rotational vs reflectional

Discussion in 'Contests' started by Ezekel, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

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    i'm in the early stages of my map for the CTF contest. and guess what: it's reflectional symmetry.

    now i've done a successful reflectional map before for CTF (farmlands), but the differences on that one were only really significant in the centre area (i.e. cave passage on the north, open fields on the south).
    looking through the 56 odd entrys so far i've only seen i think 4 maps that are reflectional.
    that's still over 50 rotational maps. which makes me get a lil worried that i might be dooming myself right from the start.

    because i'm at an early stage, i can still make mine rotational - so i wanted to know what people's opinions are regarding the rotational/reflectional symmetry of a map. (and more than that: why so many people went with rotational)
     
  2. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Rotational is better because you only have to really memorize the map once and you can play it from both teams.
    Reflectional is worse because you have to memorize different paths and direction for each team, and its just confusing, really.
     
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  3. jpr

    aa jpr

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    Yeah, but it really depends on how complicated the map is, how much there is to remember.
     
  4. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    reflectional effects the ability to shoot around corners, more so for projectiles as well like the rocket and stickies. So one team would be at something of an advantage. Especially for taking out sentry guns.

    Apparently you can change the side of the weapon and it also changes the weapons orientation on the player avatar as well. But i havn't actually seen that. Plus, no one would want to change their weapon orientation for each game just so they get a fair chance.

    So rotate your map.
     
  5. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    IMO, there's very little reason to mirror your map instead of rotating.


    The only reason would be if that makes possible otherwise impossible map designs... Even then you should shoot for rotated instead.

    As grazr put it, it gives one of the teams an advantage. Might not seem significant, but it's influential enough. Yes, you can switch viewpoint sides, but it's awkward for people who aren't used to it which, again, brings us to advantages.

    Remember kids, stay off the reflected maps!
     
  6. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    The trick to overcoming the disadvantages in a reflected map is to design your major areas (places that people would want to build sentries, or sit around as a spun-up-heavy) so that there are multiple but generally equal approaches, one where the corner is on the left, and one where the corner is on the right.

    There is nothing wrong with mirror symmetry. Objections are mostly in people's heads, as someone has told someone who told someone that mirror symmetry is "bad", and there are barely any maps that use it, so people don't get to experience any counterpoints to that idea.

    As long as you know what the potential cons are though, you can accommodate for those in your design.
     
  7. Hawk

    Hawk L7: Fancy Member

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    I think I remember reading in an update that they no longer let you change handedness once connected to a server, just to keep people from doing exactly that.
     
  8. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    This is incorrect.

    Mirror-symmetric maps provide different handicaps to the teams, even if minor, which hurts gameplay (different odds for different teams), and yes, even when you follow the procedure you mentioned, which in turn decreases the map's quality in the same dynamic game modes that it's used for: linear CP, CTF, PLR and KoTH.

    Differences in maps where both teams have the same objective (i.e.: not game modes where one team is always defending and one team always attacking), even if it's only symmetry, are bad. In TC they're a "necessary evil", but otherwise you should avoid them unless you really have a really good map design that requires symmetry.
     
  9. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    I stand by my statement.

    You are vastly overexaggerating the significance of these differences. 99% of the time they have no significance at all to the gameplay, and that 1% of the time they do, well that's where the map author can catch them and correct them.
     
  10. VelvetFistIronGlove

    aa VelvetFistIronGlove

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    The biggest problem for me on reflected maps is navigation. Rotated maps have the big advantage that if you know your way around your half, you know your way around the enemy half. If you make a right turn from the middle to your base, it'll also be a right turn going from the middle to the enemy base.

    On a reflected map, there's more mental effort in switching sides mentally, which is a distraction from the goal of the map.

    I agree. Any possible advantage/disadvantage of left/right in a reflected map are going to be insignificant compared to the advantage/disadvantage due to the different skill levels in the teams.
     
  11. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    I had to deal with this in ctf_spring. Since the main feature was a hybrid CTF/CP mode with an optional CP, I wanted to separate the "main" path (with the point) from the "back-door" route opened up to the team controlling the point.

    Going for a two-front map, rotational symmetry was not an option. In retrospect, I could have accomplished it by using vertical separation to split the two paths, but that would require somewhat-enclosed spaces.

    If you can use rotational symmetry, do.

    If you can't, don't sweat it, but pay careful attention to how it affects sentry-removal for one team or the other and consider extra time in the signage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  12. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    It's not 99%, but I'm also not claiming it's "1%" either.

    Ffs man, people complain about the completely inconsequential difference between the battlement models in 2fort. Compared to that being able to corner people from one side and not the other is way more significant.

    That said, the bottom line is there's just no good point. Mirrored and rotated maps share the same visual and stylistic property: They're visual identical on both sides. Because that's the whole point of mirroring or rotating a map, that it ultimately looks identical on both sides.

    That said, the aesthetic potential you gain from mirroring a map (which is very little mind you) never outweighs the gameplay influence that it causes, regardless of how minimal it may be. Once form overcomes function, something is wrong. Function is gameplay, form is aesthetics. It's ultimately irrelevant whether you make a map in a circle and make it look like a round island or 2 semi-circles and make it a more oval island, but being able to "corner" people from one specific spot that you can't on the other side is influential, even if minimally.

    Objectively the trade off is negative towards mirroring.

    I will say, that the differences can become minimal, and if you have a design that just doesn't work in rotated maps, then, give it a go, by all means.
     
  13. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    Again, I have to disagree. There are MANY functional design reasons to make a mirrored layout instead of a rotated layout, such as Terr's desire to make a single side route that wasn't forced to be above or below the main route (like 2fort). I just don't see how on earth you can claim that symmetry is an aesthetic choice, rather than a functional one.
     
  14. Zwiffle

    Zwiffle L6: Sharp Member

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    There are layouts that can't be done with rotational that can be done with reflective symmetry so Shmitz is right that there could be a gameplay-related purpose to reflective layouts. EDIT: Just like there are maps with no symmetry whatsoever. They cater to different available layouts.

    As for reflective layout for the contest, these maps are for competitive teams. The better team will most likely be able to handle a flipped layout than the other team anyway. The target audience is not for people who get easily confused about their location in the map, it's for competitive 6v6ers.

    For all you know being in the reflective minority could make your map stand out against the swathe of rotational maps.

    And rotation is really just flipping along the x and then the y anyway, so it too is reflective in a way!
     
  15. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    I think the "easy to learn" point is certainly far more meaningful for pick-up-and-play pub maps as opposed to competitive ones.

    Just practice this line: "The symmetry is confusing? The pubbers said that too."

    Voila, every comp. player will find it much more sensible :p
     
  16. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

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    well i've decided to make this map rotational for 2 reasons.
    - the spawn room is to one side of the base rather than down the middle - so players don't spawn facing their objective.
    - the map has a more closed feel to it (i.e. high ceiling rooms, but nonetheless they're rooms, so no big cloud in the sky or other landmark to help with orientation and positioning identification)

    i spent time considering why reflectional worked in farmlands, and my conclusions were basically this:
    - in farmlands you spawn facing towards your ultimate goal (i.e. the enemy's base... even if you have to turn left/right to get out of your own base).
    - turning left or right from the spawn room will give you a path to the centre of the map that takes the same amount of time.
    - the map is SMALL and has a very simple layout. but more than that, each team's spawnroom has it's own character. (unlike a map like 2fort, where spawning in a blue spawnroom is basically the same as spawning in a red spawnroom).
    - there are good landmarks on the map that can be seen from many places: the river on one side and the house on the hill on the other.
     
  17. Thingy Person

    Thingy Person L1: Registered

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    Presuming that the skill difference is big enough for the best team to win? Little differences like these get magnified in intense play, just saying the better team should be better by a certain margin is the wrong mindset for making a competitive map.
     
  18. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    Are you saying that based on personal experience, or are you just theorycrafting? Unless the map is 100% made up of left turns on one side and right turns on the other, the statistical probability is ridiculously small that during a single match two identical-but reversed encounters will happen on corresponding parts of the map and the corner will help one player while hurting the other. And again, if playtests show that people are meeting at a given corner with enough frequency to cause a problem, then there are bigger design problems going on, like why respawnwave times and run distances are set up to have people meet in a connecting space instead of in a more appropriate battle space.

    So really, the thought is not that a better team should be better by a certain margin. It's that whatever the margin, as a dynamic factor in a chaotic system it's going to have more impact on the results of a match than a static, predictable factor that an intelligent mind can account for.
     
  19. Bermuda Cake

    Bermuda Cake L9: Fashionable Member

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    Reflection sounds awesome

    Cos it reminds me of mario kart's mirror cups
     
  20. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    Personally, I have no preference, but I think it can serve scapegoat to someone, so they can blame the map if they lose. Even though it really makes no difference, because I don't think you can accurately make a statistical measurement of that detail on a human.