Sunday, February 6, 2011

First Person Shooter Map Design

Can you guess which one I prefer?

P.S. this could also be labeled WOW dungeon design Vanilla and Now


avk said...

I don't know what games those maps refer to.

If you replace "cutscene" with "event or vista" in the second one, that's basically Left 4 Dead. I think it's preferable in a game like that to limit the branches to prevent having to run back over ground you've already covered. L4D also does a very good job of not making it feel like one big hallway. Come to think of it, The half-life games are all one big hallway, as well. Maybe that second map should be labeled "1997."

The first ("1993") model works very well for multi-player shooters like TF2 and CamperStrike. Sorry. I mean CounterStrike.

Gus said...

Old shooters needed mazes because the mechanics of shooting weren't that great. Now the moment to moment of combat -- not the need to feel your way through a maze without running out of health or ammo -- are the reason to play these games.

andrew said...

L4D is a tad different IMHO as the level of cooperation designed into it means a limited-choice relatively straight series of paths were important.

I didn't play halflife, but half-life 2 sure didn't feel like one big hallway. The terrain and cities felt much more real. You got railroaded to the same degree, but you had a lot more twists and turns.

andrew said...

Gus, I don't see how the mechanics of the SHOOTING in FPS has changed any, not to any real degree. Center cross-hair on baddie, click mouse. Repeat. Reload as needed.

Except for one mission for the game 'Viet-Cong' where the challenge really WAS feeling your way through a maze (NVA tunnel complex) without running out of health or ammo (being that you jumped in with just your pistol) what I remember most about the older generation of FPS isthe moment-to-moment of combat...a combat where I could circle around and flank an enemy, fall back diving for cover, etc.

On a side-note the tunnel mission in Vietcong was one of the most enjoyable at the end and 'stressful' when I was actually playing.

Maybe the true flaw is thinking you need to give up one reason to play when you introduce another reason to play.

Maybe it is because with all those twists and turns campers are too powerful. Maybe it is because with all those twists and turns twitchy 12 year old trash talkers who were clicking a mouse since the second trimester become even more dominate.

Maybe it is because FPS aren't really 'shooty' anymore, as shooting successfully has always entailed some degree of going against the chaos, of finding that bit of stillness (if only within yourself, if only for as long as it took you to draw a breath) and utilizing it.

BUT I guess FPS works just as well when it stands for First Person Sprayer as it does for First Person Shooter.

Gus said...

The point and shoot are the only things that remain the same. Old shooters were basically first person dungeon crawlers with point and shoot combat.

The removal of a failure state (unless you're doing something REALLY wrong) has profoundly changed the shooter. Some would argue that this too is a bad thing. But they're wrong.

Game Over is a relic of the arcade. (Unless you're purposefully using failure as the major game mechanic, eg. Nethack).

Anyway, I'd argue that physics, cover-mechanics and a zillion other interesting wrinkles on the shooter have profoundly altered what requirements are needed to make a shooter fun. And a maze ain't one of them.

Anonymous said...

"Game Over is a relic of the arcade"

Spoken like a true flagbearer of the entitled generation. God forbid kids these days are forced to learn from failure. I mean, that's work, and that's just ridiculous to expect them to embrace that. What, with mommy and daddy wiping their asses for them.

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