Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Yes I'm updating this blog again. Don't make a big thing out of it...

Yes I'm updating this blog again. Don't make a big thing out of it.

What I learned from making Half Life 2: Deep Down, Part 1

1. Baddies that can walk right up to you are no fun
Always put one or several barriers between you and gun based enemy. If an enemy can run right up to you and shoot you from point blank range, they will. Keep the gun based baddies at a slight distance and the combat becomes much more interesting. Fences are good, you can see through them, shoot through them but they keep the distance and ensure a decent fire fight. I've recently played a few mods where a group of baddies are introduced and all I had to do was dance round them with the shotgun, blowing them away and trying not to get shot myself. In official maps, you almost never come toe to toe with gun based NPCs and if you do, they are kept in place by nav node groups.

2. Ignore feedback from lazy players

I had several players who played the mod and simply didnt have the patience to stop and think about the puzzles. They wanted action all the way, the puzzles were simply a barrier to them having fun. As a result, their feedback was to make the solutions to the puzzles so obvious that they wouldn't stop a player for a moment.

3. The basics matter

All the feedback I've received points to one thing. Players love simple explore and fight gameplay. They liked the driving and the puzzles but they're at their happiest when moving through and exploring a space whilst fighting their way through. The two areas mentioned time and again were the hotel and the large cavern after the wind tunnel. Both these areas offer simple Game-play but it's where the players feel at home. The trick to these areas is to keep the player off the beaten path in my opinion. Moving through rooms and corridors is boring, try to think about more interesting ways the player can move through a space.

4. What the player can't see, they don't care about.

My displacements are messy as hell. The cliffs I built have dodgy edges and vertices going mental but the player can't see any of it. Don't get OCD about how tidy your map is if its outside the play area. Take one look at a de-compiled Valve map and you'll see they weren't all that tidy either.

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