1. Lesson 15: Purpose

      written by Ray Benefield
      Alright so today's lesson is a couple hours later than usual. I've been distracted with the MLG at Raleigh event. Reach is inching closer. Remember that there are tons of forgers out there looking to improve there skills for Reach. Direct your friends this way to help them out. The more everyone learns the more they can teach everyone else and the better all of the custom game content can get. I also plan on hosting a couple of big projects from RP that I will be announcing soon to help forgers out in their pursuit of happiness. I hope you guys like what I have planned. Today's lesson builds off of Friday's lesson on a map's essence. Hope you enjoy it. Come back Tuesday for another lesson my friends. Remember I post every day and I post a new lesson every other day. Keep on reading and keep on forging. See you guys tomorrow.

      So have you figured out what you are trying to do with your map? Do you have a list of goals that you are trying follow to fulfill your map’s essence? Are they prioritized and ready to go? Good because they need to be followed every step of the way. Everything that goes into your map needs to have one or more of those goals supporting it. Why put something into a map that doesn’t support your cause?

      Why my friend?

      So why is that wall down there? Is there a reason you have that massive structure up there? What’s your reasoning behind this path back here? If you can’t answer any of those questions with your list of goals then it most likely serves no purpose on your map. While this may seem like common sense, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the answer “because it looks cool”, “I don’t know”, or something else along those lines. You should be able to answer with something like “because one of my goals is to give this map a medieval feel” or “this path serves as a backdoor into the blue base to allow for flanking and another route out for the flag”. Be prepared to answer the why while you build your map. Ask yourself questions as you build something like “why am I adding this to my map?” or “how does this help create the map’s essence?” If you find yourself trying to make an excuse with no solid answer then you should probably rethink about what you are trying to do.

      The power of prioritization

      I mentioned briefly how important it is to prioritize the goals of your map. I cannot stress this enough. On the most basic level it will help you decide what things are the most important to have in your map. It will help you decide whether you want a sniper rifle in this corridor or a shotgun in the adjacent room. While this too seems simple, sometimes it needs to be pointed out. Something you can do to help improve your map is trade one idea for another that has a purpose with a higher priority. If you have a goal of long range combat that has a higher priority than the medieval thing you are going for then maybe it would be beneficial to trade out that draw bridge in order to add more long range combat elements into your map. This is a very effective way of improving your map based on its essence and concentrating the focus of your creation. Sometimes it is worth trading a path for a new aesthetic castle tower if your medieval goal is a higher priority than your path manipulation goals.

      Learning to juggle

      So far I have talked about ideas and objects that only serve a single goal in order to teach in a simplified manner. In reality however one structure or idea can serve multiple goals for your map. That sniper tower can help your long range goal greatly. But adding a draw bridge instead could help your path manipulation as well as help your medieval goal. This is where making decisions gets difficult. Long range could be a high priority for you while multiple paths have mid priority and medieval theme has low priority. Do you choose the tower to meet a higher priority or do you get more “bang for your buck” by serving a mid priority as well as a low priority? This is where the designer shines. It is up to you to juggle the pros and cons. Good luck. 


      GD27 BlueDevil said...

      This cant be stressed enough. The reasoning for parts of the map to be the way they are is critical. If somebody has trouble understanding this concept, look at Bungie's maps. Everywhere has a purpose and everywhere has a reason. Good writeup Godly.

      BTW what are you doing at an MLG tourny? I was sure you were never into MLG or much of competitive play for that matter. How bout including MLG maps into these lessons? I, as well as many others would be interested to here what you have to say about it.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      All of these write ups apply to all maps including MLG maps. And I wasn't at one, I was just watching the live coverage. It keeps me pre-occupied while waiting for Reach lol. ;) And the reason I never mention MLG directly is because level design is level design. This isn't just for conventional maps, this works for MLG, mini games, new gametypes, etc. All of these tips are useful for making all maps better.

      Anyways, you are definitely right Bluedevil that this is extremely important. Just understanding your own map instead of just throwing things together. It will definitely help you make decisions.

      Cerberus Beast said...

      This is core to any map. The delicate interplay of function, accessibility, and aesthetics cannot be valued. It is simply critical to creating a fun, replayable, and balanced map. Prioritization is an excellent means of managing the balance, especially after testing has been done on a map. If a map doesn't return the desired gameplay, referring to a priority list can help work out a huge variety of kinks and issues. Great lesson, Ray.

      BadCompany Brik said...

      But seriously, I cannot stress enough how cool that wall looked :) I kind of felt like you were being demeaning towards aesthetics in the first paragraph, even if it was unintentional. Obviously you shouldn't put something game changing like a large structure in the middle of your map for aesthetics. But if they're outside the map and unreachable, then I don't see the problem. As long as you've got the budget.

      Cool wall, bro.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Actually Brik I wasn't being demeaning at all to aesthetics. I simply state that you should be able to back up your aesthetic piece with one of the goals in your list. Which is why I constantly use the Medieval aesthetic to show that you can have a piece just for aesthetics wherever you want as long as you have a goal to back it up. You can't just say
      "because it looks cool" you have to say "because it fits the medieval aesthetic feel that I am trying to create for the map". As long as you have good reason then you are in the clear. Don't just add something cuz you thought it would be cool, add it to meet your map goals.

      StingerSplash01 said...

      Speaking of purpose, who was actually excited on April Fool's Day when Bungie made the chess ViDoc? I thought that it would be something new and while it may not be that popular, the joke looked complete enough to actually be true.

      P.S. I like chess, so joke or not they should put it in as a change of pace thing, maybe as a way to take a break from slaying to actually pwn someone.

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      I agree completely with GD,so many people forget this when making maps. I'm not saying I don't but just too many people forget.
      Really good lesson, keep it up.
      Chess would be fun stinger :)

      Neo Arkitect said...

      When Reach comes out are we going to have an opportunity for the RP community to analyze our maps based on your lessons? Perhaps some lessons might sink in better if we have examples of students putting your words into practice.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      I have definitely been thinking about doing something like that Neo. One of the things I was going to do was start a series where I leave you guys homework to analyze a map. The next non-lesson post would then take all of the analysis and I would agree or disagree with each one accordingly and then give you another homework assignment at the end of it. Glad you mentioned that. I was going to bring that up some of my big projects tomorrow. lol... must be a good idea then.

      Neo Arkitect said...

      Great minds think alike I guess ;)

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