1. Lesson 43: Lasting Impression

      written by Ray Benefield
      Hope yall had a good weekend folks. Sorry about no lesson last week. Just wasn't feeling it last week. But it's all good. Cuz we are back and ready to go. If you missed it I released my second competitive map Affinity a week ago. Guess what else? I made freakin' Halo Chess. That's right folks I made an honor rule free Halo Chess that I am calling Halo Tactics. So if you were just as excited as the rest of us for Halo Chess, then you might want to check out this turn-based gametype. I'll keep today's intro short. Enjoy today's lesson and see you guys around. Gotta get back to some of my other projects. Laterz

      Alright so now you have put all sorts of work into improving your map’s first impression. You’ve now got tons of players playing your map, right? Alright so maybe not tons of players, but if you’ve made a good first impression you have at least a couple of fans of the map that play it as often as possible. At this point your map has laid down the first impressions for these players and now you move into the lasting impression stage of your map’s design.

      Moving towards omniscience

      As players play your map they start to learn more and more about it. Given enough time a player will learn everything there is to know about your map. Where you have placed all of the incentives, where all of the hazardous deterrents lay, the path map at their current position, etc. The lasting impression phase of a map is less about teaching players and more about looking at balance and fair play. During this phase of a map, things like eye catching, color contrast, and area introduction take a back seat. This is the time where things like incentive weighting, degree of focus, and threat zones begin to play a HUGE role in achieving a fair balance. As player learn more and more about a map they don’t look for what their options are, they look for what their best option is. This is the point where players start to learn the best spots to camp, the power positions of the map, and the fastest travel routes from their position. When planning for good lasting impressions assume your player is omniscient (knows everything) in the context of your map.

      Transition time

      Every map and every player is different. It can be very difficult to know when you will be able to start analyzing the results of your lasting impression work. Quicker learning players will enter the lasting impression much quicker than those who have difficulty in orientation. As a designer, all of the work you do to give your players the knowledge they need can play a huge role in how fast your players stop learning and start analyzing. With great eye catching you can quickly get the player up to speed on where all the incentives are on your map. With great area introduction you can quickly build your player’s path map. The faster you get into this phase of a map the better. Theory can only go so far as we have taken the time to learn. Sometimes before achieving a perfect balance you have to take the time to apply everything that you have done and watch as players play your map. Eventually you will learn how veteran players play on your map. You will learn where they like to hang out the most, what areas contain a little too much congestion, what incentives make players move around the map, etc.

      Re-Design and Re-Apply

      A map is never done. This is the time to apply your dedication and take what you learn from analyzing players and use it to make your map better. Adjust the incentive weighting across your map. Add or remove incentives or deterrents. Take the time to polish the balance as much as possible. Then after that go back and apply what you have done and analyze a bit more. You can only theorize so much about your map’s lasting impression in the first design. It takes patience, dedication, and loads of iteration to help your map reach that balanced perfection.