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Thoughts on dynamic map elements?

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    Thoughts on dynamic map elements?

    I've been thinking about dynamic maps in different games for a while now and I'd love to hear your opinions. Maps that change while running just seem like they have the possibility of having a bigger impact on how the map plays, essentially making maps play more differently. There are some obvious drawbacks when it comes to learning new maps as well as readability when there are more things that move than just the players, but I still feel like it's worth looking into. Giving maps a "next gen"-feeling that isn't just more polygons but also impacts gameplay.

    There are a few requirements, for instance I don't think the players should be able to influence the movement of anything. That just leads to players wanting to play the trap game where they stand on a switch and kill their opponents. Instead of using the core features, it turns into a weird sort of mini-game. All the dynamic things should also be easily predictable, either by switching often enough that skipping a cycle doesn't matter or giving fair warning before something changes (with lights,sound etc.). I'm not a fan of anything that kills the player either, even though being killed by obvious things are fine (standing under elevators going down).

    A few examples:
    Conveyor belts
    Moving objects / cover (on the conveyor belts or hanging from rails)
    Destructible objects (by player damage or triggers)
    Moving platforms
    Elevators
    Spinning cogs
    Doors opening/closing
    Teleporters switching targets

    I only have a couple of bad examples, like the water map in Half-Life, the crushing rooms in Quake 1 and of course games that feature a lot of destructible objects like Battlefield 4. I'd love to hear if you had any examples of dynamic things being done well in a more relevant map for an arena shooter so I can take a look at it. There were also walls in some Unreal game that became solid as you were closer to them while you could shoot through if you were a couple of steps away, which was a really cool feature but I haven't seen it since for some reason.
    /Jonas - youtube.com/user/JTykesson -

    #2
    One thing I have always wanted to try was dynamic level size based on the number of players playing. Say 1 - 4 players would be a small map. Then If some more people joined some doors would open and unlock a bigger map. Then if some people leave, issue a timed warning, then warp players outside the smaller bounds to a valid player start, then make the world smaller again

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      #3
      I agree 100%. Some of the most memorable multiplayer maps for me, (including other non UT Games) would be the ones that had one or two central rooms with something that moved or changed from being cover to a hazard. A year ago I worked on a group school project, we were tasked with making a CTF level in UE3. We made a medium sized B Symmetrical map called Aqueduct. We had several pipes and gutters though out the map filled with green goo that would hurt the player. We also had one pipe that would over flow with green good every minute, a secret entrance into each base was bored up, but could be destroyed, the catch was it was located under a water fall of green goo. The map turned out ok if we had more time I would have added more lighting and sound fx to help players be aware of the hazards.
      Joseph Frederick
      FoeJred@Gmail.com
      www.FoeJred.com

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by TimEh View Post
        One thing I have always wanted to try was dynamic level size based on the number of players playing. Say 1 - 4 players would be a small map. Then If some more people joined some doors would open and unlock a bigger map. Then if some people leave, issue a timed warning, then warp players outside the smaller bounds to a valid player start, then make the world smaller again
        Ha, I had that idea too once upon a time. But the previous engines were too limited to pull that off properly, so I never even bothered messing with it since I predicted it wouldn't work if I wouldn't code it (and I'm not a coder ).

        Personally, that would be a cool thing. I wouldn't do so with all maps, but having some selected maps be dynamic or have dynamic variations of maps that can be toggled on or off from the menu (in case one wants to play the expanded map only) would be a neat feature.
        S l y .

        Comment


          #5
          I really hope that dynamic maps become more common in UT4. Imagine a map set on a spinning asteroid with a 5-minute day/night cycle. Or a factory with vats/rooms/chambers that fill with liquid then are emptied throughout the match. Or CTF bases that go into lockdown when the flag is taken. So many possibilities!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by threadlock View Post
            CTF bases that go into lockdown when the flag is taken.
            Now that sounds like something that I would play the **** out of.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by threadlock View Post
              Or CTF bases that go into lockdown when the flag is taken. So many possibilities!
              You, sir, have given me plenty of ideas which (for some reason) I would have never thought of even though they were realisable in previous UTs.

              I guess the idea is "way too simple" (being the basic "alarm in a base" principle) and that might be the reason why I never thought of it.

              ...

              Oh, why didn't I think of it!? Why!?
              Last edited by Sly.; 07-16-2014, 07:28 PM.
              S l y .

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TimEh View Post
                One thing I have always wanted to try was dynamic level size based on the number of players playing. Say 1 - 4 players would be a small map. Then If some more people joined some doors would open and unlock a bigger map. Then if some people leave, issue a timed warning, then warp players outside the smaller bounds to a valid player start, then make the world smaller again
                Think back to Rocket-Arena.
                5 maps in 1.
                You could utilise something similar, but it would be more fluid than RA, as you had to chose where you wanted.
                The maps could also be used in other game types, such as Assault and Domination.
                Existing Assault maps could be made to open sections based on number of players.
                Good value for money I say

                I tend to favour maps with dynamic elements, or just "stuff to do" from simple things like breakable windows to scripted events, or fun sub-quests.
                They often give a map a bit of easter-egg vibe.
                J's maps are loaded with interactive treats, and it is the small touches like beer health pickups in a bar, to releasing a dangerous criminal bot from jail upon an unsuspecting server, or detonating charges spread across a no-mans-land, or even calling for an ambulance, or taxi (I kid you not), to take you to a convenient sniping spot.

                Shooting the lights out is something I can now do in Unreal 227, and that really adds something to the game.
                I think that should be a standard mutator not a feature, as it would not suit everyone.
                Last edited by Dr.Flay; 07-17-2014, 12:55 AM.
                Who wants a UT99 FOOD FIGHT ?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Im actually going to be working to heavily incorporate dynamic elements into all my new maps. The new Unreal 4 Engine is ridiculously easy to write custom actions into maps, so no one has an excuse to make a box with a couple of rocks and static meshes in the middle.

                  My mapping theme i am trying to follow is purpose built arenas designed to kill the players. Some features will be static killing objects, meaning its a part of the map such as moving part or object that can kill a player. Other parts will be player controlled, maps that can be reconfigured by the players for a specific advantage. I want the players to feel like this is a spectator sport, similar to roman style gladiators, that everything they are doing and the deaths that occur are for the spectacle of the audience.
                  PayBack

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Maybe a Low grav based 'platform' space map where a higher player count means more platforms move into the gameplay area where players can start using them. When players leave the platforms move back outside the gameplay area reducing the arena size.
                    How would this work for AI though? Do you have navigation points that you activate and deactivate as the level scales to more players? (coming from UT3 here so I haven't used nav mesh yet)

                    Regarding dynamic things, a couple of my early UT3 maps had asteroids that used to fly through the map and impact the ground within the gameplay area to keeps things interesting. Love that kind of stuff!
                    Unreal Old Friends
                    My previous Unreal work

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Huckle View Post
                      I've been thinking about dynamic maps in different games for a while now and I'd love to hear your opinions. Maps that change while running just seem like they have the possibility of having a bigger impact on how the map plays, essentially making maps play more differently. There are some obvious drawbacks when it comes to learning new maps as well as readability when there are more things that move than just the players, but I still feel like it's worth looking into. Giving maps a "next gen"-feeling that isn't just more polygons but also impacts gameplay.
                      I would love to see doors that are player operated like in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Perhaps even a locking mechanism that takes some time to activate. This would create situations where you do not know if the path you are planning to take will be open, as some other player could have closed it behind them. Also, it would give a player being chased a choice to close or lock doors behind them versus running as fast as possible. Any elements that players can interact with during the match to shape the environment would create similar situations and give maps more replay value. Different opponents would have different strategies on maps with these qualities and you would start to see more tactical considerations in competitive play.

                      Taking the environmental modification idea to its full extent...
                      If you haven't seen the original Bioshock pitch (very different from the product that was released) you might want to check it out and get inspiration from some of the ideas on this particular page:


                      http://irrationalgames.com/files/2010/05/BS_008.jpg

                      Whole document in two parts:
                      http://irrationalgames.com/insider/from-the-vault-may/
                      http://irrationalgames.com/insider/from-the-vault-june/
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by dodgethisunreal; 07-18-2014, 01:50 AM. Reason: fixed picture and grammar

                      Comment


                        #12
                        UT3 had many examples of this, but i feel more focus should be placed on using weapons/movements to get to positions [rocket jump. hammer etc]
                        however im an advocate of stuff like;
                        DM-ScraperLobby (TKBS)
                        • Collect 10 of Faith's yellow bags and get a juggernaut pickup

                        DM-MineCraft (TKBS, Improved iteration on Remus's)
                        • first 100% destructible map in Unreal Engine (afaik)

                        DM-Roughinery (Epic + BTA fix TKBS)
                        • Press E for jump boots in the Jump boot location
                          - for BTA/ Battle Team arena (a jump boot allowing fix)

                        WAR-Sandstorm (Epic changed by TKBS)
                        • Hidden Tank Behind Destructible Wall

                        VCTF- Accursed (TKBS)
                        • Moveable paintings [hidden room]
                        • Follow rat to secret room

                        VCTF-Bio-Gates (TKBS)
                        • Spawn Room Protection Volumes (N/A to flag runners)
                        • Bio-Rifle Locks Bio-Gates to block a route

                        VCTF-Revenant (TKBS)
                        • 100% random vehicles (within reason)
                        • 100% SpawnKilling protection
                        • 100% SpawnCamping dissallowed

                        WARCTF-Reverie (collaboration with UTF )
                        • A hybrid Map combining warfare nodes with CTF to open and hold rooms/ powerups etc

                        DM-KGalleon (epic)
                        • Shoot the torch,secret lift drops down from the mast, goes up to redeemer

                        • * i Could go on for a while with alot more. My examples are a little more than what most people do hence why i chose them, not for self promotion
                        • * i do not think Entropy's comments would be suitable for it, but they should be considered these aspects need to have thoughtful implementation.

                        • They are not Gimic gameplay additions, they are much needed and beneficial additions.
                        • The OP suggestions are great, simple things liek this bring the map to life and can be used in ways beneficial to gameplay or environment design.
                        • I do however think that we could have some of these wider elements i have given example to be implemented as core elements (spawn camping pain, spawn killing penalties etc)


                        ** For me Dynamic spawn points area must.
                        • - sorry to harp on but after watching QuakeCon 2014 i am not impressed that people think spawn killing makes a good player or is part of fair sport.
                        • - So wow - u can aim at a spawn point u can see in the map editor and guess that your enemy will spawn, that's really not skill- infact it borders cheating


                        So yeh i strongly support this in both minor and more serious ways.
                        + It add variety in gameplay and design ascetics are improved,
                        + aids new players
                        + gives hardcore players something new to look forward to.

                        - Killing on spawn/ static spawn points is 100% awful - i don't care how good you think you are, join a match on a map u never played with random spawns and see what's up. (pure fun)


                        p.s.
                        as long as you forget about the AI/Bots there are no issues per-se with the craziest gimic, i prefer to build a map that is solid for both AI/Bots and real players.
                        The majority of things i did with maps was to either learn something new, fix something old or simply mix up the existing
                        Last edited by TKBS; 07-18-2014, 11:16 PM.
                        Internet BlackOut in <2 weeks,last chance to request 4 years of Unreal Development(something from every Unreal Engine 50+ maps, chars, weapons, mods, mutators and more).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by TKBS View Post
                          [*]* i Could go on for a while with alot more. My examples are a little more than what most people do hence why i chose them, not for self promotion

                          as long as you forget about the AI/Bots there are no issues per-se with the craziest gimic, i prefer to build a map that is solid for both AI/Bots and real players.
                          The majority of things i did with maps was to either learn something new, fix something old or simply mix up the existing
                          I'm not really a fan of hiding things away or only giving the good powerups to players who have played the map a lot, it just gives experienced players an unfair advantage. I want all of the dynamic stuff to be completely obvious and only having to do with navigation and movement, things where you can see "oh this is going to do X". If anything happens too fast to react to or is unpredictable, you can't really plan your game, only react to things you're not in control of. It is one way of making a game, just not the one I prefer.

                          I didn't even think about the AI at all so that is an excellent point. I'm pretty sure the navmesh isn't dynamic so having moving platforms and cover will likely break the AI entirely. I just think it adds enough to human players that ignoring the AI isn't going to be a problem. If the level designs are limited to things that have a static floor plan to allow the AI to move around, the dynamic elements themselves are going to be such small parts that they add very little, even for the players.
                          /Jonas - youtube.com/user/JTykesson -

                          Comment


                            #14
                            [incharacter]Im a badass with big ****ing guns and i when i use them i want **** to happen![/incharacter]

                            When it says 20minutes on the scoreboard i want the map to look like its been thoroughly torn to pieces.
                            All the fancy plates on the walls gone, electrical panels fizzling/smoke coming out, holes in the ceiling and wood details glowing or burning.
                            Basically just concrete and armoring left where the biggest fights have been.

                            All this without the flow of the map getting altered.

                            Im not asking for much am i?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It's ok about cosmetic elements and _some_ destructible walls, but there are also very interesting possibilities in dynamic variations of the item placement. If the location of major items (shield, flak, warhead...) will time to time alternate, changing the value of areas on the map? Or the entire weapon set changes to another. Random factor can force players to discover new placement of items, not just circle around the map in a perfectly timed loop.

                              New weapon set implemented for a short period can alter game style and provide additional fun: let's imagine CTF-Face with no sniper rifles, but one minigun at center and dozen warheads around the towers

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