Spawn Tutorial

Discussion in 'Halo and Forge Discussion' started by xzamplez, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. xzamplez

    xzamplez Promethean
    Forge Critic Senior Member

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    One element of level design commonly overlooked, even though it can make or break a map, is spawning.


    Quality:

    Unacceptable Spawn (being seen during or shortly after spawn) This is self explanatory.

    Poor Spawn (the player isn’t seen spawning, but they are forced into an engagement) Too often creators only consider whether a player is seen during a spawn. The decision a player makes immediately after spawning should be as impactful as every other decision during the match. If the spawn provides the player with options that have the same outcome or no options off spawn, then that is a poor spawn.

    Ideal Spawn (not being seen spawning, and offering the player enough choices from spawn that it isn’t exploitable by the other team) Spawning should be seamless for gameplay, as if it never happened. A player should not be thrown into an unsafe situation just because they lost the last engagement.

    Influence:

    The first thing you have to take into account when placing a spawn is what influences the game uses to determine which spawn is optimal. A process of elimination based on various factors during the heat of a match.

    Enemy location, or danger - The spawn system will generally try to spawn a player furthest away from the enemy or anything it deems dangerous on the map. Because of this, the spawn system heavily prioritizes the perimeter spawns. No matter where the danger is, some location on the perimeter will always be the furthest away. There is a feature that allows us to turn off danger influence, but by default it is on.

    Enemy line of sight - If the respawn being considered is within view of an enemy player, the system will choose not to use it. There is a feature that allows us to turn off line of sight influence, but by default it is on.

    Teammate location - The spawn system will generally try to respawn a player closest to their teammate, while taking into account other influences.

    Balance:

    The more spawns you use, the harder it is to predict which spawn will be chosen. Inversely, less spawns will make the process more predictable. However, this does’t mean that more spawns is better. The specific spawn point will be more difficult to predict, but predicting the general location a player spawns on the map will be just as likely. Spamming spawns everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean your map will provide ideal spawning. Relying on the game to always choose the ideal spawn point will result in disappointment.

    The more players there are on a map, the more complex the process of elimination becomes to determine a spawn, because there will most likely be players from each team scattered around in different locations on the map.

    So, less players makes for a more consistent and predictable spawn process. The more predictable spawns become, the higher chance they can be exploited by the team waiting for the other team to respawn.

    Complementary design:

    Spawns shouldn’t be an afterthought. The creator should always keep these influences in mind when designing and refining the layout. The ideal spawn system is one that is predictable, yet impossible to exploit. This will largely be based on the layout of the map.

    Contrasting design:

    If you do have a layout that isn’t complemented by the default process, we fortunately have the ability to change the process of elimination. Keep in mind, the influences are the same, its just the spawn point itself that becomes lower priority when you raise its spawn order.

    So, if spawns 1-5 have a spawn order of 0 and spawns 6-10 have a spawn weight of 1, 1-5 will all have to be considered unsafe spawns, based on the influences, before considering using the 6-10 spawns.

    An example of using spawn order manipulation effectively is if the center of the map is more suited to provide ideal spawning. Since the spawn system prioritizes the perimeter by default, it would be wise to force the system to check all potential central spawns, before choosing to spawn a player on the perimeter.

    Teleporters:

    Be careful of teleporter use. The spawn system has no way of knowing a player is about to use a teleporter. The faster a player travels, the more likely the system will choose a less than ideal spawn, so long horizontal teleporter lines should be approached with that consequence in mind.


    I hope this information allows us to bring our maps to their potential. Thank you for reading.
     
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  2. Soldat Du Christ

    Soldat Du Christ Spartan I

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    All true, good write up man, you should share on nld. Ill add that what are commonly referred to as "spawn traps" are only bad if as you said, the options out are not viable
     
    #2 Soldat Du Christ, Jan 17, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  3. InvokingTexan

    InvokingTexan Spartan II

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    Thank you for sharing this information. It is a good summation of spawn design, for players like myself who are occasional forgers. My current approach is to place eight neutral respawn points per person, no matter what the core competitive game mode is. One vs one, two vs two, four vs four, or eight vs eight. Two in the north, south, west, and east. If one fails, then the other is a backup. If both fail, then another quadrant is selected. If a team is able to lock down all four directions, and I take line of sight very seriously, then a slow clap.

    Given the quirks of each iteration of Halo's multiplayer, I have found it to be the most consistent.

    An aspect of a bad spawn would be the proximity of a respawn point to a death pit, or zone. I absolutely hate the instantly harsh punishment of walking forward to my immediate death, because a creator decided to surround the perimeter of a map with a bottomless abyss without any safety railings. It is worse with death pits within the map. And I get it, art direction can be hampered as a result. But the burden is on the forger to be creative in his solution, while accounting for frame rate.

    For instance, Node to Joy. Except for the overshield platform, you have to go out of your way to kill yourself of a respawn by jumping over the stone accents. Simple, but effective. Even the OS platform does not have any respawn points, so there is no danger of walking backwards into the water. Another example would be Snowbound from Halo 3. The death perimeter is there with the Covenant auto turrets, but players have ample opportunity, about three seconds, to return to the map and not get beaten for simple exploration.

    But to knock a map for taking the opposite approach would be Concrete Jungle, and the long platform with the teleporter receiver. Aesthetically, the initial sight is breath taking. It reminds me of Construct's sword room from Halo 3, but with a picture of most of the map. However, if I am getting shot from an adjacent tower, barely any evasive movement in a direction but forward results in falling to your death. Yeah: I could not be r e t a r d e d, and just get good at assuming the risk versus reward of using that escape route.

    But. But. But. That is a poor excuse of dismissing legitimate player frustration at having little options to respond to a distant attacker, once going through. And it does not help that the transport orientation is relative, so going through the teleporter sideways nets an unnecessary death. Do that accidentally so many times, and anyone would want to rage quit. I think I fell victim to that flaw a few times in a sweaty match, and contemplated breaking my controller. And no forger wants play testers to quit, because he wants them to enjoy their particular piece of art.

    That is my take, so there you go.
     
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  4. xzamplez

    xzamplez Promethean
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    If it has worked out for you thus far, keep doing what you’re doing.

    I like to walk around on the map visualizing the amount of traffic certain areas may get, and base my spawns off of that. “How often will players be here relative to other positions?” and “How many ideal spawn points are there for the respawning player(s) in the situation?” I start with as few spawn points as possible, then add more if necessary. Player count is a factor, but not one that changes my process significantly.

    I didn’t really go into ‘spawning no-nos’, because I wanted the thread to be more about understanding Halo 5’s spawn system. But, yeah, that would be another example of punishing the player for losing the last engagement. Generally speaking, death pits/hazards with nothing to impede the player from unintentionally walking into them off spawn will inevitably lead to frustration.


    It’s kind of a separate issue, but I’m assuming you’re compring spawning to teleporting here. In that case, I agree being able to unintentionally walk into a hazard after teleporting can be problematic. However, I believe it is on the player if they are punished by the other team for using the teleporter. Teleporters give you the reward of instantly traveling to another position on the map. The risk for that reward is that you don’t necessarily know what’s on the other side, depending on its position. So, every time you enter a teleporter you should consider that risk.
     
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  5. Max Extra

    Max Extra Forged Friday Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Forge Critic

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    I love the write up here and hope players can use it effectively. The only thing I see that I have found to be different is how spawn order works.

    If you should never spawn on a spawn order of 1 if a spawn order of 0 is not physically blocked. Even if you have safe spawn order 1's around the map, the spawn order 0 will still be used unless someone or something is physically standing on it. It doesn't matter if the enemy is close or looking at it. Beyond physically blocking the spawn order 0 to get the 1, the only way to spawn there is to script the player to instead have a spawn order of 1. This is the basic functionality that allows side swapping between rounds in Extermination.

    At the sake of repetition here is how the decision process for spawn order works that I have found and used. ( a flow chart might be better but I don't have one atm)
    1. The spawn system will first default to what ever spawn order matches the respawning player's spawn order (can be manipulated via scripting)
    2. If a spawn of a matching spawn order is available (and is the same team color or neutral of course) then it is chosen
    3. If there is no spawn of the matching order then it finds an available spawn starting with spawn order 0 (this is only an important note if you are forcing all spawn orders to be higher than 0 like stage spawning in Invasion)
      1. If it can't find a spawn at that spawn order it will increment by 1 until it finds one.

    Spawn weighting can and should only be done using Spawn zones if you even want to weight your spawn in a direct manner as opposed to a indirect distribution method like spawn hives.

    Additionally the distance for line of sight spawning is ~40 meters, or the distance from the center to the edge (radius) of the forge radar. Anything beyond that and that's where you get line of sight spawning regardless of the choice being enabled or not in the spawn points settings.

    I have a map in my files that I made to test all this stuff, I can dig it out if anyone wants it, but it might require some explanation in the different areas of it.
     
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  6. xzamplez

    xzamplez Promethean
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    The spawn point doesn’t have to be physically blocked in order to be considered unsafe. The game will choose not to use a spawn point based on a certain unknown threshold of unsafe circumstances, which are the influences I mentioned. I use varied spawn point orders on most of my maps, when the default system isn’t complementary to the layout.
     

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