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Major do's, but mostly DONTS! of PLR?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by drp, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. drp

    aa drp

    Positive Ratings:
    I'm going to commit myself to create and release a plr map in the future, but I want to know what you guys deem the major do's and dont's of the PLR gametype.
  2. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

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    Just read my rant about Pipeline found on my plr_Assembly page.
  3. Stormcaller3801

    Stormcaller3801 L5: Dapper Member

    Positive Ratings:
    My only concern (potentially unfounded) is competition. Let's say you've got two points that have to be captured, and these two points are not reliant upon each other- in other words, if RED captures one, they win, and if BLU captures the other, they win.

    Now, what happens if you put those two points on opposite sides of the map? Not near each team's spawn point, but just off in no man's land. Are you going to go harass the other team? Or are you going to rush the point and try to cap it? To my mind, a lot of people will rush the point and camp on it, trying to get it first. You might get a few people making sorties to try and disrupt the other team, but the actual competition will be minimal. That's not fun.

    Similarly, payload races where you avoid the other team for long stretches will be no fun. That's something key to Pipeline: you have to fight the other guys pretty much the entire time. You can't just skip the fighting and camp the cart.
  4. JosephOhSnap

    JosephOhSnap L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    I dont think that is something that pipeline has, i think it will come with all plr maps where the cap is by the other team's spawn. IE all of them
  5. Vigilante212

    Vigilante212 L7: Fancy Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Make sure the area the cart occupies is large enough so thiers no place one guy can stand and block the cart so nobody can get past. or if thier is make a alternate route thats short.
  6. Mokagogo

    Mokagogo L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    Check out plr_lumberyard_b1. It's my (existing) take on an interesting format for PLR :) To my mind, as a poster above observed, a lot of the question with PLR is making sure the teams have some space to do their thing but are also consistently forced into competition with the opposing team. I thought that having a race where the carts were right next to each other was boring. Similarly, I thought that having a race where the carts go in opposite directions right by each other risked endless camping, whether in the middle, or at spawns when one team breaks through the middle. Plus, Valve had already done both of these!

    My idea with plr_lumberyard was to have PLR map where the tracks go around a structure in a circle, on opposite sides, and then meet right in the middle of the structure (each door opens when a cart approaches the end of the track). In effect, you could try and 'ignore' the other team and just push your own cart around one side... But in practice:

    a) The other team will be coming round that side too, and you will fight them as you push the cart

    b) Your team will generally be tactically smart enough to do a combination of pushing the cart, repelling the other team's cart, and planning ahead by building in/on the structure

    c) Because each team's cart goes around the building and then enters the structure on the opposite side, at the _end_ of the map the opposing team's cart will be passing _right by_ your spawn. This makes the end rather exciting, very intense, and guarantees conflict over the cart.

    d) Because only the door that each cart will pass through opens up when the cart gets close, if one cart is close and the other isn't, the _succeeding_ team will have to work just a little harder (because the door by their spawn hasn't yet opened, because their opponents aren't close enough). This doesn't present a massive difficulty but just nudges that end of the game a little bit towards balance as well.

    Sooo... This isn't really a "DOs and DON'Ts" list... But I guess my 'take-away message' is -- think about interesting ways to combine two cart routes. It doesn't have to be -- and in fact, shouldn't be -- as simple as payload. It's a different gamemode and there's a lot room for innovation in the gameplay.
  7. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Off the top of my head the first major don't I can think of, and see it being done recurrently, is easy:

    Avoid making plr even MORE linear than it already is by nature!

    For fuck's sake you're pushing a cart along a predetermined and unchangeable path, going head-on against the enemy team. The last thing you need is for the MAP to force you to follow said path. If there is no way to circumvent the cart path, or insufficient ways to reach the enemy base without colliding with their entire team or being forced through a choke point, your entire map, as beautiful (or not) as it may be, becomes a battle of attrition. Just bodies constantly thrown into the meat grinder till one side manages to grind away to the end... This is not fun. The gameplay becomes a chore.

    There are generally 2 ways to go with plr:

    - Have a main linear path for each team going in opposite directions alongside each other and a couple of side routes that lead behind the enemy (careful not to make it too easy to spawn camp), which is how the first 2 "rounds" usually go.
    - "Open", "side-by-side" map, where both teams race to the same point, in the same direction. Usually the last stage of a plr map.

    Whichever you pick, it's important that both team's carts stay close to each other, enough so you can meet their team (or cart)at any time while pushing (or heading directly to) your own.

    I know I started by saying "don't make it a meat grinder!" and I'm now seemingly contradicting myself by saying "do make them inear!", but I'm not. The main path needs to be linear and force a meat-grinder. This happens to ensure that teams need to flank the enemy and use more tactical approaches than "rush now!"to avoid a meat grinder. If you place the carts far apart whichever team wins the initial "tug-o-war" at the start pretty much denies the other team a recovery by forcing them to either attack (and loose because they have a head start) or stay constantly on defense too far from their cart to try an offense. Thus you force them into defense, and thus meatgrinder ensues.

    I know it seems paradoxical at first, but while the first offers the possibility of a meatgrinder, but alternatives to avoid it, the second tends to force the aforementioned battle of attrition, regardless of how many side routes you provide.

    So main path, where the cart goes, should go straight into or alongside the enemy team, while providing alternatives to circumvent them.

    And this is the second main don't I can think of: too much of anything is bad. Yes, there is such a thing as "too many alternatives".

    Less frequently than the previously mentioned "meatgrinder mode", but equally disruptive is when people try to overcompensate linearity by including a million side routes... This is bad. Again, I know it sounds paradoxical to start by saying "You HAVE to include side routes! linear is bad!" and then follow up with "...But not too many.", but there's a very simple reason for this: If your map has too many options, too many routes, people will get lost. They will get lost, feel confused, and again, stop having fun. If your map starts feeling like a labyrinth, and more people are trying to find their way to the fight than actually fighting, you have too many routes.

    See, while having too few routes tends to concentrate the fight entirely in one spot and keep it from flowing, too many routes just spread the battle too thin, fights become sporadic, keeping it from flowing again... Ultimately, what you're trying to achieve is this "flow", a fine balanced tension between main path and alternatives.

    A good way to visualize it is as, well, a pipeline. Picture each route as a pipe in a steampunked machine. And both teams are steam. If you only have one pipe, and steam coming from two ways, pressure just builds up in that pipe with no possible escape or release. The pipeline stagnates. If you have too many pipes for the steam you have, there is no preassure whatsoever, so, again, no flow. What you want is a main pipe to build steam, but some extra ones to offload it too. Not too many, but not too few either.

    Well, hope that helped in any way...

    Sorry about the huge post, I have a tendency to write huge essays...
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