Author Topic: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps  (Read 3506 times)

Offline Ts4EVER

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Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« on: 03-12-2016, 14:12:12 »
Designing FH2 maps

1.Introduction

In this tutorial I will try to explain some guidelines of how to design FH2 maps.
Before we look at some actual details, one thing first: If you want to make a successful map, first you need to get out of the perspective of the player and into the perspective of a designer. A player looks at a map from an “inside” perspective: What can I do here? What do I have to do to have fun / succeed? What are my best tactical options?

The designer needs to look at a map from the outside. What kind of experience do I want to create for the player? What is my map about? The first ideology one needs to shed is that players are in charge of gameplay. That is what you need to make them believe, but it is not actually the case. The mapper is in charge of what happens on a map, players are being manipulated into performing whatever actions are fun to them. A video game provides no real or authentic experience, it is always manufactured.

In this multi part tutorial I will start from a very abstract, high level phase of design, the “overall plan”, and then descent into the nitty gritty details and low level design.

2. High level layout and structure

Usually when multiplayer map design is discussed, one word comes up over and over: flow. So what does it mean? According to the Valve developer wiki:

Flow refers to how players naturally move through the level as their needs change, affected by the navigability of the environment and item placement. Flow is closely related to multiplayer map balance, and is usually discussed in a generalized context in relation to the level layout.

The way I think of it, “flow” means guiding the players through your level from one point of decision to the next. Video games are an interactive medium, so they need to offer meaningful choices to the player. Each round a player plays can be thought of as a series of choices he makes, from big ones (I will take this tank and guard flag X instead of flag Y) to really small, short lived ones (I will run to this piece of cover I see instead of the other one a bit further away). Note that these decisions are not free: They are set up and designed by the mapper, who only provides the illusion of a free choice in order to supply the fantasy most people seek in video games.

So where are the players supposed to flow to? Usually towards some kind of action point, also called action bubble, conflict points etc. In FH2, there are two kinds: Flagzones and chokepoints. “Flow” means guiding players into these objectives so they can enjoy themselves fighting over them. In this first part we will take a high level look at this, before delving deeper into the small scale stuff later.

In order to visualize flow, I usually picture the players as water going through a series of pipes, usually along a path of least resistance. Now obviously this doesn’t mean you should make your map an actual series of pipes, but it helps to visualize it like that to get a good overall structure. Let’s look at an idealized conquest map.

2.1 Conquest maps

The conquest map is the most basic possible battlefield map layout. Its distinguishing feature is that it is open. Every flag can be attacked at any time and no flag is inherently worth more than others, although depending on the layout flags might have different purposes. The basic goal is to hold more flags than the enemy for as long as possible.


 
As you can see, you have two main bases here from which the “flow” of players originates, as well as 5 objectives, namely flagzones, that are connected by the main routes.
Main routes can be many things, but they need to be clear. This means a player, even if he never played the map, should be able to say just by looking at it: If I go this way, I will go somewhere useful. In Battlefield maps are usually fairly open, so compared to Counter Strike and similar games you have a lot of freedom to switch between paths, change up your tactics quickly or try something else. The basic design principles are the same though.

Note how it is very easy to visualize player decisions as well. The player spawns into the base and immediately has to make a tactical choice: “Do I go north, south or through the middle?” Each flagzone represents a similar node, it is directly connected to other flags. One way to easily mark main routes is by making them into roads. On many maps the road network is the number 1 guiding tool the mapper uses. This doesn’t mean players will slavishly drive down the roads, but they will know, on some level, that the road on a properly laid out map will lead them somewhere useful. As an example, picture Eppeldorf: the Germans have captured the first farm. Where will a player who spawns there most likely go? In the direction of the town, I would argue. A road leads there and one can clearly see the town as a worthwile objective. Will he go down the road? Maybe if he is in a tank, an experienced infantry player will rather go through the more covered forest, running parallel to the road. This whole area is one main route connecting the farm flagzone with the two town flagzones.

Now you might look at the picture and notice how literally no map looks like it. That is because it is an oversimplification. For one thing, you can change up the gameplay of your within these coordinates quite easily, by manipulating your flag layout. Take as an example the Sinai desert map, released with Battlefield 1.


 
The basics are the same, but note how the flag layout changes the way the map plays. Four flagzones are clustered in the north, two are close to the mainbases as a kind of springboard and one in the south is surrounded by lots of free space and kind of apart. If you look at the terrain, you see that there is a method here: The north has lots of buildings and close combat areas, so together with the four close flags you will get frantic infantry combat with fast changing frontlines. The south is surrounded by huge open desert expanses, so tanks, planes and cavalry can use their speed and range to duel over this flag. The two others allow players to break stalemates in the town or try and cut of the enemy from their mainbase.
By changing up how the flagzones are arranged and the nature of the terrain around them, they created a fairly unique map within the conquest framework and give the players meaningful tactical choices about how they want to approach the map.

Let’s look at how this idealized concept looks ingame, using Arad as an example.



In an actual map there are usually few straight lines, but the basic principle is easy to see. Main routes are marked by roads or simply open areas between the forests, effortlessly guiding player to where they need to go. Each flag represents a meaningful choice, there is always somewhere else to go.
This map also shows one of the other principles of map design: the choke point. The choke point is a point between flagzones were conflict is usually inevitable. If a bridge or ford on this map is guarded, there is no way to really avoid conflict and sneak around: You have to push through and take on whatever enemy is opposing you. How that works in detail is not important right now, but one thing should be mentioned. A choke point is not necessarily a point that limits where you can go. A bridge does that, of course, but it doesn’t have to be something like that. An open area without concealment can be a chokepoint just as well, even if it is way wider than any bridge. The beach area on Omaha for example is basically one big choke point, because there is no way to traverse it without somehow interacting with the enemy.

One can make maps completely without chokepoints, but then you run the risk of creating a map where only the flagzones matter, where the terrain around them is only there to be quickly skipped through using the fastest transport available. This can for example happen if the map is filled completely with random concealment, usually overgrowth. What happens then is that all pathing and flow becomes effectively meaningless and the flagzones turn into isolated battles without any relationship with each other.
One of the worst things that can happen in a multiplayer map is back tracking. A dead end in a map represents the end of choice. If you reach a dead end, that is basically the game saying to you: There is nothing of use here, turn around. The only reason there should ever be a dead end in a multiplayer map is because you have completely defeated the enemy and now only camping their main or watching their tickets drain is left to do. In all other cases, it simply is horrible flow.


 
This was often done wrong in FH2 maps in the past. Let’s take a look at the original version of Mareth Line, back before a second bridge was added and it was turned into a pushmap.




Compare this to Arad: Dead ends everywhere. Have you ever noticed how most of the infantry that spawns at Toujane usually automatically runs up an empty hill and then has to jump over a weirdly placed little wall besides that house in order to get to Matmata? This is the effect of bad flow. One of the most trafficked areas in that map has no cover, no indication it is a main route, no gameplay. Meanwhile, many roads actually lead to dead ends or curve around pointlessly.

The worst offender is the big bunker in the center. It is a cool static, but once you attacked it, you are done. You can’t do anything useful from there, so all that is left is turn around and back track. At the same time, it is surrounded by mountains that are a more useful position than the bunker itself.

Part 2: http://fhpubforum.warumdarum.de/index.php?topic=21296.msg350358#msg350358
Part 3: http://fhpubforum.warumdarum.de/index.php?topic=21296.msg350913#msg350913
« Last Edit: 21-01-2017, 15:01:19 by Ts4EVER »

Offline Ivancic1941

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #1 on: 03-12-2016, 15:12:12 »
Excelent dev blog. I suppose it will continue with explainig push maps too?
Floppy Wardisc or Floppy Wierdbear

Online Matthew_Baker

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #2 on: 04-12-2016, 00:12:52 »
Nice blog. Hopefully people can try to keep these points in mind when making new maps. Good sets of general guidelines to follow

Offline elander

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #3 on: 04-12-2016, 19:12:19 »
Nice devblog!

I would love to start mapping again, and if, more from a designers perspective.
When i did maps in the past I focused on the players perspective - a misstake you talked about in your devblog. Furthermore I pay attention to looks and detiles, so my maps could look good but played so bad.

Sadly there is no time for me at the moment with kids etc ;)

Great blog!

Disclaimer - Personal Opinions are not shared with DLF

Offline hitm4k3r

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #4 on: 06-12-2016, 01:12:30 »
Very good dev blog with some basic mapping guidelines regarding classic conquest map layouts. Very usefull when you want to create a map as close as possible to their historical backgrounds, for example with real locations based on realistic heightmaps.

Please keep in mind though, that there are different approaches to "the-player-is-in-charge"-theory. There are games like PR, DayZ or even vanilla ArmA that show pretty good that sandbox games can work pretty successful aswell - even for FPS. Or maybe just ask the players of Minecraft or Garry's Mod ... the list of sandbox games is endless. It gets even more interesting when you have movable objectives, as the other players for example, or even with basic gamemodes like capture the flag or deathmatch/team deathmatch where your sole objective as a player is to interact with the other player. For those game modes it doesn't really matter how you plan your routes and your terrain can be generated completely random.

Another good example is a chat that we had about an older FH2 map within the CMP group, named "Supplies for Malta". One team had the objective to bring a certain amount of ships from point A to point B whereas the other team had to stop them. For such a map you could have randomly generated spawnpoints and goal areas, completely relying on player interaction.

About the point of Arad: this map itself shows it even better that there can be different ways to one goal. The original map from Red Orchestra had alot less choke points and was pretty open with forests that you couldn't enter, no roads leading anywhere to the fields and the river could be crossed everywhere with the bridges and the river banks working as cover for infantry or vehicles. Besides the mainbases and the two villages connected by a road and two forests as obstacles, the map was basicly a pretty big sandbox with a minimum of player guidance - the control points being huge areas that you had to clear and capture.

Just some thoughts from another dev  ;)

Online Matthew_Baker

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #5 on: 06-12-2016, 02:12:08 »
Please keep in mind though, that there are different approaches to "the-player-is-in-charge"-theory. There are games like PR, DayZ or even vanilla ArmA that show pretty good that sandbox games can work pretty successful aswell - even for FPS. Or maybe just ask the players of Minecraft or Garry's Mod ... the list of sandbox games is endless. It gets even more interesting when you have movable objectives, as the other players for example, or even with basic gamemodes like capture the flag or deathmatch/team deathmatch where your sole objective as a player is to interact with the other player. For those game modes it doesn't really matter how you plan your routes and your terrain can be generated completely random.

I'd counter that this 'different approach' doesn't apply as much to most FH2 maps. All of the games you mentioned have completely different gameplay that's been structured to suit their open maps and style. FH2 is built more like a 'traditional' (for lack of a better word) fps where infantry and tank gameplay needs some structure in order to play well on a public server.

This alternate theory works fine if you're mapping for these other games tho.

The only real 'player-driven' maps that I can think of that would also work well in FH2 are maps like Battle of Britain and Supplies for Malta (you mentioned). But these maps lack infantry/ tank gameplay and are focused more on air/naval gameplay which inherently requires much less structure.

Air gameplay requires almost no structure (from the mappers perspective) other than making sure spawns can't be raped and where the objectives are located (if there are any).

Naval gameplay also requires less structure. However, we haven't really seen any 'good' or 'unique' attempts at naval gameplay in FH2 or the CMP yet. You can get a little more 'fancy' with naval gameplay and add more interest to a naval map by adding islands and shallow/deep areas that only certain boats can pass through. This would require structuring a map closer to TS's Dev blog and imo could make something very interesting.

As an aside; the FHT19 map Bukit Timah hints toward this type of naval gameplay with its weaving rivers and marshy islands. It's not fleshed out entirely imo, but it shows interesting ways to combine naval/ infantry gameplay. :D

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #6 on: 06-12-2016, 10:12:07 »
Nice devblog! I had already heard most of the stuff explained in Ts's videos (which have a surprising amount of mapping insight inbetween the gameplay comentary and the occasional ranting  :P), but it is very nice to have it compiled in one single post. The graphics are clarifying as well.


Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #7 on: 06-12-2016, 12:12:29 »
About the point of Arad: this map itself shows it even better that there can be different ways to one goal. The original map from Red Orchestra had alot less choke points and was pretty open with forests that you couldn't enter, no roads leading anywhere to the fields and the river could be crossed everywhere with the bridges and the river banks working as cover for infantry or vehicles.

Not really, it still had chokepoints. As I wrote above, an open area that can't be crossed while avoiding contact can be a chokepoint as well. These chokepoints are created by the mixture of unenterable forests and open areas with a long sightline.

Regarding convoy maps, these would basically be a variation of capture the flag maps, so the same principles apply. You give the escorting players several paths to choose, with the possibility to switch between them at certain points to outmaneuvre the defending team who will try to stop you at chokepoints. The trick would be to make sure that it is not too easy for the defending team to concentrate on one route once they guessed which one the attackers are taking.

Offline hitm4k3r

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #8 on: 06-12-2016, 13:12:49 »

I'd counter that this 'different approach' doesn't apply as much to most FH2 maps. All of the games you mentioned have completely different gameplay that's been structured to suit their open maps and style. FH2 is built more like a 'traditional' (for lack of a better word) fps where infantry and tank gameplay needs some structure in order to play well on a public server.


When you think about the standard FH2 maps with the historical stories and background you have a point. The issue with this argument is, that highly structured classic conquest and pushmaps are just one way of designing gameplay and that other options like convoy focused or dynamic objective gamemodes haven't really been explored for FH2 and that most mappers just stuck to the classic way. We have team death match on Mount Olympus for example. You could have placed that layer allmost anywhere on that map for that matter the sole limit being maybe it's size and the principle of player interaction would still be the same. I could go nuts and place a team death match layer on any of the FH2 maps and it wouldn't change the fact that we are playing a first person shooter settled in WWII. I could randomly generate a terrain in Geocontrol, randomly place some objects on that terrain and you would still be playing FH2 with basicly zero structure in mind. If you want I can do that for you as an experiment while still keeping you immersed. In that regard arena style maps are a prime example and there is no argument that speaks against arena style maps in FH2.

FH2 is built upon BF2 and when you look at the different mods that we've seen for BF2 or other BF titles it gets more obvious that there can be different approaches to fun gameplay even for a single mod. I could make an Interstate mod like map for FH2 with jeeps chasing a truck and people would still be playing the same old game from 2005, besides the fact that players are doing this allready because it is fun for them. It is just that nobody has implemented a chase gamemode yet. There are quite a lot of people in FH2 who have nothing else in mind than chasing the other players actually and who seldom go into a flagzone or follow the flow we provided, instead they play their own little games. Or why do you think that players like to camp on crossed out flags? Alot of this comes also down to engine limitations. If I had the knowledge to create a gamemode similar to RTS games like CoH, with base building, economy and destroyable environment I would do it right away. ArmA has this to some extent with the Warfare mode and it is fun as hell, no matter how big the map is.

It is important to understand that sandbox maps like Kashan Desert and pipemaps like Battle of Brest are just the two opposing ends of a scale that determines how high the degree of structure in your map is. And there is no rule that says that one of the two is right or wrong nor that one can't be applied for FH2. They are still both first person shooter maps with people hitting WASD and using a mouse. When we are talking about game and map design in general we have to step back away from the idea that the world is black and white - this just kills the creativity ;)

Offline hitm4k3r

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #9 on: 06-12-2016, 13:12:08 »
About the point of Arad: this map itself shows it even better that there can be different ways to one goal. The original map from Red Orchestra had alot less choke points and was pretty open with forests that you couldn't enter, no roads leading anywhere to the fields and the river could be crossed everywhere with the bridges and the river banks working as cover for infantry or vehicles.

Not really, it still had chokepoints. As I wrote above, an open area that can't be crossed while avoiding contact can be a chokepoint as well. These chokepoints are created by the mixture of unenterable forests and open areas with a long sightline.

Regarding convoy maps, these would basically be a variation of capture the flag maps, so the same principles apply. You give the escorting players several paths to choose, with the possibility to switch between them at certain points to outmaneuvre the defending team who will try to stop you at chokepoints. The trick would be to make sure that it is not too easy for the defending team to concentrate on one route once they guessed which one the attackers are taking.

Ofcourse it has chokepoints, it's not infinite. The open areas that can't be crossed are not really choke points created by the mapper in the original sense, when player interaction creates them - this speaks against your theory that players are not in charge of gameplay. The map edge itself is a choke point, aswell as the enemy base. It was just an example to illustrate that both approaches can lead to fun results, so more open sandbox gameplay vs. extremely structured pipe gameplay that I implemented on my vision of the map. Regarding the convoy maps: fun fact is that you could generate just a random starting point and an random end point on a water level with the enemy planes spawning mid air randomly. There would be infinite amounts of ways how gameplay plays out.

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #10 on: 06-12-2016, 14:12:03 »
But that is not really variety if it is just an empty ocean with random spawns. Sure you fight in a different square of ocean every time, but what is the point?

And about team deathmatch, these maps are designed using the same principle. Look at COD maps for instance:


You get two spawn areas and a bunch of paths connecting them. The goal there is to have the fight "rotate" around the map. Now if Mount Olympus is a great team deathmatch map is another question, but TDM maps are not "random". In fact, no good fps map is random.

Offline hitm4k3r

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #11 on: 06-12-2016, 15:12:26 »
The interesting thing is, while you mention Call of Duty maps, that they basicly have the most random player created gameplay that you can think of, as the spawns and players are rotating randomly allways searching for each other. Atleast that was my experience until I stopped playing CoD. Sure, those maps are not random, but the gameplay is quite often and it shows perfectly that even AAA games offer variety. I think you are misunderstanding me a bit: I don't say that I want to allways have wide open maps or water levels. I just don't share the sentiment that players can't be in control of gameplay and that everything is controlled by the mapper. These are just too extremes that don't exist. A player player using an asset (driving it, placing or building it etc) is as valid as a level designer creating a chokepoint.

Online Matthew_Baker

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #12 on: 07-12-2016, 04:12:35 »
I'm trying to find the thesis of your argument to make sure we're on he same page. It's pointless to argue if we're not talking about the same thing. ;D As best I can tell you're saying that there is a way of designing maps for FH2 where structure (as TS presented it) doesn't have to exist. Or that maps can play randomly to be fun? You've presented a few examples of games (that don't have much relation to FH2 or its core BF2) that show fun gameplay without as much 'structure' to their maps.

My argument would be that this idea of designing gameplay works well for other games, but falls short when applied to FH2.

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The issue with this argument is, that highly structured classic conquest and pushmaps are just one way of designing gameplay and that other options like convoy focused or dynamic objective gamemodes haven't really been explored for FH2 and that most mappers just stuck to the classic way.


Convoy focused or dynamic objective gamemodes need to have the same amount of structure and design behind them as classic conquest and pushmaps in order to play well in FH2. you can not just have an open ocean with random spawn points and expect it to play as fun as a convoy map that has structure and 'choke points.'

TS explained it in this post;

Regarding convoy maps, these would basically be a variation of capture the flag maps, so the same principles apply. You give the escorting players several paths to choose, with the possibility to switch between them at certain points to outmaneuvre the defending team who will try to stop you at chokepoints. The trick would be to make sure that it is not too easy for the defending team to concentrate on one route once they guessed which one the attackers are taking.

In order to have fun gameplay in FH2. It's imperative that you have some structure to the map. A map where the player is 'focused' into combat with the enemy is more fun that a map is that is made with no structure in mind. Without structure you get combat that happens;

a) in places not designed for it. (open forest, open desert)

b) not for long periods of time (capping flags without encountering the enemy, not seeing the enemy for minutes at a time)

These two things are not fun with FH2's gameplay mechanics. (They may be fun with PR's gameplay mechanics, but this is because PR is designed for that. I'll address this later.)

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We have team death match on Mount Olympus for example. You could have placed that layer allmost anywhere on that map for that matter the sole limit being maybe it's size and the principle of player interaction would still be the same.

This isn't true. Player interaction is completely changed based on where you set the boundaries on that map.

Take this example. The screen below is the current TDM area of Mt Olympus.


Player interaction can only occur in certain places between statcis. These interactions occur this way because of how the mapper placed the statics. They also depend largely on the gameplay of FH2.

for example; we don't have jetpacks in FH2. Because of this, player interaction is limited to the ground and around statics that don't have stairs or ladders. If we place this exact same map in Titanfall or the new COD for example, player interaction becomes much different and therefore the map would need to be designed much differently.

If we look at placing the TDM layer in this area of Mt Olympus.


Player interaction would change drastically as players can now interact in almost any part of this space. This leaves the player with more decisions (in the sense that they aren't restricted by walls etc..) but much less interesting and much less fun gameplay; as each decision yields the same results; moving right puts you in the same relation to the enemy as moving left, forward and backwards. Placing the layer in this area also leads to gameplay that leads to points (a) & (b) that I referenced above.

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I could go nuts and place a team death match layer on any of the FH2 maps and it wouldn't change the fact that we are playing a first person shooter settled in WWII. I could randomly generate a terrain in Geocontrol, randomly place some objects on that terrain and you would still be playing FH2 with basicly zero structure in mind. If you want I can do that for you as an experiment while still keeping you immersed. In that regard arena style maps are a prime example and there is no argument that speaks against arena style maps in FH2.


If by 'arena style' maps, you mean maps that have less structure (similar to my above example) then you can see above for my argument against arena style maps.

I would also argue that it is impossible to keep me immersed in FH2 without adding structure; as towns, cities, landscapes etc... inherently have a structure that needs to be re-created in-game to make them believable.

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FH2 is built upon BF2 and when you look at the different mods that we've seen for BF2 or other BF titles it gets more obvious that there can be different approaches to fun gameplay even for a single mod.

Looking at different mods is not a good example of how different gameplay can be applied to FH2. Different mods have different gameplay mechanics (some to a greater extent than others) and therefore their map designs can not be applied to FH2 and yield fun gameplay.

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I could make an Interstate mod like map for FH2 with jeeps chasing a truck and people would still be playing the same old game from 2005, besides the fact that players are doing this allready because it is fun for them. It is just that nobody has implemented a chase gamemode yet.

Implementing a 'chase' gamemode in FH2 is inherently changing its gameplay. It's no longer FH2 at that point and resembles racing games more than an FPS. Therefore, your maps would need to be designed more like Gran Turismo than BF2.

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There are quite a lot of people in FH2 who have nothing else in mind than chasing the other players actually and who seldom go into a flagzone or follow the flow we provided, instead they play their own little games. Or why do you think that players like to camp on crossed out flags?


The thing is, where these players go is dictated by the mapper. Players who don't want to 'play the objective' has nothing to do with how a map is designed. Players can 'camp' a flag all they want without fighting for the flag in play. however, when a map is designed well, this is harder for a player to do. good map design inherently deters campers and people who don't want to play the game. A well designed map manipulates players into flag zones and incentivizes them to fight for the flag in play.

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Alot of this comes also down to engine limitations. If I had the knowledge to create a gamemode similar to RTS games like CoH, with base building, economy and destroyable environment I would do it right away. ArmA has this to some extent with the Warfare mode and it is fun as hell, no matter how big the map is.

Here's where I would argue that this doesn't hold up. Once you create a "gamemode... with base building... and destroyable environment" you no longer have FH2. These things are gameplay mechanics not dictated by the mapper. FH2 doesn't have 'base building' or 'destroy able environments.' If it did, the core of FH2 would be different than it is now and subsequently, maps would need to be designed differently.

Quote
It is important to understand that sandbox maps like Kashan Desert and pipemaps like Battle of Brest are just the two opposing ends of a scale that determines how high the degree of structure in your map is.

To an extent, yes.

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And there is no rule that says that one of the two is right or wrong
Right

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nor that one can't be applied for FH2.
Wrong.

You are not able to apply Kashan Desert to FH2 and Battle of Brest to PR and yield fun gameplay. FH2 does not have base building, helicopters, or a whole other manner of things that PR has created to make their mod have very different gameplay from BF2. Because of these things, Kashan Desert would play VERY differently in FH2.

The same goes for Battle of Brest in PR. Slower gun-play, higher spawn times etc... would make Battle of Brest play VERY differently if placed in PR.

Here's my main point. Less-structured gameplay (like ArmA) or more-structured gameplay (like CS or BF2) is no more inherently fun than the other. Fun is a pretty abstract concept that is very subjective (it all depends on your taste). My argument is that your maps need to be designed around the gameplay of the game that you're mapping for. If you're making a map for ArmA, you need to make it VERY differently and with different design points in mind than you would if you were making a map for BF1. Because these maps have been designed differently, it is impossible to translate one map into another game and expect gameplay to play the same.

Everything has a design behind it (whether you want it to or not). There is no such thing as 'random' gameplay. All gameplay is designed and effected by the parameters that game makers (modelers, coders, mappers) create. It's the manner of utilizing this design to the advantages of the games mechanics that makes a map 'good' or 'bad.' A map designed with PR mechanics in mind is 'bad' for FH2 and vice versa.

Sorry for the long post, I'm trying to present everything clearly without spouting vitriol and I have a lot of time after work :D

Offline hitm4k3r

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #13 on: 07-12-2016, 15:12:33 »
You pretty much answered your first points in your post, where you didn't agree with me regarding what is fun and what is not, in your last paragraph. It is highly subjective what is fun.

You need to be careful to not make that same argument that one of the former devs made: "Players don't know what they want and they don't know what is fun for them", coming from a person who rarely played FH2. That's the biggest nonesense that you can come up with and it is not even an opinion, it is stating facts. Game developers and publishers are not spending millions of dollars for marketing and market research for no reason. Then suddenly a dude comes up with DayZ, Portal or what ever and they start making shittons of money with FPS games that have completely different approaches and are aimed at completely different tastes and users while still being FPS games, even on maps that those games are not designed for.

Basicly all I am saying is that the "players-are-not-in charge"-theory doesn't really apply for FPS games in general, no matter wich game we are talking about. Without player interaction and the player making decisions there is no game. There can be people who enjoy a completely random forest map with a minimum of structuring and planning only looking for and killing each other - even in FH2. It would be pretentious to claim that I know what people are allowed to enjoy in FH2 and what not. I am pretty sure there are people, who don't enjoy the maps that I worked on for several reasons. Take Ste Mere Eglise - pure freaking chaos, but that's how the landing was. And if you take a look at the map in the editor you will notice that there is much more randomness to it than you think. Another map is Omaha as it was mentioned here: I don't know how often I've heard people saying how senseless and shit this map is, while I personaly enjoy it. The degree of structuring and planning or limiting the power of the player of a map does not equal the fun someone can get out of it.

An open ocean with randomly placed spawnpoints and two control points can be as much fun as a highly scripted game environment with chokepoints. I don't know how you can say this: "you can't expect people to have fun with it". That's all down to the personal taste of the end user and you don't have influence on it, same as you can't force people to enjoy beer - something that is against my imagination. People are playing Silent Hunter wich is basicly nothing else, but on a bigger scale. In that game choke points are mainly created by players and there is no argument in the world that says: this doesn't work on a 4x4 ocean map in FH2 and that it can't be fun. At the end this is just your own POV, wich is as valid as any opinion, but it is not the ultimate truth.

I also think that you are overestimating what FH2 is. It's still BF2 with different models, textures etc. Sure, there are slight adjustements to certain gameplay mechanics, but it is still a FPS-game that people play with mouse, keyboard, joystick or whatever and nothing uber abstract. Players looking for and killing eachother. In that regard you are also completely overstating the fact, that people would not be playing FH2, if they played an arena map (my offer still stands btw) or a chase map etc. People are chasing each other all the time in this game, so are they suddenly not playing FH2? Is there a limit of how much chasing is allowed in FH2? Same goes for your Mount Olympus example: maybe they will play with a different approach. At the end they still start FH2 to play that map and to kill each other with WWII equipment. Also get rid of the idea that we don't have basebuilding: a player placing a mortar, a Flak36 in the tourney or a rally point is nothing else than a player building a bunker or some sandbags and oh wonder - it works in FH2 and can be more fun than a SL hiding in a bush -> just ask Seth Soldier. They are objects for player interaction. Basicly every asset in FH2 is a PCO that can work in different ways according to the creativity of the player. A tank can be as much of a weapon as well as a medium for transport aswell as cover or even a block on a bridge.

And last but not least: there is no map without planning and that's what I allready explained - a map without planning is an Utopia. Me starting the editor, placing some assets, spawnpoints etc. is allready a form of structuring and planning and the mapboarder being a chokepoint itself is allready a limiting factor. The question is, how much I force the player to either have his/her fate in the hands of his/her own or whether I place him/her in a railshooter brainlessly hitting keys to trigger quicktime events. And at the end of the day, no matter how much I try it, I will have no influence how much he or she enjoys it and what he is doing because ... drumrolls ... peoples minds are different. The only thing I could do is to completey take out player interaction wich just ends up as a movie. ;)
« Last Edit: 07-12-2016, 15:12:54 by hitm4k3r »

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Re: Designing Forgotten Hope 2 Maps
« Reply #14 on: 07-12-2016, 17:12:27 »
It is not "pretentious" to to know what people enjoy in a map, that is literally your job as a mapper. Otherwise you are stuck in the player mindset, as I mentioned in the beginning of my post. Also it shows me that you literally do not understand what I (and Matt Baker) are talking about on an abstract level. Of course players "make decisions", you just have to guide what decisions these are as a mapper. You see design as a limiting factor, when in fact it is the only thing there is to a game.

Quote
The question is, how much I force the player to either have his/her fate in the hands of his/her own or whether I place him/her in a railshooter brainlessly hitting keys to trigger quicktime events.


This is what I mean. You throw out these words like rail shooter like they mean anything. I get the impression you see these schematics I posted and think players are literally supposed to run down the white lines like in a tube. Obviously not, these just guide the players through the map and 90% of the time he can switch between them on a whim, change up his tactics on the fly or even backtrack and retreat to try somewhere else if a chokepoint is to well defended. That is the beauty of a battlefield style game, as opposed to CS, COD etc.
However, this basic structure still needs to be there, as a framework for the player to make decisions in. Otherwise you have no map.