Health Kits + Developing Maps

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by grazr, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    I have noticed a couple things when playing new maps in regards to health kit placement. More specifically the health kit count on any a given map.

    It's damn annoying when you join a map and there are hardly ever any health kits. But, when there are plenty of kits the experience is a lot more enjoyable. You're more likely to run into a health kit and top up your health for the next fight than have to search for one; which is incredibly annoying when you don't know the maps layout yet. In addition to the fact that a lot of players choose scout which is an excellent skirmish class. I often find myself spending 20 seconds looking for a kit, only to get picked off by a flanking scout.

    Naturally, if a map is saturated with ammo and health drops this is fed back to the author in order for him to redeem this "over sight". Too many health kits can make it hard to kill people, particularly scouts who will often run in and out of battles.

    So, whilst people can initially get annoyed by people exploiting larger than average concentrations of health kits (making some battles unfair/resolve in ways they wouldn't have otherwise), it does mean that players (particularly ones who end up away from the team) survive longer, and subsequently learn the layout quicker.

    I was wondering what other people thought of this. Because i find myself asking whether, on early alpha releases, it would be beneficial to place more health kits than one would have in a beta release; in order that players enjoy and learn the map faster through prolonged lifes.

    Of course, i imagine players would get frustrated at the removal of health in any release that that occurs on. But ultimately it appears you get a more thorough test of the map in the 30 minutes that you get. Since once a player realises a health drop is gone, they can still figure out where the others are and adjust faster this way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  2. Dr. Spud

    aa Dr. Spud Grossly Incandescent

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    In early builds I usually stick around lots of small health/small ammo pairings. In a few places I bump up the health or ammo to medium, and only very rarely will I make either of them large. The small pickups work out well because they are pretty tame and don't have the power to throw the map's balance around. It's my way of playing it safe, and at the same time giving me a more neutral pickup arrangement that lets the layout itself reveal how the map is going to play.

    From there, it only takes a couple matches to see in what areas the pickups are appropriate, which spots need more, and which spots don't need any at all. At this point I'm usually just going off of gut feeling to refine it.

    Only once the map has seen a significant amount of play and strategies are emerging will I spend a lot of time carefully rethinking the pickups (eg right about now in ctf_landfall). A poorly placed medium or large health kit especially can throw off the flow of an area. At this stage in the map they can be a useful tool to direct the flow of play, and stengthen/weaken different paths.
     
  3. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    I actually think it was one of your maps that made me realise this trend, Spud. I found myself learning the layout of the map in a fraction of the time i would have had i spent most of my time trying to search for kits and probably dying in that process.

    I also find myself more likely to experiment with routes, since on maps with hardly any health i find myself sticking to one route where i'm frequently successful. Which doesn't really help the author when it comes to providing feedback.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  4. Leminnes

    aa Leminnes

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    From my experience, it highly depends on who the map was developed for. I've been told that for competitive maps, less health in readily available areas (throw in some big ones in out of the way places) and more ammo is what is primarily preferred. Of course I could be ENTIRELY off here, but that seems to be the case.

    Also, gotta keep in mind, wherever there is a large ammo kit, an engineer is bound to build a sentry nearby.
     
  5. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    No, i reckon you're right. Having watched several comp PUG's i've noticed a team can expend a lot of ammo in a fight. Particularly demomen and soldiers. Also the scouts pistol pretty much requires a medium if it gets used just once.

    I find myself in a similar situation a lot of the time as well. Grabbing an ammo pack and then having to wait for it to respawn again. Which then stacks if you have other players on your team waiting for it, which is a huge issue on 2fort. Since a lot of players retreat to the sewer as the only source of ammo and health without going back to ones own spawn or running into the heart of the enemy base at a significant disadvantage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  6. Jakkarra

    Jakkarra L4: Comfortable Member

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    The worst thing you can do in a map is provide an uneven number of Health Kits.

    That, and too many health kits, the game slows to a crawl and some classes become less effective, such as the Pyro, as he is unable to kill any players with afterburn if they can simply fall into a health-kit two feet away.
     
  7. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    It would only be temporary, Jakkarra. In order for players to survive long enough to learn the layout in the first few alpha releases. Using small health kits as Spud already mentioned would reduce the negative impact on balance as much as possible. Plus it would be discretional. A/D style would probably not warrant this action, since it's usually the simplest layout, not to mention linear and one directional. Providing too much health in a dustbowl style map would bring it to a crawl for sure. But i think you're over exagerating what i mean, the idea isn't that people trip over health at every corner.
     
  8. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely taking spuds approach on this :D
     
  9. Jakkarra

    Jakkarra L4: Comfortable Member

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    Oh, i know Grazr, but still.

    How many maps have you seen with way too many Health kits? probably not too many, Mostly because people don't like to play them, due to the fact that the game dosent move forwards very well.

    I'm sure there are quite a few maps on here with just the problems i mentioned.

    (also, it's not nessescary to put an increased amount of Health Kits in a map in the first version, as long as you follow the lead of Valve's maps, and also that of the most popular community maps. there are certain places in a map, in alcoves, shacks, derelict corners and similar, where health kits are seldom not placed, if you do things like this, people will instinctively know where pickups are, or will be.)
     
  10. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    I think health kits need to be made more common. tf2, unlike a lot of new shooters, hasn't fallen for regenerative health. As such, health kits are to replace regenerating health, as well as creating a short-term, individual objective. Just remember to put health-kits somewhere near the action, but not where fights may occur.
     
  11. temion

    temion L2: Junior Member

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    The more health kits you have, the more weight you take away from classes like Engineer and medic. Too many med kits and you can gimp these classes, too few and you can put too much weight on them.

    It really depends on the map and how you want class balance to result. If after a few tests you notice a specific class(s) is being underplayed, you need to design around making them more viable or useful, and at times this means removing health kits. The same can be said for any class that is being whored out, you need to discourage that class by making it harder to use. Ideally you should end up with a fairly equal class mix. You need testing to know what needs to be done to provide this.

    As such you can't make blanket assumptions about a single design element such as med kits.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010