In the first design, the mapper has foolishly decided to put all three levels directly on top of each other. (Silly mapper!) Thus, the only possibly way of adding visible connections between the levels will have to be through the use of holes made in the floor. The second picture shows a better way to layout your tiers. In this method, the mapper offsets the different levels so players can have much more contact with players on other levels than their own."
Also easily transferable. Why build up when you can build out and up? Although we do have lifts and man canons in Halo which make multi level maps easier to implement, I still think the idea is valid.

-Symmetry - Please, do not make your levels completely symmetric. This effectively halves the gameplay of the level since there is now only half of the level which is unique. The only reason q3tourney2 can get away with being symmetrical is because it has an asymmetric item placement. Even then, q3tourney2's gameplay is severely limited because of its symmetry.
Heh. I suppose Halo and Quake are completely different games. Symmetry balances a map, especially in Halo, symmetric maps have been known to be favored by the competitive community. Quake mods have silly names. lol.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Nitro
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I have read bits and pieces from this guide from time to time. I have noticed there was a time where very competitive forgers used this guide to further expand their forging abilities. Now old school games like quake, doom, etc. had this arena feel to it. Closed off from off from outside elements, every once in a while you would get a sewer line busted with some water running in it. When Halo CE came around for their style of MM, I believe some of the developers really focused on arena style maps, like prisoner.The in's and out's of that map were amazing and still are. Now that Halo has evolved over the years, you can still see a slight touch arena style maps. Not that much, but its there. It's the core of all MM maps, with out them who knows what direction Halo would have taken or even existed o_O
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Solo XIII
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
It was only a matter of time before this article came up. I've read it at a minimum 10 times over the past couple years, and it's my favorite guide for competitive level design. Even though it is decidedly Quake focused, many of the ideas can help you out when Forging. I'd say this guide is ultimately more important for 1v1 / 2v2 designs, but the sheer breadth of topics that McDonald covers are still very relatable to 4v4.

Add height variances, add route variances, and distinct geographic features.

I particularly like when he goes into risk vs reward and talking about weapon spawn locations. Although we don't have the same weapon sandbox as Quake, the principles still apply. His comments about low-ceilings and splash damage may not carry over completely, but the Halo grenades are effectively our "low-to-high" tool of destruction. Its important to try and pick out the similarities between what works in Quake and what will likely work in Halo.

edit:

@Der Flatulator

The reason he's arguing for asymmetric design is because he's talking about designing maps for 1v1 Duel settings.
Symmetric 1v1 maps are generally not very much fun at all.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

GodlyPerfection
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In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
This has been a classic weapon in my arsenal of level design articles since my early days of forging when I was one of the guilders at Forgehub... and it is still worth reading again. The amount of topics that are touched upon and the immense amount of graphics used to supplement the words make it a great resource for any designer out there. This is the article that introduced me to the concept of "connectivity". :)


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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

ForgedExodus
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
This article was not as enlightening as others, since it mostly talked about not building right on top of each other and having several paths to each area. While Me and several others know this already, It is not unwelcome, as some (Including me) will forget from time to time just how important it is to have lower levels be balanced with the upper ones.

Having more then one connection for most if not all rooms and corridors is a must have. Even bases should have a minimum of 3 exits and entrances, preferable going to different heights in the map. A map in Halo that helps this out is not Blood Gulch, but Coagulation, which had not only the front door, but a lift to the top and a basement for the banshee. :D One of my Favorite maps from H2 and maybe that was why...nah, it was the banshee xD
Breaking the Limits, Without Breaking the Rules.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Dr D04K
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
A lot of seemingly obvious stuff here.  As mentioned above, the emphasis on elevation is particularly interesting.  One of the fundamentals pointed out that often is overlooked in bad maps is connectivity.  Avoiding the use of dead-ends and avoiding simple room to room flow is something else to note, and is something I think basically killed gameplay on Condemned (and quite frankly has me worried for the quality of maps from 343 and Certain Affinity).  I liked the analysis of basic map forms (single atrium, dual atrium, triple atrium), and putting together a list from Halo would be an interesting project.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

external memory
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Been forever and a day, a coon's age (no racist, look it up) since I've played FFA Quake back in the PC labs in high school. I think I remember playing with the patches or mods for new weapons but I don't know or can't remember if I ever played this one. So my assumption is that this is for a more balanced sandbox than the typical Quake power gradient with weapons (useless starting weapon up to godly BFG), putting it a little closer to Halo-style weapon pickups on the spectrum of arena shooters. You still can carry as many weapons as you want, though, right? So when you pick up a weapon you're not deciding on a specific role, as much as adding another possibility to your repertoire for that life. Oh and this is more 1v1 jousting/dueling which is why the section argues against symmetry right? Even FFA probably favors more asymmetrical arrangements, I guess, where everyone has equal chances to spawn in a certain place that might grant advantage but the runs to the best incentive have to be timed more or less equally.

There's some interesting takeaways in terms of some kind of standard guide for making a competitive map here. One that you see echoed in many guides is to allow for banked or angled rather than strictly 90° corridors to allow for multiple styles of engagement around corners, but another intersting one is using grenade bouncing and ceilings as a way to balance high vs. low ground cover and splash damage opportunities, as well as not cluttering up an area with too many rocks or unpredictably random terrain. The wall thickness standard can be important too I think for grenade bouncing into windows and doors for example, as well as limiting player models from poking through from the opposite side. Having modular pieces definitely helps with that, but given how much Brace Large gets used for walls it's important to remember when thinking about doors.

Also, the warning against pits (voids): is this because more crazy stuff can happen with Quake's speed and trick jumps, the amount of stuff and buffs you can carry around (making map movement and collecting before an encounter more necessary) and because of the 1v1 duel aspect of suicides, or what? I'm a noob when it comes to Quake stuff still, but it seems that besides using railings and not having a blind drop right off spawn (cough Anchor 9 cough) that pits just aren't as big a deal in Halo.

Lastly, vertical movement: we know that stacking tiers on one another can result in some missed gameplay opportunities while allowing for a small set of others (drop downs and ninjas on Countdown) but are televators (teleporters that are almost entirely vertical movement between floors) and lifts really good things for Halo in terms of competitive gameplay at all, or are they more band-aids for poor map design? I don't know, but I do think teleporters, lifts and mancannons have to be used in strict moderation to even be considered for competitive play. Look at the shenanigans of a single central lift with "blind" drop downs on Lockout/Blackout, versus the isolated corner lifts out in the open on The Pit; I feel Pit's are much more successful for the map they're designed for, and you can see how they tried to improve on Lockout's focused room lift design on Guardian.



EXEM
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Gnappy As5A5sin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
One thing that I know I'm atrocious with is verticality. This breakdown of quake and many maps I've made in the past all reiterate that small fact. The different aspects of object density and height advantage are something I've been trying to nail for ages and it seems like I keep coming up short. This is a hell of a read for someone that played Quake enough to like it but not enough to have devoured it- the depth here is pretty dope. One thing I don't think we've really covered as far as the resources go is the interaction of the weapons and the playstyle they evoke. Hopefully the weapon sandbox doesn't mess with us too much.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Valiant Outcast
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I do wish I had gotten into map-making guides sooner. While I know most of this stuff, I have really had to learn it through my experiences, observation of other players and maps, and a fair bit of trial and error.
Going to a guide for a different game, however, is something that I had not considered before.
Good stuff, Godly.
I am neither the Judge or His jury; only His witness.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

P1 Mario
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
The application for my own map here lies in the concept of the three types of maps the guide lists: 1 atrium, 2 atrium, and 3 atrium type maps.

My view of how maps can function are largely stuck in one of two paradigms.  Either I view maps in the Lockout style of bridges connecting rooms (closed map) or I view the map as a large box (open map).  This paradigm fits the Halo series of late - many maps are located outdoors, and without sky-high walls, any kind of large combat space is inherently more open than my concept of an atrium.  Even indoor maps, with the dominance of MLG-style gameplay has led to maps that feel boxy, instead of sectioned off.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But I do remember that Orbital from the Halo 3 DLC had a much different feel to it than many other maps.  Whether it was zombies or slayer or objective, Orbital had a modular feel, which in my opinion, was quite fun.

All in all, I think jumping back in time a bit (or perhaps just to another series) will allow me to add some variety to my style of Forge maps by incorporating the same section-by-section combat feel that atrium maps can provide.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

DarkJediMasterX
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Looking at other games is a very smart idea because just about every game is referenced in some way to another and this was very helpful. I never went looking for guides, but I do observe games and take notes of my own, but a guide helps too lol.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

SmartAlec13
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
The whole idea they use with Atriums is very important. I like how they use the word atrium instead of 'room' also because it doesn't confine you to 6 walls, it can even be withought walls or a ceiling. Although atriums usually only apply to indoor or more closed in maps.

Verticality is also one that I personally love to see in maps. Being able to get a height advantage or drop down on people is so much fun, especially with the jetpack.

Connectivity is one that I sometimes struggle with. I always end up either making routes too boring, or way too complex.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Randy 355
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
So, here is a good start. Something I have not been doing until my very recent forge years:
“Although starting out with a "kewl room" and "going with the flow" to create your level might seem like the right thing to do at the time, in the long run it will most likely cripple your map.”

I’ve always had a “go with the flow” attitude, and it has shown in my maps before. I have come up with cool stuff before by doing this, but often times I end up making a map too small, or having battles focused in unexpected areas that are detrimental to the whole idea. But, having learned from that, I actually take some of the cool ideas from those old experiments and used them in carefully planning my new maps.

So, really, no regrets. It’s always good to take something from every experience. Even better to take it and improve upon it.


Other than that, I am genuinely surprised at how little he had to say on flow. He is right that your map should have a circular flow, but that’s truly vague. Not a problem for us though, lots of these articles do go over it.
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Re: Resource #7 [10/12]

Spiteful Crow
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I think my key takeaway from this was that there's almost a bit of a checklist to go through when making your map.  Did you add verticality?  Are there any (unwanted) chokepoints?  Did you consider different weapon types and (for H4) armor and spec abilities?  You're going to want to cater to all players, not just your play style.  Maybe you've made a map that's really fun for people with the shield but promethean vision people aren't going to enjoy it?

Again, iteration is key.  You might make one room and then want to tweak it to improve its playability.  Unfortunately you have to be ready to say "it's done" without going overboard!
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