Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Sat Jun 4th at 8:59am 2011


Hey all

I'm an odd one me... I like single player mapping... and single player playing...

I've played a huge amount of CS and CS:S, Team Fortress 2 etc... but it just doesn't do it for me. I'm not crap at MP either. After a little practice I do fairly well but it's all just a little too frantic...

So I map for HL2:SP and L4D (which can be SP) Portal etc...

The only trouble is that when you're building SP maps it's very hard to gauge what the player will do in a given situation. Playtesting is soo important because playtesters will do crazy shit you never even considered.. Sometimes this is brilliant and leads to whole new areas of gameplay, sometimes it's bad as the player gets ahead of the triggers you've set up and ends up in a dead map.

So, I'm looking for folks who are very familiar with the HL2 world and feel they can define what makes for a good HL2SP map and what doesn't.

I do try and make my maps look as detailed and pretty as possible, however I don't have the luxury of hours and hours to detail to Valve quality. What you will find is a reasonably detailed environment with good lighting and plenty of fun to be had.

I want you to tell me your reaction to given situations and what you feel would improve the maps I create.

Let me know if you're interested.

Here's some screenies of my work for my current HL2 Campaign...

Screenshots

ep2_aquaduct-2_5











ep2_aquaduct-4_5












Glad to be here...

Cheers

Aazell




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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Riven on Thu Jun 9th at 9:10am 2011


Hey Aazell! Glad to have you aboard! Sorry for the quietness around. I've been away for a while, and I think others are taking it easy for the summer break or are busy as heck working on other stuff. Either way, I wanted to make sure someone greeted your introduction. I can see you must be very determined to make a really good SP campaign!

Either way, I can agree with you about single-player mapping. Definitely more fun and variable. It's a lot more involved if you ask me. Or at least has the potential to be so. The Same could be said for any story-driven level multiplayer, co-op or otherwise I imagine.

When you say 'interested,' are you saying for playtesting? or 'interested' in critiquing your work from the screen shots? I realized you posted a thread in the Maps forum, so if I have a chance to play through I'll make my comments there. Otherwise, I'm glad you found us and I look forward to seeing you finish your single player campaign here. I'll try and play it tomorrow when I have a chance.

Feel free to post anywhere without fear of ridicule; we're all generally nice people here and willing to talk with you about whatever.

Welcome to the SnarkPit! smiley



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Thu Jun 16th at 8:14am 2011


Riven.. its rather odd but for some reason I got the impression this site was dead for a while..

Of course I remembered the site from back in the HL1 days and did pop by from time to time but (and I have no idea why) I convinced myself that the snark had gone the way of the Condor.

After a years of getting back into Source mapping, I finally rediscovered thats its the most content heavy site out there. Congrats on the interview series, its amazing and on the Gabe interview..

So far Ive found the reception to be fantastic, unlike other, slightly snobbish sites out there, I feel that here people can see past the purely asthetic side of mapping and focus a little more on what makes a great game experience well... great...

Anyway.... with regard to "interested" I'm looking for peeps to comment on any aspect of the maps I produce really. Gameplay is always foremost in my mind however so if the player lacks direction or theef flow doesnt work, if something is fiddly or annoying etc... I want to know about it. What works and what doesnt.

Lighting etc... comes only after the gameplay is perfected in my opinion.




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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Riven on Thu Jun 16th at 5:37pm 2011


Well, I like to describe it as dormant. Sure there are periods of inactivity on such an old site. But we've had too many people come and go for everyone to just pick up and leave. There are plenty of individuals still interested in what we have to say, and our content. I think if the SnarkPit fell off the face of the internet, there would be a large noticeable gap in the level design community. Heck, I'd even say game design community.

The simple case has been that a lot of the users who first started here, have grown up and gotten busy with life and work. Heck even a few of them got industry jobs! It's hard to keep in contact after all that life-changing stuff. But I find it worth it anytime an old member stops in to say hi; I'm glad we're still around. Plus, we just got through paying for another 4 years of hosting, so we'll be around for at least that much longer!

Anyhow, critiquing is hard. Not a lot of people like to do it; it takes time and you have to think about what you're gonna say. Making good maps is hard too, but when pushing it online for the world to see and holding your breath on the feedback, well that's a relatively easy thing to do, until you're ready to answer some of that feedback, then watch out!

If I have the time and patience, every so often I'll do a big review of a map, where I'll go in take screenshots, record a demo and make a list of all the issues I came across and present all of this to the author(s). That's the golden peak of what a mapping site can offer. While those full-on reviews are few and far between, plenty can be said for at least spending some time to actually play through the map and mak a few mental notes to comment on when you're ready to write about it. That's usually not very time intensive, although, it usually takes me a good hour to formulate how I want to say something like that.

There are plenty of people here to comment on work, I'd say often times the authors don't usually ask for it. A new author might assume they will get feedback, but because so many of them come and then leave without saying a word once they've posted their map, nothing happens after that! I think if an author shows they're willing to stick around and respond to any critical feedback perhaps in their map description, or in the following thread, I think they can almost guarantee someone will respond.

Gameplay is definitely important, and arguably what makes or breaks a map, but if you're gonna hint at story or at least setting, then go all or nothing with that too. A crummy environment is not very fun to be in. If it's an abstract game, then who cares?! In the development pipeline, I'd definitely say layout/gameplay sit somewhere at the front of the list. Dev textures are there to help that go smoother when the time comes to make the transitional art passes over it. It's hard to playtest a map over the internet with random folks. I mean. being able to reiterate over and over based on feedback from your playtesters is invaluable and pretty much required for a sp_level. However, seeking that playtesting really before a map has reached beta stage, while posting it online can be somewhat distressing, and will only garner impressions that speak to the overall quality of the experience more so than to what the author wanted them to focus on. If a map can[t be called beta yet, it's probably best it doesn't get posted online publicly. (btw, this doesn't apply to your recent map, I'm just saying).




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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Thu Jun 16th at 9:26pm 2011


Yes. It's interesting isn't it. I wonder how many folks begin mapping with an intention to really hit high quality maps.

I guess that's the trouble with mapping. You can create a playable space in under a minute. You can create a kill box map in under two mins (I reckon.. that would be a nice challenge!!).

I think most peeps begin mapping because they have an idea of something to create.
Unfortunately, it's usually dreadfully fairly unimaginative. I.E. L4D comes out and a million people make shopping mall maps. Alien Swarm comes out, lots of talk of Warhammer 40,000 mods...

The idea is normally way bigger than they could ever achieve and soon lose interest.
The guys who stick around are the one's who actually manage to produce something, not horrible, within a few weeks. Getting over that first map release is the hardest hump I think. Once you've punched out your first work I think you're pretty much hooked. LOL.





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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Niborius on Fri Jun 17th at 11:49am 2011


Quoting Aazell
Hey all

I'm an odd one me... I like single player mapping... and single player playing...


You're just like me, though I have played left 4 dead as well. My first left 4 dead playthrough with the first and second installment was single player smiley.

The only online games I've really gotten into are the ones made by valve.

Welcome!



Youtube Channel: http://adf.ly/bIorf



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Fri Jun 17th at 10:03pm 2011


You know... I think my main issue about FPS MP games is that it's an utterly forgettable experience. Anything that happened in the last round is wiped clean by the memories being made in the next.

I can't remember a single round of a multiplayer game that stands out for me. Not a single one. Yet I remember almost every element of most SP maps I play.

MP is like fast food. SP is more like fine dining... :P




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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by G4MER on Sat Jun 18th at 3:01am 2011


I am still around.. just have so much going on right now.

I do like your description of Multi-Player and Single Player.






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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Riven on Sun Jun 19th at 2:32pm 2011


Quoting Aazell
MP is like fast food. SP is more like fine dining... :P


Wow, that's one of the best descriptions about it that I can identify with!

I would say that in multiplayer, I do remember instances of intense moments. I may not remember the extent of activity throughout the round, but MP games have their moments, they're just not scripted, so it relies on the creativity of the players to generate them unknowingly. -Not something that happens too often, even in games that sponsor that sort of generative landmark moment creation. (like L4D for example).

I think co-op tends to mold the two together, so you can have your cake and eat it too, ...fast! Perhaps It's a matter of playing not just in a level with potential experience designed into it, but also having those experiences deliberately built into it. We want things to happen that the developers try to preempt and build into the game to satisfy that intuition and even surprise the audience.

It's not a bad starting point of evaluation, but I think it lends itself towards a better understanding about the differences between the two gameplay types.



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Sun Jun 19th at 7:51pm 2011


It's true that the best MP moments have come from maps that provide those opportunities. Co-op maps are only fun if you're playing with folks you know. I've played in so many Random groups where noobs just make it a miserable experience for Newbs and everyone else for that matter.

I see what you're getting at Riven. In SP and MP equally you can create play areas where the player can explore and play with certain set ups.

In my recent test map I added gas bottles behind fencing which meant they were more like fixed point explosions. The player has to wait until the bad guy is moving past that point to fire at the bottle and make the most of the explosion. It makes for some pretty cool gameplay I think. Alternatively the player can ignore the gas bottles completely and carry on blasting away at the bad guys.





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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Orpheus on Sun Jun 19th at 10:44pm 2011


Quoting Aazell


MP is like fast food. SP is more like fine dining... :P


You know its funny but I see it exactly opposite. Most people will play any single player map good or poorly made at least once just to see how it ends but only the truly gifted can create a MP map that someone will visit time after time. Now of course, the fast food theory seems to fit because people visit them time after time too but 10 minutes after you leave, no one recalls it. BUT a fine restaurant will stick in your mind for a long, long time. Case in point, even though I have not played in 4 years, I can still describe a dozen MP maps in perfect detail and maybe 20 if I try and 50 if I worked at it really hard but I couldn't describe 5 SP maps at all. I bet there aren't 10 people here that could describe a dozen SP maps with any degree of accuracy. I doubt 5 people can recall the names of 10 SP maps.

Of course, this might be just my imagination since this site is dedicated to MP mapping more so than SP. I dunno. Perhaps its just me. For a time, no map passed through here without my viewing it or having some part in its completion so I might be biased. *shrugs*

Still, as I said... I see it exactly opposite.




The best things in life, aren't things.



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Mon Jun 20th at 6:18am 2011


Ahh like cribs and bloods, the MP/SP fighting continues..

I could be a pacifist and say that its horses for coarses but quite frankly Orph you're wrong. But you know what, its OK to be wrong sometimes. We've all made mistakes before dont be ashamed... ;P

I could name at least 30 MP maps that are great and I love but I still couldnt recall 10 specific MP matches. Because an MP game is simply the same scenario repeated a million times over.

In the case of maps like dust 2, every single angle is so well known that the map (the art, the sounds etc...) itself become completely arbitrary. Its merely a configuration of geometry, a cluster of blocks set at the right angles to each other.

I love SP games because all that art, ai, sound come together to create something in a player that an MP map will always struggle to achieve... a feeling!

Fear, humor, loss, surprise. A good SP game will run you through the emotional ringer and youll walk away with some very strong memories thanks to the feelings it created.

If you really struggled to think of memorable moments from SP games then I would suggest youve been playing the wrong ones...




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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Orpheus on Mon Jun 20th at 11:58am 2011


For all the wise words you failed to impress me with, it wasn't worth a double post. Believe what you wish.



The best things in life, aren't things.



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Aazell on Mon Jun 20th at 12:38pm 2011


Ooops! Stupid phone. Lol



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Riven on Mon Jun 20th at 8:10pm 2011


[fixed the accidental second post]


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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Niborius on Sun Nov 27th at 7:19pm 2011


I just remembered and used your description again about MP vs SP games to a person who plays more MP than SP smiley (Probably wasn't able to convince the other though)


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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Riven on Fri Dec 2nd at 3:39am 2011


I've been wanting to respond to this thread for a while, now I have the charisma to do so! I have read the whole thread (months ago) and recapped the last few posts to catch up again, so ignore me if I repeat anything that's already been said...

Quoting Aazell
I love SP games because all that art, ai, sound come together to create something in a player that an MP map will always struggle to achieve... a feeling!


I love SP games as well, and I think or I realize you didn't mean to be so general in that quoted statement, because frankly that's not completely true. Let me explain why I think that:

If I have fun playing an MP game, is that not a feeling? If say in Counter-Strike, I get scared, nervous, sweaty and breathe hard because I know I'm the last guy on my team to plant the bomb, is that not as strong a feeling as any SP game could bring about? Both types of games can elicit strong feelings, so I don't believe that's the dividing factor between them.

Perhaps you were trying to highlight SP games' ability to make you care more about the setting and characters? So that when something happens to them, your compassion or heart-felt emotion or disdain for them responds accordingly? And that SP games play more to this tune rather than to the tune of strategy or in some cases the gameplay of a level?

I don't think you mean to be so harsh against MP games, there are some really great ones out there that begin to blur the lines I think. Is Co-op a happy compromise in this case? It's MP, but it's story driven with external goals rather than internal ones or perhaps both.

All I'm saying is, it's ok to be biased, but from my point of view you seem to be giving SP games a bit too much credit, or letting them have the whole cake, when it's not necessarily theirs to have. But that doesn't matter because the cake is a lie anyway... smiley



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Re: Allow myself to introduce.....myself....
Posted by Orpheus on Fri Dec 2nd at 12:04pm 2011


You know, I just reread this too and I noticed he kept mixing up "game" and "mapping"
Sure, both contain each but I was separating mapping and game.

I play just as many games of each. I buy practically all that come down the pike however, I still believe that from a user lever perspective, MEANING us making them not paid professionals, MP mapping is better for all the reasons I already mentioned.




The best things in life, aren't things.




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