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lmnt
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I don't remember where I've read that, but it was some article about Unreal, i think (or Half-Life, maybe). And the level designer there said that they finally started making good levels. The main point was, in old games (he explicititely mentioned Doom) the level was all very messy, with tons of places you can go to, and you often needed to return to previously visited places (e.g. to open the door once you got a key). That, the designer said, was a very bad way of designing a level. The good way is when it's all linear, where you never return back (except maybe seeing old places through a window or something like that) and can't get lost.
Now THAT'S A FUCKEN LIE. They should've fired that designer because he was one of the reasons why Unreal sucked. THAT FUCKEN LINEAR THING IS NOT THE PROPER WAY TO DESIGN LEVELS. Really, all of Half-life and Unreal is just like a goddamn tube with fancily shaped walls. You just go inside it. It sucks.
I hope they won't use that type of design in Doom 3. Or any other game for that matter.

Old Post 08-10-01 02:19 #
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Dark Fox
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Really, all of Half-life and Unreal is just like a goddamn tube with fancily shaped walls.


You obivously don't know jack shit bout levels, half life was very non-liner, UNreal was kinda liner but you did not goto from point A to b you dumb fuck. I've been in level design for HL, DOOM, DUKE 3D, and I'm mainly skilled with an Ued for over 6 years I've been in over 6 mods, 2 completing and one I run. You really don't know shit bout level design buddy..

http://www.planetunreal.com/furreal


You obviously think you know what ur talking about but there are 4 experienced designers here, me including of them.. Do a little research before you spew your bullshit on this forum.

Old Post 08-10-01 02:29 #
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AirRaid
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Yeah, man! HL was in no way linear. The best example I can think of is the 'On a Rail' Chapter. That bit was a fucking maze! I can't remember much about unreal, but it wasn't THAT linear.

Old Post 08-10-01 02:36 #
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stphrz
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Ok, I gotta ask, what is a linear level? How is linearity defined in terms of level design. A lot of people are confused about this from my personal experience. When I released my level "Shock 'Em Down" there were a few people who commented on it's "non-linearity" when in fact it is a fairly linear level (with some non-linear elements or segments). A level doesn't have to be shaped like a "tube" or run in an essentially straight line, or have no backtracking to be considered linear.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:19 #
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pilottobombadier
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Yeah, I have to admit, half-life is in no way linear..not only do you go back to doors, you go back through whole levels, etc. And Unreal isn't that linear either...you're always zipping back and forth between areas to hit switches and such.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:20 #
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stphrz
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Yeah, I have to admit, half-life is in no way linear..not only do you go back to doors, you go back through whole levels, etc. And Unreal isn't that linear either...you're always zipping back and forth between areas to hit switches and such.


Again, these elements are *not* what make a level non-linear. You have in fact just described linear design elements.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:23 #
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Dark Fox
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Ok, I gotta ask, what is a linear level?


From point A to point B with no inbetween.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:33 #
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stphrz
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Wrong.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:35 #
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Phoenix
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Come to think of it Deathmatch maps need to be circular anyway, and when you combine DM with single you get un-linear maps!
And if you do not like the maps in Doom, then don't play them.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:44 #
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Phoenix
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Wrong.

Explain!
Every one complained my maps are circular. And all I do is respawn enemies where you think they are all gone by now. The mission I set up is linear but the action is continuous, and you have at least two ways to accomplish the mission. The sneaky way or very brutal.

In this context I really want to know the exact definition of linear.

Old Post 08-10-01 03:52 #
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pilottobombadier
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therefore, Doom's level design is linear? or is there something I'm missing here? Ah...linear is where the level objectives are very clear, and non-linear is where it makes it up as it goes along based on your actions? or what?

Old Post 08-10-01 04:08 #
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Zaldron
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The definition of linear levels....mmmh, I guess it's a relation between the playable volume and the amount of bottlenecks you'll find.

Old Post 08-10-01 04:31 #
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stphrz
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E1M7 is a linear level. The path through the level is dictated by keys and switches. There are branches, and lots of backtracking, but it is still a linear level. The keys are collected in a specific order. Yellow, red, blue (or is it blue, red I can't remember :P)

E3M6 is a non linear level. There is no orderly path. The player is free to wander where he wants when he wants. It's not necessary to visit every part of the level to complete the level.

Old Post 08-10-01 04:48 #
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Zaldron
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All games have rooms that aren't necessary in order to complete the level. I guess it's impossible to draw a specific line between non-linear and linear.

It's more what the player feels after completing it. I think only after playing several times you'll get a solid opinion.

Old Post 08-10-01 04:57 #
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Phoenix
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E3M6 is a non linear level. There is no orderly path. The player is free to wander where he wants when he wants. It's not necessary to visit every part of the level to complete the level.

Ah, so since they can wonder around in my levels, they are right, if they want a specific path set for them, it's not there. I love the freedom to do what I want in maps, and simply dislike the finding the blue key which opens the door so you can get the red key which opens the door to the gold key which bla bla bla ....
Thanks!

Old Post 08-10-01 05:02 #
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stphrz
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Map 07 is an example of a linear level that provides non-linear navigation with a rigidly defined sequence of required actions by the player to complete the level.

1. Kill all mancubuses.

2. Kill all baby spiders.

3. Exit.

E1M4 is a perfect example of a combination. It's mostly non-linear with some linear elements to give structure to the gameplay.

Old Post 08-10-01 05:22 #
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Dark Fox
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Wrong.

Right.

Old Post 08-10-01 17:27 #
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Grul
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Well, there are different kinds of non-linear level designs. First you have the absolute non-linearity where there is a set of tasks that the player must complete to finish the level, in no particular order. The level designer might make it necessary to complete only two of three tasks to finish the level, or something like that. This design makes balancing a little more tricky, but it can be done.

Then there is a simpler form of non-linearity that I use a lot, and that is a main set of tasks, or a "main path" that the player has to complete to finish the level. Then there are a lot of subquests or "side paths" that the player may or may not complete. One such side quest might yield a rocket launcher or some other treasure that makes it easier to complete the level. It still isn't necessary. This makes the level seem a lot more non-linear than it really is. It is simpler to design too. I wrote an article about that once on the UAC (Up-and-coming) site. Dunno where that site went, though.

Old Post 08-11-01 10:58 #
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Lt
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E3M6 is a non linear level. There is no orderly path. The player is free to wander where he wants when he wants. It's not necessary to visit every part of the level to complete the level.
Actually, no, E3M6 is fairly linear. Just because there's extra areas to wander around doesn't mean it's not linear. Reason being that you don't actually do anything in those areas to pass parts of the level, you just pick something up and keep playing. E3M6 is a Point-A to Point-B level, it just has places to get sidetracked. If E3M6 was to be a non-linear level, there would be like 3 or 4 different ways of getting to the exit. There's only one way, and it's the same way every time you play.

Old Post 08-11-01 11:52 #
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stphrz
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E3M6 has a secret exit. So there are at least two ways to finish the level. The regular exit can be taken as soon as you get the blue key. You can get the blue key at pretty much any time you like, killing as many or as few enemies as you like, collecting as many weapons or other goodies as you like. So I still think E3M6 is fundamentally a non- linear level. Every level has something you must do or some place you must go from where you start to complete it. Every level is linear to *some* degree.

Old Post 08-11-01 21:53 #
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Lt
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OK, I guess you win out on the secret exit point. What I would consider a totally non-linear level would be if you put the 2nd hub of Hexen into a map. There's so many different ways you can finish that thing. Obviously it wouldn't be so big in a single map, but there are 6 keys in that hub and 6 keys to work with in Boom, so you could copy the puzzle structure to a different map, and that would be total non-linearity.

Old Post 08-12-01 07:36 #
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Linguica


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What is so bad about linearity? I happen to LIKE linearity... as long as it's not bleeding obvious that you are being led by the nose. Half-Life was pretty good in this regard -- the game was certainly very linear, but you always felt as if there was a good reason for having to go on the path you did: other paths were blocked off, or things had collapsed, etc etc. There were parts where you got to do a little exploring, but with a few minor exceptions, there was always only one way to move on to the next area. There's nothing inherently wrong with that.

Linearity is bad when it's completely blatant that there is one path and one path only, and the game design does not allow you to deviate from that whatsoever. An example of that sort of thing is Elite Force. I'm on Voyager you say? Cool, I'll go around and explore... wait, every single door is locked and there are fucking force fields everywhere and the lifts only will take me to one floor. Or Messiah -- that game was supposed to be the EPITOME of nonlinearity, with multiple solutions to every puzzle because you could inherit anyone's body. However, the game ended up being completely linear, since 90% of the puzzles REQUIRED you to inhabit a certain type of enemy in order to proceed. LAME.

One of the reasons that Deus Ex was such a friggin incredible game is because there WERE multiple ways to do pretty much anything. Sure, the plot did follow the same path for everyone, but for almost the entire game, the player was entirely free to play through it in whatever style they wanted.

Old Post 08-12-01 08:30 #
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Zaldron
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Yeah, linearity can be an excellent tool. First than all you gotta bear in mind that if your game's gonna have some kind of plot, you're damned to create specific bottlenecks in key zones.

That is, unless you wanna do an open game.

Anyway, the key is to make the player feel he's doing something and not just "walking the only path available".

Old Post 08-12-01 09:05 #
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Lt
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I should add I am not anti-linearity, I was just arguing over what makes a non-linear vs. linear level. I do prefer more linear levels over less linear levels, although a good mix is always most appreciated.

Old Post 08-13-01 03:06 #
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fraggle
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MAP19 has that clever exit where you need the Red Key and (the yellow key or the blue key) to exit...

Old Post 08-13-01 03:16 #
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Phoenix
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Yeah. This is one of my fav maps.

Still though, it's either my lack of English or brain but linear or circular is beyond my understanding. Any map does have a mission. You go from point A to B. Some call this linear. If you have route A1 to B, A2 to B and so on, you still have a linear map? This way even if one has the option between ending via B or C this could be considered duplex linear as well. The way I unserstand this is, only if point A is an exit as well than a map is circular, or there is no such thing as a circular map.

Old Post 08-13-01 03:53 #
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stphrz
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I agree. There's nothing wrong with linearity. I happen to like it myself. It doesn't really matter if a map is linear or non-linear. As long as it's well done and fun to play.

Old Post 08-13-01 04:16 #
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dr_st
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Well, E3M6 was cool. I guess you can bring it as an example of none-linearity, but you could make it very linear. Run to the ledge with the monsters to grab the invulnerability then quickly run to the teleporter to be teleported on the ledge near the secret exit and blast yourself with a rocket to it. It takes about 30 seconds without killing a single innoncent hellspawn creature.

It maybe unlinear in terms of having lots of areas which you can visit in any order or not visit at all and lots of rooms to confuse you while reaching the exit is very simple.
It maybe linear in terms of not having to visit any of those places.

Hexen was a good example of non-linear level design, because each hub is basically one big level where you go back and forth from one section to another. Basically there is an element of linearity and non-linearity in most of the levels except the really simple ones like MAP07. There are things which you can do in any order, there are things which you can only do having done something before, and there are places which you don't have to visit at all, just for bonuses and such.

When I play a level I don't usually think about whether it's linear or not, but I admit that I don't like getting stuck for hours and hours after pressing a switch that opens something way back and having to go and find what it opened and activate it to open some other hidden area in a section which I've visited before. That's bad design in my opinion, having to guess what the designer meant. In such cases I usually open the level in DETH to take a look.

When you make a single-map WAD it's good to have a big and complex level and when you make a whole episode I think it's good to have some short levels and some longer ones, because having all of them too long is exhausting for the player, not mentioning the designer.

I'm now playing TNT and I can say that after the huge MAP20 and relatively long MAP21 I enjoyed discovering that MAP22 can be done in seconds if you wish.

Old Post 08-13-01 11:49 #
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