How to begin map layout design?

Discussion in 'Halo and Forge Discussion' started by Garrett757, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. Garrett757

    Garrett757 Spartan I

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    I know this appears to be an odd question considering it should be the very first step in creating a map, however this is something I am really struggling with. I really want to create a 2v2 map the right way for the latest 2v2 map contest. Truth be told, I've never actually drawn out a map design on paper or on a sketch computer program. Instead, I've always just loaded up forge and built my maps on the fly. Because of this, I tend to waste valuable time just building structures and aesthetic features while not actually making any progress on the overall map. I've watched a dozen or so videos on map design/layout but I'm having trouble just starting with a layout. I feel this is something that cannot be just thrown together or quickly sketched out on paper (or is it?). In all, I'm really looking for advice on how to begin an original map layout that incorporates desirable map features such as good map flow, some verticality, originality, nothing bland or predictable. The theme I'm shooting for is a Roman temple/fortress elevated on an island. I would really appreciate any and all feedback as I'm beginning to get frustrated by starting a few maps with great looking (IMO) set pieces but nothing to actually bring it all together. Thanks!
     
  2. a Chunk

    a Chunk Blockout Artist
    Forge Critic Wiki Contributor Senior Member

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    There are many, many ways to approach level design. Some level designers in the industry don't design on paper at all, while others do it religiously. Don't feel obligated to do anything. Do what works for you. With that said, it sounds like the process you've been using isn't giving you the results you want, so experimentation is an excellent idea.

    Here are a couple of resources you might find interesting:
    First is going to be 2 videos from a video series on level design from Hardy LeBel, who was one of the lead designers on Halo 1.




    Next is another Halo related resource, an article on Chris Carney's (another Halo level designer) level design process, which proposes an interesting approach to getting started on a design: http://halo.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?cid=29601

    If you want additional reading/watching material, let me know. I have enough to keep you occupied for about a year, lol.
     
  3. Box Knows

    Box Knows Spartan II

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    Setting parameters is a good thing to do. Otherwise it can be overwhelming how to incorporate everything you want (gameplay and art goals).

    I’ll use your fortress as an example. You wanted it elevated on an island.

    I would start by asking how do you want the structure to work for the shape of the map? Do you want to fight on all sides of the perimeter? Do you want people to be stuck inside the fortress? This alone influences what you can and can’t do when designing the map.

    Do you want people to have to fight their way up to the fortress entrance while the entrance is a power position for players to hold in game? This would include being inside and outside the fortress influencing how you would build the map. You wouldn’t want it to become unfocused so perhaps if you went this route you would limit the perimeters on the outside of the fortress and cut some space inside making it hard to survive if players successfully made the push to the entrance.

    Do you want caves on the map? Would they sneak into certain areas on the fortress? Would their be broken floors that led to tunnels? Do you want the map to feel like you are trying to either attack the fortress or defend it? How big do you want the fortress to be? How do you want players to respawn on the map? Do you want a lot of long range pistol fights? Do you want a lot of ways to flank or keep it very linear and focused to keep things mostly predictable at all times?

    There’s many many more questions you have to ask yourself but I would start with some of these and figure out what you would want. Most importantly being whether you are playing only inside the fortress or inside and outside of it
     
  4. Box Knows

    Box Knows Spartan II

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    Also important thing, how do you want the pacing of the map? Do you want it stand off ish where you are constantly putting shots but people are more hesitant to push, or do you want to be mobbing around the whole time without having to worry about that as much
     
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  5. Garrett757

    Garrett757 Spartan I

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    Man, thank you so much for those resources I really appreciate your reply. Definitely gonna take a look at them here soon. I think one of my main issues is that generally all of my previous maps have been pretty basic designs or replicate structures in real life, which meant I already had a layout to follow. So the imaginative part (or lack thereof) of designing a unique map layout is what I'm struggling most with. When I try to load up MS paint or hand draw it I'm just piecing together really generic layouts with nothing interesting, and I also tend to lean towards more symmetrical designs, probably because it requires less creativity. I almost equate it to writing an essay, I know what I want to do and I have my theme but I just cant seem to get it started. Anyway, thanks again hopefully those resources should help!
     
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  6. Garrett757

    Garrett757 Spartan I

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    That's smart, I've never really thought of asking myself what does the map exactly want to accomplish. I have a general idea of what I want it to look like but then I also want to incorporate creative pathing and map flow. That's a lot of really good criteria to keep in mind as I'm designing, or at least attempting to design a map layout so thank you for that.
     
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