General strategic/tactical guidelines for mapmaking?

General talk about the map making process.
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General strategic/tactical guidelines for mapmaking?

Post by StainlessSteelRat » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:04 pm

I have done a quick search and haven't found any posts relating to general guidelines for mapmaking relating to playing stratgies. Something like:

1. Placing a tall tower near an open area will allow GM to defend the area
2. Lack of large open expanses will limit the effectiveness of Laser

I realize these are rather obvious, but I'm sure some of you out there have a few little-known gems you might be willing to share with the community. I have heard a lot about how 2.x maps lack in gameplay, and thought some general comments on how to improve gameplay through mapping might be helpful.

Anyone?

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Post by CannonBallGuy » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:36 pm

I like to have different levels, such that you can shoot tanks on one platform, but they cannot shoot you - you would need to be on a lower platform for this.
Two pyramids, one on top of the other, upside down, can be used to rico shots up onto a higher level too.
Lastly, Pyra's can be great for killing pesky wing-whores that are flyring around above you.
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Post by sid6.7 » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:39 pm

LARGE question...


there is no REAL correct answer as maps
can vary too much...

1. what is the overall "theme" or effect you want
can be what determines what you have on the map.

2. on 2 of my maps i tried to make areas that consider
EVERY flag so everyone can play the flag to its
potential...

the rest of this is old school 1.X suggestions i havent
delved into 2.X more then a few times as i do prefer
old school... :oops:

1. ALWAYS have counter flags..I.E GM = ST
OO = SW

2. not everyone appreciates climbing, try to stay
with 3 jumps to get to a different level MAX or
use teles to help facilitate that..

3. try to avoid making CAMPING spots or at least
provide a counter camp spot...I.E GM tower?
provide another tower to shoot them with a LASER
thats outa reach of GM from accross the map...

4. towers = favors GM and ST and SW

5. open maps = favors laser, narrow, tiny, CL

6. cluttered maps = favor ST and SB and OO

6a. 1 shot maps = favors MG , narrow ,tiny, CL and fast reload

7. make sure ALL your tele sides go somewhere
unless your looking for window effects

8. rico is bad with laser unless thats what you really want... :(

9. try to at least create 1 barrier that cuts a map in half
to prevent TOTAL laser or SB camping....

10. wings can be very evil and screw up map planning
unless your making a "wings theme"...I.E 2 flaps
on cluttered/tower maps is more then enough to
kick butt...

11. as suggested above pyr's can be used for some
creative rico's...

12. everyone has an opinion on good map making, do what you want...
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Post by eagle » Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:28 pm

one i just thought of is that you want to make sure that if you have a sharp turn on gm then you make a lot of obstacles to hide behind otherwise it will br to hard to kill the gmer
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Post by loophole » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:33 pm

http://www-swiss.ai.mit.edu/~bentz/bzfl ... Principles

^that is one of Purple Panzer's pages. Check it out if tyou haven't seen it.

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Post by BinarySpike » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:35 pm

sid6.7 wrote:LARGE question...


there is no REAL correct answer as maps
can vary too much...
Buzz, wrong...
It is the crowd, and theme you are trying to get at. bust mostly the crowd, when I made Boxy War it was not for atheistically pleasing maps to show off to other mappers, like so many maps nowdays, it was for whispershadow and his friend... (The normal Joe's of BZFlag was my crowd/audience)

Then the theme was "liked gameplay" most admin/servers don't like camping... but all the "Normal Joes" like it... so I made a map where camping was "required"
1. what is the overall "theme" or effect you want
can be what determines what you have on the map.
1. ALWAYS have counter flags..I.E GM = ST
OO = SW
Crowd + Theme;
2. not everyone appreciates climbing, try to stay
with 3 jumps to get to a different level MAX or
use teles to help facilitate that..
Physiologically speaking... symmetrical spaces of 2 to 4 sides are maps today, gives the player the "sense" of fairness, if a player thinks it's unfair then he won't play the level... notice most maps on Halo, Doom, Quake, Quake mods, etc. etc. all the big maps that hit have a "sense" of fairness and equality, because everyone wants to feel equal.
(It's a fact of life... seen several times in history)

That is the "width" and "length" layout though...

Don't level everything at 3 jumps, or 2, or 1, makes for bad camping (bad camping = camping that makes people leave of frustration)

Making smaller heights in correct spots and higher heights in other correct spots makes your map like-able, depending on the "correct spots" is if it promotes good or bad camping, or even camping at all.

3. try to avoid making CAMPING spots or at least
provide a counter camp spot...I.E GM tower?
provide another tower to shoot them with a LASER
thats outa reach of GM from across the map...
A map without camping spots *at all* are boring, because if everyone feels equal to everyone at every second of the game, then no one will play... I get all giggly when I get ST and camp at a spot... and it causes the other players to have a challenge, to fight... to win... to play :)
4. towers = favors GM and ST and SW
Not ST, ST is best served in maze like structures...
(Inside the tele building on viper, in the center on Boxy War)
5. open maps = favors laser, narrow, tiny, CL
Sniping maps favor laser. Narrow is preferred on one or two shot servers or on really really really high shot servers.
6. cluttered maps = favor ST and SB and OO
Maps with good "no radar" camping spots favor ST, SB is favored by a big wall or area where you can be and shoot through things.

OO is favored by walls as well, buildings and hiding spots... for squirrel shots (where you pop out and then pop back in)
6a. 1 shot maps = favors MG , narrow ,tiny, CL and fast reload
One shot maps are highly disliked by normal players.
7. make sure ALL your tele sides go somewhere
unless your looking for window effects
Extremely good advice, btw the "Window effect" is where you camp behind a tele... very very good tactic on World Of Chaos.
8. rico is bad with laser unless thats what you really want... :(
Make the laser shorter, maps with lasers that reach just farther than bullets are good too... *mental note to have devs fix laser physics*

lasers follow shotspeed for their physics, in real life if you shot a laser it would not curve either way, because light is considered infinite.
9. try to at least create 1 barrier that cuts a map in half
to prevent TOTAL laser or SB camping....
Nononononono, heavy cover, pryamids and boxes!!! you should "Never" play most of the game on the ground, the ground should be for moving from area to area, and then fight to control the area you are moving too.

Ducati is fun because it's "old" style... we are moving to 2.x it's things like that that keep the bzflag mapping so far behind and gets people like me shunned for all my "newage" mapping skills...
10. wings can be very evil and screw up map planning
unless your making a "wings theme"...I.E 2 flaps
on cluttered/tower maps is more then enough to
kick butt...
Wings servers are dying... :(
Wings should be split into Gyroscope and thrusters.
11. as suggested above pyr's can be used for some
creative rico's...
No, then people that get hit by "famous" pryamid shots like GamesUnited base legs will get all frustrated... pyramids should be used for shot diffusion and if you hit a guy in the air every once in a while... good :D

(as long as the shot is moving horizontal and not vertical when it's intended rico hits the person then it's fine... shots hitting you from below or above should stay out... confuses, frustrates players when they get hit)
12. everyone has an opinion on good map making, do what you want...
Yes sadly... This is probably gonna turn into a flame :cry:
It's the popularity of the server by the crowd, lasermania had its own crowd, so did viper, and gu and ducati... none of them were mixable...

Here's some great links for general professional map making, when you have read this stuff for 8 and more years like I have then you can disagree :arrow:
*is working on becoming a professional map maker and graphic/game designer*

common terms
Note: Brush is considered by me as an "Object", Leaks in bzflag could be considred... /set _drawGround 0
Really cool effects but I haven't found a use for it in a map yet...
(may not "leak" on some advanced graphics cards... basically the "leak" is not draw on so anything drawn over that portion of screen stays there... like a "blur" effect)

And "Portals" are *extremely* important in most games... Idk if bzflag runs portals... I don't think so :( (if it doesn't, and it did then the performance could be up to 5 times as fast)

To add, Deathmatch is FFA and Jugernaut and assassin are rabbit hunt
CTF is CTF...

CTF map design
I disagree with several small comments he says... I'll get another link that more closely looks toward general map making... instead of CTF next...

When he talks about grapple... think "Wings" or any other movement enhancing flag... like OO etc. etc.

I kinda stopped reading when he got more quake specific.
But the "Hyperblaster" part is a good example why lasermania wasn't massivly played by all... because of the lag... even my dads super-video card couldn't handle it sometimes...

Level design 01
If it goes to another page for you... just hit the stop button before it redirects next time ;-)

Sequel to last link... Game design 02
Use the stop button if it starts redirecting you!!!

Those last two links I've been over like four times... ahh...
I applyed most of those rules to Boxy War... and look where it got that map.......... :lol:

*edit*
wow took me almost two hours to write this...

Forgot one thing... too!
If you are a mapper trying to push bzflag along... then make maps that border on 1.x and 2.x to get players used to all the new features...

deadly phydrv's should be obvious... and not in the way... players "feel cheated when they get killed by the map"

1.x is the groovyness at the moment

Get other games that are based on maps... Quake, Quake mods, cubeengine.com dpball.com and look at their maps...

The best research you can do is on xbox live, find the maps liked by a wide majority of people... like Ascension or Lockout...
Then find how you can incorperate it into bzflag...

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Post by loophole » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:14 pm

(as long as the shot is moving horizontal and not vertical when it's intended rico hits the person then it's fine... shots hitting you from below or above should stay out... confuses, frustrates players when they get hit)
pyramid ricos are great. So what if it confuses or frustrates. I believe that confusion and frustration are part of the learning curve. Actually it is very easy to use pyramid ricos, shots fly paralell to the baseline of the pyramid (sometimes it is different, and the shot will fly at an angle, is this a server variable that changes this?) It's pretty rare but i get pyramid rico kills on babel occasionaly.

In all online games I've played I have been frustrated that people only played a small set of popular maps. No one wants to put in the effort to explore a new map or play style :roll: You can see this in bz in how there are lots of people that only play on one server exclusively. The situation isn't helped by the way bzflag lists available servers by players instead of ping, most people only ever see the top 10.

went a little OT but I do not believe that popularity=a good map.

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Post by BinarySpike » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:06 am

went a little OT but I do not believe that popularity=a good map.
Yeah, but you gotta get the map popular first... ;-)

Meteorite had three obs, was always within the first two pages of the list but never got anyone on his server cause he never hosted a breakthrough map (occasonally he did, like Brennen the Greats, but those died out)

You gotta have something in the map worth your playing time... Loumans desktop, Loumans blah Loumans blih.. they always are maxed out when they first release then they die out... :(

*edit*
Meteorites bounceme server, not the new bzfx servers ;-)

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Post by CannonBallGuy » Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:40 am

BinarySpike wrote:
went a little OT but I do not believe that popularity=a good map.
Yeah, but you gotta get the map popular first... ;-)

Meteorite had three obs, was always within the first two pages of the list but never got anyone on his server cause he never hosted a breakthrough map (occasonally he did, like Brennen the Greats, but those died out)

You gotta have something in the map worth your playing time... Loumans desktop, Loumans blah Loumans blih.. they always are maxed out when they first release then they die out... :(

*edit*
Meteorites bounceme server, not the new bzfx servers ;-)
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Post by eagle » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:54 pm

I agree with BinarySpike and whoever said somthing like this:
I have noticed that there are a few maps on the first page that are always played on like the two castles map. there are less strategy maps out now because people want to show off their "map making skills" by making louman's "style" of maps.
louman's maps are cool to look at but they just need more gameplay, thats why not many people play on them. The only problem is that it's hard to make a good map.
People shouldn't just realease maps that they randomly made, but the mappers should spend a while testing it, making sure it has a good layout, and perfecting it before they realease it in the forums here.
Some things that make good maps are things like walls to bounce shots off and kill a hard to reach person. it is also fun to have mini-battles like a battle over a spot where geno spawns at the same time people are fighting over the flag in ctf.
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Post by Green Manalishi » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:23 pm

BinarySpike wrote: You gotta have something in the map worth your playing time... Loumans desktop, Loumans blah Loumans blih.. they always are maxed out when they first release then they die out... :(

well, for me most of louman's maps are much more playable and fun than boxy war will ever be. i'm still actively enjoying my games on mystic valley, columns and rivers, legoland, metropolis a.o. where you don't have to constantly put up with frustrated tk'ers, geno whores and career campers. add to them the fact that once a team starts to dominate on boxy, the fun is pretty much gone for the weaker team.. at least that was the situation in the original days of your map (remember when it was 'your' map). with the changes it might have become better but i still haven't bothered to stay long enough to observe how much the changes have effected the gameplay. as to popularity, it takes less essential bz skills (like dodging) to grab points there, thus the popularity achieved mostly by the flocking of n00bs.

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Post by sid6.7 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:31 pm

oh boy oh joy...

i dont think he was asking about popularity he was
asking about strategic mapping/planning although
some folks may tie the two together...
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Post by sid6.7 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:13 pm

BinarySpike wrote:
sid6.7 wrote:LARGE question...


there is no REAL correct answer as maps
can vary too much...
Buzz, wrong...
It is the crowd, and theme you are trying to get at. bust mostly the crowd, when I made Boxy War it was not for atheistically pleasing maps to show off to other mappers, like so many maps nowdays, it was for whispershadow and his friend... (The normal Joe's of BZFlag was my crowd/audience)

Then the theme was "liked gameplay" most admin/servers don't like camping... but all the "Normal Joes" like it... so I made a map where camping was "required"
i think i'll stick with my "there is no REAL correct answer"
as NO one will ever agree on whats right which we can
obviously see...

BinarySpike wrote: Physiologically speaking... symmetrical spaces of 2 to 4 sides are maps today, gives the player the "sense" of fairness, if a player thinks it's unfair then he won't play the level... notice most maps on Halo, Doom, Quake, Quake mods, etc. etc. all the big maps that hit have a "sense" of fairness and equality, because everyone wants to feel equal.
(It's a fact of life... seen several times in history)
that might be good for team play but not neccisarily for
FFA....
BinarySpike wrote:
That is the "width" and "length" layout though...

Don't level everything at 3 jumps, or 2, or 1, makes for bad camping (bad camping = camping that makes people leave of frustration)
i dont think were on the same page here or i am not understanding you
if someone has to jump 50 times to get to the top of something alot
of folks wont like it...you can have as many levels as you want
on your map just make them 3 jumps or less between them or
us some teles to make level transition a bit easier...you'll
find most players like the 3 jump MAX...

BinarySpike wrote: A map without camping spots *at all* are boring, because if everyone feels equal to everyone at every second of the game, then no one will play... I get all giggly when I get ST and camp at a spot... and it causes the other players to have a challenge, to fight... to win... to play :)
well no map is "camping free" unless its flat...but i was talking about
making SPECIFIC camping spots you really need a counter spot
or something to counter it...
BinarySpike wrote: 4. towers = favors GM and ST and SW

Not ST, ST is best served in maze like structures...
(Inside the tele building on viper, in the center on Boxy War)
ST is great for dropping down behind someone from above
try fairgrounds and you'll see what i mean..

BinarySpike wrote: 6a. 1 shot maps = favors MG , narrow ,tiny, CL and fast reload

One shot maps are highly disliked by normal players.
hmm...back in the old days 1 shot or 2 shot maps
are for elite players so you maybe right only good
players should play 1 shot maps not "normal players"...
BinarySpike wrote: 9. try to at least create 1 barrier that cuts a map in half
to prevent TOTAL laser or SB camping....

Nononononono, heavy cover, pryamids and boxes!!! you should "Never" play most of the game on the ground, the ground should be for moving from area to area, and then fight to control the area you are moving too.

Ducati is fun because it's "old" style... we are moving to 2.x it's things like that that keep the bzflag mapping so far behind and gets people like me shunned for all my "newage" mapping skills...


i disagree
BinarySpike wrote: 11. as suggested above pyr's can be used for some
creative rico's...

No, then people that get hit by "famous" pryamid shots like GamesUnited base legs will get all frustrated... pyramids should be used for shot diffusion and if you hit a guy in the air every once in a while... good :D

(as long as the shot is moving horizontal and not vertical when it's intended rico hits the person then it's fine... shots hitting you from below or above should stay out... confuses, frustrates players when they get hit)
i disagree as long as you dont have laser on your map
it can be quite interesting to see some neat rico shots
that have been developed...

BinarySpike wrote: 12. everyone has an opinion on good map making, do what you want...

Yes sadly... This is probably gonna turn into a flame :cry:
It's the popularity of the server by the crowd, lasermania had its own crowd, so did viper, and gu and ducati... none of them were mixable...
again i dont think it was popularity he was asking for but
strategic mapping/planning for the different flags...
BinarySpike wrote: Here's some great links for general professional map making, when you have read this stuff for 8 and more years like I have then you can disagree
sadly mixing games to create standard maps doesnt always work
HALO, QUAKE are different animals then Bzflag some of
the links had some good suggestions but not all.

as for length of time doing maps, not always relevant when you see
loumans( i still dont know who he might be) but he came after
me and makes maps WAY WAY better then me and i've been doing it
for 7 years with numerous game types...unless of course thats
not his real callsign and hes really someone else thats been
here from the begining...so some folks just have a natural knack for it
from the start and dont need 8 years of experience...
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Post by StainlessSteelRat » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:21 pm

Actually this:
Two pyramids, one on top of the other, upside down, can be used to rico shots up onto a higher level too.
is exactly the type of thing I was looking for. I never would have thought to do that. Just the kind of little known trick that makes it fun to play on different maps.

Good info from everyone else also. I may not agree with, or use, all of it, but more info can only help. I really do appreciate the discussion.

I have just recently started mapmaking. About 8 of us from my work play every day during lunch, and I thought it would be cool to make a map that looks like our cubicles. I made a quickie map in BZEdit and found it surprisingly playable. I then added texturing in Notepad++ and finally added some UV mapped meshes from Blender. All in all a pretty gentle learning curve. And the maps end up somewhere between a 1.x and a 2.x map, simple geometries, nifty textures.

Thanks for the info, all!

Cheers,
StainlessSteelRat

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Post by eagle » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:49 pm

well good luck with your map making and we would all like to see your maps too!
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Post by Hannibal » Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:18 am

eagle wrote:I have noticed that there are a few maps on the first page that are always played on like the two castles map. there are less strategy maps out now because people want to show off their "map making skills" by making louman's "style" of maps.
Is Boxy War not a strategy map? Two Castles is also. Just about any CTF map I would consider to be a strategy map. You need strategy to be successful. It may not be a team strategy, but individually, you have to have an idea of what you are going to do until you are killed. Then, you can keep that same strategy or adopt a different one.

Name two you would consider to be a 'show-off'-type mapper.
eagle wrote:louman's maps are cool to look at but they just need more gameplay, thats why not many people play on them. The only problem is that it's hard to make a good map.
All of Louman's maps are well thought out, designed, and done. The only critique I can place on all of his maps as a whole is that they are huge in terms of file size.

Even individually, they are hard to find flaw with. Most of them can be used for any style of play, and they make the most of the advances in mapping technology. You can't fault him for using what is available.

People play on what servers that other people are on. 95/100 BZ players will never or almost never seed a server, sitting there waiting for players to come and join him/her. Players go to where other players are. Simple as that.
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