1. Lesson 11: Smooth Spawning

      written by Ray Benefield
      Look I do keep my promises. For those who are looking to improve their spawning skills today is quite the day for you. Not only have I posted lesson 10 today about spawn perspectives, but I also give you a taste of a technique that I use heavily called Smooth Spawning. I hope you will utilize it as much as I do. Enjoy my friends... I will definitely be posting tomorrow with a heavy focus on Google's Sketchup. And remember next Forge Lesson comes out on Monday. Hope this makes up for yesterday ;).




      Understanding spawns consists of more than just observing the Spawn Perspective. After a bit of working with spawns I learned that as a player I never enjoyed spawning and walking into a wall. Have you ever experienced this problem? Have you ever spawned walked past a weapon right next to you and realize it a couple of steps later and have to stop, step backwards, and pick up a weapon? Have you ever spawned and tried to figure out where you were on the map and then suddenly drop a whole story and have to re-adjust and figure out where you are again? All of this is slightly frustrating to gameplay and is easily remedied.


      A bumpy start


      So all those situations have one thing in common… they start you off with a hiccup in your game plan. Have you ever thought that the extra second you took stepping back to pick up that battle rifle could be the difference between life and death? Imagine that you are ready to go, you spawn and you see an opponent passing by you so you head slightly to the right to cut him off and… OH WAIT!!! Was that a DMR that I passed? Hold on… let me move back and get that real quick. Alright now… where did my opponent go? In that split second that I took to get my DMR I completely lost my goal and have to re-adjust myself and figure out what I’m going to do next adding to the spawn process. Don’t make things more difficult for your player. That’s today’s lesson.


      Time to adjust


      When a player spawns he must take a few seconds to adjust to his surroundings and learn where he has spawned in relation to things that are familiar to him on the map. While a player does this it is best not to disturb his train of thought or change anything in those first few seconds until he is ready to start making decisions. Any change you introduce to the situation in those few seconds could just exponentially increase what he has to think about causing frustration to the sub-conscious. Let’s translate that into perspective variance terms. A player’s perspective should change the least in the first few seconds of a player’s spawn in order to avoid disrupting the initial spawn thought process. While that may seem easy to adjust to, it is slightly twisted when we factor in one thing. Humans are impatient.


      Smooth trails


      When a player spawns they are more likely than not be holding down forward on the thumbstick because humans are impatient and expect to reach their destination as fast as possible. So now that we realize that players will be moving forward when they spawn we have to do our best as level designers to not disrupt their initial spawn thought process. This is where minimal perspective variance is important. Do whatever it takes to keep the player’s perspectives similar in those first few seconds of spawning. What this essentially boils down to is not letting them drop off of cliffs, not forcing them to turn as soon as they spawn, and making sure they don’t bump into any corners or anything that could cause their perspectives to change too much. Don’t introduce decisions or any changes until the player has completely oriented himself and recovered from “summoning sickness”. This may be a minor technique but it is quite powerful. 


      15 comments:

      Eric said...

      I almost never go straight forward after a spawn but taking impatience into account, we should never place an obstacle directly in front of a spawn point right, and this would throw off what your trying to get across, but we can put cover and what not of the side of the forward facing line correct?

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Exactly... instead of placing cover directly in front of a player it can be placed slightly to the side and about 2-3 seconds forward so you don't force a player to take cover, but instead you give him the option to take cover incase of a deterrent in front of him. There are those who don't move forward, but a majority of the population does move forward... especially when you are in a rush to return your flag or something like that.

      Phaazoid said...

      Thanks for these perfection, I'm trying to get as much forge info into my head before reach comes out so I can plan out my maps, and these posts are really giving me a lot to think about!

      BadCompany Brik said...

      This is something that I already did, it seems like one of the first things one should learn, because it's the first thing that happens. If someone spawns and then immediately walks off a cliff, they're going to be grumbling about it for the rest of the game.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      However it isn't always off a cliff to your death... another common mistake that people do is just drop people off of the front of the base or off a ledge down to a lower part of the map. You give the player the first showing of the top of the map and they start to formulate their plan and then they drop off immediately to the lower portion and all of the sudden they have to rethink their plan because now they are on a different part of the map. But yes... this is something that people slightly know about, but don't fully understand. You know what I mean?

      GodlyPerfection said...

      And no problem Phaazoid. I'm glad these are helping you out. That is the main reason that I am doing these because I know that a lot of people are trying to learn as much as they can before Reach comes out and that is why I am providing this and trying to get as much out as possible so everyone is someone prepped for Reach.

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      Another great lesson, I had to read lesson 10 first because I haven't been too active in the past 3 days. So your saying make sure you have room between the pllayer spawn and obstacles because that could influence the player to make the wrong choice (If they're is an object/drop/or whatever) but if there is enough space they may see what they are doing and acumulate plan... Am I right?

      Joachim said...

      This quite useful information, especially the part on not placing weapons too close to the spawn point. I have failed at that a few times.

      I do hope you have a lesson on weapon placements, because that's my biggest problem when it comes to map design : )

      Anonymous said...

      nice post. thanks.

      Steve said...

      summoning sickness --- i like that.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      lol Yeah... me too. I used to be a pretty hardcore tournament magic player. It felt appropriate. ;)

      Jarhead540 said...

      im a little conflicted here, because in your example where you spawn next to an enemy, you get ready to go after him, but stop to pick up a DMR. why does it matter that the person stopped? maybe it makes things more interesting because then you see where the player in that situations priorities lie. in my case i wouldve said "forget the DMR" and dealt with the emediate threat. doesnt that make things more interesting to see the different decisions the player makes? its almost like that perspective youve been refering to, correct?

      Jarhead540 said...

      fair enough. i sent you that friend request. i wouldve stayed up last night but i needed to go to bed cause i had a lotta work waiting for me today.

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