Poll Question 026 – What environmental setting has been over used the most in SP levels?

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
introduction

I’ve been thinking about the different types of environments and settings for single player levels. Which one I like, which ones I don’t and why etc. And I was specifically thinking about which ones have been over used. This week

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17 Comments

  1. Other: Warehouse

    Used a lot, but doesn’t really allow for much in the way of thematic diversity or other factors. I have to admit it does tend to provide interesting gameplay setups when done right due to its nature, but at the least this theme really needs a rest right now.

    It might go under “Industrial Area”, but the things you mentioned (Train Yards, Factories etc) can be some of my favorite modern themes when done right, so putting it under that would be a disservice to that category.

  2. zeroth404

    what a tough question…

    I dont think any setting is “over used”, though I do tend to roll my eyes when it comes to games which take place “at area 51”.

    I just get sick of games that lack environmental progression. not just outside/inside, but a good mixture of completely different environments that suit the game.

    an office building in one level, progressing in to the suburbs in another, then down into the sewers, then back up on some farm, then into a small town…. that would make a good environmental progression for a zombie game — perhaps even They Hunger: Lost Souls.

    I like progression. not just changed textures, either.

  3. The Alien World/dimension is a popular setting too, Xen anyone?

    When it comes to alien worlds I expect wicked levels with a bizarre touch, Xen was excellent, except for its jumping madness, loved those skyboxes though.

    Although my favorite setting is the secret base beneath a town or city, that’s why Poke646 is so much fun for me!

  4. Manual_Monaro

    I chose “Secret or Military Base”. It’s really overused. Nonetheless, it’s one of my favourite settings, as well as ‘town or city” and ‘spaceship’.

    I love the look of that flying fortress. That’d be something great to play on. What if it was shifted to being underwater. Sure, Bioshock’s coming up, but that’s a city. This can be a huge submarine! It could start with the player boarding it on the surface then the submarine ducks down underwater. The views would be just as breathtaking as being in the air. That is, of course, some uber scientist in the game’s fiction invents portholes or windows that don’t crack under the deep water pressure 😛 (Or something like that.) Then again, the submarine doesn’t have to go too deep at all!

  5. Darth Marsden

    Secret base. We get far too many of them. God only knows how people get the money to build them.

    One thing I’d like to see more of is human bases on other planets. We don’t get them very often – Chaser (!) and Doom 3 are the only two recent examples that spring to mind – and when done properly, they can be impressive and great fun.

  6. I think the military base is way over used & become boring after a while (especially Half Life). I’d like to see more of old underground cities or underground subways – the old abandoned parts that nobody talks about and you only see/hear about in really weird movies.

  7. JC

    Idustrial Area… I’ve seen this setting several times in FPS (Pain Killer, Nitro Family, Soldier of Fortune…)
    Anyway, as long as games are entertaining, it doesn’t matter whether they are over using environmental settings.
    Personally, I love Cities and Bases on other planets; games like HL2, STALKER, AvsP and Doom 3 are perfect examples of how great a game can be when these settings are developed the right way.

  8. Kasperg

    I think Town or City as well as Industrial are overused. Most realistic FPS games take place in some sort of urban or real setting. That’s usually my problem with them. When I’m playing games, I actually want to see something different. Destroyed cities and small towns are also something we get in every single WWII game. It can get boring to see, even if the shooting is always fun.
    Can it be done in a proper way? I think HL2’s use of the city was perfect, because they introduced foreign components such as the citadel and other Combine architecture, devices and soldiers. The citadel also gives you a sense of progress and accomplishment as the story moves on, which is great (compare that to the never-ending office levels in F.E.A.R. and you’ll see what I mean).
    The purely industrial parts of HL2 (I’m thinking the canals) were also boring after a while.
    What would I like to see more in FPS?
    I’d love to see things I haven’t seen before. It doesn’t have to be totally new settings! New situations in old settings work fine too.
    Personally, I also love the ancient temple type of thing, or mostly anything that has the power to suggest a bit of magic and mystery to the story.

  9. I was thinking more along the lines of National Treasure style.

  10. Judging by my love of QuakeII, Unreal and Return to Na Pali, I can’t get enough of trashing large alien industrial complexes or huge alien spaceships.
    I could also hark back to Tomb Raider for those enigmatic ruins (looking forward to the redux incidentally, it’s the only TR I’ve ever played)
    What I don’t like are invisible walls (why bother with the hole behind it?) and, lava/hazardous waste.
    What do I want? Less gritty realism and, more alien worlds.

  11. zeroth404

    I must comment about the Unreal screen shot.

    Unreal is #3 on my list of greatest Signle Player FPS games. it isn’t much by todays standards, but when it was release it was one hell of an experience. It was a bit boring because there was no dialog, but the beauty of the environments, the stories told in the PDAs, the range of different styles of combat, the uniquity ofthe weapons — all this and more made Unreal become one of my favorite games, and it will always be one.

    regarding environments: there were mountainy areas, wide outdoor areas, town areas, space ships, temples, tombs, and more.

  12. geekofalltrades

    I’ve always thought that towns and cities are overused… for the same reason that someone else cited earlier, I live in one. In my opinion, games are only fun when they present fascinating fictional scenarios. (This is why I think sports franchises are dumb. You can go outside and play real sports… why play them on a computer?)

    As for what I’d like to see more of, anything with something of an alien touch to it, be it sci-fi or fantasy themed. The purple-glowing mushrooms of the excellent HL2 mod eclipse, for example, lent a very unique feel to those levels. And the monk temple levels of the PS2 game Jak 3 are some of my favorite game levels ever. More recently, I’ve found that .kkrieger does a pretty good job with alien architecture, though that game was a bit underdeveloped. The final example I’ll cite is the end of the Lost City and Shadow Out of Time levels from the HL mod Cthulhu.

  13. I think I would also like to see a very good graphics version of an underwater world. Your setting starts on a massive ship, possibly forced overboard or part of another type of mission, you delve deeper & deeper into the alien waters. I don’t want big ugly behemoth monsters but very sophisticated alien underwater adaption.

  14. Matt Glanville

    One of the most important things for me in level design is that I can recognise the location. It’s for this reason that I’m so fond of Half-Life 2’s design; everything is so spot on and accurate that you can tell instantly exactly what sort of area it is. The actual setting doesn’t really bother me much, though I don’t really like dark areas…

  15. Now I remember, Blood 2 featured not exactly a flying fortess, but a base or something like that, it was the third or fourth level I’m not sure, it was pretty cool.

  16. Anonymous

    i’m a particular fan of urban settings, especially ruined, run-down or generally dilapidated and dangerous (think condemned: criminal origins.)

  17. Anythig that is corridors. I know it cuts down on how much info the game has to handle at a time, but I prefer more open environments.

    Oh, and here’s another good overused environmental setting that seems to have been missed from the poll: Anyplace Abandoned/Broken Down/Post apocolyptical. It’s always used, not only because it’s more convenient not to need to have a bunch of NPCs to create a “bustling” area, but also because broken down places are filled with obstacles and danger to overcome which are the spice of single player games; overcoming obstacles.

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