1. Lesson 30: Application

      written by Ray Benefield
      So I haven't posted a lesson in like a week. Sorry guys. Been busy testing Conquest maps, working on my map for the Forgetacular Competition, and playtesting some content that I plan on posting for you guys soon. I plan on posting me and EternalEnemy's Minesweeper mini-game tomorrow and posting me and Sotha Sil's codenamed Headhoarder later this week after a bit more testing. Also I plan on starting a large movement to get these lessons to the members of Forgehub legally (with no advertising qualms) using your guys' help. We all know that they are a large part of the forging community so getting these to them will not only help improve their skills, but also improve all custom games in general and help guide people over to the site. Also expect to see a couple of maps added to the Conquest Map Archive very soon. Many people have been hard at work on their Conquest maps and it is paying off. Great job so far Thor, Alec, Moss, Boomer, Hero, and everyone else I've been working with but haven't mentioned yet. I'm out for now. See you guys online.



      Ever build a map that has played completely differently from how you design it to? Have you made a design decision expecting one result but getting a completely different one? Level design is not a piece by piece or step by step process that one follows. Everything affects everything else and learning how everything works together sometimes requires experimentation and study. Sometimes you never know that something is going to work until you try it.


      From theory to reality


      We didn’t just start out knowing exactly how to walk, write, read a book, do a back flip, or even create a super computer. We always start out theorizing how one might go about doing something based on what we know, what we’ve been told, and what we’ve researched. You never know exactly what is going to happen until you try something yourself. Most of the time it is one thing to think about how to do something and another thing to actually go out and do it. Many people will tell you that smoking is addicting, but you never actually know how addicting until you try it right? Some people will tell you that horseback riding is a blast, but you never know that until you actually jump on a horse and ride it around. I may tell you that people will go over to a rocket launcher and pick it up over a pistol, but you never actually know that for sure until you try it right?


      Context is everything


      So what if I told you that people will pick up a pistol over the rocket launcher? Most of you would probably call me a liar. Now what if you knew that I was talking about a game where only headshots will earn you points. Am I right now? Possibly. Did I forget to mention that getting a kill with the rocket launcher will earn you an extra life? Now the rocket launcher looks quite a bit more promising. Then again I also forgot to tell you that you can only have a maximum of ten lives. So what will people choose; the pistol or the rocket launcher? After going through this scenario, you will realize that it depends on the context of the situation. Everything in map design works this way. Just because it is typically good practice to put the sniper rifle around high areas does not mean that is what is best for your map, and this could be because of anything on your map.


      Never know until you try


      So how do you know that the sniper rifle belongs in the sniper tower of your map? Well you don’t yet. You only know if you put the sniper rifle there and play your map. At first it may seem like a good idea based on what you know, however when you play your map it may prove to be a bad decision due to unforeseen circumstances. Nobody knows everything and nobody can consider every possible variable that plays into that decision. Sometimes you never know until you try. This goes for everything that you may read in these lessons. You never know that players are going to take the shortest path possible to the flag unless you actually go out and place a flag for people to go get. You never know if color contrast is going to grab people’s attention until you go out and setup a scenario to test it. So what are you waiting for? Start applying these lessons. Learn what works and what doesn’t for you. Don’t just assume.


      17 comments:

      SmartAlec13 said...

      So what this lesson is essentially saying is playtesting is extremly important. And then by playtesting you can test theories, and apply the lessons where needed.

      Now if only we could create that variant with the rockets and pistols...damn you Bungie and your lack of custom game options.

      Noklu said...

      Rule number one of forging: Test your map. Then test it some more. Then, when it's almost perfect, test it a just little bit more when nobody expects it.

      SmartAlec13 said...

      Yeah. After Ridge, that is one of the biggest lessons i learned. Mostly that you cannot rush things too much.

      Cerberus Beast said...

      Great article, Ray. I've been developing Contemplation for a total of about one year, and that's without playtesting. Sometimes it's best to put the most vague representation of an idea on paper, then let it sit for a while before building it or elaborating on it. Slow roast to perfection!

      xthorgoldx said...

      Random idea of the day: "Forge Lessons" should be renamed to "Teaching Perfection." Catchy, punny, and protected by losely interpreted copyright law!

      Anyway, relevant to the lesson... I agree with Alec's analysis. Playtesting is what really makes or breaks a map. How you you know that your map can be escaped until some guy flies his way past your kill barriers? How do you know that the the sniper rifle has a clear shot on every spawn? How do you know that nobody is finding your super-special tunnel of awesome? Playtest.

      I remember a CTF playtest a while back, where the square map had the bases in opposite corners. Along one connecting corner was an elevated path, through the center were pyramids and various pieces of cover, and behind the bases, running along the bottom corner, was a half-submerged tunnel. For half the game, the entire battle was in the center, with the random few running along the elevated path for flanking. Then, suddenly... "HEY GUYS! There's a freakin' tunnel!" Once the tunnel was, literally, discovered, the catchphrase of the game was "Oh, THERE'S the tunnel!" The designer walked away with valuable input on putting more cover and distance in the center, as well as instructions to make the other paths more noticeable.

      You know your map. Other's don't. Therefore, they can generate a different view of your map than you can. They don't know that that wall is supposed to keep them from spawnkilling the enemy, they'll get on it, discover what it can do, and exploit it. Or, and this is my favorite, they'll open up parts of your map you never saw before, and like - maybe there are alternative paths to an objective that lead to more flanking variety, maybe that antenna you placed is great cover when sniping the enemy flag. Playtesting breaks apart your map's faults and achievements with raw, unexposed thought - gone is your preset mold of your map, in is a blank slate that can observe and manipulate scenery in ways you never even considered. Yes, it's your job as a forger to try and make that manipulation as close to your own vision as possible, but independent observation leads to problems being fixed and opportunities being found.

      SmartAlec13 said...

      I need to get Bungie Pro so I can render my film, so I can post the final version on Forgehub and Xforgery. But here is the link to the map.

      http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/FileDetails.aspx?fid=7201553&player=SmartAlec13

      xthorgoldx said...

      That reminds me, Godly, what is the status of The Cavern in relation to the Archive? Link here for the finished version:

      http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/FileDetails.aspx?fid=6999857&player=XThorGoldX

      SmartAlec13 said...

      You did mention spreading the forge lessons around of Forgehub. That reminded me about something we weere talking about on XBL. A new Book of Conquest. Now even though we do have an archive, and Forgehub may not be so friendly torwards your creation. But I feel like if we start spreading it more they wont be able to ignore it. So I am proposing we create a new "Reack Book of Conquest". It could have the Archive, a description of Conquest, the Teaching Perfection lessons, and a guide specifically on how to create Reach Conquest maps. Even though Gunnergrunts old guide does work, a new and fresh guide may attract more people.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Alec, there is already a full blown conquest thread run by Noxiw over at Forgehub. It will serve as the "Book of Conquest" for Reach. It contains the map archive as well as a full description and a guide on how to create a Conquest map. Please be sure to let Noxiw know that your map has been added to the archive and approved by me.

      As far as your map goes Thor, you are very close. I want to get more playtests on it to help isolate more of the minor detail problems to make it the best that it can be for the archive. Keep up the great work.

      And thanks for the comments guys as always. The more you guys discuss the lessons, the more I remember of other things that I may have to take the time to turn into a lesson. I'm off to post Minesweeper now. ;)

      SmartAlec13 said...

      Thanks Godly. And okay, but I am still considering writing a Conquest guide.

      Which reminds me. I just finished a new conquest map. Unlike my other one, this one is slighty more...futuristic.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Why write a new Conquest guide when this covers every little detail?

      http://www.reachingperfection.com/2010/09/official-conquest-map-guide.html

      That is part of the Conquest thread as well and that is all that people need. Another Conquest guide would just cause confusion.

      SmartAlec13 said...

      I dont know. I just feel like helping out.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Don't worry bro... you will be able to help out very soon when we start executing Operation Forgehub. ;)

      Noklu said...

      Just letting you know, Godly, I am very happy to help out with that one.

      wiggums said...

      Testing should never be overlooked. I can't even count all the changes I've made to Fidelity after every game I've tested it on. Every time I have something else I need to fix, but the amount get's steadily less and less every time.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Wiggums you need to make yourself a Disqus account and join the community. :P And don't worry Noklu... you and alec are going to play important roles in the Forgehub ordeal.

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