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 Less is more design: Arena Shooters and Exhibition Sports 
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 Less is more design: Arena Shooters and Exhibition Sports
Seeing that multiplayer is functionally playable and the movement system is almost complete I figured I should put to words my thoughts on design practices that will suit Project Free Fall. I'm sure I'll create several more threads that cover other aspects of map design, but for now this.

Arena shooters and exhibition sports share more than a few commonalities, including less is more design for play spaces. When I mention exhibition sports think Skateboarding, Park BMX, freeriding, etc; pretty much any scored sport that could feasibly be seen at an X games. For both activities, the play space is designed almost entirely to exclusively showcase the abilities of competitors.

While watching the videos below, notice how simple most of the spaces are. Hopefully it should be obvious that the spaces could be traversed much easier than the routes competitors use. What might not be as obvious is how relative skill between competitors forces the group as a whole to take more risks. The urge to do better than competitors often is what makes a space interesting rather than the space by itself.





Options allow competitors to react to evolving situations. Instead of a known and well practiced option, competitors often will choose something less obvious. For quake it might mean taking a less optimal rail angle because the best angle for a space might be too well known. For bike tricking it might mean attempting a flip when instead of going for a flare. Whatever the choice, the point is that good spaces allow for choices to be made.

For a game to evolve, the gameplay should promote options in how to approach situations. For a map to evolve, the spaces should do the same.

Rather than asserting that deviating design practices will not work, instead designs that tie together unique geometry in a minimal space* seem to be what's favored in the end.(*this does not mean actually small, it means as small a space as to be able execute the idea)

When designing spaces attempt to see multiple ways players can traverse or utilize the geometry. Decide if the amount of options is too much or too little then alter. Sometimes a lack of options is great for one space because the number of options in another makes the space dangerous(Red Armor Pickup on Cure, Quake Live). Sometimes a surplus of options is great as it can make attempting to cross a space dangerous(quad pickup on DM6/Campgrounds).

Whatever choices are made when designing, the creator should always be asking if there are too many or too few options available in the space being considered.

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"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:15 am
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Post Re: Less is more design: Arena Shooters and Exhibition Sport
Looking at that BMX clip I feel like we could create micro landscapes to use as arena and regular base floors. Simply texture it in something metal, exaggerate the 'hills' and bowls (using GIMP its as easy as having a hard transition from one grey to the next). You could create a perfect replica of a skatepark to use as the central area of a DM or base courtyard.

This would keep our fiddling with Mesh collisions to a minimum - one of my large concerns when going from BSP to Mesh once you start using near circular objects - you will always have to compromise on collision complexity once you step away from simple primitives, unless you use the terrain to handle it.

I wonder what the max amount of landscapes per map is. You could use them for more complex ramps etc..
A perfect bowl is pretty easy to make as a heightmap (just a gradient circle).
Stick two landscape semi orbs together and you have a sphere.

Sure, it's not really intended use, but wtf right? If it's not too taxing on the system it could make certain segments or functionalities of a map a lot easier.

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Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:49 pm
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Post Re: Less is more design: Arena Shooters and Exhibition Sport
Hmm, well you are sacrificing collision complexity whenever representing nurbs with polygons; terrain would hardly simplify collision. However, the idea is plenty sound as a technique. I've been planning to simulate a small planet or the interior of a geosphere with the same technique. Collision complexity is often simplified through mesh usage; the meshes just have to be optimized.

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"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:28 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:13 am
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Post Re: Less is more design: Arena Shooters and Exhibition Sport
There's a better way, actually. Model the whole thing in 3D app, export in pieces as ASE files, and then import those into UDK as BSP brushes. Your imported brushes can't be concave, but you get around this by creating concave pieces as boole objects and then exporting the two components, one for add and one for subtract. This is how we did it in TVed.


Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:39 pm
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