Height Manipulation: Part 2
Height manipulation is an important technique to learn if you ever want to design great competitive maps. Have you ever played on a map that only has 1 level? No, that would be boring, especially compared to maps that have 3 or 4 levels to play around in. Correctly using different types of height manipulation can make you map so much more interesting, but if you screw it up, the effect will turn people away. Before we dive in, let me explain a word I use a lot: height. Example: There are 2 heights. What I mean by height is that there are 2 areas, and one is at a higher elevation than the other. That’s all I mean by the word height.
Jumping is the simplest form of height manipulation, and it’s also user controlled. By taking a look at why people jump, we can figure out why we want different heights in our map. People jump for two reasons.
- Jumping allows the player to suddenly be somewhere else, in most cases, higher than where they were. If you are in a BR fight, its sudden movements that are to your advantage, because it requires more skill to suddenly move your reticule somewhere completely different than to just slowly follow your opponents head. It is the difference between walking and strafing. Pros can follow where you walk, but if you have a good strafe; it’s much harder to keep up with where your head is. Jumping is similar, where if you head keeps bobbing up and down, it’s a much harder target than something staying on a singly level.
- Jumping gives you a height advantage, even though it is only for a short amount of time. Lets actually discuss why being higher is an advantage. If you where looking at somebody directly above you, what would you see? Their butt. You cannot see their head because the rest of their body is shielding it from you. If, however, if you were directly above them, all you would see is their head, making it a much bigger and easier to hit target. So as you go higher than your enemy, your head becomes harder to shoot, while theirs becomes easier. Jumping gives you this advantage, and while it’s minimal in effect, and lasts a short time, it does help.
Those two reasons translate directly into why you need height variation in maps. There are 2 types of height variation. Each one focuses on one of the reasons above. Let’s dive in, shall we.
Drop heights are easily the most used in user created forge maps, mainly because it is easier to forge. This type of height variation is essentially when one height drops off directly to another height. The Pit offers the best example of this.
See how the top platform just stops and then the floor continues lower than where the platform was. This is the easiest way to look at it, but drop height can also be over large areas of the map. From the top of Construct to the bottom, that is a drop height. This…
is also a drop height. Whenever there are 2 heights in which the change to them isn’t gradual, you have a drop height. What that means is that the top height doesn’t have a ramp to the bottom height. When the top height is done, it just drops off, like a cliff.
The other type of height is rolling. This is more specific to Bungie maps, particularly because they have the tools to create it with ease, but with the coming of Halo: Reach and coordinate editing, rolling heights may be more common. Rolling heights are based on hills, arcs, and ramps... One of the best examples is on Narrows.
See the long arc the goes across the entirety of the map. Well, that is rolling height. Whenever you play on Narrows there is always that rush to the middle and you always wait for the other teams head to just poke over the top of the arc, and that’s when you start shooting. The other player can move back down to get into cover, but you can move up to see more of them. Rolling height doesn’t have to be that noticeable though. It can be just slight variations in height, like in Valhalla.
See. Look at any of Bungie’s terrain and you will get a good picture of rolling height. It’s basically a gradual change in height over a specific area. There is one more type of rolling height. Ramps.
This is how forgers create rolling height. While it’s not as complex as Bungie’s terrain, it does offer a gradual change in height over a specific area.
That's all for part 1. Tune in later this week (Thursday or Saturday... who know?) for the second part of Bartoge's Height Manipulation theory. Please give him as much feedback as you possibly can on his writing style, comments on his theory, or anything else that you may want to comment on... like whether or not you like these special guest posts. Remember you too can share your theories on Reaching Perfection. Just get in touch with me somehow and let me know. If I think it is atleast a decent thought for an idea then we can get you setup with your own post time. Til' tomorrow's Forge Lesson... laterz peepz.