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How to make large open spaces work?

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5 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:


What I don't understand is why people consider it "trolling" to obsess over the little things or that it's stupid to think about them. Please understand that no matter what you are designing, be it a game, movie, car or anything, EVERYTHING matters. Everything. There are no "meaningless" details. Every design decision matters period.


If you disagree, fine. But don't call me a troll because my philosophy towards game design is different from yours.

There's nothing inherently wrong with focusing on the miniscule details in addition to the grandiose things. In fact, it's what let George Lucas sell the same three movies three times (he actually once said, "A movie is never finished, only abandoned."). It's starts to become obsession when you start focus on the minor bits to the EXCLUSION of finishing the project, letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.


So @rehelekretep probably shouldn't have called you a troll, but @Da Werecat did have a point about presentation, just as @Gustavo6046 was right that your original question is subjective.


You did start out by stating your opinion regarding small and medium rooms and that open spaces were difficult. All of these are valid statements. However, you didn't provide any sort of concrete scale until much later in the thread. ("Imagine E2M8 if it had 3-4 times the amount of open space and no pillars. That is my idea of big.") If you had started off by presenting a scale at which you find the space becoming unmanageable (more than just "bigger than the outdoor area in E1M1" which really isn't that big), then people would have some idea of how to respond. Mind you, the answers would likely have still been the same (height variation, enemies on turrets, decoration, pillars, etc.), but people wouldn't have started responded to your statements in a combative manner.


Now, for my thoughts on open spaces. I agree that open spaces are difficult to make to make work in the same way that smaller corridors and rooms are.

Ultimately, if all you have is a large 10000 x 10000 unit open space, without any additional detailing, it will feel dull and you will want to fill it up in some way to give your eye something to look at. You can get away with less detailing in smaller rooms and not have to feel that there's just too much empty space that you have to fill up. That being said, I think the key is to take advantage of the whole faux-3D space, especially it's vertical nature. Put monsters on multiple levels, whether they're turrets or they can reach the field of play (such as via stairs). I wouldn't necessarily use hitscanners at long distances without providing some amount of cover, but imps, hell knights, barons of hell, and mancubi would work well for that. So, you should probably add some amount of strategic cover, which would also serves to break up the monotony. You need to be able the reach the different height levels, too, so that you can have a different perspective. You shouldn't clutter the area up too much, because then that limits your maneuverability.


Also, during one of John Romero's playthrough of E1M7, he remarks about how he thought it was cool that you could shoot the monsters in the last couple of rooms all the way from the beginning of the map and that they could shoot back and that you would see fireballs from imps slowly flying across that open space.

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