Friday, 29 July 2011

In Game Story-Telling

As I mentioned in my previous post on the evils of the cutscene, there are always methods to relay story or information to the player without removing them from they're own perspective. Lets explore some of these options.

Monitors and Cameras

One of the most effective methods of doing a cutscene in game is to use a monitor system. Most games are capable of outputting camera feeds to some form of surface within the game itself. This method is fantastic because you can show your cutscene without breaking the players immersion.
Simply gate the player and un-gate when the cutscene has ended on the monitor.

NPC scripted scenes

These are scenes played out around the player within the map. If the player could possibly interrupt the scene then keep them away from the npc actors behind a fence or forcefield etc...
Friendly npc scenes can normally progress with the player in direct contact as the player can normally not inflict damage on friendly npcs.

Enemy NPC scenes are usually best played out when the player is apparently unnoticed by the enemy. Keep the player in a dark spot and light up the area where the scene is played out.

Most of the time the player is happy to let the scene play without attempting to interrupt however you should ensure that the player can't interrupt the action anyway because some players just can't help themselves.

Enemy npc scenes, if not critical for gameplay, can be made interruptable if you so choose. Go play "No One Lives Forever" for interruptable enemy scenes at their best. Good god that game is funny...

Environment Stories

As in Left 4 Dead or Portal, you can apply a story via the game environment. If you haven't realised before, the graffiti on the walls in the L4D saferooms tell multiple stories about survivors who had passed through before you got there.

Tannoy Systems or Walkie Talkies

Having voice messages played out to the player while the game progesses can be very effective.

A tannoy system is great for keeping the player up to date and can also really ratchet up the tension in a map if the player is given a message that the enemy is on their way.
This is probably the most acceptable method of delivering information while the action is ongoing. Just make sure you're in a quiet period if you are going to tell the player anything important.

I like the idea of adding a narrator to a story. So the narrators voice plays at key points in the story recounting what the player has done or is about to do. You could have a lot of fun with this by having the narrator misinterpret the players action for extra comedy.
If you've ever seen Monty Python's Holy Grail think brave Sir Robin and his minstrels and you'll get the idea.

Even better have the narrator tell the story from the enemies perspective, painting the player as the bad guy. I may try this one day but feel free if you want to have a crack at it.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Why Cutscenes Are Evil!!

Why cutscenes are evil!

Unlike our console based cousins PC gamers are very lucky in the fact that the culture of the cutscene has been kept to a minimum on our platform. Most PC games will provide you with a cutscene at the beginning of a level and a cutscene at the end. These bookend scenes usually help to provide an introduction to the area or move the story along and then provide a conclusion and show how the player has affected the story.

So what do I mean by cutscene. I'm referring to any moment within a map where the player view is removed from their own perspective and forcibly pointed at other areas of the map in order to draw the players attention to something important or to tell further story.

Anyone who's played an action orientated console game in the last 10 years will know that games built for consoles have an obsession with the cutscene.

So why are cutscenes so evil.

1. It takes control away from the player and removes them from the moment they were in at that time. You spend ages trying to get the player fully engrossed in your map then rip them out of their own view of the environment and that feeling is instantly lost.

2. Its very lazy from a design perspective. Rather than build an intuitive environment where the player can understand what they need to do through exploration, you jam it in their faces by pointing the camera at it.

3. It patronises the player and caters to the lowest common denominator (i.e. dumb people).
In effect by pulling camera control away from the player and pointing it at something important, the developers are saying "we think you might be dumb and not understand what you are supposed to do, so were going to show you... just in case you're dumb!".

It may be that publishers have more say in the development process in the console world. So when the publishers get they're first look at the game they make recommendations of what to change in order to make the game more generally playable for everyone(read.. more accessible for dumb people!).

4: Often the best action scenes are reserved for cutscenes.
Did you ever get shown something in a cutscene that was very exciting after playing through a drab repetitive level and think... hey.. why couldn't I do that in the freakin game!

If what happens in your cutscenes is more interesting or funny or exciting than what happens in your map. Then there's something very very wrong!

5: Cutscenes are used as a supposed reward system.
What's more enjoyable, playing the game or watching a cutscene? It SHOULD be playing the game if the title is any good. So, surely your reward for completing a section of the game should be... well... more game! Unlocking bonus levels perhaps?
I've never understood why watching a cutscene is something the player is supposed to look forward to. To the point where in some games you can go back and re-watch the cutscenes you've unlocked so far.

I think my biggest gripe with the whole cutscene culture would be that's its cheap. Like reality TV, publishers like cutscenes because it takes far less effort and money to produce one than it does to create truly great gameplay and levels.

There's a reason it took Valve 8 years to release HL2 and why console game tie-ins with movies can be punched out in six months. It takes time to make maps that are intuative. It takes time to run through map iterations until playtesters know instictively what to do. Time is money!

An Alternative Approach

My next post will focus on in game story telling methods. Most modern games offer a variety of alternative tools to help the mapper tell the story within the game.

Here's a challenge for you. Before you build your cutscene for your map, try and think of any other way that you can convey the information to the player without taking them out of their perspective. Try and make cutscenes the very last resort for storytelling.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Is my story ruining my gameplay?

The Story: Is it ruining my gameplay?

While I was a member of a mod team a while back, for some reason I got lumped with the job of writing the script. I inherited an already done outline and several scenes of dialogue already written.
What had been done up to that point was truly awful. What I tried to do didn't turn out much better unfortunately. It might have made a good TV show but it had no place in a game.
See the problem was, the guys on the team had already selected the environments, the order that they would appear in and the general motivations of the player.
Everything they had done was pretty good but trying to write a story to string it all together was an impossible task. I recall days where the team actually considered altering whole sections of the game in order to try and make the story make sense.. Utter madness...

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Make the story as minimal as possible! I mean, one line of text should do it. For example...

Escape from jail
Outrun the bad guys
Get to this place by this time

That's all you need in a custom map. Anything more is overkill and unnecessary.

I don't think I've played a custom map or mod that had a compelling story. I can't say I've played that many games that had an amazing story either. There are rare exceptions of course (Jedi Outcast, Thief 2, X-Wing Alliance) but most game stories are very awkward affairs that never really grab the players attention.

I wish this wasn't true, because when a great game story is created, it can be magical, but alas most fail. Custom map stories are usually incredibly awful...


Stick to good gameplay.. the player will forgive you I promise.
Just set the player up with a basic goal and keep those goals coming each time the complete the last one.

Goals can be delivered by NPCs if you like. It just doesn't have to mean anything. It doesn't have to fit within a larger context.

The moment you find yourself ditching great gameplay idea to service a story for gods sake stop.

Think about Left 4 Dead or Portal. Two amazing games that ditched story almost altogether (some sly graffiti in both adds a bare minimum).

I may give the player a choice in my next map. "Do you really want a story? Break glass to hear story...".


The mapping method known as looping is the practice of having the player move through the same environment multiple times.

This serves several purposes...

1. You get more gameplay out of a small map space.

2. The player gets to see the area you've created from several different perspectives

3. The player has the nice surprise of discovering that they have returned to a familiar location after a section of gameplay

As a mapper, whenever I create a playing space I'm looking to get the most amount of gameplay out of that space as possible. It can take weeks of work to create a convincing environment so to have the player blast through it in less than a minute is a huge waste of great work.

Consider a map set on a city street.

A single pass at this area may be set at street level. A firefight amongst cars etc..

Now consider how much other playing space has not been used.

The sewers under the street, the floors of the buildings on either side, the rooftops, you could add balconies or scaffolding.

By having the player pass through the area several times, winding back forth through it, an area that once offered a two minute firefight can now incorporate around fifteen minutes of gameplay if done correctly.

Looping isn't just to make the mappers life easy. I think players don't like to have too many environments thrown at them too quickly. If bombarded with too many areas too quickly the player can often feel overwhelmed and disorientated.

Finally there's the loading times issue to consider. Lots of gameplay within one area means the game engine only has to worry about rendering one location for much of the map. It can improve performance within map and also shorten loading times as well which is always welcome from a players perspective.

Loop Creatively

Did you ever play a map where you seem to be heading backwards as much as you were forwards? I've played maps like this and walked way with the feeling that I'd just completed a slightly enjoyable Disneyland ride queue.

Loops are good but the player must feel like their making progress or they're gonna get very frustrated very quickly. Try and make each loop move through a areas that have different looks and feels to them.

Differ the gameplay on each loop to keep the player involved.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Their First Time...

One of my major challenges in mapping is presenting a world the player can understand the first time they encounter it.
It takes refinement and playtesting and can sometimes really stand in the way of a great idea being implemented.

But should it?

Consider this example:
Say I want to implement an Indiana Jones style moment of action where the player is chased by a huge boulder down a tunnel. The player jumps down into the tunnel and the ball starts rolling, only at top speed can the player outrun the ball.

Exciting stuff, but the player has no warning of what is about to happen and almost no chance of getting out of the situation alive unless they're incredibly lucky.

So, is it fair or right for the player to have to learn through death or injury?

Should a map always be completable the very first time the player plays it?

I've played many official games and maps where the learning through death approach is taken and it can be very frustrating.

To counterpoint this though, a map that you can breeze through in 5 minutes may be fun but not really any challenge.

Also... some events work better if the player has no warning or pre-knowledge.

So how can I know which events the player needs to be warned about or not?

Playtesting will only get you so far on this issue as it's often a case of play style preference.

A good example is found in a recent map of mine.

I added a jump to my map where the player must jump diagonally down and through a window across a gaping chasm. Traditionally, glass doesn't break in HL2 if you jump at it horizontally. So the player has to take a leap of faith at this point.

Its all carefully set up so that the player has no where else to go, a shotgun (first weapon after going a map and a half with only the grav gun) and heathpack are on the other side of the window as a lure but still playtesters said they were reluctant to jump.

When they finally plucked up the courage they were thrilled by the fact they'd made the jump, broken through the window, snatched the shotgun and killed the combine guard patrolling on the other side all in one swift movement.

So common sense gameplay training would indicate that I should train the player to understand the new glass breaking rule, however if I did it would detract something special from the experience. The unwillingness of the player to make the jump adds a huge amount to the triumph when they do.

All this can get rather complex... this is where instincts come in as to what I feel the player experience should be...

Sometimes you just know when something is going to work and it's worth pushing that idea through.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

I will let you down, I will make you hurt!

I like to think of player health as currency. They begin with a full account, it is then whittled down by NPCs or map events and they earn it back as a reward for surviving these events.

Players will take great offense to their health cash being taken from them due to circumstances beyond their control.
So if a jump is a little too high in your map and the landing causes damage, I've essentially just mugged the player.

I don't see myself as the mugging type really. I'm more partial to petty theft or casual vandalism...

Free credit!

When I build my maps I try and consider how much cash the players going to need up front for the next section. If it's a puzzle where the penalty for failure is death (falling off a bridge or something) then I'll avoid giving them any. If it's a big action moment then I'll throw in a full health charger before they reach the action zone. Think of this as free credit which they'll have to pay off in chunks of their own ass in the future.

Up front payment can of course be avoided by issuing small health loans within the action zone itself. This ups the pressure on the player as they actively seek out heath stashes and I try to use this approach only towards the end of a map where the difficulty is at its highest.

Health can also be used as a lure into a trap or as an indication of the way forward. The player is always seeking health. It is the only sure route to survival.

I try and be flexible with health. After playtesting, try and remove any surplus health that I feel isn't absolutely necessary.
If the player is constantly at 100 health then there is really no challenge there at all.

The best use of health I've found is using it to make the player move in moments of high action. If you place the health around an area at a significant distance apart then the player is forced to keep on moving in order to stay alive.

It can add a whole new dimension to a battle.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Play Area Types

While putting together maps using a modular method I've discovered that most single player map areas can be classified into a variety of types.


An arena is a locked off gaming area that the player cannot leave until a battle is complete. These areas usually have multiple circular paths running through them and can often be very similar to multiplayer deathmatch maps in terms of layout. In fact, back in the Quake 3 engine days it was not uncommon to see arena sections of SP maps cut out and sealed off in order to be used as an MP map.
Like MP maps, arenas should have free flowing gameplay with little obstruction to players movement. I would also recommend that the MP rule of making sure that there is no spot in the arena where the player can not be flanked, be observed. There should be no safe place in an arena map.
My final observation about arenas is that the player has to pass a point of no return into the arena. A locking door or a small drop into the area is usually the best method I find.

The stunning Bespin Carbon Chamber from Jedi Outcast was used as a dueling arena in multiplayer...

Puzzle areas

The player is gated and has to solve a puzzle to progress. NPCs should not be in direct contact with the player at these times. It's best to allow the player to focus on the puzzle. If you want to up the pressure you could add an npc shooting from a distance but definitely no close contact.

No enemy's just a good ole hunting the batteries puzzle from HL2

Progression Battles

The player has to fight their way forward through a section of the map. Full combat NPCs should retreat as the player presses forward and denies them cover points. At no point should an NPC be behind the player, these sections are always about clearing the map ahead.

Nearly the whole game of Farcry was based on progression battle areas.. it got a bit dull after a while, I thought...

Fiddly Bits

This title refers to map sections where the player has to traverse difficult ground that requires them to concentrate on walking and jumping carefully. Put the player off their stride by throwing some minor NPCs at them when it gets to the most tricky point.

Careful there! The toe curling and amazing bridge span in HL2...

Pressure Points

The player is driven forward by some form of deadly force (rising water, rolling boulder etc...) player must traverse tricky ground ahead of them or simply stay ahead of the deadly force in order to reach safety and survive.

Jedi Academy's Giant Mutant Rancor forces you forwards in one map. Shame about the rest of the game...

Hold Outs

The player has to wait for something to happen and in the mean time fight off a slew of bad guys. Endless spawning NPCs, probably better to be melee orientated as opposed to projectile based, this puts pressure on the player to keep them at a distance.
Projectile based can be used too of course, I've just found it to be less fun.

The No Mercy Rooftop... nuff said!

Rest Stops

An area where the player can take a break from the madness. Usually at the start, middle or end of a map. No bad guys here obviously but a good place to add cool effects or impressive mapping work, friendly NPCs to explain whats coming next or some form of overview of the next map section.
Pay special attention to detailing in these areas. The player has all the time in the world to appreciate it.

Chillax! Nothing to do but listen in and take in the details


Connecting halls, alleyways or other pathways between one gameplay area and the next. Try to reserve only minor bad guys for these sections. Small annoyances rather than big foes. Add in minor hazards to slow the players progress a little. Make them fun little mini-puzzles like a gated doorway that needs to be blasted open or a platform that must be raised with a winch or something. Anything the player can interact with. It will improve the overall playtime of your map without diminishing the fun factor.

A HL2 Connector. Completely unnecessary but it all adds to the fun and makes the level last longer.

That's all I've come up with so far... still very useful I think.

Monday, 11 July 2011


"Feel terror cloud your senses, feel its power to distort and know that this power can be yours!" Ras Al Gul, Batman Begins

Manufacturing fear isn't like it used to be. These days it's all about the cheap thrill. The schlocky gross out scenes or long drawn out torture porn movies. Take me back to the days of good old fashioned scares. A better word is creeps...

I've heard friends say that fear is a very personal thing. That what scares one person won't necessarily scare another. I disagree...

Somethings are universally scary and with the right timing and atmosphere you can put anyone on the edge of their seat.

Lets look at some great examples of game based fear.

Left 4 Dead

For all its Romero homage gore based gaming, Left 4 Dead does have a key element of fear to it. The tension is generated by the ever present threat of a zombie rush at any time. The games randomness of zombie spawning thanks to the built in Director gives the players really no place to hide because a rush could come at any time.
I'm sure that many folks who have played Left 4 Dead over and over have become numb to its scary charms but if you recall your first campaign ya gotta admit you were shitting it!

Verdict Fear Type: Fear Of Randomness

Thief 2: The Metal Age

Creeping about hoping to god you don't get discovered by guards is pretty nervewracking stuff at the best of times. When you replace the guard with a steam driven robot that fires deadly cannonballs but talks in a creepy Droopy style mechanical voice you're pretty much hitting the fear button dead on. Even better is a whispering corpse with a sodding great mallet!
Thief took a basic premise "don't get caught" and simply upped the stakes of what might catch you and what they'll do to you when they do. Nice...

Verdict Fear Type: Fear Of Discovery

System Shock 2

Yes those Looking Glass boys again but this time they flipped the idea of Thief on it's head. Rather than the maps being filled with baddies to avoid System Shock 2 filled the map with well... er nothing...

It's you, alone on a sodding great spaceship. Well you're not alone but the creatures are very few and far between. Looking Glass realised something that no other game seems to have twigged onto. Being alone is bloody scary!
If you've ever been in a very large space alone (say a shopping mall or a school after hours) you'll know what I'm getting at. It's freakin creepy...

Verdict Fear Type: Agoraphobia?

Bad Examples Of Fear Based Gaming

Resident Evil

OK Resident Evil started the whole console survival horror genre but the execution was just plain annoying. It wasn't the environment or NPCs that created fear, it was the shitty camera and control system. In a moment of panic you could walk out of shot, change camera angle and end up running back towards the bad guy.
There is a lesson we can learn here, loss of control generates fear too!

Verdict Fear Type: Loss Of Control!


Having played through the original and the sequel I can honestly say that I didn't find it scary at all. The slow motion action was fun though!
F.E.A.R made a fatal mistake when implementing it's horror elements, it took control away from the player. Many of the flashbacks and clever screen elements that were supposed to mimic a modern horror simply didn't work because the player had no interaction with them. Once the flashback was over the game simply returned you to the same drab warehouse or whatever you were doing before. The actual maps themselves and gameplay did nothing to even make you hesitate when moving forward.

Verdict fear type: None at all!

So what have I learned from all this?

1: That if you want the player to experience fear the scares must happen around them while they are in control of the game.

2: That a constant threat of attack builds a great atmosphere in which fear can flourish

3: That knowing that something is coming for you and there's nothing you can do about it is damn scary.

4: That a creature that stalks you rather than attack is scarier than the attack itself.

5: That an empty open space with a hint of threat is scarier than a room full of creatures

6: That being hunted, for any creature is terrifying

What scares the hell out of you guys?

Friday, 8 July 2011

I am one with the darkness...

... a shadow, of a cat, in the night...

Torches are a pain in the ass.

You spend days of your life getting the lighting just right on your map and all the player has to do is hit the torch button and it's ruined.


Recently I've tried my hand at creating an almost pitch black level in order to creep the player out. The concept was pretty straightforward...

The player moves through a section of the level which is in total darkness. All the while creepy monsters move around them. Across pipes above, along walls adjacent to the player path, under floor grating.

The idea was to make the player feel surrounded by something they only caught glimpses of. I had the monsters (in this case the NPC_fastzombie from HL2) only move when the player performed an action like opening a door or jumping down onto a new ledge.

In practice however, I've found that total darkness is no fun at all. It puts the player under pressure but they quickly lose patience with the inability to see anything and the game play suffers greatly as unless the player is looking directly in the direction of an oncoming creature, they miss their entrance and end up just fumbling around in the dark.

So I added some lights, fairly minimal at first. You know what I found? Having just a few small lights is even more annoying!

Eventually I found the solution. Have alternating dark and light areas for the player to move through. Always give the player a light to go for in the distance. The light areas act as rest stops and relieve the pressure of being in total darkness.

I'm not saying that dark levels can't be fun, Valve proved it could be done well in HL2:Episode 1 but it requires a lot more skill to make it fun, than I thought it would require.

If you're interested in making a dark section for your valve based map I totally recommend you look into the env_flare entity. I pretty much does what it says on the tin. It's a flare, but it's very pretty, gives out minimal red light and can really add atmosphere to a map. Basically it creates a small island of light in a sea of darkness but the player feels totally isolated. Very cool!


Monday, 4 July 2011

The Trouble With "Real"

On many forums I visit I see loads of feedback on gameplay in maps with comments similar to the one below...

"That's not very realistic!"

As a mapper I'm very careful when I receive this kind of feedback because you see... we're not building a representation of the Real here are we?

Players who make these comments about the Real need to stop and think about the games they've been playing.

I've yet to play a game that accurately represents reality. If I did obtain a game that attempted to re-create reality I've no doubt it would be dull as shit. Real is dull. That's why we play games to escape the drudge of the real.

I think when players say that something is not realistic I think they're actually saying "you haven't done a good enough job getting me used to this idea".

With the right level of introduction and explanation, the player will engage with anything.

As an example take the film The Matrix.

At the beginning we see Trinity pull off some Matrix type moves, running on walls etc. We're wowed by the visuals and the action. The film then spends the next hour, pretty much on exposition to answer the question "What is the Matrix?". Every element is carefully set up, including acres of exposition from poor Laurence Fishbourne, and all of it is put in place so that when the action kicks off, the audience are totally bought in to the world and the plausibility of what takes place.

I can bend or break the game reality as much as I like as long as I take the player by the hand and lead them through it.

Reality does have its uses though.
On a micro level there is a place for reality in my maps. A certain type of light, say for example a bedside lamp, should give off a realistic light. Attention to these details when detailing your map, does have an effect on gameplay. It sells the new reality I've created. Because the little things are as they should be the new gameplay elements are more acceptable. They're taking place in an environment the player can instantly connect with.

So in conclusion, we find that there is a balance to be struck between Real and Unreal. Unreal elements will be accepted if introduced carefully and the Real elements help the player accept the Unreal.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Weapon Progression

In many custom HL2 maps I've played the authors add an element of weapon progression from Crobar through to Rocket Launcher. In smaller maps these weapons are delivered to the player thick and fast so by about 4 mins into the map they're fully kitted out with a complete arsenal.

It seems to me though, that unless weapon progression is going to serve the gameplay, you might as well avoid it completely and simply give the player all the weapons at the start of the map.

Here's some thoughts on the various functions weapon progression can serve.

That Good Ole Feeling..

Each weapon has a certain feel to it. This can really help when trying to convey a feeling across to the player.

Taking HL2 weaponry as an example... if you want the feeling of motion and swift firefights then the SMG, grenades and AR2 are probably you're best options.

If you want the player to feel powerful then the Shotgun and Magnum and Grav Gun are probably good choices.

For a more considered and slow approach the Pistol and Crossbow should fit the bill.

And for all out destruction, even at targets on the ground, the Rocket Launcher is the daddy but it's slow to reload don't forget so the player is left a little vunerable.

Weapon Absence

I would argue that not having the right weapon or not having a weapon at all makes for some pretty interesting gameplay.
Players aren't used to running away from the bad guys. It takes a hell of a lot of coersion to make them. The players natural reaction to an enemy is to attack. That's what games have been teaching players to do for years.
At the beginning of HL2 when Gordon was on the run, it takes about 5 NPCs all telling you to run away just to convince the player to do so.
I've been dying to put together a map where the main aim is to outrun the bad guys. To make it through some crazy assault course with the bad guys chasing you all the way.
One day I'll crack it...

Also, by denying the player a gun I force them to think creatively. A situation that could be resolved swiftly with a few shotgun shells becomes a mad scramble to stay alive using other methods provided to the player by the mapper.

No Gun Just Run!!!! Point Insertion From HL2

The Right Tool For The Right Job

Its often the case that the player is given the weapon that is most effective against a particular NPC just before they meet them in the map. I often think this is a bit of a wasted opportunity and comes across as quite contrived.
Surely it's more challenging and more fun to have the player meet that NPC before they find the appropriate weapon? Make them fight hard to reach the weapon that will make their lives easier.

A great example of this is the Surface Tension map for HL1. The player spend lots of time running away from the Apache chopper then finally get rewarded with the weapon they need to take it down. The victory is very sweet indeed when it comes...

Alternatively, I can make that weapon the objective of an area. The player can see the weapon they need but just can't get to it without a fight or puzzle with the tricky NPC hassling them every step of the way.

Too easy or too hard?

A major consideration on weapon progression is how a particular weapon will affect future encounters later in the map. What weapons will the player have in their arsenal at that time. Later NPC encounters in my map need to be much more dynamic as to how the player can assault the enemy. If they have a long range weapon at the time it gives the player more choice as to the style of the assault. My map has to provide cover for sniping positions.

I can also manage weapon usage through the provision of ammo but that's not a certain method to ensure the player wont have access to that weapon at any time. Some players enjoy being frugal with their bullets.

Weapon Stripping

Sometimes, in order to justify a certain type of action, removing all the players weapons is necessary. I would be very careful with this though. I mustn't forget that the player worked really hard to get the weapons in the first place. It seems very mean to take them away and the player could hate me for it.

Also, working in a plausible reason why all they're weapons are being taken can be tough.
The most obvious is a capture scenario. The player is thrown in jail and has to escape and reclaim all their weapons. This is very cliched though and I'm sure we can can come up with something a little more interesting.

Weapon delivery and weapon gates

Creating various ways of delivering weapons to the player can also be a little difficult. I don't want my player to miss a weapon pick up, so I need to find a way to make sure they actually have picked up the weapon they need.
I covered weapon gates in my earlier post so I wont go back into the idea but if at all possible I must make sure that the player picked up the weapon before they proceed. A nice way is to place it in a tight doorway or crawl space where the player cant miss it.
I could also use an NPC gate where the NPC wont open the way forward for the player until the weapon is picked up.

In addition I would say that I try to make the placement of the weapon pick up as logical as possible.

Simply having a loaded shotgun lying on the floor in the middle of a hallway doesn't sit well with me.

I mean some kid could just come along and pick it up!!!

I try to place weapons next to dead soldiers, on tables with NPCs near by, or on a weapon rack in a secure room. I try to make the weapon pick up placement fit and blend with the environment as much as possible while still being obvious to the player.

Hope this was an interesting read.