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What makes a good map?
09-14-2012, 01:09 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-29-2013, 11:37 PM by Max.)
Post: #1
What makes a good map?
Another question for you old folks -- what do you think makes for a good (fun, interesting, exciting play...) map? What features are bad?
X

EDIT: Moved to mapping/editing forum and stickied-- this is a good thread. -Max
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09-14-2012, 01:22 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-14-2012, 01:34 AM by Max.)
Post: #2
RE: What makes a good map?
I love, love, love this article:
http://meliaser.dyndns.tv/mapguide.html
It talks about this in some detail.

If I may my own two cents: the purpose of a map is to get players from point A to point B as quickly as possible. In a multiplayer game, the challenge comes from your opponents, not the map itself. So adding areas that are tricky or dangerous to navigate, without providing easily-navigable alternate routes, is overstepping the bounds of what the mapper's job is, and will only serve to annoy players.

Symmetry is a bad idea except in team maps, and even then the pattern should not be duplicated more than once. One reason I hate stronghold so much is that it is symmetrical on two axes instead of one.

Try not to get "cute." Avoid adding traps and the like.

Flow is everything. Don't put in (too many) obstacles you can run into. Make your doorways nice and wide, and make them tall too. You should be able to jump to full height at any point in the map without hitting your head. Ideally don't use doors that open and close.

Verticality is important. It's usually a good idea to have multiple different levels in each room, and make sure it's easy to go between them.
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09-14-2012, 01:54 AM,
Post: #3
RE: What makes a good map?
I would also add that the usual rookie mistake is to try and make something far to large in scale, or too grandiose.
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09-14-2012, 02:01 AM,
Post: #4
RE: What makes a good map?
Another thing I just thought of is that performance matters. You can't "fix" it later, you have to design performance into your map from day one. If you make a change that hurts FPS, fix it right away, don't put it off. You shouldn't have to compromise your vision too much to get good performance (although some things, like big outdoor maps, inherently won't perform well in our engine.)

Also remember that your map should run at much more than 60 FPS, because heavy combat will cause real-world framerates to be lower compared to an empty map. Increase your FPS cap when you're testing your map's performance.
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09-14-2012, 03:45 AM,
Post: #5
RE: What makes a good map?
There are some (not so well documented) map testing tools to use:

Several cvars, prefixed with rspeed_, are displayed on the HUD. The
important ones are rspeed_wpolys (world polygons) and rspeed_epolys
(entity polygons), which are measures of map complexity. As these
counters go up, FPS goes down. There are explanations of rspeeds on the
web. The cvar names and display method may have changed but the function
is the same.

There is a command, timerefresh, that does a 360-degree spin and gives the
render timing average. Easier to just try it, than explain it. There is
a cvar, scr_timerefcount, that sets the number of frames that are rendered
in the spin -- default is 128, maximum is 720. There is a viewpos command
that helps getting in the exact same position when repeating the test.
It is handy to bind these to keys -- something like:
Code:
bind RIGHTARROW "viewpos"
bind LEFTARROW  "timerefresh"

There is a wierd, but fun cvar, gl_lockpvs, that can give you some idea
about how much unseen stuff is being rendered. Beware, you can get
lost in the "unrendered zone". Spectate a bot, if you dare to enter there.
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09-14-2012, 04:13 AM,
Post: #6
RE: What makes a good map?
I recommend using gl_clear 1 if you enable gl_lockpvs. It's a bit of a performance hit but makes things easier to see.

Don't forget the prtview plugin which is included in aaradiant. Run it after you've compiled your map. It helps you see how the map compiler is breaking up your map into pieces. If you're seeing lots of portals, try simplifying the geometry in that area, either merging brushes, marking them as detail, or even as func_wall.

A cheap trick to improve performance is to try to line things up with the 1024 grid, as the map compiler splits up your map along that grid before it does anything else.
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09-14-2012, 09:33 AM,
Post: #7
RE: What makes a good map?
These are great comments guys, moremoremore. Players out there, what say you?? X
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09-14-2012, 09:44 AM,
Post: #8
RE: What makes a good map?
Avoid "corridoritus". Maps that are just a bunch of long, wide corridors are not good for dynamic game play.

No dead ends, unless there is a reward such as a weapon or health/ammo cache.

Theme - make the map feel like a place that exists(more a personal preference to me than anything).

Tone - give it good lighting, not too bright, not too dark, good lighting and shadowing with contrast.

Color - use textures and colors that are aesthetically pleasing. I.e, few primary colors, purple goes with green, orange goes with blue, etc. Dress your map as if you're dressing up to go out on a date. Avoid too much brown, grey, or other dingy colorings.
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09-17-2012, 05:09 PM,
Post: #9
RE: What makes a good map?
i think almost everythings is said.
i reckon the most important things are: layout and weaponplacement (and maybe design).
a map shouldnt have much campingspots, and i prefer a symetrical layout for team based games (tca, ctf not tdm)

and yes its very true that rookies plans their map bad, have to much expections - i made this experience myself

i didnt knew about timerefresh, thats probably a useful feature Smile
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09-17-2012, 05:27 PM,
Post: #10
RE: What makes a good map?
(09-17-2012, 05:09 PM)Freaky Wrote: i think almost everythings is said. ....
I will have to disagree with that. A few "moving parts" are nice. There are different ways to do that, and some are complicated. War Machine is a good example. Then there are jump pads, teleporters, elevators, and such which make for more interesting maps. EMP's maps are more "architectural" than Irritant's. Irritant's have more creative details; are more "environmental". If you study their maps closely, I think you will find there is a lot more that could be said. Wink
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