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Myst.Haruko

How to handle big areas?(gameplay planning question)

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So, I'm design my map and I created quite big areas in mapping process. Now, I can't handle them well, because I want have some small slaughtery gameplay, but let player to have control and not punish him so hard. Also, how to give good objectives for player and let monsters to defend them. Any good tips how to do this?

I put map plan(big areas are marked in red) and how they look in visual mode if this can help. 

P.s. I switched off visible things in visual mode, so places will be more clear.


Map plan:
 

Spoiler

wtsFPRJ.jpg


Visual mode view:

Spoiler


PvpJpTd.jpg

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5qw7VKY.jpg

 



 

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Areas usually have a way in and a way out. When the player enters a large area, there needs to be population there, so the area does not look devoid of any life.

 

Being able to get out of the area can be tied to an objective: Switches, keys, you name it.

 

Switches and whatnot can be tied to ambushes, and involve fights that are standout encounters, because it's an important item/switch to get to.

 

How you design your fights, what monsterst you use and where you put them is your decision.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Areas usually have a way in and a way out. When the player enters a large area, there needs to be population there, so the area does not look devoid of any life.

 

Being able to get out of the area can be tied to an objective: Switches, keys, you name it.

 

Switches and whatnot can be tied to ambushes, and involve fights that are standout encounters, because it's an important item/switch to get to.

 

How you design your fights, what monsterst you use and where you put them is your decision.

 

 

But monster placement in my case is very chaotic and doesn't make sense, unless I should create infight based monster placement. It's hard for me when I think about unlimited possibilities in big,open areas. 

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Monster placement that makes sense does not have to involve infighting at all.

 

Also you can easily divide large areas into several smaller, connected ones.

 

You can use turreted enemies that lock down parts of that area, or turrets that generally can shoot about everywhere the player can move. That already changes the dynamic of an area quite a bit.

 

 

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I would suggest possibly having some more solid structures inside the scene. Could split up a single wide opening with a couple of pillars to give players and monsters both some more stuff to duck around, giving more complex terrain to play with instead of it just being wide open everywhere. Doom monsters have a way of surprising you and coming from places you don't expect if you break up an area a bit so they have multiple paths to take. Phml did a good example about this a couple years ago.

 

With the right monster placement and layout, the small safe zones you create this way can still keep the player on their toes rather than giving them a safe outpost to stand and hold the fire button.

 

Pillars don't have to just be pillars, either: you could make a big pillar and hollow it out to make a tower with windows for sniping monsters, so it can serve multiple purposes, or maybe put a circular staircase or lift inside that pillar to allow the player a different vantage point in exchange for fighting their way to the top. (That one's probably better as the centerpiece of a room, though, rather than something to add after the fact here...)

 

You could also incorporate greater variation in heights between your adjacent accessible areas, so that the sides of the ledges can themselves block or allow line of sight between different areas of the scene depending on where you're positioned, and then release some flying monsters to utilize their advantage over the player.


Limiting the player's maneuverability with some well-placed damagefloor is also a useful technique for big open areas.

 

Design rules are meant to be broken, but still, players will probably appreciate if the map gives them at least something in the area to duck around and use their agility as defense. Otherwise, they'll be more likely to camp out near wherever they came in and try to play things safe rather than becoming a bullet sponge by trying to really engage with your big arena.... Though of course, you could always just ammo-starve them or lock them in to give them no choice but to play along.

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My 2 cents: have more than 1 entrance and 1 exit to a combat heavy area, and make these portals very wide so to avoid "traffic jams". If enemies are free to pursue the player from room to room without obstruction, it adds to difficulty and unpredictability and you might not have to use a high number of enemies.

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The later maps of Speed of Doom and Going Down have some pretty massive battle fields. The trick I think is to use linedef actions so that monsters are awoken when the player is where you want them to be.

 

In the above megawads, you'll often see hordes of monsters instantly pop up out of the ground. It's kind of jarring for atmosphere, but for gameplay it does the job. Don't forget you also have stuff like monster closets, teleport ambushes, or platforms that you can descend from the ceiling. The more variety of monster presentation the better.

 

Note that monsters will all mash up in a group no matter how much you spread them out when trying to chase you. If all the monsters are on the ground, the player can guide them all into a corner and cheese the entire encounter. Line monsters across ledges or on a series of suspended platforms the monsters cannot step off of so they can snipe the Marine as he tries to push across the battlefield. If the monsters have significant area denial ability (monsters like Revenants, Mancubi, chaingunners, archviles, and Cyberdemons,) It should stall the player, long enough for the hordes to flank him from behind. This will create a conundrum where the player really has no choice but take them out.

Edited by 40oz

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4 minutes ago, 40oz said:

If the monsters have significant area denial ability (monsters like Revenants, Mancubi, chaingunners, archviles, and Cyberdemons,) It should slow the player from trying to get across, long enough for the hordes to flank him from behind.

On that note, Linguica's post about understanding the Doom 2 monsters' various gameplay functions is really worth a read, I think.

 

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Maybe this screenshot will help you in some way, Haruko. I'm not going to advertise here, but I think if you take a look you can get an idea of a good way to place monsters to provide a challenge, while not having all of them attacking you at once.5957eea48173c_ExperimentZero(editarea)at2017_07.0204-18-07.494R2787.jpg.252c26931f9e43b90b9aeb57635d36bf.jpg

 

Every single piece of missing textures there are related to pits that have monsters in them. the monsters can be alert  the whole time or they can be deaf. but there will be no textures missing upon loading, and you can make the pits go as deep as you want to prevent the monsters from seeing you from other heights. Your areas are huge, and while I dont know how the areas flow (As in how you're meant to go about them) I'm seeing plenty of areas where you could implement similar pits as to what i've placed in. I dont know if this is what you really want, but I thought it might help some way.

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24 minutes ago, Phade102 said:

Maybe this screenshot will help you in some way, Haruko. I'm not going to advertise here, but I think if you take a look you can get an idea of a good way to place monsters to provide a challenge, while not having all of them attacking you at once.5957eea48173c_ExperimentZero(editarea)at2017_07.0204-18-07.494R2787.jpg.252c26931f9e43b90b9aeb57635d36bf.jpg

 

Every single piece of missing textures there are related to pits that have monsters in them. the monsters can be alert  the whole time or they can be deaf. but there will be no textures missing upon loading, and you can make the pits go as deep as you want to prevent the monsters from seeing you from other heights. Your areas are huge, and while I dont know how the areas flow (As in how you're meant to go about them) I'm seeing plenty of areas where you could implement similar pits as to what i've placed in. I dont know if this is what you really want, but I thought it might help some way.

Actually, I could create chillax tier challenge, but when I'll be hated for it. Anyway, I'm going to modify some areas and cut them in smaller sections and try incorporate all these ideas in sections of the marked places map. ( Damn, my english sucks and I oftn run out of words). I'll  try not reach 400 monster limit in map. 

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1 minute ago, MysteriousHaruko said:

Actually, I could create chillax tier challenge, but when I'll be hated for it. Anyway, I'm going to modify some areas and cut them in smaller sections and try incorporate all these ideas in sections of the marked places map. ( Damn, my english sucks and I oftn run out of words). I'll  try not reach 400 monster limit in map. 

Download Valiant.wad if you dont have it and take a look at how monster encounters are done there. Or download a wad that inspires you, and take a look at how they do it. Good luck =)

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19 minutes ago, MysteriousHaruko said:

Actually, I could create chillax tier challenge, but when I'll be hated for it. Anyway, I'm going to modify some areas and cut them in smaller sections and try incorporate all these ideas in sections of the marked places map. ( Damn, my english sucks and I oftn run out of words). I'll  try not reach 400 monster limit in map. 

Just filling the area with stuff won't do you and your map any good.

 

That aside, the people who made chillax by way of modifying other wads actually had a general sense of how they wanted and needed things to be placed. The general impression that in chillax, maps areas are mindlessly loaded to the brim with all types of stuff is a common misinterpretation by people who never tried beating any of these maps the intended way. The fact of the matter is that the people who made chillax actually had what I would consider (questionable?) "mapping sensibilities".

 

If you keep the areas mostly the way they are now, without some considerable downsizing in some way shape or form, you're unlikely to be able to keep the overall monster-count below 400, if you want the map to play semi-slaughtery, at least that's the impression I have gotten from playing an unfinished version recently. Erase that arbitrary number from your memory, and just put stuff where you think it makes sense to have it. The one speedmap I uploaded a week ago or so had +1000 things in it and could be UVmaxed in less than 70 seconds. Numbers don't mean much is what I'm saying here.

 

Get a functioning map together that can be exited, put it up for discussion, have people do demos, learn from those demos and comments you get.

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14 hours ago, Phade102 said:

Download Valiant.wad if you dont have it and take a look at how monster encounters are done there. Or download a wad that inspires you, and take a look at how they do it. Good luck =)

Jumping aboard the Valiant train as well. I'd recommend any mapper who wants to improve to check out Valiant's map design, texture use, everything. Not saying it's the greatest thing since sliced bread but it's a really well done mapset that is very teachable.

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