How to solve the following layout problem:

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Bombraker, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Bombraker

    Bombraker L1: Registered

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    How do I solve the "overwhelming feeling" for new players?

    Hey Designers!

    I've been building my map (Rock Bottom, formerly known as Copper Pit) for a while now, and have taken part in many opportunities for feedback. Whilst ironing out all the problems in the map one problem remains:

    The indoors area of my map continues to be very overwhelming to new players. However, players who had a few rounds on the map are telling me they are getting comfortable with the layout.

    Now I think this is not necessarily bad, however I would like to solve/lower the impact of this problem.

    Things I have already done in order to improve readability of my level:

    - Simplified all the signage from/towards the intelligence.
    - Added different textures to clearly distinct certain areas/hallways from each other
    - Adjusted lighting to light up the main paths towards the objective

    Do you have any experience with this problem? How did you solve it?

    What's your opinion on this? Do you think it is "bad" when a map is not readable from the first time a player starts?

    If you want to give me useful feedback on this I would kindly advice you to play the map and tell me exactly where you get overwhelmed/lost. That way I can focus on those specific areas :)

    Thank you for reading!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  2. radarhead

    aa radarhead Level 20 "Mapper"

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    Everyone gets confused the first time they play a new map. If players say they can understand the layout after a few rounds, use it to their advantage, and have fun doing it, then I don't think you've got a problem.
     
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  3. Doktor Richter

    Doktor Richter L3: Member

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    It's probably not terrible if players take a few minutes to learn the layout. I just loaded up the map and it took me about 5 minutes to learn my way around the inside. That said, I can see why new players would find your indoors to be complex, because it is complex. There's quite a few routes and alcoves the player can get to, and just a whole lot of options overall for getting to the intel. Not that that's a bad thing, but I think that's part of the source of the confusion for new players.

    Anyway, these were the areas I had most trouble with:

    - The one-way drop down inside the spawn room is immediately off-putting. I have no idea where it goes, no idea what kind of situation I'd be dropping down into down there, and I know I won't be returning if I go down there, which means I can't mentally map a route back to the spawn room once I leave.

    - For some reason, once I do leave the spawn (through the one-way drop down), I turned right, saw I was under a staircase, and immediately felt lost, even though I hadn't even really gone anywhere. I just felt like I was on the wrong side of the staircase, and therefore somewhere I shouldn't be. Probably not a major issue, but that was one of my stronger impressions, maybe since most TF2 maps don't often let you get under staircases.

    - Once I'm out of the spawn room, I have a bit of trouble getting back to it. I know it's generally somewhere in the back of the building above the intel, but everytime I try to head that way I run into a dead end. It turns out, to get back to the middle spawn room, you have to run all the way towards the front of the building on the right side, then through a hallway back towards the intel. In other words, the spawn room in the middle of the back of the base is only accessible from a hallway in the front part of the base on the right side. Maybe it's just me, but I found that a bit unintuitive.

    - There's a room with green-glass windows and an unopenable door right outside the spawn, on the bottom floor. I don't know if it was dummied out or serves any purpose, but you may want to remove it completely, or at least darken the inside so players know it's not a gameplay area that they can get into.

    - There's a garage door on the bottom floor, left side, which appears to be a typical exit door but again serves no purpose.

    - The ramps up to the top by the exit doors on the right side are very well hidden. You have to run all the way to the exit door, then turn to the side, just to see them, and even from there it's hard to see where they go. In fact, there is no area anywhere where the player can see the entire path up to the top floor. This means that, when the player is taking a visual survey of the room, it's hard to make the connection that that ramp provides access to the top floor, and that the top floor is accessed via that ramp. The player actually has to run up the ramp to see where it goes.

    In fact, I think the underlying problem behind a lot of your issues is that it's hard to the player to figure out what connects to what by just looking around. They actually have to take each individual route a few times to see exactly where it goes.

    Those are just my theories and first impressions, so take them with a grain of salt, but those are the kinds of feelings I got when I jumped into the map for the first time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  4. Bombraker

    Bombraker L1: Registered

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    Very useful, thank you!
     
  5. Shogun

    Shogun L6: Sharp Member

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    Shit I'm making a map called Rockbottom
     
  6. Bombraker

    Bombraker L1: Registered

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    Ouch, how far are you in the process? I searched the TF2 maps website and two other maps where named Rock Bottom, but both haven't been updated since 2012 and are still in Alpha :$