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    [CONCEPT ART] Idea: Promote simpler map designs for pub play

    So I've been thinking a little bit about UT map design and how it might play into the appeal of the game for a broader audience.

    First of all, I'm in no way saying "let's get rid of what we've got", just so that's out of the way. But let me explain to you why I think we've gone too far with the map complexity, and propose how to compensate for this. Your ideas are also welcome!

    Sometimes when I play UT, and this has been true for some time, I start to feel like I'm chasing ghosts. You could think you're running toward a battle and suddenly you get there and it's just corpses left, so you run the other way, rinse and repeat.

    This is made all the worse when hallway designs are like this:
    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    This is a problem that can exist regardless of how well a person knows a map.



    Let's think about what this sort of design really accomplishes. And about which maps have traditionally been most popular.

    Face - Two bases with portal rooms that mostly face each other. Everything revolves around 2 main rooms and the open space between them.
    Deck - A big open area surrounded by a single hallway on all sides, which don't run off in any other direction.
    Torlan - Really just open space all around, with extended visibility despite having hills and obstacles.
    Rankin - revolves mostly around 2 open rooms which all hallways go between or around. Still a relatively simple layout.
    Blank - arguably most voted current CTF map by more competitive players, which is again mostly open and linear. Halls run parallel to central space.
    TitanPass - very very open middle, simple bases which flow side to side.
    Bigrock - asym, but still a good 75% of the action happens in the big open middle.


    Now which maps are less popular?

    Mine - while not that complicated, still feels very passage-y, there's also a lot of water areas bogging you down and large obstacles blocking you from opponents.
    Temple - way too many divided areas and rooms.
    Solo - same - not a defined enough layout
    Focus - lots of areas to get trapped in, also feels a bit random.
    Spacer - not that bad but in addition to all the halls there is a lot of Z axis, to be honest even after playing it 20 times I haven't nailed down how to get to shield belt.

    Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Personally, I think Outpost is played as much as it is because it's the only meshed official DM map at present.
    There are also differences when taking into account competitive vs pub play. But I can tell you that last list is seldom voted in pubs.

    I still think we don't go far enough in the other direction. When you take into account the propensity to complex map design, and fast paced constant movement, combined it means that most of the time, the enemy is going to either be hidden behind a corner or suddenly in your face. It should be obvious how this creates a frustrating experience for a first timer. We need to ease people in.

    Here's something I'd like to see as an experiment, given how we have BP to add per-map complexity in other ways. Why not strip down the arena to its most basic form, and promote that to new players. Something like this:



    or even as simple as:



    This would do a few things.

    -Create instant familiarity
    -Create security that you are literally "on a level playing field"
    -lower barrier to play to basically zero
    -make powerups instantly recognizable as central to winning strategy.

    A. For normal DM play it could become some kind of king of the hill thing where a pillar rises in the middle and you can get up with launch pads and lifts.

    B. this is absolutely only an example of something that could be done for team dm without actually changing the gametype at all. Introduce some BP in the level which advances each team forward or backward based on their current performance. The reward is getting the amp in the middle.

    Now, there could be different types of goals aside from these examples that mimic the goals of a real life team sport, and it doesn't need to be like a hockey rink or football field but the bottom line is that the game becomes much more pure and accessible with simple design. It can still look cool and great with artistic environment themes, but arguably more like a tournament as well.

    Thoughts welcome.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 11-18-2015, 06:59 PM.

    UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
    Contrib Digest | UT2341 - Henrik's UT4 Dev Blog | Twitter

    #2
    I definitely agree with the sentiments in the OP. There's not a lot of the beautiful simplicity in most of the new maps that you'd find in for example DM-Malevolence or Deck

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      #3
      Put a ig gun in your hand and you have Arena ig!

      .... been playing/making those maps since 2k3!

      This is exactly what got me hooked, it was 2k3 demo server running Antalus and Asbestos running low grav, tele and ig gun!


      ps.... that example is one of my old maps ...hockey rink that you slid around to add to the game play and fun factor!


      http://aggressivewarriors.com -=- {AW}'s Community Map Test Server -=-

      Comment


        #4
        HenrikRyosa, well done with the explanation. I haf a good laugh with the simplify image from Simpsons. I'd been thinking something similar for general DM, CTF and for duel, but couldn't find a succinct way to convey the message.

        The hockey rink idea is great Laambo, I'd like to play it.

        Why not do a whole series of them?
        American football
        Football / Soccer
        Hockey
        Basketball

        Also CTF equivalent versions too.

        For duel, I'd been thinking of a few designs
        1) just a corridor where both opponents spawn facing away from each other.
        There is a line of weapon spawns all the way to the middle, where you can have a power up.
        2) each player starts in a small room
        where they collect weapons connected by a corridor.After a certain period of time, the door opens and the two players fight it out.
        Another crazy idea brought to you by richardboegli ;P

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by richardboegli View Post
          Why not do a whole series of them?
          American football
          Football / Soccer
          Hockey
          Basketball
          yes, Lots of versions of these in past UT's ... they started out as Bombing Run maps converted to DM...or vise versa! ... I love multi purpose maps that can go multiple ways in game types!


          http://aggressivewarriors.com -=- {AW}'s Community Map Test Server -=-

          Comment


            #6
            Yeah, the previous UTs have all had popular simple maps, many of them being community-driven. Barnburner anyone? What bothers me though is they're usually poor on the art side, have long ridiculous names based on the game and clan and who knows what else, and not in the forefront. I say art the **** out of these types of maps, make them official and put them on the Beginner hubs and as Training maps so they're peoples introduction to the game, not an afterthought.

            UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
            Contrib Digest | UT2341 - Henrik's UT4 Dev Blog | Twitter

            Comment


              #7
              I think it's kinda funny you mention Rankin as popular / simple, and solo as unpopular / complicated.

              Rankin was obviously very popular, but it was NOT on the "simplicity" level as face or deck or titan pass.

              Solo is actually quite popular in the DM pubs I play in. It may seem complicated at first, but I think that's primarily due to the art. When that map is meshed out and cleared up visually with a few minor tweaks to the layout, it will be a new UT4 classic.

              I see what you mean though. Maps like temple, or Focus, or Mine, or Spacer are just.... they're not that much fun tbh. The problem is that we've been given most of these maps at the very start, and epic has *SLOOOWLY* been tweaking the movement, with no word yet on if this is the final version. This makes them reluctant to change up the map pool too much. It's up to us, the community, to make maps that are so good that epic takes serious notice and shifts around the official map pool. A way to do that is: make maps no more complicated than rankin, or solo.
              ChimmiChunga leads from the front, and DieHard UT holds the crown!!
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              Come find people to play with in IRC! All skill levels welcome!!

              Comment


                #8
                No it wasn't as simple as face or deck but not very complicated either. I'd call something like Rankin on the upper end of the complexity spectrum which I'd ideally like to see, anything above that gets boring and frustrating. So yeah what you said in your last line there.

                Solo does have a lot of halls and split off areas, hard to locate powerups too, much like spacer. So I'd definitely rate it as more complex than Rankin. TBH I actually think earlier versions of it were better.
                Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 11-18-2015, 09:32 PM.

                UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
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                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by HenrikRyosa View Post
                  Deck - A big open area surrounded by a single hallway on all sides, which don't run off in any other direction.
                  Deck was a carry over from unreal - it was the most popular map there.

                  If q2dm1 had shipped in q3 it would have instantly been the most played map. If dm4 from qw had shipped with q2 the same thing would have happened. Even though the unreal community was quite small it was large enough to get remakes pushed ahead of other maps in popularity.

                  Originally posted by HenrikRyosa View Post
                  Torlan - Really just open space all around, with extended visibility despite having hills and obstacles.
                  Was in the demo/beta/test and the lack of "good" maps meant that this got a lot of play time when 2k3 was released.

                  Originally posted by HenrikRyosa View Post
                  Rankin - revolves mostly around 2 open rooms which all hallways go between or around. Still a relatively simple layout.
                  Similar to torlan, there were very few official maps that were good and rankin was simply better than most. In many ways rankin is more complicated than most of the maps it was competing with, which is why it was good.

                  These maps are popular for historic reasons rather than being especially great. But I do agree with you about something changing, especially for newer players. Maybe not your ideas for a straight up simpler map, which border on too basic. See the videos below for what happens when a map is like this. Maybe a simpler, round based gametype with load outs is more suited to new players. What do you think of tuba? Epic seem to be pushing this partially for the reasons you want, as well as having identifiable areas.




                  I could not find any qw ra videos which would have been good examples as the maps were mostly single rooms. The map in both of the videos above is povdmm4 - a qw "warm up" map. If you want to find some more examples.

                  Originally posted by HenrikRyosa View Post
                  I'd call something like Rankin on the upper end of the complexity spectrum which I'd ideally like to see, anything above that gets boring and frustrating. So yeah what you said in your last line there.
                  How do you feel about the popular q3/ql duel maps? Do you know them or play/played them? These are probably more similar to rankin than the current crop of ultra connected dm maps we have now. bloodrun/ztn for example.
                  Last edited by joellll; 11-18-2015, 10:15 PM.
                  Posts are about duel unless otherwise specified. ut duel shortcomings | What is timing? | dm-twentyseven

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Someone said BarnBurner? lol

                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #11
                      yea I know that torlan and rankin were popular for demo reasons too, but then again facing worlds has also been a demo map (UT2004 second demo). there are obviously multiple reasons for the popularity of all these maps.

                      Originally posted by joellll View Post
                      What do you think of tuba? Epic seem to be pushing this partially for the reasons you want, as well as having identifiable areas.
                      Tuba's good, and easily fits my criteria. It's also in the training of the game, which is good, but I also want to see maps that actually look like sports arenas or stadiums, to be quite honest. I know people cringe at the past foibles with the whole madden football style gimmick but there's a wrong way to do it and a right way. If there weren't a right way, there wouldn't be so many successful games using a simple arena formula.

                      I could have added Tuba to my first list, but I don't see it played that terribly often so I left it.

                      How do you feel about the popular q3/ql duel maps? Do you know them or play/played them? These are probably more similar to rankin than the current crop of ultra connected dm maps we have now. bloodrun/ztn for example.
                      One of the only Quake maps I'm properly familiar with is The Longest Yard, which also fits what I'd like to see. And I know for a fact that one of the Epic LD's was playing with such a concept in the earliest stages, but for whatever reason it was abandoned. Which is a shame, if you ask me.
                      Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 11-18-2015, 10:46 PM.

                      UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
                      Contrib Digest | UT2341 - Henrik's UT4 Dev Blog | Twitter

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by -=}WoLvErInE{=- View Post
                        Someone said BarnBurner? lol

                        This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version
                        Amazing. UT3 or 4?

                        UT4 modding discussion: irc.globalgamers.net #UTModders
                        Contrib Digest | UT2341 - Henrik's UT4 Dev Blog | Twitter

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                          #13
                          UT4 of course....still early WIP.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            And I'm not sure if you guys remember Romra?

                            Also WIP.

                            Attached Files

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                              #15
                              I generally agree with the sentiments here. Overall I think the key to successful levels is not so much simplicity as it is being 'easy to learn, difficult to master'. The same case with pretty much any well designed game or puzzle that wants to be accessible and successful. If a new player hasn't learned layout of the map after one or two matches then there is definitely a problem.

                              I can't say I agree about Outpost23 being an exception to the rule, in terms of how quickly someone can grasp the over-all layout, the outdoors area with the sniper rifle is a large symmetrical section of the map that's instantly learnable. It's almost like a non-central hub area, like you could consider the middle room of Deck or the center area of Chill to be. OP23 does do some interesting connections and shortcuts that add more complexity and nuance to the map flow, but they're not prohibitive to new players grasping the map layout.

                              I'd also say that symmetrical maps like CTF or ONS maps don't really make a compelling case as you only need to learn one half of the map and then you automatically know the other half.

                              But for sure the more segmented a level is, the longer it takes for people to learn how all of the areas connect to each-other and where you need to be aware of people attacking from. Having some sort of open hub-like area in the map that connects a lot of different areas seems to be a really good way to mitigate problems with learning the map. I would say that Temple, Solo and Spacer all seem to lack this.

                              Anyway this is just my perspective on it.
                              Last edited by Mangley; 11-19-2015, 12:01 AM.

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