1. Lesson 5: Deterrents

      written by Ray Benefield
      So these Forge Lessons are really starting to come together. Today we celebrate the fifth of the series. I've been confronted by many of you that have expressed a concern of me running out of content for Forge Lessons. And to those I have talked to and now those of you reading I state that I have enough for atleast 30 lessons without even trying hard to think of some. If I continue posting them every other day that means that I still have atleast 50 days of writing left. You have a lot to learn young padawans. ;) Today we discuss a very under-researched theory that still has a long way to go in terms of growing. I have just recently started delving deep into this topic. So I'm going to teach you the basics over time and then we can research it together... and now today's lesson. Oh and btw, next one comes out Friday.




      What makes players move around the map the way that they do? If their goal is straight ahead, what makes them detour to the right? What delays them from having the chance to win the game? There are a couple answers to this question, but there is one answer in particular that is more prominent than the simple placement of a Rocket Launcher or the Sniper Rifle. It exists in a higher quantity than weapons, power ups, armor abilities, and cover combined. Yup… you guessed it based on the title of today’s lesson; Deterrents.


      The definition


      By definition a Deterrent is something that discourages something else from proceeding. Several synonyms exist that may help you better understand what a deterrent might be; impediment, hindrance, disincentive, etc. Deterrents are the most prominent tools of Path Manipulation, however they are one of the least bit utilized and researched tools. A deterrent can be many things. If you see your opponent straight ahead, you change your short term goal to account for him by moving to cover, or preparing an ambush, or simply avoiding the confrontation. If you know the location of the sniper on the opposite team you maneuver in order to stay out of line of sight. If several fusion coils are in your direct path, you cautiously work your way around them in fear of the opposition killing you with one shot. Anything that threatens your chance of winning can be considered a deterrent.


      Limitations of “discouraging”


      The word discourage is one that suggests that deterrents do not always work, which is true. Maybe the main reason why deterrents are not talked about much is because they are not always a sure fire way to get players to move around the map. Some players are stubborn and seek to fight against the odds. Some players are just too skillful to allow such a hindrance stop them from moving forward. Do not fully rely on deterrents to move players around when you start to fully understand them. However do not completely disregard them as useless either. With the right adjustments and tweaks to the map a turret or other deterrent can be a force to be reckoned with and will become a true path manipulator. Learning to control planted deterrents as well as dynamic deterrents is a skill that cannot be overlooked when trying to perfect one’s level design theories. Learning when and when not to use deterrents or any theory for that matter is what makes perfection so impossible to achieve. However the more you learn the closer you can step towards the unreachable goal of no flaws.


      Just the beginning


      There is so much to deterrents that one can analyze. Everything will be covered over time. Deterrents are a big part of controlling a player’s movement around your map and can serve to be quite useful if utilized properly. Studying deterrents will require that you understand that while you have the ability to add deterrents around your map such as fusion coils and turrets, deterrents are created and destroyed constantly throughout the playtime of your map. Dynamic deterrents are a difficult concept to grasp, so learning the basics first are important. Once you do that you will have the power to completely weave the situations that your players encounter.


      28 comments:

      Prod said...

      Two mistakes:

      "deterrents to not always work" I think you meant "do" not "to".

      And

      "Learning when and when not to" I believe a where is needed somewhere.

      Other than that a good post. It's a concept i've never thought of beforebut seems fairly important, as you said, with path manipulation in mind.

      Can i suggest you do a lesson once a week? I think that would be a good balance and not let you run out of content (I know you said you won't run out, but think in the future, 50 lessons doing on every other day won't last too long). Don't be mistaken, i'd still like you to post every 2 or 3 days. Have the more frequent posts about featuring content, news and contests etc. I just think that if reach lives as long as Halo 3, you don't want to run out of content just as people get used to Forge 2.0.

      Anyway, i look forward to your next post.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Alright I fixed the to into do. As far as the when vs where, I think when sounds better but maybe I'm wrong. Anyone else got any comments on it?

      As far as posting a lesson once a week, then I would have to make up stuff to post everyday... lol. Seriously though I feel like this blog would be more useful to people if I talked as little as possible about my life cuz some people couldn't care less about what my new gametypes are going to be. Also I want to get as much information out as possible before Reach comes out because when it does I'm afraid my posting may slow down. Also I want to use the motivation that I have now instead of only ending up writing like 10 and then loosing motivation. And plus there is A LOT to level design theory and if I posted these once a week I wouldn't be done for like the next year and that is unacceptable.

      So until I feel I have a good solid base of Forge Lessons then I will start to slow them down a bit. I've tried to do this many times before and I am finally in a groove that I can handle and continue. I do not want to stop in the middle of it like I've done every time I've tried to write a series like this.

      Furgler said...

      This is another good lesson. I think a good example of this would be the new version of Helix. The outside paths on the new Helix is pretty much what your talking about here. I think this is a good lesson as many people have troubles with this kind of stuff.

      Kuroda said...

      This is funny, right after a read your last 2 forge lessons I started studying deterrents on default bungie maps, before this lesson was posted. The best example I can think of would be the sword room on the Pit. The room has much darker, more threatening atmosphere than the rest of the map, and that is for the purpose of trying to dissuade players from going that direction too often. Mainly because of sword campers. There are other more subtle examples, but that is the best one I've found.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Very good example Kuroda. And that is a very specific type of deterrent that uses atmosphere to deter travelers. Of course there are tons of others like the obvious ones I mentioned like opposition, turrets, snipers, etc. That is a very good analysis and I am glad you are thinking outside of the box and seeing some of the more finer details.

      Also thanks for the comment Furgler. Helix does have some deterrents but I could have definitely controlled them better. I will delve more into threat zones in the future which are what is the main style of deterrent in Helix.

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      So I gathered basically Deterants can be good or bad depending on what you want them too do. Wouldn't this take more effect is a Risk vs Reward gametype rather than just being able to respawn... An example is Infection, basically a deterant for the player would be placing the rocket launcher in directly in front of the zombie spawn or playing jenga, getting into a better area but risking a jump down to it. Am I right?

      EternalEnemy said...

      Great job on the lessons AZN, they are really helping me realize how I need to go about creating a wonderful map. I can't wait to start forging with you old buddy.

      BadCompany Brik said...

      Pretty good, I like how you're tie-ing the lessons together now. No sentence structure that made me scratch my head, well done.

      I love deterrents as a tool but I'm terrible with them. I usually end up going "Camping spot? Fusion coil! There I fix'd it." I actually designed a map centered around these in H3. I basically designed it with a ton of grenade jumps that would open up very advantageous paths, but you would always have to land in a dangerous area. Unfortunately the spawns were completely messed so I scrapped it. Maybe I'll try it again in Reach.

      Anyway, I'm rambling. A good lesson, and I'm dying to know what you use as deterrents, besides the obvious turret on Helix.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Actually Flashpoint again you are being too specific. A Deterrent is just any opposition you meet that could convince you to take a different route. It is an opponent that stands in your way. Or a sniper that is watching your every step. Or a fusion coil that can be shot. Because of those things you are forced to walk in a different path because they threaten you. The rocket launcher in your infection example is completely useless and not a deterrent. However a human standing there with a rocket launcher may be a deterrent for the zombies forcing them to move a different way. Do you understand?

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      Yes I understand. But what I meant by the Rocket launcher thing was that if the rocket launcher was at the zombie spawn you wouldnt want to go get it or try to find another path. Sorry for being too specific... Lol

      Administrator said...

      Wow GD . . . gonna go read your archives, this is great material ;-)

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Ah I see what you mean now... the incentive being cover by the deterrent with the zombies being the deterrent. I completely understand now. It's all good remember that these theories are for not just Halo, but all games it is your job as a designer to be able to translate these theories into the game of your choosing. A deterrent in say Zelda could be some sort of flaming wall, or quick sand or something encouraging you to take another path.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Oh and glad you like the material Admin. Hope you enjoy the rest of the site posts as well. I would love to get your feedback.

      Sotha said...

      Wow. I had never thought of this as a specific tool in path manipulation (not that I have used it yet). I mean, I mean, I've always understood that risk and whatnot factors into it, but I suppose I had just not thought about purposefully defining and setting up areas with a higher potential for risk, essentially deterrents.

      So you could use path manipulation to encourage one team to traverse a certain area of a map often, which would then act as a deterrent for the other team, who would have some sort of goal to reach on the other side of that area (which just happens to be the shortest path there). And so the different lessons come together.

      Haloacl said...

      Wow godly this was really interesteting. It's neat how all the forge lessons you've posted so far are sorta beginning to mesh together. Look forward to future post.

      Vimtoholic said...

      I think Screenshots would be a huge help here and probably in most of these. For Example:
      Gaurdian- Your discouraged from running acroos the middle of the circle by both the Height advantage sniper tower gives you and the openess of it there is a lack of cover and a number of directions enemy fire can come from. on the otherhand a skilled person running through it from say sniper tower can jump off into the ciircle...run and make a leap of faith to the bottom floor where the plasma rifle spawns enroute to the shotty....you could put a screen shot of the open area wich would clearly show to people one form of detterent.
      In short.
      A picture can say a thosand words.
      Screenshots make it easier to understand.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      As I told you in the XBL msgs I do plan on adding screenshots. The main reason for not adding them is that if I require them it increases the time it takes to create them. The secondary reason is that I am waiting for Reach to come out to use more relate-able pictures. Trust me I know that screenshots will help these a lot. Most of my readers are definitely competent enough right now to understand the text version. Once this starts reaching places like FH they will have screenshots.

      Robert said...

      I find this one of the more useful lessons I've read so far. I never really thought about how big, open areas, weapons, and hazards serve to change pathfinding. You don't run through the center of Guardian, right? And you rarely leave the edges of the map in Foundry, because the center of the map is a killzone. This will definitely affect how I look at my level design in the future.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      That is actually a reason why I bring up the topic so early is because this is something that most designers don't take the time to think about. And I'm glad that it is really starting to get you to think and I hope it does help out in the future my friend. Thanks once again for the feedback Thor.

      Anonymous said...

      Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

      Jarhead540 said...

      its very difficult to think and decide how someones going to move. the way i move and play on halo is completely different than others. the best map ive made so far has some (notice i said some) feed back, so most of it is made by assumptions made by myself while making the map. for instance, i assumed that movement to different bases would be incouraged with the placement of medium scale armouries, and since its about the same size as hemmorage, i placed multiple teleporters. do you think that will help at all?

      Noklu said...

      Yes jarhead, it is very difficult to predict how every player will move about. But, you can make some generalisations that (generally) hold true. One is that players seek high ground. It's a natural movement to the top, which allows players to see more, use the ground as cover and have a fighting advantage.

      You can also assume on larger maps that players will gravitate towards the buildings on the map, not terrain. If there are rocks and what not all over the map and two central buildings, players will move towards the structures and see what is occurring there, rather than move to a bland rock.

      Teleporters can be of aid, but what happens if a player doesn't know where he will end up? If there is more than one set available to a team, it gets really complicated and if there are neutral teleporter pairs, then it gets confusing. Generally, I tend to steer away from teleporters and would prefer man cannons, Valhalla-esque.

      With your map, I think that the buildings should gain enough attention on their own, that is, if players can see them. If players can't see them or don't notice them, then that structure may be of little use. After all, what is the point of having an armory as an incentive if you don't know it is there? Weapons are incentive to return, not to go there in the first place.

      Speaking of armories, I would steer away from having too many weapons concentrated in the one place. Depending on what weapons you are talking about, it can become overpowered. Never place a several weapons within a few paces of each other. Not only is it overpowering, but it is also confusing as to which weapon a player should choose. However, if by armory you simply meant multiple weapons spread across a structure, then that should be okay.

      In design you have to make some assumptions, there is simply no way to get around there. Just make sure your assumptions are the right ones. This blog will go a long way to doing that for you.

      Oh, and an example of different playing styles is GodlyPerfection himself. He'll turn tail, go left then right and generally befuddle you with camo. If he could go through the floors, I'm sure he would.

      Jarhead540 said...

      ok. so i should avoid teleporters, and a large amount of guns concentrated in one place, correct?
      Also, how do i compensate for the great distances crossed on my map without the teleporters? as i said earlier, the map is a little smaller than hemmorage, and its perimeters are square. as i was saying, how do i compensate? i dont want someone to have no counters for the sniper camping in my favorite base, you know?
      My final problem is, my map is supposed to be a "team slayer" type map. how ever, its huge (as ive said several times). i have multiple sniper rifles in each base but one (in which an easily accessable beam rifle is in place). is this the best way to counter the distance? most of my friends are either snipers, or they like to think they are, so none of them protest this. what do you think?

      Jarhead540 said...

      in case you didnt notice, i posted two things. there pretty much the same. i would focus on the more in depth one though. my computer lagged and i thought i had lost my first post, so i started over.

      Jarhead540 said...

      lmao! hmmm............... i sense a sterio type....lol. ill send the request. i really apreciate it dude.

      Clsoccer19 said...

      I think that if you used more specific details of the topic where it is used in a well known map that may help

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