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Plantation (Far Cry 3)

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INFO

Set on a besieged plantation, ”Fortified Farmland” is a large map for 8-12 players developed over the course of two weeks plus tests and tweaks.


Having noted the lack of upscale maps being shipped with the game and wondered as to why, the map was, more than anything, a challenge in directing flow and managing gameplay on a very large map. Generally, the shipped maps had a very good flow and sense of direction – and Fortified Farmland quickly became an exercise in reproducing this on a grander scale:

Designed to play well with just a handful of players in Transmission and Team Deathmatch but lend its Domination game-mode to more ponderous matches and squad tactics when the servers fill up.

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In late March, 2013, the map was entered into a design competition at Battlemap.net and came in third, citing its creativity, originality, quality, and gameplay.

 

>> Download Fortified Farmland

>>Link to the written Review

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PREPRODUCTION

Initial layout was basic, a raised area on one side became the mansion, its counterweight was to be a warehouse, screened by greenery – and from these high points, the conflict would flow down into the valley into a more urban environment with a focal greenhouse and planted fields.

 

Intro

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THE ISSUE OF SIZE

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With Line of Sight the main issue – Most notably with the many vantage points on the hill – The trick was to prevent any given vantage point from being able to cover too much of the map – without limiting their use so much as to lose the appeal. If possible, I’d look to the terrain first: adjusting the height and using blocks of cliff or rock to interrupt LOS.

Secondly, vegetation and soft cover were used to section the map into smaller areas that could be covered by a single shooter. Typically this cover would be set up so that, while effective, snipers can’t easily defend their own position.

 

Where possible, back doors were provided for both control points and sniper positions to allow attacking players to close the distance relatively unmolested – bringing them into the effective range of SMG’s, Shotguns and Assault-Rifles. To keep players moving and avoid stagnation and camping, I worked hard to make sure that it was always easier to TAKE the area than it was to defend it.

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Every iteration of the map would see heavy use of vegetation and soft cover to break up LOS and force players to keep moving to find new targets. Most notably , the capture point in the middle (B) would see many revisions to provide cover for the attackers. Trees, bushes and fences were used liberally and a late addition of interior wall partitions and boarded up windows made sure that attackers and defenders alike could close the distance and get stuck in.

Similarly, to transform the right hand side into a traversable gamespace the other side of the hill was heavily reforested, and a winding side path carved throughout . As before, the intention was to provide cover for flanking players while limiting FoV between what was becoming two rival hills. The presence of this forest is what eventually made me shift the central capture point from the greenhouse (open to fire from the hills) to the northern fields.

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ADJUSTMENTS FOR TDM and TRANSMISSION

When players sit down with the TDM or Transmission modes, they typically expect faster, more focused gameplay – and so I felt the need to adjust my large map to accomodate.

There were some physical changes to the map: The size of the fields were downsized, some sections were cut or moved closer to each other. Map boundaries were readjusted to get rid of some unecessary pockets of uninteresting gamespace – but the most important tool was the readjustment of spawn points.

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To make sure to keep the flow going and help keep the speed up, every spawn point was placed facing some kind of path, doorway or opening – so that players would lose no time in trying to orient themselves. On a more personal note I tried placing spawnpoints with their backs to something – for no other reason than I hate being shot in the back when I spawn.]

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IN CLOSING

As the map went from beta into published form, size was still an issue. Having started out too big, my desire to create a large map had haunted me every step of the way and, ultimately, it was impossible to completely come to terms with – Throughout development I struggled with strike a balance between cover, LOS, maintaining the theme and my own stubborn desire to add options rather than removing them – being forced to work with all this in mind was not a bad experience per say.

I have learned that when building large maps:

*  Having too many paths will confuse and divide the players.

* You should try to work with one or more distinct landmarks to help players orient themselves.

* It is a good idea to divide the map into sections designed for different weapon ranges.

*  Making sure that it’s easier to TAKE an area than to defend it will prevent stagnation

* Do not try to fit everything into one map, just because it is large.
Be brief, clear and distinct in your design choices. Do not clutter.

Mistakes made are mistakes much less likely made again and Fortified Farmland ultimately turned out to be a rather successful community map.

 

 

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