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Legacy:Inventory Item Placement
The placement of inventory items around your map can either aid or hinder gameplay. Item positioning is crucial to the Map Flow. Too much health and combat becomes a slow tortuous affair. Too little and players will not be able to recover sufficiently from each fight to avoid getting killed in the next. Similarly, a balance should be struck for all powerups, ammo, weapons and other items in order to support map flow and make the most of a map's layout. The gametype your map is aimed at will influence the positioning of your items.
The following are not hard and fast rules, in fact, they should be ignored or contradicted from time to time for variety's sake. They are just suggestions to consider while designing the level for best gameplay.
CliffyB's Rule: Counter Desirability with Risk
Put desirable things such as powerful weapons in a dangerous or exposed spot. In DM that means in an exposed spot, such as an open space, a junction or a blind alley. In team maps it means, in no-man's-land. (aka, Risk vs Reward)
- 1 Game Objectives
- 2 Weapons
- 3 Ammunition
- 4 Powerups
- 5 Vehicle Factories
- 6 Gametype Specific Suggestions
- 7 Related Topics
- 8 Discussion
Placement of GameObjectives is crucial. The layout of the map is usually centered around the placement of these special items and this is where item placement should begin. Some gametypes, namely Deathmatch, do not have a GameObjective actor to place. Although, one could argue with confidence that PlayerStarts should be treated with the same importance as game objectives in those instances. Capture the Flag FlagBases, Bombing Run BombSpawns and BombDeliveries, Double Domination DomPoints and Onslaught PowerNodes and PowerCores are all examples of Game Objectives. First and foremost, the Game Objectives should be equal all sides of the match; equally accessible, equally attainable.
When considering weapon placement, keep in mind how easy and quick it is to reach a weapon. While keeping in mind CliffyB's rule, remember that if one cannot find a weapon in a reasonable amount of time, one may get frustrated. If this is the case, often times a few will reach weapons and therefore dominate those that cannot. Consider giving an equal distance from playerstart to weapon. Also consider placing a good "starter weapon" near each player start, so that the respawning player is facing a weapon they can grab and immediately join the fray.
Specific Weapon Suggestions
- Assault Rifle
- Usually you aren't going to put extra assault rifles in a map, people get dual assault rifles by killing other people. But if you do place them, put them in an area where the player should've picked up another weapon already.
- Although normally given to each player at map start, the translocator can be given via PickUpBase in gametypes that do not allow translocators or match configurations that do not give them at map start. Place these near player starts or areas where the translocator would be useful. (i.e., a large chasm or high ledge)
- Chainsaw (UT)
- Cramped places that allow charging attacks.
- At the end of a tunnel or a main doorway. Perhaps somewhere dark or confined. Place it near a game objective or near a room that can be held.
- Shock Rifle
- Best in open areas; corridors for combo shots.
- Near areas where heated combat and crossfire is likely.
- Link Gun
- Try to put this near every power node in Onslaught because you need it to heal power nodes and vehicles. This weapon is crucial for more than fighting in Onslaught and other gametypes that allow vehicles.
- Flak Cannon
- Best in cramped or confined areas for more opportunities for bounce shots and splash damage. (Most memorable example of this: The crenulated 270-degree-curved hallway in UT's DM-Grinder →StarWeaver)
- Rocket Launcher
- Best in places with walls for splash damage, but uncramped and uncluttered to avoid accidental suicides.
- Lightning Gun and Sniper Rifle
- Near places that are good for sniping. But you should consider the differences between the two. With Sniper Rifles, it is more difficult to locate the firer, and it fires faster than the lightning gun. But the Lightning Gun does more damage and doesn't have that annoying fog.
- Due to it's high power and ability to be guided, put this in a hidden and or hard to reach place.
- Ion Painter
- In a wide open area that can aim at a big open area. The blast effect of this weapon is made to take out large or numberous opponents.
It's useful to consider the placement of ammunition independantly of the actual positioning of the weapon. It is usually a good idea to place ammo for a weapon near the weapon placement itself, however having extra stashes of different ammo adds a good measure of variety. If these stashes are particularly extensive, put them in hard to reach or hidden areas.
Powerups give a player an extra boost of some kind. These goodies should be positioned in such a way that when the player needs them most, they can find them available. Keeping in mind Risk vs Reward, place more powerful items in hard to reach or hidden places.
Health can be difficult to place. Place too much and players will not be vulnerable enough to score kills on each other. Place too little and player will die too easily to enjoy the match. Health is the commodity that keeps players alive, so it is the most critical of the powerups.
Because these can give players more than 100 health (although in small doses), you can place these near PlayerStarts, espcially those near dangerous areas. The small health boost encourages the mapper to place a multiple vials in clusters or rows along a path.
The general health powerup should be available to players who need it. Place these on the outside of major battle areas, or places that players may want to otherwise retreat to.
Keg O' Health
This is a major powerup and should be reserved for those players who go the extra mile to find it. It should either be in a dangerous area (open or prone to crossfire), an area that is dangerous to get to (on a small ledge over lava or the like) or hidden from view.
Shield powerups add an extra protection for players. Think of this as a bonus, not as critical as health. Give shield powerups to players who will need it to launch a dangerous attach or defend against the odds.
The basic shield powerup gives enough shield to protect the player during a small encounter with the enemy. Place these along paths that lead to heavy battle zones.
This is another major powerup, like the Keg O' Health. This should be difficult or dangerous to get to or it should be out of plain sight.
UDamage (Double Damage Amp)
This is the third major powerup, giving the players an advantage in combat. Place near areas of heated battle or crossfire so they have a chance to use them. However, due to it's power, it should also be hard to reach and / or hidden.
Adrenaline allows players to collect enough energy to perform a special adrenaline combo: a move that can give them a special power of their choosing for a short period of time. This is a special power that should be given as a reward for finding a particularly dangerous space. Place these in open spaces or where crossfire is common. Place enough to allow each of the recommended number of players to perform a combo at least once in a typical match.
Vehicles serve several purposes. They are a source of increase mobility, even carrying multiple players at once. They are also equipped with increased armor, weapons and ammo. These plusses make vehicles highly desirable. Place these Vehicle Factories in places that allow a respawning player to get back in the action quick. Place them so players can enter a highly dangerous area well protected and equally matched to the danger. Take into account the speed and mobility of the vehicle; do not place a slow-moving Tank or Leviathan so far away from the heat of battle that player will be frustrated. Lightweight vehicles should likewise be used in areas where heavy combat is not as likely.
See also Vehicle Gameplay.
Gametype Specific Suggestions
Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch
If your map is aimed at a low number of players having one or two large health packs on the level is better than having many smaller ones. This adds points of control to the map that will concentrate combat and add tension to a map that otherwise wouldn't be there. For fewer players high amounts of armour should also be avoided - place a small amount of armour away from the health. By moving the armour away players will be forced to travel the level in its entirety allowing suprise attacks and a bit of hope for a player whose just been killed.
On larger deathmatch levels look for the rooms that can be easily held and then distribute health and armour away from those places. Having a very small amount of health in this type of room is a good thing, but too much and you'll unbalance Team Deathmatch play.
Capture the Flag
The placement of health and armour around a CTF map is critical to achieving a good balance of attack and defense. Too little health in and around the flag room and defenders will have a hard time keeping the flag inside the base. Too much health and even the most co-ordinated attack will struggle. As a general rule of thumb a single health pack per defending player should be sufficient.
Placing a small amount of health along the main routes between the two flags is a good idea. However, ensure that it will cost the flag carrier some time to collect it. The way the flag carrier can trade safety (in terms of the likelihood of getting killed) against speed of escape. Any more than a tenth of a second is probably too much time wasted.
By the very nature of the game type, most of the health and armour will be located at either end of the map. Depending on the structure of your map it may be better to adopt a more even spread of health throughout the level.
Always place armour away from the flag base. It's generally better to favour attackers when placing armour but also ensure that it costs time to collect it. The armour placement in Coret is a fine example of this. Both the 100 armour and 50 armour require a player to go slightly out of their way to obtain them, and neither of them are that close to the flag and the defenders.
SuperApe: Merged in Weapon Placement info because they are really the same topic. I don't see any reason to split them up other than to cause people to get lost while we duplicate a lot of info. Added GameObjectives, Powerup specifics, filled in rest of weapon specifics, edited overview. Encorporated with the Topics on Mapping family of pages. Removed from Big Cleanup. Feel free to add to the Gametype Specific Suggestions subtopic.
Bob_The_Beheader: This page should contain some info about how bots will interact with inventory items. I have linked to this page from the Basic Bot Pathing Tutorial.
SuperApe: Good point. While definately not exclusive to bots, inventory items often carry AI "inside" to tell bots how to use, when to acquire, etc. I'm not sure each item on this page needs that, as it was mostly aimed at inventory item placement as a multiplayer mapping aspect, but I can see how a section describing the bot AI relates to Inventory items, when they are desired, etc. For example, the vehicle code that "reserves" the vehicle for a bot could be outlined.