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Idea: Promote simpler map designs for pub play

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    #16
    Hi Henrik,

    i think the map dsign is highly depending on the gameplay you want to archive:
    - make it less comples, all centered around one or two larger areas and keep the Z-axis options low, then you will receice a fragfest level with a player count >=6. Fun for the moment but hardly motivating or teaching/improving your movement and 'thinks what your enemy thinks' skills, which in the end is what players want to reach.

    - make it more complex in therms of rooms, jumps options, and vertical levels/hight difference and it might be harder to get into the map and take lot approches to learn them, but in the end will definitly provide the better gameplay and improve your own skills.

    I e.g. played UT99 for many years when i was young, and was in the end a pretty good player, often in the weekly world-wide top 100 stats. I remember that in my UT99 beginnings my first goal was to stay alive for 30 seconds, and on these fragfest maps like e.g. DM-Liandri this could be quite though if you are a newbee. The next level of 'personal incaration' was when you get around the map, manage to survide for longer time an be able to keep up in the midfield.

    But the best learning practive for me ath these times was to e.g. either spectacte or follow in TDM really good players in that times like Xtreme-Lauke in complex maps like DM-Conveyor, DM-Gothic, DM-Tempest (ahh Tempest, one of my all time favorite!). You could learn SO much from these guys in terms of player movement, optimap movement/short cuts and 'patroling' through the map and how to fight with with weapons in which situations/locations. This was really like jumping to a next step of 'UT playing knowlege'.

    So i thinks we need a good mixture of both map types, and we already have them. I for example do not see in any way that Oupost is complex. Once you know it, it's pretty simple, with some cool shortcuts. Same for DM-Focus & DM-Spacer, They are not really complex.

    So i would group the current Epic shiped maps in
    Easy geometry / to learn:
    - Outpost, Chill, RunGoodBob, DeckTest, MorbidasTest, NickTest, Tuba, TitanPass, Face, Volcano

    Medium map compexity / to learn:
    - Cannon, Vortex, Deadfall, Spacer, Solo, ASDF, Focus, Lance, BigRock, Mine

    Higher map geometry / to learn:
    - Temple, Lea, Overlord, SidCastle, Dam, Crashsite

    ... a well mixture of all..

    Comment


      #17
      On a map complexity scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being CTF-andAction (just a small box) and 10 being a map at the top range of what's actually playable, I'd say Titanpass and Blank are around 7 on the scale. In UT99 CTF, all sorts of maps on the scale were popular and heavily played. Henrik definitely has a point that it shouldn't be too difficult to comprehend the layout of a map. Some of the simplest maps were popular in UT99, such as CTF-ThornsV2.

      When I started making my UT4 CTF maps, I kind of said to myself, "I have to save UT4 CTF!" I'm just a very amateur mapper and I guess I don't have the interest or wherewithal to make a map with fancy meshes and clutter. I prefer visual clarity and unhindered game play.

      The title of the thread is, "Promote Simple Map Designs for Pub Play", so I'll promote mine::

      CTF-Sidewinder



      CTF-Highpoint



      CTF-Whiplash



      CTF-Hardcore

      UT4 CTF Maps: CTF-Whiplash | CTF-Sidewinder | CTF-Highpoint | CTF-Hardcore | CTF-Tubes-Of-Spam

      UT99 CTF Maps: CTF-DagnysBigAssMap-V2 | CTF-Dagnys-P****WhIpPeD | CTF-Dagnys-Dark-Delight-LE102 | CTF-Dagnys-Tubes-Of-Spam

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        #18
        I enjoyed playing UT99 iCTF 2v2 or 3v3 on simple (2-3 scale) maps but I can't remember any names
        Duel rankings contributor | running Unreal Tournament @ ESL

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          #19
          This is a great topic! Lots of different angles here..

          We could definitely use some more range in terms of complexity. A lot of what we currently have was designed to be complex or simple for a very specific purpose and to cater to different types of players. From that perspective I am ok with that. Also keep in mind that a lot the shells should really be viewed as experimental and won't necessarily survive (at all or in their current shape).

          Currently there also isn't really much of any sort of curation when it comes to our shells. Besides Basic Training there isn't a direction new people get nudged towards regarding complexity which is an interesting point to think about. Everything is still WIP but we'll still probably do a pass on pruning what should stick around or be visible and what shouldn't.


          It's almost a little bit of a crutch, but regardless UT being UT there is a ton of room for different ideas and designs which is part of what makes it great - or at least has in the past.


          I'd be really curious to see what people can come up with with regards to experimenting with simpler content. Specifically Showdown lends itself well to trying a lot of different things and I believe that mode in particular has a lot of potential to be a more friendly starting point. Lots of room for ideas, be it level or game mode tweaks, some of which we are experimenting with internally as well.

          Lots to think about

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by Mangley View Post
            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.
            Yea I don't mean to say that Outpost is overtly complex, it is easy to learn for a UT player especially - but I'm talking about its popularity as a map for newbies - if we're perfectly honest we must say that newbies vote it because they want to see the pretty graphics, NOT because it's the most accessible design for them to pick up the game with. This could backfire in the long run as once they've seen the graphics, that may be the end of the appeal.

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

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by Mr Van View Post
              So i thinks we need a good mixture of both map types, and we already have them.
              This is my point as well that we need a good mixture, but I disagree that we already have the ideal mixture - and beyond this, as Sid alluded to above and as I've alluded to in the OP, it's about actually directing players at radically varying skills levels to the various levels of complexity, in order. It should be a natural progression, with only the very basics presented first.

              I think Morbias is such a map but it's also too much of a trap. My idea of a simple field style map is probably about double the scale (even if the images above don't necessarily demonstrate that), and there should probably be some more protection afforded to spawning players.
              Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 11-19-2015, 02:01 PM.

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

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by Clawfist View Post
                This is a great topic! Lots of different angles here..

                We could definitely use some more range in terms of complexity. A lot of what we currently have was designed to be complex or simple for a very specific purpose and to cater to different types of players. From that perspective I am ok with that. Also keep in mind that a lot the shells should really be viewed as experimental and won't necessarily survive (at all or in their current shape).

                Currently there also isn't really much of any sort of curation when it comes to our shells. Besides Basic Training there isn't a direction new people get nudged towards regarding complexity which is an interesting point to think about. Everything is still WIP but we'll still probably do a pass on pruning what should stick around or be visible and what shouldn't.


                It's almost a little bit of a crutch, but regardless UT being UT there is a ton of room for different ideas and designs which is part of what makes it great - or at least has in the past.


                I'd be really curious to see what people can come up with with regards to experimenting with simpler content. Specifically Showdown lends itself well to trying a lot of different things and I believe that mode in particular has a lot of potential to be a more friendly starting point. Lots of room for ideas, be it level or game mode tweaks, some of which we are experimenting with internally as well.

                Lots to think about
                I'm glad you find it worth thinking about. Maybe hubs of different rank levels could have different default "playlists" for example, ie "recommended maps", that could even be chosen by hub admins per gametype. This way beginner hubs avoid throwing new players into the more confusing maps, and more competitive hubs/players don't necessarily need to see Face voted every second match.

                Showdown will be interesting, but hopefully a gamewide philosophy can be applied as well.
                Last edited by HenrikRyosa; 11-19-2015, 02:19 PM.

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

                Comment


                  #23
                  I think a lot of it has to do with what you like and community you are in. As far as my self, since 99 when I started playing ut, I've played low grav instagib. I never could get into the whole weapons thing and all the small hallways and paths. I've always enjoyed the open large maps with one shot kill. Not saying weapons is not challenging, but I always have felt playing lgi was much harder than playing weapons. The skill level has to be much greater than just powering up with every thing on a map and taking in someone with an enforcer. Instagib everyone has the same weapon. It's all about , I'm either better than you or your better than me.

                  My point is, complex map with weapons have a lot more to do with luck than good, which again nothing wrong with that. It's really all about preference.

                  I just find simple maps to be much more fun and challenging than running around in maze.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by -=}WoLvErInE{=- View Post
                    I think a lot of it has to do with what you like and community you are in. As far as my self, since 99 when I started playing ut, I've played low grav instagib. I never could get into the whole weapons thing and all the small hallways and paths. I've always enjoyed the open large maps with one shot kill. Not saying weapons is not challenging, but I always have felt playing lgi was much harder than playing weapons. The skill level has to be much greater than just powering up with every thing on a map and taking in someone with an enforcer. Instagib everyone has the same weapon. It's all about , I'm either better than you or your better than me.

                    My point is, complex map with weapons have a lot more to do with luck than good, which again nothing wrong with that. It's really all about preference.

                    I just find simple maps to be much more fun and challenging than running around in maze.
                    Well I started out as a weapons player but have also played iCTF competitively and can appreciate the skillsets required for both. I think one thing you aren't accounting for is that weapon selection and tracking your opponent are skillsets in and of themselves (not luck) that are largely absent from instagib Barnburner-style maps, but are necessary for higher-level weapons play, and having some complexity to the map brings these skillsets to the forefront. When you have evenly matched opponents, you will not generally see someone with enforcer going after a stacked player as you put it. Actually, getting to the right place on a map after being killed is another skillset that you won't witness in a map like Barnburner.

                    I also can't ever remember playing a competitive iCTF match on a map like Barnburner... but that's OK, because the point is (as stated by OP and others) that newer players should be presented with less complexity to start off with, which will allow them to just focus on learning the fundamentals of the game like movement and weapons.

                    As they improve and they feel like they want to take the next step they can "graduate" to a higher skill Hub (I like the idea above about selecting certain map "playlists" based on hub skill level). This way you methodically introduce a new player to the different levels the game can be played at.
                    NoBrainsNoAims^ // nbna^
                    My movies on YouTube:
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                    , Part 2 / UT~]i[mmortalZ 2 / UT Immortalz 3
                    UT4: Rocket Jumping - Titan Pass

                    UT4: Frag Highlights #1 / #2 / #3 NEW

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                      #25
                      By know means am I saying There are no skill set, I just think there is more advantage/ disadvantage with complex maps and all weapons than instagib. You kill me in ig I'm respawning with the Same weapon, the only difference is your skill set versus mine in how far you get with the flag. Where in weapons I just happen to respawn with enforce and you come into my base fully jucied I stand no chance regardless our skills. And being its a complex map, you have a better chance of getting away from me before I can pick decent enough weapon to track you down.

                      You just have to work harder in insta on capping with large map ie: Barnburner than weapons on small complex ctf map when you have 10 different routes you can take.

                      Again not trying to argue here, just like I posted in my first post. It's a preference and whom you are playing with.

                      Weapons and small thight maps are not for me. I like the open maps with team boosting, defending.... 1-0 or 2-1 scores.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by -=}WoLvErInE{=- View Post
                        ...in weapons I just happen to respawn with enforce and you come into my base fully jucied I stand no chance regardless our skills. And being its a complex map, you have a better chance of getting away from me before I can pick decent enough weapon to track you down...
                        This is the whole reason CTF is played with Translocator

                        But like I said, I like iCTF a lot as well, and you're right it is largely preference.

                        And to keep this on track, having a bit more complex map also prevents the flag runner from making a B-line back to flag and gives the opponent a chance to catch up and cut him off. But this is more a component of competitive play than casual play. Which, again, I think that's the point.
                        NoBrainsNoAims^ // nbna^
                        My movies on YouTube:
                        UT2k4: UT~]i[mmortalZ Part 1
                        , Part 2 / UT~]i[mmortalZ 2 / UT Immortalz 3
                        UT4: Rocket Jumping - Titan Pass

                        UT4: Frag Highlights #1 / #2 / #3 NEW

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                          #27
                          Oh god TL!!! I hate that thing with a passion lol.

                          But yeah sorry wasn't trying to get off topic here. So please continue. This great topic.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            I think maps like DM-Radioactive is a good example of fairly simple in design and easy to navigate and I would like to see DM-Antalus as well as far as simple/fun/easy maps for beginners!

                            I'm not a weapons guy but I love Chill and Deck as those two were pretty easy to remember where pickups are placed for me!


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

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                              #29
                              Ideally it seems like you'd want to aim for something that's easy to learn quickly, but has a lot more options once you know the map a little better. As someone else pointed out, Rankin does a good job of this, with a lot of clear easy pathways and distinct rooms that make learning it relatively simple, but with interesting movement options that become apparent once map knowledge and game mastery progress.

                              I've been trying to think about what makes a map easy to learn vs hard to learn, and two things come to mind.

                              First is fairly simple, and doable with just an art pass: different areas of the map need to have distinguishing features, whether they're large gameplay areas, a set piece, distinctive lighting, it can be anything, but it needs to have something. Secondly, maps with distinct "rooms" tend to be easier to navigate than maps that rely on winding ramps and carved out geometry. Compare Rankin, which has both rooms and distinct visual design to DM-1on1-Roughinery, a map that was well-regarded and fun to play, but horrible to learn. Roughinery by contrast has a visual sameness that pervades the whole map with no visual landmarks and while the gameplay is varied there are no real distinct clues to most areas that make it immediately visually obvious. It's the same thing with all the other UT200x duel maps like DM-Trite, DM-Serpentine, DM-Squander, DM-Spirit, etc.

                              That's not to say that that complicated layered geometry is the only way to make a map confusing to play when you're new, though. While UT200x wasn't so guilty of this one, UT99 had some real winners in this category, like DM-Zeto and DM-Conveyor. Even though both of these maps have large, visually distinct rooms with varied gameplay, they also have sections that are confusing to traverse and overall don't have the greatest flow. An ideal map with good flow will end up with players naturally exploring the whole arena during the course of a game, whereas one with poor flow will see players not using certain areas often, leading to their mental maps of that segment being disjointed, and leave players with a lower desire to go to that area (or, in some cases, a desire but just the inability to find their way back there; I think we've all been in that situation on a new map).

                              Comment


                                #30
                                /signed

                                Yup.

                                I'm on board for having maps like this - it's one of the reasons I ported Genku to UT4:



                                Simple 3-colour map with 1 overpass, 2 main floors, each with 2 sub levels internally.

                                This map is apparently very popular, and if you haven't played it yourself - the link is below.

                                The original designer (Andrew) sent me a PM saying he is happy it has now been ported and this is partially what I hoped for; I also hope he begins to map again for UT4 as he ticks every box for what this thread is about.

                                So happy was I with his design, I also ported PSi, another design for what used to be called 'low-poly' and meant for competitive play - and if you look at the success of ASDF, there is definitely an audience for 'uncluttered' designs.

                                I forget who it is I am quoting here, but Unreal Tournament is in a very strange place right now regarding design. There are those which say 'next-gen has to have ├║ber graphics with loads of post processing fx and blinky-bling-bling fancy-pants shineyness' and yet what happens when a new map gets put on a server? Everyone drops the graphics down to the barest minimum to see if they can gain an advantage. And yet, you make a 3 part video diary on the making of a map talking about how many people were involved and the different departments required - which is great for promotional material and general PR, but does leave a slightly bitter-sweet taste in the mouth of people who do not have access to the resources you do.

                                So, on one hand Epic is pushing their engine to new heights of awesomeness, and on the other we got the most basic of basic maps being one of the most popular. We need to ask why this is.

                                I seriously believe there is no middle ground here, and if anything we need the following to be better, to make this game better (in no order):

                                • Better BSP tools/map building tools (this could and probably should have its own forum)
                                • A GPU-powered lighting/baking system, or simply sending CPU instructions to the GPU to crunch at build
                                • Easier goal-oriented systems configurable by the mapper and/or server administrators
                                • Colour-systems for surfaces
                                • Larger characters/scaling (I have absolutely no idea what the term is)


                                Y'see Epic, I get it - I really do: you want a game to show off your engine and get people downloading the engine for free and building levels for you. I also get this game is in Alpha. All this adds value to your product and your engine because the positive words will spread. BUT...you gotta meet us halfway here, because if you would have told me the editor for the new Unreal Tournament would be using an ancient BSP tool coupled to the creaking CPU light-mass system 5 years ago - I would not have believed you.

                                Guys, you get to a certain point and the editor just slows down to unworkable levels, I know it's not something you really experience yourself because you got (probably) a cloud CPU-rendering system and dumb terminals. Not I, and probably not the majority of the community have access to such luxuries. I get to about 500 surfaces and the Engine slows down, and everything and anything the community can say on this topic is just 'a workaround' and certainly not a solution:

                                "you need 16 GB or RAM" - I got it.
                                "you need a high-end CPU" - I got an over-clocked water-cooled behemoth.
                                "you need a more powerful GPU" - I can run Outpost-23 on Epic @ 120 frames...and the editor doesn't use the GPU, does it?
                                "you have to convert the BSP to a static mesh, FBX it into blender, dance a jig, cure a disease, scale Mount Everest...(three days of insane suggestions later)...and import it back in UTE4" and if I want to change the map during testing? Ah, thought so.

                                I got a lot of time and <3 for the community, you can really tell it's not anywhere near as 'toxic' as some of the gaming forums I'm sure we could all name, and this is partially what makes the state of the editing system all the more worse. We want to build maps, but the methodology is a 'parts bin' of interfacing systems borrowed/stolen/ported from the big brother which must be returned by midnight.

                                Digress...

                                So yah, we want simplicity of design and a much better editing system to get these designs to the community faster.

                                PS: sorry for the waffle this is a great thread, hope I haven't tainted it.
                                Attached Files
                                Maps:

                                DM-PSi ; DM-Genku ; DM-Untold Storage ; DM-Station (WIP) ; DM-HeatRay Physx (WIP)

                                DM/TSD-Formidable (WIP)

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