Level ideas are ten-a-penny, so why am I writing about mine? Well, two reasons, firstly because it’s my site and I can and secondly because I want to challenge a level belief…
Let’s get this out the way immediately. I LIKE LINEAR. The problem is that many people associate linear with boring and that doesn’t have to be true. I know I’m a little different from most gamers and people in liking straight and simple but that’s just how I am. When I lived in London I used to run along the wall of Buckingham Palace. Everyday the same perfect straight route. No change, always the same. I also did the same when I visited New York; along the river, up and down. I did try running through Central Park but didn’t like it. Also people kept stopping me and asking directions. They seem to do where ever I live, even in Spain. Must be something about the way I walk or run! I digress, back to levels.
I’m a level designer. Well, allow me to qualify that. I design thought levels. I’ve done it since I first played UT back in the previous millennium. And before CubeDude89 chimes in with some comment about learning to make real maps, I’m going to this summer, all right already!
One basic idea that I keep coming back to is the long, straight road.
Multi-dimensional maps are great and gaming would be boring if everything were the same but for some reason I want to believe that it’s possible to make great straight levels. So, hopefully this rant will be the catalyst for some discussion on the subject, in the meantime here’s my level idea…..
The rebellion is getting stronger everyday and the tide is turning with regard to power within City 2. The last of the Metrocop and Combine Leadership have barracked themselves in a large building at the edge of the city.
They have setup plenty of aerial defences, so a chopper attack is out of the question. The only way in is on foot. Due to the fighting and ruins the only approach is along the old main avenue. This avenue is about one kilometre long and lined by other buildings.
It has been decided that you, Gordon Freeman, will lead one of six groups who will attack the building simultaneously. For added effect you will attack at dawn.
Snipers have been spotted along the route and counter snipers have been allocated to each attacking group, although their success rate is quite low.
Your objective? Simple: Reach the building and enter.
The route is of course littered with turned over cars, trucks and tanks etc, all offering cover and rest areas. Plenty of doorways to reach and take stock. The level starts with light engagements with the enemy but as you progress it gets increasingly heavier. There are some side roads but they don’t lead anywhere. The level is just one straight road.
You encounter some Hunter Choppers and plenty of ground based enemies. The idea is to simply provide a challenge for the designer to create interesting situations for a simple geometric form: the straight line.
Of course that doesn’t mean just 2 dimensional because there is plenty of scope for the third and maybe the fourth, if you can include some time-based events. For example perhaps reaching an area too early will result in you being killed by a bombing run from the rebels.
I would aim for a very clear increase in tension and pressure.
A new model would be made for dropping ammo and health. It would be an altered manhack. They would simply fly in a straight line because the sensing equipment has been removed. Your task is to shot them down to collect the supplies.
I’ve used the simple straight road but I am sure this idea could be adapted to work with a tunnel or bridge.
Not being a real level designer, means that I have no idea what trouble this may cause regarding technical limits. IF they exist, then instead of complaining about them let’s look for suitable solutions that work both from a technical point of view and also from the whole scenario’s point of view.
When I eventually learn to map I will make this map. Sure, the first few versions will be terrible but as I hopefully get better I plan to try again and again. Each time improving on the previous version.