18 October 2008

Hitman on Maps

Hitman has made a lengthy post in the FAS Forums about FAS's map design philosophy which outlines how FAS maps are designed, as well as the use of reinforcement drain - or lack there of - in FAS. Htiman's main reason for this philosophy is in response older RCs introduction of reinforcement drain with the push system. Hitman believes that such a system isn't needed with proper map design and that the current round of testing lead by BDH should solidify this belief as well as "taking a much closer look at map gameplay, ammo box placement and other balancing features to ensure we have a well-rounded gameplay model."

The most important aspect of map design is "to maps with well-thought-out pathways and routes" that discourages camping or overly defensive play styles. Multiple exits and windows leading to an area make it difficult for a camping team to defend an area. Where ammo boxes are located is also a key to discourage camping. Ammo boxes in spawns ensures that a camping team can ensure that the defending team has no reason to venture out for supplies, so moving them to the second point will make them have to leave the spawn area. Also, having the ammo boxes exposed to the sky will make them vulnerable to mortar fire; if you take out the ammo boxes, you cut off the ammo supply to weapons that have a low magazine size or expend it quickly (such as the sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launcher). Hitman made an example map to illustrate the point to make it more clear as well. Example A is an easily defend choke point with an ammo box close by, while example B offers multiple routes to the bunker, an ammo box farther away from the defenders, and windows to engage the defenders from.

Versions post 2.6 also lead themselves to camping due to the inaccuracy of the rifles making it hard to realistic take on snipers, machine gunners, and grenades at a longer range. The weapons in FAS are a lot more accurate and "people camping way back in a corner somewhere won't be able to kill others with impunity."

Finally, FAS will incorporate progressive spawns into push maps which will aid the attacking team allowing them to engage the camping team faster. Hitman uses the map ps_river as an example, "if the defenders on Red Force camp the house, and never move to the barn, in old version of FA the blue team would need to run all the way from their starting base to the barn in order to get to the beginning of the front line." In FAS, if blue holds the barn, they would possibly spawn near the river allowing them quickly to engage red. Not only does this help with camping, but also makes it so people spend more time fighting and less time running just to get the chance to fight.

Hitman goes back to the idea of reinforcement drain on push points by stating that it compromises the point of push maps and is to much of a pertly for any defense which Hitman states are a legitimate strategy in push maps. Furthermore, the reinforcement drain alone wouldn't help sd_maps or cti_maps which would still need good map design to prevent camping.

Hitman also reminds every one that RC 1.0 is the start of FAS, not the end. The FAS team will not fully know how FAS plays until it is in the public's hands and they are committed to further developing FAS past RC 1.0.

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