Opinions on Mapmaking Style
Posted By: Forrest of B.orgDate: 7/19/04 1:45 p.m.

Having finally gotten some maps for Eternal that I did not make myself, it's occurring to me that not everybody thinks the same way I do about level design. I'd like to ask some opinions from you all about some things, to help me refine my own mapmaking style and help me to guide my mapmakers in their future efforts.

The first item is what my best friend Mike and I used to call "refridgerator-switch-on-the-roof" syndrome. This is basically the notion that somewhere over there is a switch that, for unexplained reasons, opens up this thing over here; the name comes from the a hypothetical example that to open your fridge you have to climp up onto your neighbor's roof. I like to put switches in places that have a story excuse for them, and make logical sense, though I will sometimes for gameplay make up a reason why the normal, sensible way isn't working, thus you have to circumvent it. But I see that others often put switches in random places relative to what they control strictly to make getting through the level more difficult.

Related to this are poly-activation triggers that open previously locked doors, simply to make you explore a certain area before moving on to another. Not for any story reason; just, you have to walk over this way and discover that the door there is locked before the hidden passageway back where you just game from will open up. I don't like these, they frustrate me when playing these maps, but I see them around often.

Basically I think it comes down to whether a space is designed to be an actual space that was meant to be easy for it's builders to get around in, and then for some reason or another it is now NOT so easy to get around it, or maybe it still is but you have to explore a lot to find or kill something, or maybe it wasn't designed for a human at all but, say, the S'pht, who can fly, and thus need no stairs... or, if a level is designed just for gameplay purposes with no real function to it. Do players find the latter acceptable in a story-driven game? As a designer I can barely tolerate it, but then I have mild OCD about things like that so I could be biased.

Another opinion I wanted to ask is about the way I intend to do weapons in Eternal. Almost every monster you kill drops a weapon, and the weapons disappear after use, so you never really reload ammo, you just grab another weapon off of someone's corpse (and they all have random ammo on pickup). There are *three* places in the game where you find a weapon just lying around somewhere; all other times you've got to pry someone's slimy, yellow-blooded fingers off the trigger. But some of my mapmakers still tend to put weapons and ammo all over the place and drop monsters at you out the wazoo so you NEED all that ammo real quick.

Which brings us to my next pair of topics, the "rear admiral" and infinite respawns. I've heard opinions voiced against both of them. "Rear admirals" are monsters which beam in behind you as you enter a room, ambushing you. In general I don't use a lot of monsters beaming into rooms as you enter, I tend to have monsters either already there, or pouring into the level either via teleportation or hidden areas that you can't traverse back out through. In the latter case, I tend to have them pouring in indefinitely; in Eternal the Pfhor are never really your big enemy, they just happen to be an enemy force which is crawling all over everywhere you go as you pursue Hathor across time. So I'll have Pfhor constantly beaming in or pouring in to some levels, always there in your way as you run about doing whatever it is that you do. Since you get new weapons from most every monster you kill it's not like you're ever going to run out of ammo against them.

I think that's about all I can think of right now. Hope this spawns some good discussion, it'll be helpful making later versions of Eternal much better.

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Pre-2004 Posts


Opinions on Mapmaking StyleForrest of B.org 7/19/04 1:45 p.m.
     Re: Opinions on Mapmaking Styleblake37 7/19/04 2:52 p.m.
           Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleForrest of B.org 7/19/04 3:00 p.m.
                 Re: Opinions on Mapmaking Styleblake37 7/19/04 3:25 p.m.
     Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleMark Levin 7/19/04 4:20 p.m.
     Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleLt Devon 7/19/04 9:13 p.m.
           Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleForrest of B.org 7/19/04 10:41 p.m.
                 Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleJohannes Gunnar 7/20/04 1:14 p.m.
                 Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleErnie 7/20/04 2:30 p.m.
                       Re: Opinions on Mapmaking StyleLt Devon 7/20/04 3:17 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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