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What makes a map good?


Lt.Hargrove
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I am starting to toy around with UDK and seeing how Crash Site is being made by a guy fresh to SDK I think I could try making a map too. However, I am not a Ren veteran and I don't have enough knowledge to balance things properly. I have some questions:

- What makes for good vehicle gameplay?

- Is having a silo accessable only by infantry OK? I dont mean something like Under where vehicles can't get there but still help defend it.

- To what degree should base defences prevent infiltration?

- Are airstrikes being unavaible at all something acceptable?

- What are some most frequent/important things to avoid when designing the layout?

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- What makes for good vehicle gameplay?

= Many paths to and from bases, space accessible between obsticals, barriers to strafe around, clear open areas in specific points around the map, ability to shell a building from decent range :)

- Is having a silo accessable only by infantry OK? I dont mean something like Under where vehicles can't get there but still help defend it.

= That is still good, I think it would work well even though there's no case where it has been done yet.

- To what degree should base defences prevent infiltration?

= Not totally, there should always be at least one way to get around, even if its by an obsticle that still causes base defence to trigger when running to/from. But don't open every side up either, makes building kills too easy then. Find a good in-between ;)

- Are airstrikes being unavaible at all something acceptable?

= It could be done with a mutator (perhaps even kismet from within the map, but not sure on that), I wouldn't go that far tho.

- What are some most frequent/important things to avoid when designing the layout?

= single way chokepoints, very large open areas, too many paths in/out bases, unequal harvester field distances (and hence dump times), an overly defended base or a base on high ground while the other isn't (unless theres a specific case for it and the other base has some other advantage), too many meshes/clutter on paths

Hope that helps some, thats just basics I look out for at least :)

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Something I've learned personally is that maps with defenses are an absolute terror. The Obelisk is really tall and you'll have to place rocks everywhere to curb line of sight but also take care to give the obelisk enough time to fire otherwise it's ineffective. The AGT has a bunch of spikes and things which are part of the hitbox and you'll also have to take care not to have these exposed too much or at all.

The AGT and Obelisk also operate differently with regards to killing inf / veh at different times. AGT was able to chew through infantry before, less so now but it's still a balancing nightmare between the buildings stats vs map design.

Any future maps I'd be making -if any- would therefore be without defenses.

I think having a silo accessible only by Infantry is valid although it's more exciting to have it accessible to vehicles to some degree as well. Under is the latest experiment with regards to that, you can attack infantry close to the silo but not directly on it and thus give support but you cannot hinder the capture directly with your vehicles.

Things to keep in mind when designing:

-Timings : do the teams get equal opportunity to reach areas of the map like silos, chokepoints, strategic locations at the same time.

-Chokepoint width : We have standards like 'two mammoth tanks side by side' for routes to give people plenty of space.

-Cover : Is there plenty of cover for infantry to be shielded from vehicle fire.

-Flanking routes : Don't turn the map into a tug of war seemingly without end (Field) always enable people to get the drop on others by installing longer or high risk flanking routes.

U, S, W and M shapes seem to work best for maps where the bases are at the outer ends of the shapes with the main shape being vehicle routes and the gaps can be filled with easy-access infantry routes.

Getting a good mix of infantry only areas and inf-vehicle overlap is the best imo. infantry should be able to strike at vehicles and vice versa at some point along the main route of the map.

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I am starting to toy around with UDK and seeing how Crash Site is being made by a guy fresh to SDK I think I could try making a map too. However, I am not a Ren veteran and I don't have enough knowledge to balance things properly. I have some questions:

This is coming from a highly competitive Renegade player, rather than a public player, which is what most of the people here are (not that that is bad, it's just a different and more advanced gameplay and style).

- What makes for good vehicle gameplay?

It's important for wide open spaces, yet obstacles like rocks that can be used as cover mid-fight. In Renegade X, having as few elevation changes seems to be best, because the vehicles are very flimsy as is.

Most importantly, though, is to have 2 vehicle entrances/exits to the base. The bottleneck style maps are too dull and traditional.

- Is having a silo accessable only by infantry OK? I dont mean something like Under where vehicles can't get there but still help defend it.

Yes. I highly encourage this actually, as usually the winning team will have field control and thus the silo, but either team can possess the tunnel area. It's something I've recommended via post in the past.

- To what degree should base defences prevent infiltration?

Entirely from tunnel areas, since X has the addition of smoke grenades which can allow infantry to still get to a building even with the base defense normally stopping them. From the field points, they just need to make sure that no vehicles have the possibility of getting in unharmed by them. Keep in mind that in general, the obelisk is best against vehicles, and the AGT is best against infantry. Don't be afraid to add guard towers and turrets in places that could be exploited by the base defense position.

- Are airstrikes being unavaible at all something acceptable?

Airstrikes are only really needed for bottleneck maps where siege warfare is strong. Having 2 vehicle entrances/exits would limit their use (and need) by a lot.

- What are some most frequent/important things to avoid when designing the layout?

Exploits, not having infantry tunnels to get to each base, and focusing on scenery rather than gameplay. Gameplay comes first. Don't add 500 trees because it looks nice, if it's going to hamper gameplay.

I have a pretty good idea of a map that I would really love to have created, but I find myself rather poor at using the SDK/UDK. Perhaps I can do a quick basic crappy drawing in mspaint and forward it in your direction for a look?

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Thank for your replies. BTW, I have a n00b question. How do I launch Ren SDK? Do I have to the files into the regular UDK or do something else? There's no editor executable file in my download.

Get the UDK.exe located in Binaries\Win32, make a shortcut, on desktop, and edit the destination of the shortcut to:

"C:\[your Renegade X SDK foldername]\Binaries\Win32\UDK.exe" editor

So, just type editor after it. You shouldn't merge the Renegade SDK with regular UDK.

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-Field

-Mesa

-Lakeside

-Goldrush

-XMountain

Look at these maps. These are the bad examples. Look at the other maps to get some good ideas.

-Respect the ranges of Renegade. Super large map are stupid and make most classes and even some vehicles totally useless, encourages sniping-fest and etc. This also means more close-quarter possibilities to hide and counter enemies, instead of having large maps where infantry just dies from any location randomly.

-Don't make a base's building spread away from each other in a fashion that makes them too hard to defend.

-I personally think its far preferable for a map to have multiple entry points for vehicles. Multiple points of entry AND base defenses are rare in Renegade and its a shame.

These are broad points. A lot of other things is just about making your map different and unique, but I find some of those core points, when not followed, aren't much fun.

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I agree with everything Jake says as well. The only exception to that is calling Xmountain one of the bad maps (the rest of those, honestly and unfortunately, are). Xmountain just has a few exploits that need to be fixed, but other than that it's gameplay is one of the better ones in my opinion.

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Here's some general ideas to have a map FUN.

1. Distances between bases should be short. Lakeside is the worst map in the game right now because of this. Taking more than 30 seconds to get from base to base is not fun.

2. Infantry only paths need to be arena shooter in style. The tunnel system in complex is by far the best because of its multi-level arenas.

3. Buildings need to be close together like the original Renegade maps and like the original command and conquer. Goldrush and Xmountain suffer greatly from this. There should be only 12 seconds at most for a player to travel from a building to the furthest building.

4. In choke point base defense maps, the "midfield" needs to be able to have a tug-of-war style built into it. Strategic positions for both teams vehicles to help win the midfield.

5. Sniper angles need to be obvious. Hidden snipers are not a good thing in this game. This is what hurts Under (its only flaw) and Xmountain.

6. Harvester timing should be very similar. Gives players something to do and fight about at the start.

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Here's some general ideas to have a map FUN.

1. Distances between bases should be short. Lakeside is the worst map in the game right now because of this. Taking more than 30 seconds to get from base to base is not fun.

....

There is a variable that's hard to take in consideration ,That is :TASTE

What's Fun for one might not be for another one .

I'm suprise to see how many ppl like Field ..me I don't ,but respect the one that do.

Tryng to stay in some standard guideline is ok ,but deviation of it is ok also and bring some non repetive pattern .I dont want to see copy and paste set up maps look a like in only different scenery

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3. Buildings need to be close together like the original Renegade maps and like the original command and conquer. Goldrush and Xmountain suffer greatly from this. There should be only 12 seconds at most for a player to travel from a building to the furthest building.

I agree that buildings should be close together to counter nukes and infiltration, but even on Islands it takes me 13.5 seconds to get from the Barracks farthest purchase terminal to the entrance of the Refinery.

So, I agree with your point but the numbers are a bit off, somewhere between 12 and 20 seconds is a good margin I think. I have 17 seconds on my own map at the moment (on both bases)

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be nice if people posted the exploits on maps so i could fix them :P

Going up the ladders in the bunkers then into the base from there. It's an exploit because you can get in that way, but you can't get out of the base that way. Makes it nearly impossible to defend, and makes the infantry path OP. Add a way to get to that bunker from the base directly and it would at least help negate the fact that you can enter the base that way. Almost every building kill I've seen on the map is done in that fashion, rather than rushes or tanks.

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Thank for your replies. BTW, I have a n00b question. How do I launch Ren SDK? Do I have to the files into the regular UDK or do something else? There's no editor executable file in my download.

Get the UDK.exe located in Binaries\Win32, make a shortcut, on desktop, and edit the destination of the shortcut to:

"C:\[your Renegade X SDK foldername]\Binaries\Win32\UDK.exe" editor

So, just type editor after it. You shouldn't merge the Renegade SDK with regular UDK.

I have tried this but I cant open the editor, only the game itself opens anyone know why?

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I have tried this but I cant open the editor, only the game itself opens anyone know why?

Then you haven't done it the right way! Post a screenshot -or- your target path in your shortcut.

Back on topic:

I believe a good map has got several paths leading to the bases.. Though there has to be an orientation point for every player in the map to hold on to, so they know where they are in the map each time they're there.

I really like the horseshoe-design maps (or U-design) because you can set an objective in the middle, and create infantry shortcuts right across that U. Examples of those maps are Islands and Field.

I based my own map upon that principle as well, and I think Henk did too. That does not mean that other maps which have more of a H-design are not good, take whiteout, or vulcano for example, both good maps too, just different gameplay.

Bottom line is that you need to figure out the routes really well, then you'd be able to get a good gameplay. Because I believe when you're building a map, you're not only making a nice pretty looking landscape with some assets in it, you're also designing a gameplay.

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I think it's also a matter of taste. I really like field with a decent team, but solo...

My favourites:

X-Mountain

Walls

Lakeside

What I don't like:

Islands (Nod has to control 2 points to defend the base)

Mesa

Field

Some closed maps are more 'marathon material' like field, for a quicker match with 'equal' chances you should consider a more open map. So question is: what is your goal when making the map / what do you want to archieve?

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