Firearms: Source is a team based first person shooter, rooted in the traditions of the Firearms mod for Half-Life. Firearms: Source brings the best aspects of Firearms to the Source engine, and then takes them a step further. You'll see a host of familiar weapons and maps, but you'll find the streamlined game play to be faster, focusing on aggressive, skilled play. From nearly the moment you spawn you can expect to be engaged in furious action.

Report article RSS Feed Developer Blog : Designing an Assault Map

Shinobi shares some thoughts on designing FAS Assault maps.

Posted by ShinobiNFC on Jul 5th, 2011

Assault Game Mode Overview

FAS is introducing a new gamemode for version 2 called Assault. Like the current Push game mode this game mode involves push points but the similarities end there. There is an attacking team and a defending team, only the attacking team may capture points and the defending team may not recapture lost points.

After set time intervals the attacking team takes a negative reinforcement hit for each uncaptured push point. This is intended to encourage the attacking team to attack because if they turtle they will lose from reinforcement drain. When the attacking team does capture a point, they receive a large reinforcement bonus, further incentive to keep pushing.

Obviously a scoring system alone does not mandate how the player will actually play the game. To do that you design your level with the intended gameplay in mind. I’ll share some considerations and tips that will hopefully help our community mappers author AS maps.

Layout and Spawn Placement

My philosophy when designing an AS map is to consider the map a series of mini levels. Each focusing on a specific conflict.

There should be ample focus on the point of conflict for each AS point. You need to make sure that both teams have a similar travel time to the current AS point so that it isn’t too easily captured yet isn’t a stalemate. This design consideration infers that progressive spawns are absolutely necessary. In fact I would go so far as to say a separate set of spawns for each AS point is required.

In the case of AS_Caliber, I’ve been tweaking the spawn positions each test by a few meters at a time to try to get the right feel of intense conflict at each AS point. I’m quite happy with the current results but every once in a while you do get a stalemate. Fixing this in the level design by introducing cover, new routes, and restricting positions the defending team can turtle from are all important but I’ve recently been considering introducing another tool to keep the game fluid:

I’ve been thinking about having 3 sets of defending spawns per point attached to a timer. For the first 3 mins the defending team spawns at the closest point which has a slight distance advantage over the attacking team. This is followed by the defending team spawning further away from the AS point at 3 mins then finally spawning even further away at around 6 mins. At that point the attacking team has a significant distance advantage (30-50 meters).

Here’s the Pros/Cons to doing this that I can see:

Pros

Prevents quick caps at the start of the game when teams are possibly not organized.
Prevents snowball capping (when a team caps then caps again while the defending team is just getting their bearings)
Should reduce long stalemates

Cons

It could be interpreted that this punishes the defending team for playing well.
If the defending team spawns too far away at 6 mins then they are practically giving away the point.

Further Thoughts

There are things I could do to alleviate the negative effects of the cons. The most obvious being that I need to make sure that the attacking team has a deficit on reinforcements if they don’t capture an AS point within the 6 mins it takes to push the defending team completely back.

Post comments regarding your thoughts on this system. I’m interested to know if you think this will help or hurt gameplay. I’m interested in both a public user and clanner perspective.

Conflict Point Design Considerations

When designing AS points try to keep a few things in mind:

Don’t provide a clear view for snipers or suppressive fire onto the capture point

If you do this, you are pretty much ensuring that a well coordinated team will dominate at that point. If they can snipe, MG, and throw grenades into the capture area all day then there’s little you can do besides try to cut around the side and clean out their nest. A well coordinated team will be able to prevent this from happening.

Don’t box in the capture point

On the other end of the spectrum is capture points that are too boxed in. Examples of this would be a small garage with 2 points of entry (the garage door and a small door somewhere else). This point is susceptible to many things including fragmentation grenades and flashbang grenades. The absolute worst culprit is the claymore. If you have limited access to the capture zone then the defending team can simply cover all entrances with claymores. The extra care you have to take to maneuver around them gives the defending team a large advantage.

Designing a point in AS_Caliber


Here is how I’ve set up the 3rd AS point in AS_Caliber. As you can see it is protected from sniper fire by being a fairly guarded building, that said the capture zone is wide open inside to prevent people from grenade spamming. There are too many places to hide in the capture room to be exploitable by grenade spam.

There are currently 3 major points of entry for the attacking team that split into 4 paths of entry into the capture zone when in the building. It’s quite possible that the defending team could put claymores on all the entry points and hold down the map too easily. I will be keeping my eye on this in our testing sessions. If this does make defending too easy I will be looking at ways to incorporate a wide entrance into the building that which would be more resistant to claymore exploitation.

Thanks for reading. If you have any suggestions on how to tailor a map to further fit the AS game mode post int he comments and let me know

Post comment Comments
Arcones
Arcones Jul 6 2011, 11:49am says:

I like the ideas, very well thought out.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Drakel101
Drakel101 Jul 6 2011, 1:31pm says:

I only track this game for these amazing developer blogs.

+4 votes     reply to comment
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