1. Lesson 39: Dedication

      written by Ray Benefield
      Welcome to yet another Forge Lesson. Some news before we start learning. I have indeed finished my first competitive map, Helix. It is currently sporting a fancy little 2700+ downloads and about 70ish likes. I have submitted it to the Forgetacular contest for the BTB category. So let's all cross our fingers and hope it gets into matchmaking at least. lol... ;). Also the active members of the RP community (and friends of RP) are working on the first major 4v4 competitive map on Tempest. There are currently 15ish active authors working on the map and it is turning out really well. I will be releasing a preview sometime soon. Probably Monday or Tuesday. It is in alpha testing right now, look out for the public beta in a week or two. If you hadn't noticed I have slowed down the frequency of the lessons to one every weekend. This is to give me more time in forge, more time to write RP Favorites, and to not be too frequent for Bungie's Comm Chatter. Btw, a special thank you to Urk and the other guys at Bungie for recognizing these lessons. It is greatly appreciated. Today's lesson is inspired by the work put into the Helix design and Sven Nietzsche, the designer behind Contact. This guy has got the craziest dedication that I have seen in a forger. He goes through several versions(3+) of a map design; each built from the ground up. Enjoy peepz!




      Level design is more than just making a map for players to play on. Designers spend hours, days, weeks, months, and even years perfecting their creations. Creating the map is just part of the process. It takes time to come up with just the essence of a new creation. It takes time playing that creation. It takes time to fix the problems. It takes time to commit to advertising. But this time is an investment. It takes dedication to build that reputation of yours.


      A never-ending cycle


      Map design consists of creating and recreating numerous times to find the right chemical balance. I can almost guarantee that nobody gets it right on the first try. Build it then play it. You will find things that you missed the first time from a designer’s perspective. Go back and fix it and come back and play it again. Looks like you missed something else. Repeat. Then you start looking at things that could be better. You then spend hours thinking of how to make it better. Rinse and repeat the process once again. Sometimes you spend all this time on a creation only to suffer failure at the end. But the failure wasn’t a waste because you, at the very least, learned what not to do. Now it is back to the drawing board with your creation. You may feel like you have wasted weeks of your life, but don’t give up. Stay dedicated and all of this work will pay off.


      Sacrifice


      The iterative process requires a lot of time out of your life. Through iteration one learns new things and archives solutions for future problems. But this requirement sometimes means that you have to sacrifice in other areas of your life. Sometimes you just can’t hang out with your friends right now because you have to find a solution to your heavy incentive weighting problem at the sniper tower without making it a low traffic area. Sometimes you have to record your favorite TV show to watch later because you are sooo close to finding the answer to your combat congestion problem. Sometimes you’ve got to put down the controller and stop playing games in order to advertise your creations or your work will all be for naught. Just like with everything you have to prioritize your life and decide what is more important to you. Perfecting your skills in anything means sacrifice. The level design in the game industry is no different. Are you really ready to keep improving your skills? Do you have the dedication in you to take that next step?


      The payoff


      Devoting yourself to something like game/level design will always lead to payoff in the end. That payoff could be anything. Sometimes it is just the pride that comes with making something that others enjoy. Sometimes it is that little extra attention that you receive. Sometimes it is working with some of the best in the discipline. Sometimes it is all about the learning experience and improving yourself. And sometimes it is getting into the gaming industry and being part of something that means something to you. The truly dedicated will be rewarded with their greatest desires. Or maybe I’m just exaggerating a little, but who knows? So next time you place down an object on your map try taking a little extra time to stop and make sure that that object is at the best position and angle that it could possibly be. It may seem like a minor detail, but sometimes that extra bit of attention is all you need to reach that perfection that you are desperately craving.  


      5 comments:

      Dj7291993 said...

      nice. This can be vary hard at times, but is important.

      Th3 bl1nd n1nja said...

      BTB map Alpine if you're interested to take a look at
      http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/FileDetails.aspx?fid=10399290&player=Th3%20bl1nd%20n1nja

      FuN Fortress said...

      This is exactly how I feel with Watering Hole... I'm working on the fifth version, and it just looks and plays so much better than the first. I'm not done with it yet, though.

      Schnitzel said...

      Having just finished up a course in Micro-Economics, this kind of makes me think of Marginal Cost vs Marginal Benefit. Cost being the time and effort spent on building and promoting the map, benefit being the communicative enjoyment of the map and reception of praise.
      Also, your section on Sacrifice is essentially Opportunity Cost.

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