Typical MH Level Errors

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Buggie
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Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Buggie » Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm

1. Predictability. The map doesn't have to be boring and predictable.
If the player seeing 1-2% map can predict the rest of the map, then playing it will be boring.

For example, you made 50 identical rooms (with 1 monster in each) connected to each other.
Seeing only 5 such rooms, the player knows what will happen next and he gets bored.

The map doesn't have to be pretty or have a story. It is enough that it will not be repeated.

2. Too long respawn time. If you have monsters appear at intervals of 30 seconds, then it will annoy players who want to clean out the entire map and have to just stand and wait for the monsters to respawn.

3. Abuse of the bCovert flag for factories. If the player can see all the respawn points at once, this simply blocks the respawn and slows down the destruction of monsters, causing the player to get angry.

4. Setting up large volumes of respawn in factories. Destroying 10 gasbag can be fun, but 100 or 1000 is boring.

5. Too few monsters. If the player has to run kilometers of path, killing rare 1-2 monsters per minute, this is also annoying.

6. Inconsistency in the number of monsters and weapons. If you put the player in front of 20 gasbag, then give him an effective weapon. bio is not suitable for this.

7. Too many monsters. Large volumes of monsters are boring and unnecessarily increase the difficulty. However, the volume depends on the weapon. if you are using insta or bpak, the limits will be different than the usual sniper.
Typical map of average size contains 100-300 monsters.

8. Mismatch of health of monsters and weapons. If a player is forced to stand in 1st place for half an hour to kill a titan, it's boring.

9. Unjustified complexity of the level geometry. This is not BT. This is MH. There is no need to transform one into another. Who wants to play BT - go to BT servers.

10. Disrespect for someone else's time. Players are killed. This is a constant part of the gameplay. So the process of bringing them back to the battlefield doesn't have to be boring.
If you need to run half the map for this, it's boring. We need shortcuts.
If somewhere there is a special weapon, without which it is impossible to play, then it should be easily obtained after the death of the player, upon further passing the level.
If after death you need to make 50 jumps to collect weapons, it is annoying.
If you moved the respawn points forward and you can no longer go back, then this respawn should have all the weapons that the player could have collected earlier.
If after death you need to go through 3 teleport tunnel with a long flight time - this is annoying.
In general, teleport tunnels are good only once. After 1 playthrough, they should teleport instantly.

11. Overestimated complexity of monsters. If a monster kills you with one hit, the player has no chance, and there are 10 such monsters at once - no one will play this.

12. Incorrect level geometry. It is better to give preference to open and spacious parts of the level, be it corridors or rooms.
It is difficult to fight monsters in small corridors and rooms.

13. Areas of combat and rest should alternate.

14. Monsters should not appear in already cleared areas. An unexpected attack from the back is very annoying.

15. Excessive enthusiasm for puzzles and riddles. They come to MH to destroy monsters, not solve quests. Therefore, if there is a quest, the instructions on how to complete it should be clear and specific so that it is difficult to miss them.

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papercoffee
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by papercoffee » Sat Dec 26, 2020 5:58 pm

Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
8. Mismatch of health of monsters and weapons. If a player is forced to stand in 1st place for half an hour to kill a titan, it's boring.
THIS... this-this ...THIIIIIIIS ...THIS!!

I totally agree.
If you need to run half the map for this, it's boring. We need shortcuts.
Also this as well.

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Hitman
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Hitman » Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:07 pm

I agree to all, I made or fixed a few and a good measure I have that 50% of the the players should die at least once to be fun.

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EvilGrins
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by EvilGrins » Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:24 pm

Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
8. Mismatch of health of monsters and weapons. If a player is forced to stand in 1st place for half an hour to kill a titan, it's boring.
See?
Image
Sometimes having absurdly powerful weapons is a good thing.
http://unreal-games.livejournal.com/
Image
medor wrote:Replace Skaarj with EvilGrins :mrgreen:
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Eternity
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Eternity » Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:07 pm

The most complicated part of the solution is a properly tuned up settings for each of such maps, this finally turns out into a long time-demanding manual work. Some of such cases are fixable by automatic universal fixes / 'sanity checks', but still many cases require a specific approach... If someone would decide to join an efforts on gathering the exact data (for applying in solutions) on this subject i would also share info we have collected so far (that includes about 70 maps).

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sektor2111
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by sektor2111 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:14 pm

Some of these ideas can be already solved without any idiotic over-power adding score for one or two players. This was fun to do:

Code: Select all

function SetPawnDifficulty( ScriptedPawn S )
...
...
...
	S.Health = (S.Health * DiffScale) / 100;
	if (S.Health < MinMonsterHealth)
		S.Health = MinMonsterHealth;
	if ( MonsterMultiplier > 1 )
	{
		S.Health = S.Health*MonsterMultiplier;
	}
	if ( S.Health > MaxMonsterHealth )
		S.Health = MaxMonsterHealth;
Yeah, Mr. T-Rex from whatever Jurassik map as a stupid joke... These are MY RULES. Wick ones are powered up and over-powered ones are back on the ground.
The rest is whatever "Spawn Saver" which does a good job AUTOMATED, not player learning "commands" no key binds, but The Hunt. Not the last in account is Admin choices... regarding to UNR files (many of those are not maps...).

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Barbie
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Barbie » Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:56 pm

sektor2111 wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:14 pm

Code: Select all

	S.Health = (S.Health * DiffScale) / 100;
Instead of linear scaling I recommend a function that increases low health a lot and higher health less, for example

Code: Select all

S.Health = (1 + EXP( - S.Health / 20000 + 1))
That would result in
HealthScaling.jpg
As you see, the higher health is changed only a few or not at all.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Red_Fist » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:02 pm

I sort of agree, a map feature may be to have one boss with 10 million health. I know it does suck.

I like to piss off the player right away, then back off for a while with not so hard enemies for fun factor, with maybe some puzzle or trap.

Then put the pressure back on, reason being you need to make them mad enough to "beat this damn thing" otherwise mundane mass killing over and over you lose interest to finish.

I guess one could say, all the stuff you wrote is the challenge of making a MH map you WANT to play and not groan when the map comes up.

It's also very hard to balance things, 50 health for a monster while the map has one gun and two piles of ammo.
OR
Saturate a map with 50,000 health monsters and the gun wipes out 10,000 health per hit.

Someone should make a map with super easy kills, but hardly any guns or ammo-damage. It would be the same difficulty for high health and overkill weapons. So you need to balance the map dynamically, some hard spots that tee you off and some super easy spots that you can rack up massive kills. I despise jumping BT style stuff, it's not Nintendo.
Binary Space Partitioning

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sektor2111
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by sektor2111 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:22 am

Red_Fist wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:02 pm
I like to piss off the player right away, then back off for a while with not so hard enemies for fun factor, with maybe some puzzle or trap.
All puzzle, secret or whatever will be known after playing map a few times - I told this already X times, it doesn't worth efforts.
All factors were described, game must have a bit of dynamics - here if I take in account what Buggie said with bCovert for Factories (mappers were busy to do this dumb thing which won't work over 1600 UU range anyway) - the fix is doable at server-side, X maps are already messed up here. Does it worth editing X GB instead of adjusting MH mod ? I think it's easier to update a single file (or a small server-actor) instead of editing X maps for nothing.

The rest is game aspect doable in authority side running game. A new series of brutes are spawning in whatever Brutality map, in other a few random tentacles might be here and there, etc.

Custer
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by Custer » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:15 pm

Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
6. Inconsistency in the number of monsters and weapons. If you put the player in front of 20 gasbag, then give him an effective weapon. bio is not suitable for this.

8. Mismatch of health of monsters and weapons. If a player is forced to stand in 1st place for half an hour to kill a titan, it's boring.
Addendum to these:
  • give the players sufficient weapons to battle the monsters (or reduce the respawn time) - I have encountered maps for which weapons either don't respawn or take too long - meaning that one player grabs several weapons and other players have to hang around. Competition for weapons gives the impression that mappers don't consider their map to be multi-player (or, more cruelly, have no friends to playtest it with).
  • ensure sufficient ammo is available for those weapons - pointless having a weapon if ammo is scarce, and worse still are maps with rocket packs or boxes of ripper blades... but the actual weapon itself is missing. I am NOT attacking Skarrj by harshly reading out the warning labels on the box instructions.
  • stick to OL or 99 weapons, don't mix and match - it's annoying switching weapon and find I'm cycling through an automag, then an enforcer, then the ASMD, then the shock rifle, and I need to switch past an empty 8-ball before I can use the rocket launcher, etc. I get that Unreal weapons are nostalgic, but MH is a mod for UT99 so most players expect 99 weapons. If you DO use OLweapons, keep everything oldskool to create that classic "Unreal" feel.
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
9. Unjustified complexity of the level geometry. This is not BT. This is MH. There is no need to transform one into another. Who wants to play BT - go to BT servers.
Multiple this. It seems inconceivable that an architect would design a wonderfully large hall but the only way to a balcony above involves hopping over heavy flagstones inexplicably suspended in mid-air. I understand you want to make the route more difficult and it's perfectly acceptable that the normal path is somehow impassible, but when players see precarious BT routes suspended over caustic slime or an abyss you can almost guarantee they'll never encounter all your wonderful level design up ahead because players have already quit in frustration.

So - you want to put some difficult-to-reach ledges to jump to? Or a liftjump challenge? Sure... just don't punish failure with death, and don't overdo it.
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
12. Incorrect level geometry. It is better to give preference to open and spacious parts of the level, be it corridors or rooms.
It is difficult to fight monsters in small corridors and rooms.
And the flipside is: who would design a castle large enough to hold a massive stone titan.. but absolutely no way of getting the titan in there? Look at the sizes of your monsters compared to the room - how did that massive queen get in there in the first place? Did they sit her on a throne then build a temple around her?

Unfortunately, this design means players can hang back outside a door, lobbing shots through a small aperture - like shooting fish in a barrel.
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
14. Monsters should not appear in already cleared areas. An unexpected attack from the back is very annoying.
Add to: if you've just fought off hordes of Krall and the monstercount doesn't shift, players begin to question which are "real" monsters and which are simply lazy respawning time vampires. A common complaint about Doom3 was backtracking into a room previously cleared only for creatures suddenly respawning. It grew tedious there, it grows tedious in MH.

But this is different to monsters appearing from behind when previously-closed doors have now opened. In that case there should be hints that you've passed through an area and danger still exists behind you (e.g.: visibly caged monsters, similar to the end of Unreal, or grows behind closed blast doors, etc.)
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
15. Excessive enthusiasm for puzzles and riddles. They come to MH to destroy monsters, not solve quests. Therefore, if there is a quest, the instructions on how to complete it should be clear and specific so that it is difficult to miss them.
I understand a door ahead requires someone to ascend a nearby tower then fight through a guardroom to operate the release controls. However, it would be useful if the door was marked accordingly (e.g.: Sector 3) and once the controls were operated, a message informed players "Sector 3 now accessible!" - something that (a) hinted the goal, and (b) indicated it had been achieved.

Part of what makes MH enjoyable is recreating that "Unreal experience", in which you had to determine your path through a temple/castle/spire/ship/etc and solve a few puzzles along the way. But puzzles should be obvious, solvable and used sparingly at choke points: Unreal wasn't a game of numerous puzzles housed within buildings with some strolling between them; MH shouldn't be either.

I'd also like to add: check your logfiles! Watching server logs grow to over 100MB in one session thanks to the number of "ScriptWarning: ... Accessed None" messages doesn't encourage me from keeping that map in the rotation pool.

=MERGED=
Red_Fist wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:02 pm
I like to piss off the player right away, then back off for a while with not so hard enemies for fun factor, with maybe some puzzle or trap.

Then put the pressure back on, reason being you need to make them mad enough to "beat this damn thing" otherwise mundane mass killing over and over you lose interest to finish.
I don't think this is necessarily a bad approach. Maps with some good challenge at the beginning followed by a break to recuperate before bringing on the next feat tend to be a bit more varied, and some of the best maps I've enjoyed begin like this.

However, there have been some maps in which monsters can simply spawnkill. High mortality rates from players finding they're immediately up against a million-HP Skaarj armed with only a 15-round handgun discourages respawning after a death, and it's noticeable that players either don't pick it or groan when it is.

I guess it's down to *how* you piss the player(s) off, initially!
Last edited by papercoffee on Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: double post

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papercoffee
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by papercoffee » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:32 pm

@Custer
Please refrain from double-posting within a 24 hours limit if no one has answered in the meantime.
We allow our member to edit their posts (that little pen symbol in the upper right of your post) to add more content.

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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by EvilGrins » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:51 pm

Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
4. Setting up large volumes of respawn in factories. Destroying 10 gasbag can be fun, but 100 or 1000 is boring.
7. Too many monsters. Large volumes of monsters are boring and unnecessarily increase the difficulty. However, the volume depends on the weapon. if you are using insta or bpak, the limits will be different than the usual sniper.
Typical map of average size contains 100-300 monsters.
I dunno... I think a stampede of pupae could be fun... especially if I had a redeemer.
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
11. Overestimated complexity of monsters. If a monster kills you with one hit, the player has no chance, and there are 10 such monsters at once - no one will play this.
Actually, I love monsters like that. I collect monsters like that. (you ever played against a GrimReaper?) I love monsters that're hard to kill!
http://unreal-games.livejournal.com/
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medor wrote:Replace Skaarj with EvilGrins :mrgreen:
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sektor2111
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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by sektor2111 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:42 pm

EG, you can setup your own MH server, find some friends for such a league and let us know how goes "the party".
Don't forget advertising and all that stuff...

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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by OjitroC » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:46 pm

EvilGrins wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:51 pm
Buggie wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:46 pm
11. Overestimated complexity of monsters. If a monster kills you with one hit, the player has no chance, and there are 10 such monsters at once - no one will play this.
Actually, I love monsters like that. I collect monsters like that. (you ever played against a GrimReaper?) I love monsters that're hard to kill!
You may do, most people don't - it's not that the monsters are hard kill, it's that you are easy to kill. Having monsters with instant-kill projectiles means players need (much) more health to compete against them - that's part of the overkill of certain maps - for most people, there's not much point in playing maps where the player needs 4K+ health coupled with upped health regeneration. Having overpowered monsters is something that limits the replayability of certain types of MH maps and Buggie's point is a very valid one.

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Re: Typical MH Level Errors

Post by EvilGrins » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:46 am

sektor2111 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:42 pm
EG, you can setup your own MH serverDon't forget advertising and all that stuff...
I can't, actually. Get free wifi from my landlord but I can't host games on his setup.

Although, some of the folks from the original HoF forum loved that GrimReaper map edit I did.
OjitroC wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:46 pm
You may do, most people don't - it's not that the monsters are hard kill, it's that you are easy to kill.
That's why it's fun... more of a challenge.
http://unreal-games.livejournal.com/
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medor wrote:Replace Skaarj with EvilGrins :mrgreen:
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