I was shown a poem last week that was designed to be read from front-to-back OR back-to-front. It was in multiple languages too, but that’s not really germane. I’m not exactly sure whether sections are read in reverse or even how it works but it certainly got me thinking. I do know that the story is different, not just reversed, if you read it backwards.
Would it be possible to do this for a linear level?
I have played a few levels where when you reach a certain point there is some form of event and the player has to backtrack along exactly the same route. Normally the corridors are damaged, the lighting is different and there are new enemies etc. I’m not thinking of something so simple, oh no!
I’m thinking of exactly the same level but with two potential starting points; A and B.
Let me give you a simple example.
When the player starts from point A the level is all action, one big fragfest. However, when the player starts from point B it’s possible to play the level in Stealth mode. No enemies need killing.
Now, I call this the simple example because of the opposite nature of the gameplay. I am fully aware, even with no mapping experience, that making a level like this would be very difficult.
But that’s one of the reasons for this piece, to explore the idea. I honestly believe that SP mapping has many exciting new elements still waiting to be developed.
Let’s look at a more complicated example.
This one contains scripted events, the position of observance of those scripted events is very important. We’ve all seen films where one event seen from different positions results in completely different opinions.
Imagine a level where when you start from point A you encounter a situation. You hear plenty of shoot just before you witness anything. Then you “clearly” see rebel A shoot rebel B. Obviously rebel A is a traitor and must be killed. But if played from point B the same situation is viewed differently. Rebel A did shoot rebel B, but what you missed because of your position is that rebel B just killed a group of other rebels and is obviously a Combine infiltrator.
That example is off the top of my head and I have no doubt that with some collaboration between some clever mappers a much better situation could be constructed.
In fact, that’s not a particularly good example because it negates point A to the incorrect less-knowledge based one and I wanted something much deeper.
I wanted an idea where both positions are valid but cause the reader to view things differently, not necessarily contradictory or right and wrong.
The basic layout is not really important, two joined “S”s would be enough, it’s the location of the details, enemies and timing of events that really matter.
Depending on future projects I may offer some cash as a prize and open this up as a mapping competition.