1. Lesson 22: Rule of thirds

      written by Ray Benefield
      Alright so here is the lesson that I promised you guys. Keep your eye on Reaching Perfection peepz. Over the next week I will be writing a ton of guides to help people get used to the new forge mode and help them increase their efficiency at map building. Cuz what good are level design lessons if you are having trouble making your maps right? Tons of people are having issues with the new gametype setup system. For now refer to the initial guide that I wrote yesterday about "Setting up Gametypes for Reach". Share this with everyone everywhere. BNet, Forgehub, XForgery, The Guardian Gate, Forgineers, The Custom Experience, etc. Help your fellow forgers out. Tomorrow I will be releasing my first piece of published Halo: Reach content, Flatline. So expect a lot of playtesting to be done today for it to tweak it to perfection. Also expect more Conquest playtesting coming soon too. Comeback Saturday for a more solid guide to setting up your gametypes on Reach. If you get stuck observe the default maps, because we know they work. Also there is an official Invasion setup guide by Bungie that was posted as well. You may want to see the full guide come Saturday though, so stay tuned. Enjoy today's level design lesson ;). And remember to bump and support the lessons on BNet: Forge Lessons BNet Index. Btw, Lesson 11 was just featured on Gamasutra. Check it out on the front page ;).

      Have you ever taken a picture of yourself or family and friends centered in the picture? Have you noticed that the picture just doesn’t feel right and doesn’t feel pleasing? Have you ever placed an object directly in front of someone for it just to go unnoticed? That’s because a person’s focus is typically not on the center of their current perspective. Learning to place objects at a player’s focus point is key to ensuring that they notice what you are trying to show them.

      Rule of thumb

      Remember when we talked about how perspectives are like pictures or photographs? Well applying common techniques used in art and photography can be used to truly help enhance a player’s experience on your map. Photography is all about object placement, depth, scene composition, as well as various other techniques. I’m not an expert so don’t judge me when I talk about their techniques. However I do know that one common rule of thumb that photographers use is known as the “rule of thirds”. The rule of thirds states that if you divide a picture, photograph, screenshot, or whatever into thirds both vertically and horizontally, the perspectives main points of focus lie at the intersections.

      Not the center

      So taking the basic definition of the rule of thirds we can take any good screenshot and divide it with two lines going vertically in thirds and two lines going horizontally in thirds and find the main focus points of the screenshot. What you end up getting is a little square in the center with its corners being used as focus points. This is why you see many pictures and self portraits with the subject slightly to the right or left and not directly in the center of the picture. If a painting is being drawn with the sun as a main focus it is normally placed at one of the top two corners of that center square. This rule is one of the simplest rules of photography and will help assist you in your quest towards becoming a great map designer.


      So now you’ve got the jist of the rule of thirds so let’s take some time to re-tie it back in with level design. You should be very well versed in the definition of a perspective. Let’s run through a scenario to help you get a bit more acquainted to working with the rule of thirds. Imagine setting up a spawn perspective for your map. You want a player to first spawn and pickup the sniper rifle that is in front of them. First of all you want to place the spawn facing towards the general direction of the sniper rifle. Second, you want to set the sniper rifle a good distance away from a player in order to follow the smooth spawning concept. Now keep in mind the spawning default eye level of the player. Tweak the spawn perspective so that the sniper rifle is placed near one of the four points of interest. Apply whatever eye catching techniques you would like and viola you have encouraged your player to take the role of the sniper. Well done. This technique doesn’t just have to be used on spawns. It can be used for when a player first walks through a doorway. Take the time to imagine the general direction that the player is facing and setup your objects based on the rule of thirds in order to maximize their attention. Make your map fun to play by making what they need to have fun easier to find. Don’t you hide that good ol’ rifle.


      IxFlashPointxI said...

      Didn't we already do this? I haven't read it yet but isn't this ex-lesson 17? I'll read it again but are you just reposting this?

      GodlyPerfection said...

      I am not just reposting this. It is written differently. Ex-lesson 17 referred to multiple theories so I decided to split them up. The Golden Ratio will probably be next followed by a new one that I have been researching. These are all leading up to static perspectives.

      Noklu said...

      Off topic, but some guy was asking around on FH or the official Reach conquest gametype and somebody said "the original creator (gunnergrunt?) will be putting out his version soon..."


      Neo_Arkitect said...

      I re-posted your gametype guide on bnet. Everyone please bump it. http://www.bungie.net/Forums/posts.aspx?postID=49064163

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Yeah I saw it and I originally msged the guy on XBL to let him know that we are almost done with it. Guess he didn't get the msg... lol. Anyways, gunnergrunt referred him to the Conquest tab that no longer exists. rofl. Oh well Conquest should be out sometime next week. Let them know. And btw, tell linu that I have a story behind my gamertag. It's not just for the ego :P.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Alright Neo I took the time to bump it. Btw, thank you for being such a loyal reader bro. You too Noklu, Flashpoint, Legolum, and many others. You guys rock ;).