Mirage TO Map Design (CMW lessons learned)

  • So, given it is the early stages of map design (sounds like there are 2), I wanted to review the existing CMW maps, things that work well, things that are problematic so that lessons can be learned from those to ensure a solid map design, a followup on what I started with http://forums.tornbanner.com/topic/23464/mirage-gdc-press-roundup/3

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    1st Objective - light the village on fire

    • Overall balanced and wide enough open to sneak around, fortunately there are two torch piles to light the house on fire
    • For noobies they dont always realize the house takes multiple torches, see rule #1 (R1)

    2nd Objective - push the ballista

    • While a knight can take up to 32 seconds to reach an almost completed bomb cart, the barricade means its still 15 seconds for the defenders to get up there. The objective always progresses so it works. It really needed a 3rd stage but thats ok.
    • The catapult and ballista make it interesting (you can use the ballista to kill the person on the catapult), as well as the ability for either team to flank each other. However a MAA can troll a bit as they can throw firepots into the defenders spawn (then hide) and there is an ammo box nearby (R2)

    Dark Forest
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    1st/2nd Objective - Push the cart

    • Probably the best map, what makes it work is its narrowness which forces the action (design goal G1), but unlike battlegrounds it has elevation allowing someone to run or arch without being immediately engaged. (R3)

    3rd Objective - Capture the sluice gate

    • The issue here is that you can’t complete this with less than 2 attackers so with bot play or when a new server is getting going you are stuck (R4) and its not obvious how to interact with the objective (R1) - which is turn the wheel but you dont do anything, just stand next to it.

    4th Object - Kings Heirs

    • A lot rides on taking C early, a weaker team can win camping there and it is seconds away from their spawn (R5)

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    1st Objective - Light the Pyre

    • This is problematic because it takes a knight 52 seconds to get up the hill and light the pyre (R6). If all defenders camped it they could hold it with a significantly weaker team. Fortunately defenders push forward and often dont realize someone sneaked past to light it until it is too late (respawners realize but its over 30 seconds to run back there)

    2nd Objective - Trebuchets

    • Noobs will attack the trebuchets not realizing you stand on the platforms (R1). Used to be 4 trebuchets but one was removed due to (R5). It has elevation and lots of paths (G2) which is great, as well as the ability to kick people into the water which is priceless.

    3rd Objective - Sea Battle

    • Having the 3 ballista to complete the objective makes this work very well, but due to the variability of the 1st objective (R7) the attackers may get a lot of time to complete it.

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    1st Objective - Kill the peasants

    • Another fun map, the burning and killing makes it great.
      2nd Objective - Battering Ram
    • What makes this part fun is either team can leverage the catapult, so there is a mini side battle over control of it
      3rd Objective - Kill the king
    • While killing kings is usually fairly easy, the king is in a good defensive position making the last battle a good final stage

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    1st Objective - Destroy Walls

    • With a weak team this objective is depressing, your only hope is took sneak around the side and get up to which can take a knight over 50 seconds (R6) but you usually have to fight 3 or 4 defenders before you can get going. With online play turning the ballista is very slow compared to offline play (and the ballista bug out as unusable occasionally.
      2nd Objective - Smash Locks
    • Seven hits so fists is the fastest way, different from say dark forests wooden walls which are damage based
      3rd Objective - Free Slaves
    • Can be a hunting game to find them (R1) all as they blend into the scenery, contrast that with Hideout which mark the slaves
      4th Objective - Destroy Gates
    • Quick into the action makes this fun, fair distance to objective for both teams
      5th Objective - Kill Malric
    • There are so many paths to Malric he will die quickly (R8) unless he moves down to outside the defenders spawn which narrows down to 2 main paths, but even then its a challenge to keep him alive, much easier to die than Stoneshill.

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    1st Objective - Invasion

    • Not terribly difficult since attackers and defenders distance to the objective (20 knight seconds) is even
      2nd Objective - Drawbridge
    • Extremely difficult for defenders as they are defending on two fronts (and its cold), the attackers have 2 ballista and 2 catapults to deal heavy damage to the drawbridge as well as hit it with weapons so unless defenders held the 1st objective for a very long time they are almost certainly going to lose the objective (R7). Even destroying the catapults they respawn after 4 minutes. Apart from that it has a nice mix of things going on (G4).
      3rd Objective - King Escape
    • Should be called king suicide, getting the king out alive is very very hard due to waves of attackers spawning close by and the king having not nearly enough health to survive (R8). And if your team did hold out a long time and ran down the clock ironically that means even less time to escape. Overall the map is extremely biased to attackers

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    1st Objective - Destroy Tents

    • Nicely balanced, for all these objectives which play well you can measure it by distance to objectives and how long an objective takes to complete
      2nd Objective - Push the Caravan
    • Works well, reminiscent of a dark forest layout
      3rd Objective - Destroy Barricade
    • For a team that just finished pushing the caravan its a little depressing that you have a lot of work to do destroying the barricade but you didnt get any more time on clock (R9). The spawning area is wide open to allow defenders to kill you as you spawn (R2)
      4th Objective - Capture the tower
    • The NPCs are easy to kill (R8) but there are 4 and the real battle is for the tower which is defensible and the objective does not reset so it overall it plays very well.

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    1st Objective - Fire the Cannon

    • Nice that ballista can be used by either team (G3) and two cannons to spread the team out.
      2nd Objective - Push the Ram
    • Nice use of spawn points (G5) means you are never far from the action as well as a ballista useful for both teams to fight over (G3)
      3rd Objective - Cathedral
    • While easy to sack the cathedral, defenders can rally around the library. One of the issues with running in with a torch is there is no way to instantly drop it to defend yourself (R10), you have to throw it which takes time. Contrast that with using the battering ram which allows you to instantly parry even it you are actively ramming.

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    1st Objective - Recover Camp

    • Nice how defenders starting position is not their spawn so there is a chance to hold the supplies but inevitable the attackers take it to gain their forward spawn (G5). Noobs do tend to fall into the swamp (R11).
      2nd Objective - Defend Flags
    • Can be a little brutal as its 44 knight seconds to get the flag up there compared to half of spawning defenders 15 seconds. On top of that the defenders have not one but two ammo boxes right next to their defending objective (R12). Interacting with the ladders (G4) and watching people fall (or falling of the ladder yourself) is priceless though. Using the catapult to break open a new path was a nice touch. Note that sometimes you can walk over the objective with the flag and it will not plant it every time, I find jumping helps to make it consistent.
      3rd Objective - Use Cart
    • At the end of the 2nd objective there is no forced spawn forward which is a big problem because archers can hang back and then shoot spawning attackers (R2) and there is no way for attackers to even get back to where the archer is, and its not realistic the attackers search the entire swap to find the archer prior to spawning forward.
    • Burning the granary is pretty much essential unless the defenders completely miss the fact the cart was pushed all the way up the hill. However its like 36 seconds for attackers to throw the torch, meanwhile defenders are already spawned there. On top of that only the two roofs of the granary will interact with the torch (throwing it through the second floor window does nothing) which is annoying for noobs (R1) contrast that with the buildings in Shore where you can torch any part. Pushing the cart can be used to force them to defend on two fronts which helps.
      4th Objective - Rescue King
    • Again hanging back archers can fire arrows into the backs of the spawning attackers (G6).
      5th Objective - King vs King
    • Due to having to both defend and attack the outcome of this objective is variable. It would have been epic it was actually just the king vs king nobody else (perhaps allowing the teams to vote if they want that or how it is currently)

    Drunken Bazaar
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    1st Objective - Push Cart

    • Takes a while to meander the cart but the meade and moving platforms are cool (G4)
      2nd Objective - Extend bridge
    • Unfortunatley the rope bridge bugs out a lot otherwise that would be a (G4)
      3rd Objective - Push Cart
    • The main issue is that archers can sit in spawn invulnerable to melee (R13), I contrast this to Stoneshill which has a purposeful design behind defending from the ramparts or windows
      4th Objective - Destroy Wells
    • Similar to Citadel there is no indicators as to where the final peasants are (G1), contrasted to Hideout which shows explicitly, but having said that - its not too hard to find them so achieves (G7) by not cluttering the screen with too much yellow
      5th Objective - Destroy Library
    • Extremely hard to defend due to too many paths to the objective and quite spread out (G7)

    Kings Garden
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    1st Objective - Push Ram

    • Even though archers can be out of range, at least attackers have the option of flanking if they wanted to spend the extra time
      2nd Objective - Destroy Barricade
    • Both objectives are short fierce action, at the end of this objective there is no forced spawn forward so archers can be a little annoying but at least they cant access the third objective spawn
      3rd Object - Assassinate King
    • This king can be defended easier than Citadel, harder than Stoneshill so it works out ok.

    Castle Assault
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    1st Objective - Burn Caravans

    • Works well balance wise
      2nd Objective - Breach Castle Wall
    • While defenders spawn at the objective its only 22 seconds for the attackers to get there and they only need to break one gate, what is painful is the ballista is right there and only usable by the defenders (R14)
      3rd Objective - Kill Villagers
    • Nowadays its all about hide the peasant (R15)
      4th Objective - Kill the King
    • Reasonable king objective but the ammo box allows a lot of firepots to be thrown at the king (R12)

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    1st Objective - Reclaim Village

    • Works well, nice to have the side path into the village
      2nd Objective - Get into cave
    • Nice side fight over the ballista (G3), requires two players to get up the gate (R4)
      3rd Objective - Free slaves
    • I like how the slaves dont come up as objectives until the cages are broken (G7) but there might be better ways of reducing the yellow
      4th Objective - Kill the King
    • Its harder to kill the king due to the fact he can hide from archers (unlike stoneshill which is harder to hide from projectiles)

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    • It was quite inventive and impressive the way the map was reused to do 3 different ways of starting the game (G8). The voting system can take a while so that could have been better by having a 15 second countdown before it picks one (random if equal votes). Too many total objectives to include in them all
    • When burning down the stalls its a little subtle to be able to tell which ones you still have to do, the burnt ones could have been more pronounced in color (G1)
    • After pushing the siege tower it is very hard for defenders to get back to the portcullis in time before it is broken down (R7)
    • Similarly when capturing the flag if people are hanging around without getting back it will be take (perhaps a G6 needed)
    • The final Malric release is a little hard to defend due to it not requiring too many hits on the locks while defending on two fronts but its not too bad.

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    1st Objective - Attack Village

    • Similar to stoneshill you dont have to find every single peasant to kill which makes easy enough to complete
      2nd Objective - Attack Castle
    • The ballista obviously you are shooting, but there is no “chain” to shoot at, it is not obvious its the two square boxes (R1) that tinkle with glass when hit.
      3rd Objective - Destroy Statues
    • At the end of this objective you cant spawn forward which is a little annoying if you are badly wounded as you have to walk to the end of the hall and the flag bearer may already have left, needed a (G6)
      4th Objective - Capture Flag
    • This one is brutal for attackers, the flag bearer has two run through two entire waves of defenders. Fortunately the bug that makes the flag bearer unmarked helps a little and it has been completed perhaps 15% of the time depending on how strong the attackers are, certainly a weaker team can easily defend this stage.

    TO Design Commandments
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    1. Thou shall not make the completion of an objective confusing
    2. Thou shall not allow access to attack players spawning
    3. Thou shall not make the map completely flat
    4. Thou shall not require more than 1 player to complete an objective
    5. Thou shall not make an objective significantly quicker for one team to reach
    6. Thou shall not make an objective too far to reach
    7. Thou shall not make an objective quickly achieved with little effort
    8. Thou shall not protect an NPC or player easily killed
    9. Thou shall not keep the clock running down on a new objective
    10. Thou shall not make attackers too vulnerable while completing an objective
    11. Thou shall not make it easy for accidental deaths
    12. Thou shall not place munitions too close to the objective
    13. Thou shall not allow ranged classes to shoot at objectives while invulnerable to melee
    14. Thou shall not provide a major weapon to defenders at the objective
    15. Thou shall not allow defenders to tamper with the objectives

    TO Design Goals

    1. Thou shall get the teams quickly into the thick of the action
    2. Thou shall provide multiple paths to the objective
    3. Thou shall provide map weapons useful to both teams
    4. Thou shall provide multiple ways to interact with the map
    5. Thou shall provide dynamic spawn locations
    6. Thou shall force spawn forward on new objectives UNLESS the map is designed for defenders to hang back
    7. Thou shall make achieving objectives intuitive without breaking immersion
    8. Thou shall make every section of the map have a purpose

  • Nice. I completely agree. I liked the combat and stuff of Chiv, but it was the map design that really made it for me.

    I think for Mirage, commandments 2, 3, and 7 are going to be extra important. (because it’s more ranged focused)

  • I agree. Not much more to say.

    …other than the fact that Irilla has the same picture as Hideout on the list.

  • Thanks for the post gregcau. This was an insightful post, and we are always looking to learn lessons from previous maps. Presenting the information in this clear and concise way (especially with pretty images) does wonders for readability.

  • Great post greg, I agree with pretty much everything here.

    Chivalry’s strongest point has always been in my mind the combat first and team objective second.

  • @zombojoe of course combat comes first but a nicely designed TO map allows players who may not be as skilled in combat to enjoy and contribute to the team by helping them win in other ways. Personally I find TDM and FFA not fun at all and duelling quickly becomes tedious even if you are winning.

  • @gregcau Exactly my thoughts, I especially can’t tolerate LTS because it brings out the worst flaws in the game.

  • I’m actually surprised, that’s some nice feedback tbh.

  • I’m looking forward on learning more of this CTF type of game mode. CTF being my all time fav game mode in Chivalry.

  • I’m really curious on how the map design will change in Mirage.

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