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What makes a good map?

Discussion in 'Unreal 2' started by Reeps, Aug 17, 2004.

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  1. Reeps

    Reeps Severe thumbs up (y)

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    Ahoy. Recently I've been looking over and studying the XMP maps and have been wondering; "What exactly makes a good XMP map?" Just wanting to see some of your opinions on the matter. I'd rather not have this turn into a stock vs custom map flame, but just what are some annoyances, likes/dislikes, or mandatory features xmp maps should have.

    Thanks for any posts, just curious :D
     
  2. Xaero

    Xaero Who Dey!

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    well, first of all, i love all the stock maps (except free-fall, its just OK). I think a lot of what makes them great are the bases tend to be easily defenable, but plenty of exits out. All the base structures in the stock maps have at least ways in/out of the base/node room. Creating bottlenecks, but not ones that are impossible.

    Another thing is some sort of Balance. weather the map is symetrical or not, there is a balance there where one side's weakness is balanced out by the other side's different weakness. (Sirocco for example).

    I really dislike ammo supply stations near the node if they are even in the base. Sure, it can help the defense, but it also helps the spamming of deployables. Not saying thats a bad thing inherintely (spelling), but there have been many that have over-done it. (Myself included).

    Anyway, hope that helps.
     
  3. Dandeloreon1984

    Dandeloreon1984 CXP Director

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    take a look at how the cxp map called symplicity is laid out, that is a completely balanced map :).
     
  4. Reeps

    Reeps Severe thumbs up (y)

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    Quick post :D Thanks

    Yea, I think balance is one of the things that really decides if a map is playable, or at least fun more than frusterating. The ammo station is a good point aswell.

    One thing I often wonder about, why don't people complain about the little ground cover in stock maps? Garden is one huge map, and you can easily see over 3/4's of the map, with little gound cover, yet it's one badass map. Sunset is the same. Maybe its because the action is usually so close to you, that there is no real need to snipe. Smaller maps + many paths = more action and less sniping? Maybe I'm trying to create too much of a formula for it, but it's really something that's been making me think. :p
     
  5. Bleeder

    Bleeder Co-Founder, U2XMP [Ч] Clan

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    A map with bases (as in buildings and not just an arti node open to the outside... hmmm, maybe my bank should leave its vault open to the outside... s-t-u-p-i-d)... You know, a reason to use the "Enemy in our base" voice command... Good example: Garden!

    Also, for it to be official competetion quality, it definitely must be balanced!!! Bad example is Sirrocco (sorry Xaero)... Sirrocco has totally different layouts for red/blue. Don't want to start an argument, but I think red has the edge over blue on that map, if the player skills were equal. I do like Sirrocco for "normal" playing, but cannot for the life of me understand why it is allowed as a map for competitions. There's just too much arguing that can be done over it...

    EDIT: Other important map qualities:
    - Radar should be implemented to prevent artifact hiders, esp on maps w/ tough-to-reach spots
    - Labels... this is a long one. Label vehice/player deploys, supply stations, gens, portals, energy turrets/cannons, hackable doors/platforms, etc. This makes it easier to communicate where you are via the preset voice commands, rather than having to type (or use lag- errr team-speak), to chat your location to teammates. Who else hates that one map that -still- has the two RED/BLUE deploys mixed up!!!

    EDIT2: Just a thought... 3D radar? That would be so nice for maps with multiple levels (Example: underground/base/mountaintop)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2004
  6. {DE}Rarhok

    {DE}Rarhok Status: Unhealthy

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    Cool, you're beta testing UTXMP?? Lucky!

    OK, my preferences in maps are for less big stretches of area with no way to find cover from fresh site. This especially goes for the arti node area since its vicinity is under more surveillance. XMP is more fun when you hear arti's (from both sides) getting taken anyway, so why make it hard to get or escape after stealing? Surely a few maps do turn out boring because of this... though not in all cases. One solution maybe to have a one way escape teleport near the base.

    And maps that over-do it on detail instead of practicality... It's annoying when you're standing still because you backed up into a piece of protruding achitecture... Or couldn't continue running because you stepped on some recessed grate on the ground or a raised pipe, etc. One shouldn't be slowed down in thier tracks because of these things. A good example of the first mentioned is the underground hallways in sunset beach. There you have hallways with structural arches. Even though these things are all part of the game, I feel it's better to just be aware of it in case you wanted to balance out defense with arti running.

    Having optional methods for reaching different areas should also be considered. Sometimes it's almost like making two maps at once, and makes the game less predictable!

    edit: I posted before reading what was said after Xaero's comments... So I'm glad we're alike on this! ;) I think the reason why it works out for garden (concerning snipers) is because:

    1) It's not as fun or "wimpy" to snipe in one spot than it is to get more skill in dealing with people up-close.
    2) The aimer's movement is less accurate when fully zoomed in.
    3) The main concern of the sniper is to fulfill its key role in getting artifacts or hassling the defense.
    4) You get less frags than you would running around for action.
    5) They're easily spotted by mid-fielders.
    6) Out of kindness, a sniper will let the two midfielders duel, etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2004
  7. ...andrelax

    ...andrelax SkyBum

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    this is a good thread...
    i have a few points on balance:
    ---you should also consider power- i made different powered generators in beachassault2 but the overall power generation was way too high. it needs to be tough to get power for your team.
    ---routes through the map are important. again in beachassault2 there's one quick route through the map that dominates the game and makes the rest of it redundant, which ruins it. this is the case for other maps too; don't make a highway through a map.
    ---areas where each playertype can excel are useful; eg close/mid/long range combat. it's good to involve everyone.
    ---hiding places and 'stealthy routes' through the map are useful too; anything to keep the game from repetitive deathmatch.
    ---lots of entries, lots of exits. one cxp map has a gorgeous artifact room with split entrances and exits all over the place.
     
  8. [DS] Calico

    [DS] Calico Behind Jackal with a raging hardon.

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    This is from a different Game called RYL its just an example of what would be cool on a map. The Widescreen map so it would be easier to find the gen or find the other base.
    http://img15.exs.cx/img15/5266/Calico_2004_08_18_05_191.jpg
    It is alittle too big to put on a forumZ

    But the map I was talking about is the square thing in the center
    With Tesitio and The First Rest
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2004
  9. [Shadow]Aksen

    [Shadow]Aksen =vD=Aksen

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    Here's one that really bothers me...

    lack of flat ground in custom maps. Too many obstacles and huge slopes make for uneven fights.

    That's one reason I really like Kaminari. There are hills everywhere, but aside from that the ground is fairly flat and even. Compare it to Hell or umm what is it.. Apophis I think. The map is severely sloped up a giant hill or down a giant valley. I can think of no stock maps like this. There are some in a few places, but they're there for a reason. In Garden, it's to make a quicker passage more vulnerable, and in Lowlands it's to make the base more defendable. Sirryt if this doesn't make much sense, I'm kinda drunk.

    The best maps are...
    *Simple
    *balanced
    *fairly flat and even ground
    *bases aren't impossibly far apart (CAN YOU SAY XAEMIA??? A beautiful map, but 5 minute runs between bases is just silly)
     
  10. [DF]phalanx

    [DF]phalanx bgutblower=true

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    lets see
    symetry
    i like sirocco but red base if way to open compared to blue base u cant defend it
    i dont realy like buildings that much they limit your movement and ppl gas spam it
    ok kaminari
    good maps need light and thier are too many deploy points and not much energy
    hacking uses energy so y only 2 energys and lots of things to hack imo not good
     
  11. fireball

    fireball Reach out and torch someone

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    The map needs actual bases, or at least a decent amount of cover so you don't get annihilated by a team of angry Rangers.
    There should be a generator at least nearby, but not in the base itself.
    You don't always have to place a generator and a deploy in the same minibase (see Alcazar, for example). Deploys should be inside whereas gens can be outside (nobody's gonna be spawning there so they can't be camped).
    If there's a large distance between bases, make sure there's a way to get there fast. Teleports (Garden) or a large supply of vehicles work. Hackable deploys inbetween bases works too.
    Standing from the roof of your base, you should not be able to see any part of the enemy base that you shoot in through with the sniper. Block with terrain or fog.
    If you're going to include teleporters, make the number of them sane and the layout obvious (UraniumEcho).
    Entirely indoors maps (if there are any, which I doubt) and the bases should not require you to hack 5 doors just to get to the node room and another 3 to get back out (Simplicity).
    The terrain needs cover in the form of hills, but still needs to be flat enough to be drivable.
     
  12. FurociousFa

    FurociousFa Banned

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    I disagree about energies, if you do that an entire could just go ranger and camp every energy because as we all know...hackers are for the most part defenseless. It also takes away from the stealth of hacking the getting out, without someone knowing what your doing.

    Indoor bases are neccesary if you expect gunners to play, gunners = innately good at defense, but what can they do if even 1 or 2 rangers come from 300 feet? Gassing will always be a problem, unless somethng that was mentioned to prg (like vacuums like on sirocco for gas) you just have to deal.

    As far as sirocco, i think the bases are about equal in terms of defense, because of the huge plateu's you can use to defend from (a ranger or gunner can get to the top of either plateu near red base) Open space good for juggy, and because of the levels above the node, alot of space for a tech to put turrets, a gunner to crouch and shoot rockets from - some people just arent keen to defending spots like that

    Too many hackable doors - 1 or 2 is good, but it really creates a bottleneck if the entire arti cappin process is hacking doors, on garden its fine, because you always only HAVE to hack one door, while hacking more than one will give you more options in terms of escape paths.
     
  13. PRG

    PRG XMP Beta Tester

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    I'm gonna assume you're talking LastRites which is of course made by me.
    In which case: Thanks for the mention bro!!

    Anyways, The best thing to do is study what Legend did.

    Alot of the following has been mentioned already but here's my 2 cents:

    -Multiple paths in an out of the base is a must. Too few and you can defend too easily in the bottle necks. Good example of bottlenecks:beta version of Emerald.

    -Multiple paths through the general map, so it doesn't end up being a DM map in the middle. This one of Garden 's biggest assets.

    -Careful attention paid to cheap tactics. Nakoja and the reskin of it Gecko are perfect examples. Nakoja had too much energy, and too much turret spamming on pubs. Gecko cuts the energy down BUT puts an ammo station at the node, hence has really bad turrets spam issues.

    -Cover. A map is no fun when it's essentially a long range snipe duel map. (think Xenubatic: great Tribes 2 map, awful XMP map)

    -Energy, having too much energy is bad thing(turret spam,) however you really need at least 3 well spaced out energies or it becomes a fight for energy. Lowlands is a perfect example of 2 generators being a bad thing.

    -Make every part of the map useful. If there's part of a map that have no reason to go there, remove them, up the FPS.

    -Redundant objectives are also a bad thing, especially with deploys. Fighting over 2 deploys that are hundred yards/meters apart that have little to seperate them is annoying and hurts game flow. or if you can defend 2 generators at once, it hurts game flow ot a lesser extent.(with energy though it's much more a strategic map feature though)

    -size, if a map is too big, it's just boring to play.
     
  14. FurociousFa

    FurociousFa Banned

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    Prg - like mantik went off on ur ass about, gorgeous? perhaps but defintely too easy to completely mine to hell very VERY biased towards a um gunner like yourself.
     
  15. Xaero

    Xaero Who Dey!

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    just about every mapper biases toward one class or another. Its just natural. You play gunner, you see things from a gunner's perspective. You play as ranger, you see things from a ranger's perspective.
     
  16. llam0rz

    llam0rz [pet]llama

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    Along those same lines, please for the love of god make sure your terrain isn't horribly uneven but in a flat way. A good example of this is Avalanche. It appears flat or slightly slope in some areas, but you get snagged on the terrain when you're dodging and boosting around sometimes. Some other map does it that I can't think of it's name. It spawns all 3 vehicles out the back, has an underground that leads nowhere and houses a gen for each team.. and 2 turrets aside of the node on top of buildings that house deploys. The only other deploys on the map are in two weird towers. That map. Anyways, the movement must coincide with the map.

    Also the fact that power shouldn't be too readily available for the type of map. An enclosed base that isn't too tight to create gaseous bottle necks and for heaven's sake, a little less emphasis on symmetry. Symmetrical in some way shape or form is good, but spice things up a bit. Make each side EVEN in terms of tactical advantage, but NOT a perfect replica of each other. I can't stress that enough. So sick of perfectly matches and perfectly symmetrical maps, it loses it's dynamics too fast.
     
  17. llam0rz

    llam0rz [pet]llama

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    FYI I didn't go off on his ass about it, I offered constructive critisizm, which he asked for. Whether he chooses to acknowledge it or take it into consideration is his own choice, and not really my concern. I'll play the map either way as it's in my opinion, the best cXp map ;)
     
  18. W0RF

    W0RF BuF Greeter, News Bagger

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    Only skimmed the posts, sorry if I repeat...

    The key word in the object of mapping is balance. There are so many things that need to be balanced because too much of one thing or another will crap up the map.

    - Size: Some XMP maps are too big, where even with vehicles you have to haul ass between objectives. The only real example I have of over-small maps being a problem is in the Onslaught maps with only one node. For 3v3 they work but in 5v5 it gets crowded, 6 or more on a side is just spammy. TOO small.

    - Mobility: Objectives must be spaced such that if a person is stuck because some lamer took a harby and drove off by himself, it's worth his time to go on foot. Something else that helps ground mobility is having spawn points in key areas so respawners can get into the action quickly. At the same time, it must be open enough that there is a reason and an advantage to use vehicles.

    - Energy: There must be enough of it so that one team is not at an extreme disadvantage (perfect example: Lowlands. Your team NEEDS both in order to do anything effective), but not so much that ppl can deploy-spam without any worries (I personally have made a career of making the Nakoja caves into impenetrable fortresses)

    - Recharge: Again, if you are all alone, or on a lame team, or on throne duty, it helps to have supply stations near (not necessarily at) the base, but don't litter the countryside with them. Again, make the players' supply packs have some value.

    - Indoor/Outdoor: in order for all 3 classes to be effective, you need areas where the gunner can pwn with close-range/splash, and open areas for the ranger to roam. The tech of course rides the fence, so if you cater to these two, you will also take care of the tech by default.

    - Access: only one way in/out of a base (Xaemia) can cause ridiculous bottlenecks, but having a node out in the open, or with TOO many ways in, will be impossible to defend. Bases and other key strategic points should be tough to take, but also tough to defend. Look at Garden: three entryways and two teleporters; look at SunsetBeach: two entryways and two teleporters. Both have multiple routes in and out of the base. Two GOOD defenders can hold these bases fairly well, but one good run on the base, or a lack of energy, can make their lives every bit as miserable.

    Terrain: flat boxes are boring sniper-whore-fests, but huge rolling hills and narrow canyons would make driving a pain. Build in variety but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Remember that terrain is part of the obstacle between objectives. Use it as part of what spaces them out and makes them strategic (example, the broken bridge in Alcazar, or the raised roadways in Sirocco).

    Eye Candy: again, flat boxes are boring, but a huge zig-zag pattern of trees will piss off your jugg drivers. USE the trees and etc, MAKE them part of the strategy. Trees can obscure a sniper's view just as much as a giant wall. Use them to break up open areas. You can always go crazy in peripheral areas of the map if you want to add "spice" but be mindful when placing things where people will expect to be travelling.

    BALANCING these things is what makes a map good. Do all these things and ppl will say "wow this map rocks" and maybe not even know why, not really be aware of the risk/reward factor you built into each of these areas. THAT'S IT! Think of it like a golf course: risk and reward. Make it tough, but fair, so that the n00bs can get around okay, but reward the vets for their skill. But get any one of these areas wrong and it may stick out like a sore thumb for ppl (lots of ppl grumble at lowlands because of the energy shortage, even tho many other areas are well-balanced).

    Best thing to do is lay out your map before you even open the editor. Know the theme of your map, then start fleshing things out. Start with gens and spawns, and work out indoor/outdoor areas, open/obscured areas, where to place the manned turrets, etc. Knowing how ALL THE PIECES fit together will save you a lot of time in the long run, like when you get 2/3 done with your map then realize, oh crap, my map is completely flat.

    My $.02.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2005
  19. FurociousFa

    FurociousFa Banned

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    Xaero - not all mappers play just one class, or are so simple headed that they can only possibly imagine things that would cater to one class..hmm

    But yeah...sirocco (imo) is a good example of non symmetrical map that is even in terms of tactical advantage/disadvantages, a poor example would be beach assault.
     
  20. iddQd

    iddQd Yours truly

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    IMO the key is a fun base structure and not too big landscape. Rampant makes it fun because the size is right and the bases are absolutely awesome allowing many different ways to attack and/or defend.
     
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