Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

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Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

GodlyPerfection
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This post was updated on .

Map Balance
Connectivity
Flow
Architecture
Item Placement


So with my life going haywire lately I've been WAY behind. So I'm sorry. There was a point where I was probably not going to get H4 for weeks due to financial reasons, but I bought myself some buffer room and a couple other things have picked my spirits up. So again I apologize. Here is a bunch of stuff to read. Man... like fucking candy for you guys. lol...


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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

Dr D04K
Map Balance:  Being a scientist by trade, I love this analytical approach of creating a null model, and incrementally adding complexity to it as a method of analyzing the roll various elements of a map play in altering gameplay.  Its a thought experiment I've done several times with my friends when debating our favorite maps and discussing why certain maps work and others don't.  Though, right off the bat, he misses one important point.  In a room, as he describes, it is not true that "No part of the map will see more action than another."  If you actually had an open square room as a map, and recorded a heat map of the action, you'd actually find that there are edge effects, which means there is reduced traffic on the perimeter of the map, likewise, I would guess there would actually be reduced activity in the very center because most players would die or avoid going there.  But again, this is a thought experiment I've taken some time running on my own.  So many great points, low vs. high ground affecting flow as well as connectivity.

Connectivity: Unfortunately got a little away from the analytical approach I so liked in the 1st article.  Actually, "connectivity" absolutely is a word, and is a central concept in network theory, so I don't know where that thought came from.  My only slight disagreement is the point about redundant connections, often 2 doors between the same 2 spaces is necessary to facilitate flanking.

Flow:  Not much to add, though I think Bungie and 343 have been a little guilty of adding man cannons to BTB maps in a failed attempt to facilitate infantry combat, when really they just create traffic hot spots for players in vehicles to "camp".

Architecture:  I really enjoyed the classification of map types, and I think this is a great exercise to get the creative process started.  Some of these are tried and true for Halo (Atrium Method, Yard Method, 2-Fort Method, Arena Method), others less so. Some have been a disaster in Halo (Room-Corridor-Room Method for instance).

Items:  On this one I think the author is plainly wrong.  Compensating for a power weapon by making it difficult to pick up is just terrible.  A good map compensates with positional threats, not trick jumps.  Just no.
Gamer tag: "Dr D04K" (thats a zero and a four)
RP Portfolio
Maps:
Wishbone Alley
Dosado
Infinity Garden
Epicurean
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

DarkJediMasterX
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I am glad you posted this because when I read all of it I am picturing my map in my mind and see that I made these design discussions before hand which makes me feel pretty confident about my map design for this challenge. The areas that caught my interest the most was connectivity, flow, and item placement. I am excited to work on this map in Halo 4.
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

AtlasisShruggin
In reply to this post by Dr D04K
Dr D04K wrote
Items:  On this one I think the author is plainly wrong.  Compensating for a power weapon by making it difficult to pick up is just terrible.  A good map compensates with positional threats, not trick jumps.  Just no.
I completely agree, in fact there was a lot in this article I disagreed with. He starts out by pointing out that a power weapon can tip the balance of a map, this is absolutely true. But the sentiment also seems to support placing items to compliment a design's balance. I believe that a design should be balanced without any items on it, and then the items should in turn be balanced against each other. I personally have come to believe that weapons should promote flow rather than balance. Should they be balanced? Absolutely. However, it seems more prudent to put weapons in areas that promote players movement out of the already balanced power position and keep the movement and focus around the map fluctuating. Maybe Quake designs work differently, but I can't imagine they work that differently. A design should be balanced before weapons are even considered.

And the whole hidden weapons idea is clearly a terrible idea. When he says the more hidden a weapon is the more rewarding it should be.... well that just sounds like a broken and unbalanced design completely.
"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 #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

GodlyPerfection
Administrator
AtlasisShruggin wrote
Dr D04K wrote
Items:  On this one I think the author is plainly wrong.  Compensating for a power weapon by making it difficult to pick up is just terrible.  A good map compensates with positional threats, not trick jumps.  Just no.
I completely agree, in fact there was a lot in this article I disagreed with. He starts out by pointing out that a power weapon can tip the balance of a map, this is absolutely true. But the sentiment also seems to support placing items to compliment a design's balance. I believe that a design should be balanced without any items on it, and then the items should in turn be balanced against each other. I personally have come to believe that weapons should promote flow rather than balance. Should they be balanced? Absolutely. However, it seems more prudent to put weapons in areas that promote players movement out of the already balanced power position and keep the movement and focus around the map fluctuating. Maybe Quake designs work differently, but I can't imagine they work that differently. A design should be balanced before weapons are even considered.

And the whole hidden weapons idea is clearly a terrible idea. When he says the more hidden a weapon is the more rewarding it should be.... well that just sounds like a broken and unbalanced design completely.
I agree.. there is a lot to be disagreed with.

However I disagree that a map should be balanced before weapons are even considered. If weapons are intended to be static then weapons need to be taken into account for balance. With the new ordnance system, I agree that a map needs to be balanced prior to weapon placement. But without the ordnance system, weapons need to be taken into account. Why? Because the player takes weapon placement into account, they don't care about the map without weapons when analyzing the best power positions. They care about all of the factors and weapon placement happens to be a huge factor to a LARGE majority of players. Suddenly said location becomes much more valuable now that I know that Rockets spawns here. I may not spend all of my time here, but I will stick close to it. Balancing a map prior to weapon balance is nice, but static weapon placement is only going to tip the scales and create an imbalance. No two weapons are perfectly balanced as they are different and hence a perfectly balanced map prior to static weapon placement becomes an unbalanced map with the weapons. IMO too much thinking from the perspective of a designer, and not enough thinking from a player perspective is happening in that mindset. Even in Halo 4 weapons still need to be taken into account because of initial weapon spawns. An initial rush can have a huge affect on how the rest of the game plays out... it generates momentum and tempo.

I do agree about hidden weapons though. I shivered at that. lol...


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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

Valiant Outcast
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I tend to think that weapons or power-ups that require some skill to get to may work in the tight circumstances; an overshield on a group of stepping stones over water, for instance, might fit well. I would agree, though, that such items should never be hidden. You should have enough trick jumps and short cuts to use to your advantage that your knowledge of them alone should help you feel like you have an advantage (although they should never be too difficult to find and should always be in plain sight).
I am neither the Judge or His jury; only His witness.
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

grimcreepr
Valiant Outcast wrote
I tend to think that weapons or power-ups that require some skill to get to may work in the tight circumstances; an overshield on a group of stepping stones over water, for instance, might fit well. I would agree, though, that such items should never be hidden. You should have enough trick jumps and short cuts to use to your advantage that your knowledge of them alone should help you feel like you have an advantage (although they should never be too difficult to find and should always be in plain sight).
I'd like to jump on the band wagon and say that I also agree with this sentiment. I remember playing Waterworks in Halo 2 a least a dozen times before I ever discovered the location of the sniper. This limits the ways you can counter the other team, and is essentially the fault of the MAP they have an edge on you. IMO players should always have to go out and aggressively pursue those advantages. Not be rewarded for simply having happened into some power position, or another. You should be able to just look at a map, and understand the ways you can use it's unique architecture, pathing, and obvious PW spawns to your advantage. That way the choices players are making are the driving force for how things play out.

That's not to say that I don't believe in things like short cuts, and trick jumps that add longevity to a maps life cycle. In fact, I believe them to be absolutely crucial in the later stages of play. But those things only become relevant once players have grasps the fundamentals of how the map is played. At this point the player isn't concerned with "where are the PW, how do I get to X or Y position?" He already knows the ebb and flow of the map. He knows where to expect encounters, and is really only concerned with how to use his comprehensive understanding of the layout and PW locations to his advantage. Only then do secret paths, or trick jumps become a positive force. Otherwise, all you get are a bunch of new people getting their asses handed to them, while sniper and rocket fire comes down seemingly out of nowhere. Nobody likes to be that guy (like I was on Waterworks) wondering where the blazes all those sniper rounds were coming from. I can't learn from that. I can't adapt to that. It's just frustrating frustrating frustrating.
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

Spiteful Crow
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
This is another set of articles that really calls out the usefulness of getting yourself a set of "pieces" that you can arrange in front of yourself quickly to "proof" ideas to yourself before going through the trouble of actually making the map.  It can even be LEGOs!  (No joke about Forge = LEGOs, I mean it!)

Taking basic shapes and laying them out can give you a good sense of where things are going to be, where things are missing, if you forgot to add enough entryways into an area, and if your flow is "complete" or if there are flow-killers in there (pathways that break off into a non-walkable loop).

In the Architecture article for example he lists out a bunch of compositions, "atrium" vs. "room+hall+room," etc.  Start your map with some pieces of scrap paper and lay it out to start with :)
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

P1 Mario
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
GodlyPerfection wrote
AtlasisShruggin wrote
Dr D04K wrote
Items:  On this one I think the author is plainly wrong.  Compensating for a power weapon by making it difficult to pick up is just terrible.  A good map compensates with positional threats, not trick jumps.  Just no.
I agree.. there is a lot to be disagreed with.

However I disagree that a map should be balanced before weapons are even considered. If weapons are intended to be static then weapons need to be taken into account for balance. With the new ordnance system, I agree that a map needs to be balanced prior to weapon placement. But without the ordnance system, weapons need to be taken into account. Why? Because the player takes weapon placement into account, they don't care about the map without weapons when analyzing the best power positions. They care about all of the factors and weapon placement happens to be a huge factor to a LARGE majority of players. Suddenly said location becomes much more valuable now that I know that Rockets spawns here. I may not spend all of my time here, but I will stick close to it. Balancing a map prior to weapon balance is nice, but static weapon placement is only going to tip the scales and create an imbalance. No two weapons are perfectly balanced as they are different and hence a perfectly balanced map prior to static weapon placement becomes an unbalanced map with the weapons. IMO too much thinking from the perspective of a designer, and not enough thinking from a player perspective is happening in that mindset. Even in Halo 4 weapons still need to be taken into account because of initial weapon spawns. An initial rush can have a huge affect on how the rest of the game plays out... it generates momentum and tempo.

I do agree about hidden weapons though. I shivered at that. lol...
I'm going to disagree in certain circumstances, in that you can keep a previously balanced map balanced after adding weapons if those weapons are the same.  For instance, the two snipers and shotguns on The Pit.  Although it really only works with symmetrical maps for sure.  Because the two snipers on Boardwalk are hardly balanced.

As for content from the article, I really liked seeing more on the different building styles of maps.  I'd love to see a resource that had some image examples of the different types. (Atrium, Stack and Overlap, etc;)
~Ask not why I get to be Player 1.
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Re: Resource #18 [10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29, 10/30]

Gnappy As5A5sin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
If I may rant a bit about how this author failed-

Creating connections between locations does not create balance in every instance, his example especially. The eight by eight squared circle is not perfectly balanced strictly because they have the same number of connections, the corners are safer. This is strictly because A- you need less effort to hold an area when you don't have to turn completely around to see the only other point of entry, and B- the longer line of sight from corner to corner means that you would have more rooms visible from that area as well. It's something that he covers later in the architecture article, even has a picture- so I don't know why he didn't mention that to begin with...

He covers Dead ends very well, but his section on redundancy is flawed. Having multiple access points from the same places provides ample opportunity to escape attackers or to surprise your victims. Players need options. It's what makes an old map fun.
 His theory on constant action in the flow section apply to oldschool arena shooters and CoD moreso than Halo in my opinion, and while that's something that is awesome for those styles of game, a cooldown and escalation cycle is more suited to the style of play in most Halo incarnations.

Actually, the same holds true for most of these articles. Some of the other resources are geared more towards other games, but they can be easily adapted to fit the gameplay for Halo because they're more generalized. This stuff is really acute and it's kinda offsetting.
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