1. Lesson 8: Eye Catching

      written by Ray Benefield
      Alright peepz, as promised we are stepping into more advanced level design theory territory. You guys are going to appreciate today's lesson. It is tied to my unique style that utilizes Perspectives to design maps. Be sure to start sharing these lessons with your friends and whoever else you feel could benefit from these articles. If you didn't read yesterday's post about me going underground, I suggest you take the time to. To put it short I am not advertising any of my content (lessons, maps, gametypes, etc.) at all online, atleast not for the beginning of Reach. I leave that to you. Next lesson is Thursday. But maybe I'll see those more loyal readers tomorrow. ;)




      So I have introduced you to Perspectives, which in short are screenshots of the player’s view; everything that a player sees, all of his options, any Incentives in his view, or anything else of interest all in one screenshot that can be observed as a picture. Now I’m going to teach you how to move that perspective so that you can control exactly what your players see. The funny thing about humans is that we are curious and we love shiny things or anything that points out of a given scene. Using this knowledge to our advantage is something that I like to call Eye Catching.


      The basics


      Eye catching is a pretty self explanatory term. It is using various techniques to “catch” the human eye. This technique is used in millions of pieces of artwork, so why not utilize it in a perspective if a perspective can be seen as a picture? The human eye can be drawn by a ton of different things; like light differences, color contrast, size, distance, shapes, etc. It is your job as the designer to decide which type of attention grabber you want to use on your map. Pick something that fits with what you are doing anyways. Making a dark map for some sort of zombie gameplay? Then use lit objects to attract attention. Maybe your map is quite purple from the covenant theme you’ve created. Well yellow stands out quite well in a purple background and is sure to grab your player’s attention.


      The results


      In a picture when you grab the viewer’s attention they move their eyes towards the designated “eye catcher”. When in a game players do the same thing; moving their eyes towards the “eye catcher”. However in a game moving a player’s eyes causes a change of perspective and makes a new picture for us to use and analyze. Learning to transition between new perspectives is a powerful skill allowing you to fine tune not only the player’s movement, but also exactly where your player is looking and when. Remember that if a player is in the middle of traversing a map, typically changing the direction their eyes are looking it they tend to gravitate towards that area. So not only do you get to control the direction the player is facing, but you also control where they decide to move. Not bad for applying art theory to a video game, eh?


      Applying the technique


      So now you’ve got this basic understanding of changing the player’s perspective, but how should one use it for level design? How about using eye catching techniques to attract players towards incentives? Or maybe you can use eye catching to warn players of a Deterrent ahead. How about just introducing a new area of the map? Eye catching is part of the major concept that is Path Manipulation. Controlling your player allows you to tweak what they feel, what they see, the decisions that they can make, and overall the true experience that they have while playing your map. This is a technique that can be used everywhere in your map and knowing when to use eye catching and when not to is a delicate decision. You know those papers that say “Turn the page to see how to keep a blonde busy”? The same concept is applied in this situation, eventually the player will catch on. Meaning that eventually you have to vary your techniques and use eye catching only up to certain point. Pick your uses carefully and use this powerful technique wisely.


      20 comments:

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      Very good lesson. I kind of think this was directed towards me because of the switch in my map. Great Lesson. I have a question, could you direct a player through a maze using a technique like this?

      Could you maybe give me some insight on my final sketchup of DeathDrop? Thanks.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Actually I had already planned on doing Eye Catching soon, your map just happened to be a great example for it. And yes you can direct a player through a maze as long as it is done properly and not overdone to the point where the player no longer pays attention to it.

      As far as your sketchup map when I find the time I will comment on it. It has reminded me of a theory that I need to work on researching and improving as I do talk about it much.

      Cerberus Beast said...

      Good as always. I would also like to add that silhouettes are also important eye-catchers. You'll notice that many players don't always look for the color of weapons/players as much as they do the shape and outline of them. Have you ever come around a corner and seen a teammate and shot him due to his shape? I have on occasion, and I'm sure many other players have as well. That leads into a subset of eye-catching, and essentially player theory, which is scene comparison. Ray, I'm sure you know what I am talking about, but you don't have to bring it up in articles for a WHILE. Good work.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      You are getting way too ahead of yourself Cerberus. That is for a later lesson :P. I just mentioned the more obvious things and the things that a designer has the most control over in Halo. They will each be covered in their own lesson later.

      Anonymous said...

      Could you possible have Opposite eye catching and cause miss direction eye catching?...

      Bartoge said...

      Eye catching is probably my weakness. I hope to see some helpful lessons on this subject to come. This was a good starting lesson.

      Brooks said...

      I just recently started reading Reaching Perfection. Gunnergrunt at Forge Hub referred me here after i asked for some forge tips.
      All the articles are very helpful and they've helped me improve the mindset i use when editing in forge. I hope to continue improving when Reach comes out.

      But i had one technical question. For your remake of Helix, you have added curved walkways on the sides. Are those actual Forge World objects/pieces? Or are they adapted from existing pieces?

      I enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up

      GodlyPerfection said...

      "Anonymous said...
      August 17, 2010 7:33 PM

      Could you possible have Opposite eye catching and cause miss direction eye catching?..."

      That is an interesting question anonymous. I am not quite sure how one would push the eyes away from a situation other than just putting a more powerful eye catcher directly opposite of that which you are trying to divert from. Actually that's all I can really think of doing to divert away from something. Say you are trying to stop people from being around the outside of the map, darken the outside and only have light sources towards the center. Players will naturally gravitate towards what they can see. I will keep that possibility in mind and if I come up with something I will be sure to research it and develop it into something that we can all use.

      "Bartoge said...
      August 17, 2010 7:46 PM

      Eye catching is probably my weakness. I hope to see some helpful lessons on this subject to come. This was a good starting lesson."

      Yeah I will be working with you closely Bart and don't worry I will be covering the specifics soon enough. I have about 14 lessons that I can get to before Reach and I'm sure those will be in there. You have become a great designer and I can see you going far my friend.

      "Brooks said...
      August 17, 2010 9:19 PM

      I just recently started reading Reaching Perfection. Gunnergrunt at Forge Hub referred me here after i asked for some forge tips.
      All the articles are very helpful and they've helped me improve the mindset i use when editing in forge. I hope to continue improving when Reach comes out.

      But i had one technical question. For your remake of Helix, you have added curved walkways on the sides. Are those actual Forge World objects/pieces? Or are they adapted from existing pieces?

      I enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up"

      Well I am quite glad that you found this site and that Gunnergrunt has referred you. I hope you follow his example and share this site with anyone or any community that you feel could benefit from it. I am glad you like it and that it has helped you. Feel free to post your GT so we can hook up and chill on Halo sometime and get to know each other. I can also help you out in improving your skills before reach comes out. Flashpoint was quite the amateur designer before and he is now starting to really impress me. I don't know your current skill, but I would be happy to help you in any way that I can.

      As for your question there are no actual Forge World equivalents of those curved walkways. I was just going to use the same technique that was used in the Halo 3 Helix which was just rotating each preceding wall at a given angle. So say I place 10 walls in a row, but each wall is rotated 5-30 degrees more than that previous one to create a curved effect. While it isn't truly curved it will give the same effect and be much easier in reach with the rotation snap feature.

      And I will most definitely keep it up. I've posted everyday since the first of august and I hope to keep that up and stay in the habit of posting for a long time to come. It takes something like 26 days to form a habit lol. Glad you like them and feel free to share with your friends and anywhere you may chill. See you around bro and hope you stay a regular reader.

      Eric said...

      In Halo and forging, It is very hard to create misdirection, an example of which is to make an explosion occur just off screen to draw your eyes away from enemies spawning directly ahead of you, to give them time to set up. In reach the pulsating lights can give us a way to create misdirection, but that is very limited and most likely will work once.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Definitely Eric. Pulsating lights will act similar to that piece of paper I was talking about with "Turn this around to see how to keep a blonde busy". Eventually players would catch on and it would have no eye catching effect. At that point it just becomes a mood setter.

      May I ask what your gamertag is Eric? I have asked several to view my blog personally and I can't quite put my finger on which friend you might be.

      SPARTAN-328 said...

      Hey man, hope you can help me out with this as well as deterrents. I'm afraid I'm going to have trouble with those haha. You sent me a message on Bnet, I'm Riokus GT: BoA Raccoon

      Hoping to forge with you sometime and/or share projects with you, your lessons have already changed my view (perspective, lol) on Forge. Can't wait to put your theories to the test.

      I'm going to go and read more of your posts now ^^



      (P.S. I would have posted a lot more but I'm kind of lazy :/ )

      GodlyPerfection said...

      lol glad you found these lessons helpful Riokus/Spartan/Raccoon... what the hell should I call you? lol. Anyways I can definitely help you understand these a lot better. Send me a msg on XBL and remind me to make room for you so I can work with you bro and start teaching you some with some maps on H3.

      And don't worry about writing a lot, at least you commented which is better than most readers lol. ;)

      Vimtoholic said...

      Again I'm going to say use screenshots. They're a great way to physically show people what you mean. and help them understand that.
      Example:
      Valhalla.
      People go round through the caves because the trees catch their eyes first when they glance around and isenforced even more so by both the waterfall and crashed pelican. I tend to take that route more often than the otherside mostly due to the fact of thats what people will see first. Take a screenshot of the crash site and explain that...as I said before
      Picture....thousand words

      GodlyPerfection said...

      And as I said before I have my reasons for them not having screenshots right now... they will. All in good time my friend. I'm no amateur when it comes to teaching people... trust me ;)... lol

      Mr.Mijuju said...

      lol these really aren't that good. most of these are simply common sense that people dont usually think to include in maps.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Well isn't everything common sense to someone that has already grasped the concept? Some of the important things to an engine may seem common sense to a Nascar driver, but definitely not to a math nerd. The same situation goes here. Regular Halo players wouldn't even come close to thinking about these topics unless they are pointed out. They may be common sense to me and you, but the regular Halo player needs their eyes opened for them. You have to think in terms of the new designers.

      I'm actually gratified that these are common sense to you because that means that they are things that need to be known by the not so regular designer. Also these are especially important since Reach's new Forge 2.0 will get a lot of new people into building maps.

      Joachim said...

      The first thing I thought after reading this, was to create a giant glowing tower in the middle of the map just to have it there.

      I'm thinking this might not have been what you meant. Would it be correct if I guessed; map aesthetics?

      GodlyPerfection said...

      It isn't always for map aesthetics Joachim. You can use eye catching techniques to attract players towards certain areas of the map. If you have a bright light in the corner of their eye they will turn slightly towards it and if they see a rocket launcher as they turn they are encouraged to travel that way. Eye catching can be used of lots of things, it can be used for showing weapons, it can be used for showing new paths, it can be used to make players aware of the turret in the corner that may kill thme, etc...

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      No. What he means is that you want to make the areas you want the player to travel to "catch the player's eye". That way they are more interested in traveling that way. It can be as simple as placing a light over the area, or as delicate as using aesthetics.

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