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NoctyrneSAGA

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 8:04am

Battlefield Blog: Ask Linnea Harrison

Thanks for HwanZike for finding the actual link. Forgive me azn eyes.

Q: Can you explain the whole process of map design from start? First you must have an idea of location… and then? How do you test the gameplay of a new level design?
A: After the main setting of a game is decided, everyone at DICE sends in their awesome ideas for locations and interesting gameplay hooks. We had hundreds of ideas submitted for levels in Battlefield 4. The level designer/artists then starts blocking in some spaces for the level based on neat locations near the reference. The larger spaces (bases) are shifted around, reworked, reworked, and reworked until they are as fun as possible. We also have destruction in at this point, so that when we are playtesting the game, we do so with destruction in mind.

Then we go about making the level look awesome. Set dressing the level, adding really good lighting and effects, and polishing often takes a while but it is well worth the effort. Usually a lot of our testing is done here at the studio by our team. We take an hour or two each day to sit down and playtest levels and give feedback. This helps us get suggestions and ideas from everyone in the studio, rather than being stuck with just our own ideas.

Q: Will you be introducing any night maps or night variations? These maps don’t need to be pitch dark but I think a number of players would like to see a setting where IRNV and FLIR scopes, along with flares, would be useful to blind enemies better.
A: Good question! In general, we tend to think that night maps look pretty darn cool. You can implement some really neat lighting effects and encourage use of gadgets that generally aren’t used as much, with some really fun results. But there are a few things we considered with creating night maps.

Statistically speaking, most people don’t play night maps – maps set during the day get played more. We know this from tracking the numbers of maps played through on Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2. Even if the map is really well-designed, players tend to gravitate more towards day-time maps.

Furthermore, players that crouch, take cover and wait forever to shoot someone running by in most maps gets even more common on night maps, where it’s tough to differentiate between objects and people. This has proved to be quite annoying in playtests. It’s possible to balance this – better heat vision, better spotting and so on – but for Battlefield 4 we focused on day-time maps. Future nighttime maps are absolutely something we’re always considering, though.

Paracel Storm
The iconic Paracel Storm map went through several changes before being finalized.

Q: How do you design a map to work well with multiple game modes and what are your biggest challenges when doing so?
A: Given that Battlefield is a vast game with many vehicles and open areas, we first try to make sure that the level is overall balanced for Conquest (this means working on symmetry in terms of base location, perfecting infantry routes and cover, vehicle routes, main routes, flank routes, and visibility). Conquest is our most basic game mode, and designing levels with that in mind tends to create a fairly balanced map.

The greatest challenge is to determine what sort of balance we want in the maps. We aim to have awesome infantry, vehicle, air, and naval gameplay on all maps, but some game modes will be more popular on certain maps. Take Operation Locker for example, where we wanted to focus on infantry combat and Rush. We decided to make that map more linear in nature to allow for better Rush gameplay. With that in mind, we created side routes and flanks for each base, and made sure the distances allowed for a variety of weapons used (outdoor versus indoor distances are very different), but would focus on shorter range combat.

Q: Why didn’t you include a random weather and Time of Day system in Battlefield 4? Making it randomly generated, wind, sun, storm, dust, and dawn would really increase the replay value of the game.
A: Even though each Battlefield game is unscripted in many ways, we wanted the experience to still have an emotional impact and match the adrenaline arc of a normal gameplay round. That way, as more buildings get destroyed, the tickets count down and the gameplay gets more tense, so does the level.

Operation Locker
Operation Locker was designed with infantry combat in mind and had a more linear layout than all other Battlefield 4 maps.

Q: I was wondering if it is possible to add maps that take full advantage of the Rush game mode more? I feel the maps at the moment seem to suffer in this mode because of all the other game types.
A: Rush is a game mode that is really fun to play on many of the Battlefield 4 maps, and it’s also one of our favorite game modes in the Multiplayer team. However, our maps are generally built for Conquest, as this is a game mode that is played by the majority (around 70%) of our players. This means that we always need to make sure that the map is 100% awesome in Conquest first-hand, but that being said, we also work hard to make Rush a good option on every map.

Q: How many people are involved in the creation of a map? How long does it take to complete a map like Paracel Storm? Do you use greyboxing to playtest the level before its fully ‘painted’?
A: It depends on the map – some maps only take 2-3 people to create. Others take around 8-10 people, like Siege of Shanghai. Paracel Storm took a whopping 6 months to complete – but that was partly because it also got redone a few times before being finalized. That being said, some maps are created in just under 2 months. And yes, we often do greybox when we start playtesting, just to make sure the larger spaces and shapes will work.

Q: Say I wanted to get a job at DICE as a level designer, what sort of requirements would I need?
A: Usually we look more at skills than requirements. If you want to design levels, you should have a website/portfolio that shows some levels you have designed. Grab a copy of UDK or Unity and start making levels and playing them with friends. Read about level design and game design. Learn about game theory and hardware specifications. Try doing a map remake on one of your favorite Battlefield maps – how would you change the layout? Do a sketch or top down design. Ideas are great, but if you can explain them and back them up with an understanding of why the idea is a good one, that is even more impressive!

Then it’s just a matter of applying (we actually have a position open for a level designer in Los Angeles right now, so get to it!)
Data Browser

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With this, I'll rid MGO3 of infestation. Sans bad gameplay MGO3 will be torn asunder. And then it shall be free. People will suffer, of course - a phantom pain.

Reddit and Konami will rewrite the records... And I will be demonized in human memory. But... The thirst for good gameplay that I have planted will infest MGO3. No one can stop it now. The Rebalance Mod will unleash that thirst unto the future.


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If it flies, it dies™.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "NoctyrneSAGA" (Feb 15th 2014, 10:42am)


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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 9:33am

This is where I'm coming from: Clicky

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 9:39am

Quoted

Q: Why didn’t you include a random weather and Time of Day system in Battlefield 4? Making it randomly generated, wind, sun, storm, dust, and dawn would really increase the replay value of the game.
A: Even though each Battlefield game is unscripted in many ways, we wanted the experience to still have an emotional impact and match the adrenaline arc of a normal gameplay round. That way, as more buildings get destroyed, the tickets count down and the gameplay gets more tense, so does the level.

What a bullshit answer.
Clean signature best signature

NoctyrneSAGA

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 10:41am

@HwanZike

I searched Battlefield Blog itself and the article didn't pop up. Never thought to look at the bottom. :P
Data Browser

Passive Spotting is the future!

With this, I'll rid MGO3 of infestation. Sans bad gameplay MGO3 will be torn asunder. And then it shall be free. People will suffer, of course - a phantom pain.

Reddit and Konami will rewrite the records... And I will be demonized in human memory. But... The thirst for good gameplay that I have planted will infest MGO3. No one can stop it now. The Rebalance Mod will unleash that thirst unto the future.


Are you a scrub?

If it flies, it dies™.

5

Saturday, February 15th 2014, 10:59am

Well those answers explain a lot as to why the maps in BF4 are just plain boring, these people are noobs and the maps are designed around noobs.

As regards this

Statistically speaking, most people don?t play night maps ? maps set during the day get played more. We know this from tracking the numbers of maps played through on Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2. Even if the map is really well-designed, players tend to gravitate more towards day-time maps.



Statistically yes would be true considering there was only 2 night maps out of 30, and one of the night maps was rubbish(Tehran) but maybe the maps were popular due to bad map design and not the fact they were set at night

Aenonar

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 11:31am

Well those answers explain a lot as to why the maps in BF4 are just plain boring, these people are noobs and the maps are designed around noobs.

As regards this

Statistically speaking, most people don?t play night maps ? maps set during the day get played more. We know this from tracking the numbers of maps played through on Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2. Even if the map is really well-designed, players tend to gravitate more towards day-time maps.



Statistically yes would be true considering there was only 2 night maps out of 30, and one of the night maps was rubbish(Tehran) but maybe the maps were popular due to bad map design and not the fact they were set at night

And on the same note, perhaps 70% of the players play conquest because the rush maps are rubbish? -.-'

Quoted

(14:06:57) Riesig: I should stop now. People might get sig material again

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 11:46am


And on the same note, perhaps 70% of the players play conquest because the rush maps are rubbish? -.-'


Rush has got progressively worse over the course of the franchise and has reached its peak of shit in BF4, IMO it's down to the fact that they design maps to tick all the right boxes in an attempt to keep the 'community' happy, every map must have boats, tanks, choppers, jets, hills for sniping, and area for infantry, and that map must suit 10(?)different game without changing in layout. IMO#2 the DICE needs to stop pandering to the 'community' at every juncture "can you add this" "add this" "add that" and actually have some foresight and vision when it comes to map design. A camel is a race horse designed by a committee, remember that DICE.

VincentNZ

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 12:18pm

Yeah at least she was honest about Rush, saying that it has to work on Conquest not on Rush. But yeah as Aenonar said, people are not playing Rush because it is rubbish. It is the same why people in BC2 rarely played Conquest, it is because of the focus that lay elsewhere. Personally I have no problem with only certain maps being available for certain modes, or if some just do not work on Rush. The community can figure it out themselve and play the good maps. But if they only focus on Conquest than naturally people will gravitate towards this gamemode.

That being said, due to the symmetry of the maps, their new mode Obiliteration works rather well on all the maps, but I can not see it reaching the popularity of Rush.

I believe they should ditch that "every map has to work on every mode" and make some maps with a clear focus. Why not make a Titan-Mode, or Rush DLC? These are popular modes, and if it works, people will play and be happy about it.

As for night maps, well, I do not see the visibility issue, Teheran and uh, Dead Valley(?) were never pitch black, just gave the game a more tinted look, I never thought spotting people was a problem at all. You could say the same about Locker then. And BF3 was incredibly dark in many places as well, just take the warehouses in Firestorm. BF4 is lacking different light moods I believe. And the already built the precedence with Dawnbreaker, it is nighttime at the start of the round already. And there are no issues with visibility, are there?

That being said, the questions are, as predicted, rather soft-washed and apart from the slight Rush criticism, offer no new insights for the people that want to deeply know about some issues.

This post by "ToTheSun!" (Saturday, February 15th 2014, 12:57pm) has been deleted by user "Legion" (Saturday, February 15th 2014, 2:41pm) with the following reason: misogynistic

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Saturday, February 15th 2014, 1:16pm

BF4 maps are great. Combined arms is great, strategical options are great for comp. Until Aftermath, BF3 maps had the tendency to be one road and some corridors. One of the most famous BF3 maps was a single fucking edgy roundabout and the options for comp were to move the main vehicle to D or to E, and if you chose E, you were mostly fucked. Oh, it was kinda unfit for 64 players, too. Unfortunately, this masterpiece of strategic depth in map design will not return to us in SA.

Instead we have to enjoy actually good maps like "Nightender" or "Bad Reception" (names altered for anonymity), and with the improved weapon balancing, N5B2 with Snake Visor, weighty bored rod and forwardly oriented hand receptacle (all names altered) is not the go to weapon for the anti vehicle class to take out infantry all ranges, DMR-shotgun style.

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This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Rezal" (Feb 15th 2014, 1:57pm)