Random Layout Ideas - Mar 29, 2008

Any aspects of level design for the Source engine.

Random Layout Ideas - Mar 29, 2008

Postby Generalvivi on Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:41 am

This thread is sort of meant to collect dust and be brought back when I come up with a random layout idea that I would like to share with the public. I feel like this might help other people get inspiration for their mods/maps/projects they are working on or will be working on in the future.

Tutorial video on Sketchup can be found here
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3ds max 9 was also used in the creation of some layouts

Layout 01--- Street Brawl!

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Notes:
-In this layout I'm going to try and come up with at least 2-3 routes the player could take if this was a real map.
-X's represent a location where a possible encounter/fight or cut scene could take
place.
- The green man represents the start location and the green man with a red outline represents the ending location.
- Yellow lines are the possible paths the player has


Route 01- 25 mins gameplay
Objective: The player must get from one side of town to the other.

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1. The Back Alley! -The player starts in an alleyway and has to make their way towards the main street.
- The first X area is ideal for an ambush. This could also be where the player first meets the foes he will be taking on in the rest of the map. An intro enemy scene might be wanted in here, or If you have a boss in your map that repeatedly shows up at different points to antagonize you.

2. Fork in the road - At this point we let the player choose if he wants to run and gun down the middle of the street, or take the side path which could potentially be safer and have some sort of goodies / reward for exploration. I guess there are really two ways to look at this depending on what kind of map or game your trying to make. You could reward the player for taking the heads on approach with some kick ass scripted event ( possibly of a car blowing up and taking out 5 bad guys) or you could punish him with heavy gun fire and force him to go to the back alley. By forcing the player to go to the back alley, you could give them a new weapon that will allow them to return to the main street and take on the force they recently couldn't defeat on their own. (rocket launcher for the win)

I could go on and on about the two different choices and stuff but ill save that for another layout .

3. The underpass! - The underpass is one area where there is a lot of potential. DON'T LET IT GO TO WASTE!. This spot is a nice choke point for combat. This location would also be really nice to put one of those smexy scripted events that make the player go "aaawwwww yeah...that was awesome".

4. The Warehouse! - This is the climax of the layout! There definitely needs to be a huge event here. One thing that came to mind was blowing up the warehouse (which in its own way is sort of generic but if done right might be something to remember).
- IDEA RANT - For this layout we are going to say that the warehouse is a dockside warehouse with a ship in it. The player plants a bomb on the ship while fighting off enemy forces and must escape the warehouse before it blows up. At this point you could throw up some type of hud timer that slowly counts down from 30 seconds or something to give that extra sense of "I'm going to die if I don't get out of here now!". Once the player leaves the warehouse ( back into the main street or dives into the water and swims out to a safe distance) Blow up the warehouse and have it sink into the water.

Ending Notes:
-If done correctly, the player could potentially spend about 5 minutes in each section which would make this layout a 25 min gameplay layout! For a small map/ layout thats pretty good ^^!

Route 02- 45 mins gameplay?
Objective: The player must retrieve a package and return to warehouse.

Notes: The blue line represents the players return through the level.

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1. The Warehouse! - In this layout the player will start and end at the warehouse. This "reuse" of the entire map helps get more game play out of a tiny layout such as this. When the player starts out you should give him some basic objective / hud prompt that says where the package is. Since the beginning area is just a mood setter/objective giver , we won't really squeeze to much time out of this area, but! you do visit it two times and we might beable to pull a stand off with some bad guys in the end? :D?

2. The Underpass- Also a good location to give the player objectives if you decided not to do it right away. This would be a good location to have the player meet someone here that would give him his goals.

3. Main Streets - Once again a good place to put some combat . There would be lots of destructables in this area. If the player tried to take the blue path it would be blocked by some sort of obstruction, most likely a dumpster truck or some type of barricade.

4. Alley way entrance- If the player was fallowing someone with the "package" this would be a good spot to have a cut scene of them escaping to the alley way and calling upon some henchmen to kill the player. This location is also nice because your changing the scenery from big open spaces to tight corridors where the player will have to watch out for bad guys in windows. This change of scenery also helps the player realize that they are progressing closer to their goal.

5. Stand off!- What else needs to be said here.... You have a cool stand off with a lot of guys and you kicka derrrr asssssss. After taking out more dudes have a scripted event that leads the player towards the package.

6. Getting the package - Obviously this is your reward for killing all those guys and tracking down that one dude with the package. You could have a mini boss fight here if you want it to be a huge moment or you could handle it all in a cut scene, just be careful not to use to many cut scenes.
-Ok so you got the package! but what is it? Could be a new weapon? possibly an upgrade? or just some Intel to get dirt on teh bad guys. For this rant I'm going to say the package is a Sniper rifle!
- Idea rant - If you got a sniper rifle you would want to make sure you gave the player a chance to use it right away. Hop up to the 2nd floor of the building and snipe incoming enemies as they try and get to you from below. Alley ways and small insets make this a perfect setup to use the sniper rifle!

7. Alley to Main street- On the way back we have a scripted event play that forces the player to use the back alley way (in blue) that he couldn't access before. More combat in sues as the player grows ever so closer to his goal of returning to the warehouse!

8. Return to warehouse! - Having the player return to the warehouse shouldn't be just any walk in the park. This could be another good spot to have the player use that sniper rifle he picked up earlier. Have the player climb up on top of the adjacent building to the warehouse and just let him snipe away the enemy. Once done the player can return to the warehouse where a stats screen could come up or a "congratulations" screen could come up. ON TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

Ending Notes:
- In this layout the player could potentially spend about 45 minutes which is way better then the 25 mins the other layout provided before.

Layout 02--- City Escape
note: layout still being worked on slightly? its late ... night.

Image

Notes:
-In this layout I'm going to explore more objective type gameplay.
-X's represent a location where a possible encounter/fight or cut scene could take place.
-X's with a blue outline around them represent a group of enemies.
- The green man represents the start location and the green man with a red outline represents the ending location.
- Yellow lines are the possible paths the player has
- Different colored areas represent objectives


Route 01- 35-40 minutes
Objective: The player must do several objectives before leaving the map on a cargo ship.

Perspective View
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Top Down View
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1. Generic spawn - Player walks out of a building and ITS ON! just going to jump right into the fun part of this one.

2. Water tower Sniper! - So after the player walks into the street he's a target for the bad guys. To make this slightly interesting I threw a sniper in the water tower. Place lots of objects and things in the way so that the player can take cover behind them [hot dog vender's, cars, phone booths, bus stops, ect.] Also you could provide more routes for the player behind buildings and such so they can sneak around. To make things tricky you could have an area with little cover the player would have to make a run for it at the right moment.
-Once getting to the water tower the player can climb up and kill the sniper, thus gaining the rifle as a new weapon. (I know I used that in my last layout but whatever! Snipers are cool! :D).
-What if ? - What if the player went the other way and didn't take out the sniper? The way this is designed the player, on their way to the warehouse , would be getting hit from behind by the sniper in the water tower. So we almost force the player to want to kill the sniper! Plus! they will get a cool vista view of the city when they reach the top of the water tower (or would be a good place for a cut scene! ).

Other suggestions -
EagleStrike says, "If you ever get round to doing it, and you do it in HL2, you should probably signify the snipers existence by setting up a few triggers, essentially making a rebel run round a corner and get his brains blown out. A few other rebels are now hugging the corner, and when the player gets near he states something like. "Well, if you've got to get through, I'd suggest you stay low.""

3. Blue building - Not necessarily an objective for the player to go to but I put this here so the player could get the drop down on some of the bad guys guarding his escape route. If the player uses the blue building it's more of an extra bonus. I mean obviously you wouldn't want to build out an entire building to have the player "maybe" go in there. In this case I would suggest baiting the player towards the building and maybe having some guys pour out of it. Either way if you can get the player into the building without forcing them in there your gold.

4. Warehouse - On the way to the warehouse and in the warehouse the player will encounter heavy resistance. Once inside the warehouse ( by vent , door, or fire escape) the player might need to solve a puzzle to get out the other side. Also this is an ideal time to bring out some "survive in one spot for 5 mins" mechanics. After maybe a cut scene of the player entering he trips an alarm and bad guys come in from several different locations. The player could block off certain locations using explosive barrels or something but for the most part he has to survive till the enemies go away or he turns off the alarm.
-Once you do all that its time to head to the main street.

5. Final stretch! - When the player comes out of the warehouse and proceeds towards the cargo ship He will/could encounter a couple of things. More generic enemies could rush the player here ( if not already killed from the player earlier when he was in the blue building) or the player could have a stand off with some snipers in the buildings across from the warehouse. Once handling all the enemy resistance in the area the player will be free to head towards the cargo ship.

6. Crane - When the player reaches the cargo ship there will be no apparent entrances from the outside in. The player must climb on a crane which currently hangs over the cargo ship. Once directly over the ship the player can drop down and the map will end.
-What if? - Ok so what if the crane wasn't over the ship and the player had to move it to be angled on top of it? Also on top of that! what if it was out of gas. This would add an extra objective for the player and he would have to find a gas tank. What a better place to look for one then in the warehouse we were just in? *sings* Reeee useeeee of areaaaaaa *sings* So the player backtracks and grabs a gas can from the warehouse and returns to the crane. We could now handle this in a cut scene or a scripted even where the player hops into the crane and puts it over the ship. Once thats finished the player can then climb up and onto the ship.

7. Ending - Now the reason for getting to the ship was just to escape but to be honest it would prob make more sense that you were sent to destroy it (like in gta) and thats why you met heavy resistance. Either way you do it just make sure it all makes sense in the end :D

Ending Notes:
- In this layout I could see the player spending up to 35 - 40 mins. Certain areas could be reworked better to get more use out of them but overall I'm happy with this medium sized layout.

Layout 03--- Sewers!

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Notes:
-In this layout the obvious route is to get from one side of the street to the next but! to make things more interesting we block off the street route and forced the player to find an alternative route. This kind of thinking might help you in times when you have an uninteresting "short hop" layout.

Route 01- 45 minutes
Objective: In this layout the player uses lower tunnel routes to get through the map because the main road is blocked.

Image

1. The main street transition - The player has to find a route around the street blockade. There is a small sewer entrance that the player can take. You could show the player this in a small opening cut scene or something or giving him an objective like "Find an alternate route".

2.Sewer ambiance - So you might want to setup a cool ambient setting for the player in this first area and really sell the them that this is a sewer. Once you get that point across that your sewer is a sewer .... it's time for combat!
-Design Rant- You want to make sure you break up the combat in an area like this since it's a really confined area. So the way we are going to do this is [entrance > combat > puzzle > exploration/combat > puzzle > combat > homestretch > exit]

3.puzzle combat puzzle- so instead of telling you puzzles to put in here (because I would rather save those for myself) I'm going to just tell you ways you could utilize the puzzles into adding more time to the map.
-So you could have the player pick up an item to solve the puzzle in room and then carry that item to the next puzzle room in order to solve the next puzzle. Depending on how you do this you could have the player move back and forth between the two areas 4 times and still keep it fresh with new combat which adds more time to your game play! ^^! and that makes people happy :D

4. Combat > Homestretch- So, so far the map has been constrained to this sewer and things are starting to get reused here. I would try and start adding in new elements into combat here or give the player a new weapon or something (if some stuff didn't work out in the first areas you can always try to use it again here). You could also throw in some small timed water elements that the player must avoid or get swept away (or worse back to the last section).

5. Exit - The ending of this map doesn't have to be super awesome or cool since it was just another generic layout. Not all maps have to end with super uber awesome endings which is a good thing :). In ours we will just have the player exit through a building back onto the main strip of the street. This is another moment where the player can look back and see where they started and feel like they snuck past an area and beat the system.

Ending Notes:
- In this layout we took a straight and un-interesting layout and turned it into something fun. Overall I think if done right we could squeeze 45 minutes out of this layout and thats ok for a medium layout like this.


-vivi

Disclaimer : I notice that a lot of these layouts and ideas are somewhat generic. But hey! I can't give away all my good ideas to the public :P gotta save those for the big house ^^
Last edited by Generalvivi on Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:39 am, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Meotwister on Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:36 am

ya spelled "grammar" wrong... :-D

Seems like a nice public service vivi.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby reaper47 on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:02 pm

Let me just start by saying that I absolutely love the style of concept drawing.

Other than that I have to admit that the layout you've posted so far is a pretty basic one. I feel like it has been done a million times, even with the (rather general) notes. Not that it doesn't look fun, it's just not so special.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby rb_lestr on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:23 pm

reaper47 wrote:Let me just start by saying that I absolutely love the style of concept drawing.


http://sketchup.google.com/
:-)
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Generalvivi on Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:12 pm

reaper47 wrote:Other than that I have to admit that the layout you've posted so far is a pretty basic one. I feel like it has been done a million times, even with the (rather general) notes. Not that it doesn't look fun, it's just not so special.


I'm not shooting for super awesome :P but yeah generic layouts like this one can sometimes help spark ideas for new mappers or mappers that aren't quite sure what to do next in their maps.

-vivi
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby ghost12332 on Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:51 pm

Nice concept. Was that done in sketchup, or by hand? If it was done in sketchup (Which I haven't used in like a billion years) since when does it have a rendering ability?
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Generalvivi on Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:16 pm

it doesn't render it. It has an environment lighting built in so you can give your buildings shadows. It's a pretty cool program overall
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby SwampyTurtle on Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:20 pm

looks like my first idea on how to do a escape map but i backburned the escape mod idea for CSS till i finish my current project ;-)

if anyone wants to help me with the escape mod PM me
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Psy on Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:43 pm

Please rehost the second image. It takes forever to load up.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Sorrow on Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:49 pm

Liking the idea, more please!
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Generalvivi on Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:37 pm

Psycho wrote:Please rehost the second image. It takes forever to load up.


Fixed. I created a photo bucket account so i can put all my images on there.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby rustybrazenfire on Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:46 pm

Sounds like a great idea, especially if it's an area the player may need to visit a second time with a different start / end. I like seeing a lot of complexity in a relatively small space like that.

Also, the layout reminded me of a CS:S map I was toying with once (de_downtown), though that was more balanced for mid-ground conflict.
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Re: Random Layout Ideas : by Vivi

Postby Generalvivi on Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:37 am

UPDATED LAYOUT 01 ROUTE 2

Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:34 am
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Re: Random Layout Ideas - Mar 21, 2008

Postby Zipfinator on Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:43 am

Pick up the package and get back, nice! It's also still March 20th where we are haha, I know where you live Vivi! Or at least the state... Interlopers time is weird though...
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Re: Random Layout Ideas - Mar 21, 2008

Postby Generalvivi on Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:00 am

zip.... I'm in the future....
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