How to make a map.

so…  i some how stumbled on this webpage:

for fun, i thought i’d just convert this so that it is relevant to mapping.

Identify your conflict. Without a conflict, there is no story to tell. Two of your characters (at least) want different things and only one can get what he or she wants.

Make sure there is always somewhere to go.  The player should always have a clear goal in mind, even if it’s just ‘there’s a monster, go shoot it’ or ‘i’ve never been here before, let’s look around’.

Think of a triangle. Your story should take the shape of a lopsided triangle. It starts on the left corner, which is your first paragraph; it progresses in a long, sloping line to the apex of the triangle, which is the climax of the story; it then falls quickly to the right corner, which is the last paragraph of your story. This will give you an idea of how many plot points you need before the climax and how many afterward.

The map should become progressively more difficult as time wears on.  Likewise, weapons and ammo as well as armor should become more powerful as the challenge becomes higher.

Start with an unhappy main character. If your protagonist is happy, why would he or she embark on a struggle that will take him or her to the climax of the story?
Try to lead the player on.  Put powerful weapons on display but just out of reach.

Give the main character obstacles and encouragement. It must be difficult but not impossible to obtain the goal. Remember that other characters are terrific sources of both obstacles and encouragement.

Gvery once in a while, give the player a little something extra, both in monsters and items.  a mega-health or shambler in otherwise normal combat areas.

Put the gun on the mantle. A writing aphorism states that if one character will shoot another at the end of a play, the audience needs to see the gun on the mantle at the beginning of the play. Fill in your story with the details needed to make the climax inevitable.

If you’re going to put in keys or other barriers, make sure the player actually sees those barriers first, before unlocking them.  The only exception to this would be if you had multiple routes to the same goal.

Make the reader nervous. Just before the climax of the story, it must seem that all is lost for the main character before some last-minute action turns things around and brings on the climax of the story.

This one’s easy:  try to scare the player.  Place monsters in places the player might not look automatically or force them to fight monsters from more difficult angles.  Alternatively, lull the player into complacency and then shake them up.

Wrap things up. After the climax, make sure there are no loose ends, no unresolved plot points that would leave the reader unsatisfied.

It’s advisable to make the map in such a way that it’s possible to get 100% kills and secrets even after you’ve gotten to the end.


…just so i wrote something on this blog in 2011. :P

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. slapmap
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 18:03:58

    Game leveldesign pacing is an interesting complex subject.


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