1. [Guest] Perspective Induction

      written by Ray Benefield
      Woot! Today is another relaxing day for me. Today's post is not brought to you by myself, but brought to you by a good friend and growing level designer Cerberus Beast. While reading some of my perspective related lessons he wanted to throw down a new theory that I feel has a lot of potential. We will be breaking it down together as I feel that it has a lot of potential to be covering multiple lessons that could be useful in the future. Keep in mind this theory is new, underdeveloped, and fresh. EVERYONE's thoughts, opinions, and criticisms are welcome in order to help develop this theory more. So let's get this party started. Oh and btw Forge Lesson 2 got featured on Gamasutra this morning. Check it out - Level Design Lesson 2: Knowledge is Power by Raymond Benefield. See you guys tomorrow at the release of lesson 15 and hopefully I will have a nice gift for you on Monday. ;) Keep in mind that if you have any theories that you want to offer to this community let me know and we can definitely coordinate things.

      Perspective Induction

      By: Cerberus Beast

      Now that everyone has been introduced to the main concepts of Area Introduction, Perspectives, and First Impressions, we can move on to a critical topic involving new players on a map: Perspective Induction. Many players have general or specific playstyles that they develop as they play games and learn new tactics and tricks in the games that they play. Some players prefer cautious advance with a mid-range or long-range weapon, others prefer incredibly aggressive movement and close-quarters fights. Players will likely enjoy a map more if they are able to successfully execute their style of play on it.

      The Power of Perspectives

      When a player spawns for the very first time on a map, he/she will do two things: walk forward and look around. Spawn Perspectives hold much greater significance when players spawn for the first time on a map, primarily because they will want to find a weapon, area, or route that suits their playstyle. Without any prior Knowledge of the map, they will rely on what they see to guide them. This is where Perspective Induction comes in. Though this concept may be applied to shorter lines-of-sight, it is best understood on a larger map. Consider a map in which there is a moderately-sized central building of two or three stories and floor space approximately equivalent to the flag spawn room in Last Resort. The building is closed, with only a few small entrances and windows which may be seen from multiple various spawn locations on the map. When a close-quarters player sees the small entrances and relative size of the building, that player will immediately want to find a shotgun or other close-ranged weapon and set him/herself up in that location. A range player, though not thrilled by the prospect of going through the tight entrances and spaces within the building, may wish to go there to utilize the windows for ranged support.

      Why the Outside (or Inside) is Everything

      As demonstrated above, two players may spawn at the same location and view their potential uses of a space or structure completely differently. However, both players drew the same conclusions subconsciously about the area. The close-quarters player knew that he/she would encounter tight spaces and engaging fights, but the player also knew that he/she would be exposed if he/she strayed to close to the windows. The ranged player wanted to reach the windows for their height advantage and lines-of-sight, but he/she realized that a push through the enclosed entrances and spaces would be necessary to gain the desired advantage. Perspective Induction essentially boils down to what Deterrents and Incentives a player can glean by viewing an area from a distance or viewing the area without being immediately in it. If a map is open and outside, the facades and external features of buildings will be analyzed, while an indoor or closed map will be analyzed primarily by visible routes of travel and more contained perspectives.

      Other Factors

      Thanks to the HUDs of many of today's shooters, the mere appearance of an area is not the only source of induction. Death markers in the forms of skulls or red Xs can be equally controlling, especially once a match is under way. If a close-quarters player sees that multiple teammates are dying in a small pocket of the map, he/she may reach the conclusion that the area is a chokepoint or confined space and may decide that a move to that location would be prudent. Though not a direct perspective in any sense, player communication also shapes decisions for players because they are able to provide information about locations and areas which an individual player may not be able to see. Player communication will be covered in later articles.


      The most important thing to take away from the concept of Perspective Induction is that players will react to the same perspective in different ways, but they should all reach the same subconscious conclusions before acting. Effective use of Eye Catching, Area Introduction, and Spawn Perspectives will allow a level designer to not only control players in a general sense, but specifically move certain players with similar playstyles to the same or similar locations on a map. Cerb out.


      GunnerGrunt said...

      Hmm. What are you telling us to do in terms of map design? We can take this knowledge into consideration, but what are we supposed to do with it?

      We should also take respawn cameras into consideration now. Giving the long-range player a view of the buildings windows would encourage him to select a long-range class, etc.

      Cerberus Beast said...

      @GunnerGrunt: Valid questions. The idea is that the appearances and external features of a place are as important as the game space which it contains. This doesn't necessarily mean aesthetics, but more so the implementation of certain features within a visible region that provide information to players who are not in that region. I hope that is enough of a summary.

      In respect to your thoughts on respawn cameras, you actually delve a bit further than you intend, I think. You are correct, a certain type of player may prepare him/herself for long-range confrontation as part of a preparatory and reactive playstyle, but not all players will prepare themselves for a given situation. You are getting a bit more into player theory, but death-cams / respawn cameras should be taken into consideration

      GodlyPerfection said...

      The loadout cameras are covered under a future perspective based lesson that I'm calling Static Perspectives. Basically it covers perspectives that a player has no control of and cannot directly change. For example map screenshots, loadout cameras and other still single perspectives.

      As far as what cerberus is advising we do may be covered best after future lessons. But it is something to keep in mind.

      GunnerGrunt said...

      @Cerberus: You should include that summary paragraph into the conclusion of the theory. That helped me understand it more than anything in there actually.

      Sotha said...

      Yes, I agree with GunnerGrunt. Edit that summary paragraph in. -- "The idea is that the appearances and external features of a place are as important as the game space which it contains. This doesn't necessarily mean aesthetics, but more so the implementation of certain features within a visible region that provide information to players who are not in that region."

      I think a more concrete and Reach-related concept than a player's general play-style (do they prefer close-range combat, or do they like sniping, etc) would be what armour ability they are using. While there are people who use a specific one all the time because it suits their preferred play-style, there are others who switch off depending on the circumstances in which they are spawning.

      If they have Sprint they're more willing to risk the large open space, while if they have Armour Lock, they might want to stay within the cover of the building, or a player with Active Camo may want to just follow along the building's outer wall (depending on whether there are windows every five feet or drop-downs immediately above them). Of course these are rather arbitrary examples that I just thought of, but they seem to carry the point of the lesson a little better than your original examples. Of course you still want to include that they are spawning in the same area and see the building with whatever traits at a distance and all of that, though. I just feel that these function as example players that people would better be able to relate to.

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      Great Lesson Cerberus, I don't have much to say about this one. Really Interesting topic though.

      I need to write one of these :P