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Rag Doll Mapping
This is long over due, but with Unreal 2, Half-life 2, Doom 3, etc, supporting a more complex physics system, what will be the consequences for mapping? Will it reinvent the way maps are played as much as rjumping and bunny hopping have?
No... 
...not solely for rag-doll anyway, as this only really applies when you are dead :)
I played the UT2003 Bombing Run demo, with the 'girder pit' underneath the goal and it was interesting, like, once to see the body drop floppily to the bottom. After that it was 'whatever...get me back in the game'.

However, complex physics in the real world should affect mapping to a degree, but probably not as much one might think, as the game environment is inherently unreal and therefore probably not subject to all the laws.

I can see stuff like swinging lights working well, but I can't hink of much else that will be greatly different. 
Physics 
Maybe not in game. But I'm damn sure that we'll eventually see mapping tools take physics into account. For instance you could just drop sand into the map like you would into a real world sandbox, push it around a little until it looks about right, and then let the tools optimize it for you the degree you like.

I think I already talked about this... 
I'm Hoping That... 
Since the Source engine supports realtime updating of displacement maps, there might be some sort of realtime updating sculpting tool thing that you can use on surfaces in the new Hammer. That would be hella cool. 
Puzzles. 
There are loads of examples of interesting things we could do with advanced physics systems in terms of puzzle making. I cannot recall which map it was in Quake, but there was a teleporter and a notch in the floor just beneath it, a well placed grenade and *pop* into the teleporter ye go. Was this Wizards Manse? anyhow, I haven't really seen anyone push this concept further, the reaction of the player to the physics rules in his environment. Perhaps something as simple as shooting objects off of the tops of lights which can swing, or shooting something to make it rotate to a specific location....etc. etc. there are loads of possibilities. 
Hmmm... Physics, Indeed 
By the definition of the question, anything in Quake canot be held up to be an example of advanced physics usage, because there wasn't any. It confirms my point that you don't necessarily need advanced physics to do real or unreal or smart puzzly-type things in the game world.

...as I also said swinging lights seems the best and possibly only usage of real-world physics in the new engine.

Taking the point of cutting a rope to drop a load onto someone or trigger a chain reaction (interaction); if the physics is too real, then what if the player makes a mistake, drops the load and misses whatever he needed to hit because the load was swinging slightly and hit a light fitting on the wall on the way down? He's fucked and the game may not be able to progress without the action having taken place. This is why scripted or semi-scripted sequences are still needed.

I can see the attraction, but too much freedom potentially leads to frustration and boredom as there are too many things that a player thinks they may be able to do if they get stuck. OK, I'm in a room, I can't find the way out; I'll tip over every table, pull every knob, turn on the taps, shoot out all the lights and watch the pretty moving shadows; Oh, now I'm still stuck, but now the room is pitch black and I've got no chance! 
Re: Bascule 
anything in Quake canot be held up to be an example of advanced physics usage, because there wasn't any.

Now, I know I like to use some very broad definitions for various words, but I would think that quake has physics. hell, I would say that even chess has physics. They may or may not have anything in common with real world physics, but there does exists systematic rules as to how physical objects react to each other, along with other physical phenomena. Anyway, it's just curious how you can dismiss this as so much glitz.

I can see the attraction, but too much freedom potentially leads to frustration and boredom as there are too many things that a player thinks they may be able to do if they get stuck.

Now this is interesting, and relates back to the question. Will mapping now have to revisit the debate about bottle necks such as key hunting? Is it even feasible now to have only one solution to problems? Is making sure that the player understands his environment all the more important? heh 
Meh 
Bascule, I think you're missing lots of situations where decent physics could be useful. Not everything is about flow-chart style design where the player is merely there to do the right thing at the right time.

For example, at one point the player grabs a radiator and uses it as shield against gunfire, and at another tips stuff into a stairwell to prevent enemies following him. No scripting, no game over if you fail to do it, just simple emergent actions that reward the player for being intelligent and aware.

Imo that's a good step forward, and I hope it means hl2 will avoid the dragons lair style irritation of the original. 
Gilt... 
I knew as soon as I had pressed the submit button that I would be mis-understood.

What I didn't understand in what physics... was saying was giving an example from Quake of advanced physics usage when the point of the topic posed was what could be done with an upgraded physics model.

Quake indeed did give opportunities previously unforseen, such as rocket-jumping, due only to a more real-life approach to the game world. I worded my response badly.

Maj, I agree that more is possible, but I still feel that being able to do anything (everything?) may back-fire unless situations are reasonably well structured to avoid the frustrations.

I would hate to have thrown the chair down the stairwell to evade capture, only to find I've got to go down ten flights and retrieve it in order to stand on it to get through an open window later in the game ;)

Do you see what I mean? 
Hrm.. 
Well, I disagree with your example - I don't think a well designed level would require that sort of round-peg round-hole style mucking about - but I agree in general. Red Faction would be another example.

But then again, I think this is the price you have to pay for deeper and more complex gameplay in single player games... 
Hmm 
Yeah, but if you need a chair to get through a window, there should be a chair in the room (or maybe the one next to it). 
... 
...as I also said swinging lights seems the best and possibly only usage of real-world physics in the new engine.

heh, and even that isn't a very good example of 'real world physics'... why do they keep swinging? unless the light is suspended from a perpetual motion machine :) 
D'oh! 
I just meant if it had been hit by something, thus showing off the spanking new motion physics and real-time rendered lighting/shadow effects.

/me wanders off to a corner, grumbling about people not understanding my posts 
 
bascule: hmm, I don't understand. I was comparing old school quake, before rj/bunny's discovery, with quake afterwards. the physics may not have been technically upgraded, but in terms of how they affected the way maps became played and made, it may as well have been. 
You're Silly 
if you think the only good sue of good physics is swinging lights 
Bascule 
<quote>OK, I'm in a room, I can't find the way out; I'll tip over every table, pull every knob, turn on the taps, shoot out all the lights and watch the pretty moving shadows</quote>

Shitty mappers make shitty maps anyways, they don't need complex physics to make dumb ass puzzles. 
 
yes, but does complex physics change the criteria for what could be considered a dumb ass puzzle? and if so, how? 
Wow, It's Been A While Since I Dumped One [i]this[/i] Long! 
if so, how?

Inventiveness.

Part 1

As with the radiator example somewhere above, there's the possibility of 'emergent' activity by the player. One of the key elements in the survival horror/scifi story formula is the protagonists' overcoming of the 'threat' by their resourcefullness. Macready in The Thing covers himself with dynamite, an idea none of the other men had; in Jaws, Chief Brody uses the oxygen tank to kill the shark; in Deep Blue Sea, all three sharks are killed with various bits and pieces of ordinary kit the characters find nearby ( cooker, lighter, electrical cable etc. ); in Predator, Dutch uses mud and sticks to fight the creature; in Aliens, Ripley uses the powerloader to battle the Queen. The list goes on. This is important to the story because it shows the humans surviving the primal elements by intelligence - not with purpose built weapons, training or weight of numbers. They have to think on their feet and use what's available. Those that can, survive - the ultimate goal.
Being able to pull this off yourself is somewhere down in the base impetus of the attraction and entertainment of FPSs - the chance to be the one running down those corridors, outsmarting the relentless monster, killing the apparently unkillable. Up to now and exemplified by Half-Life, these sorts of scenarios had by neccessity to be set pieces - prescripted and built into individual maps. Cthon is the example familiar to everyone here.
The problem, or at least limitation, is obviously the channeling of the player's options towards a single outcome. Even if it's presented to the player indirectly so they have to 'work it out' and the conclusion is a spectacular piece of animation/mapping, it still plays out in only one sequence. This drastically reduces the freedom that makes the thing interactive in the first place and the whole experience moves some way back towards that of [i]spectating[/i] rather than [i]participating[/i].
Valve understood this limitation better than anyone else and strove to make their set pieces as cinematic and subtle as possible while still based essentially on Quake 1 entites; they'd provide clues and assistance that were optional, break the piece into smaller stages and lay a bunch of stuff around each one that could be dealt with in a variety of ways. The Blast Pit set piece is the one that sticks in my memory - it begins outside the concrete silo ( Silo D it was called - they even made a texture subset especially for it with Silo D stenciled everywhere ) so it's introdeced to the player by dint of it's sheer size and solemnity. Then, when the player enters the concrete 'arena' they [i]hear[/i] the threat way before seeing it. Next, three NPCs are used to deliver additional information: "fire the rocket...kill the thing before it...grows any larger"/"quiet...this thing [i]hears[/i] use"/"Hey! Yaaagh! *bangbang* *splat*"
Anyone not picking up on what's happening deserves what they get frankly. I've watched several people play Half-Life and it still amazes me how many simply charge in going "A big tentacle thing! Waargh, shoot it!" and die. Not a game for the slow of thinking :P
Then a lengthy process ensues, culminating in the triple tentacle being satisfyingly crisped by the test rocket. Although I saw all the elements coming beforehand, that was part of the fun for me. I could understand what Valve had made and got into the spirit of it. The final animation and tortured sound effect is like a reward. 
...and Still Going... 
Part 2

By introducing interaction with [i]all[/i] the elements in an environment, everything in such a story sequence is affected. We can't rely on fore knowledge to warn us or clue us as to what to do - if all crates are moveable, destructable ( and floatable? ) how do we know when to take advantage of those things and when are they simply default? If I can shoot out not just lights but the cables that feed them, when is shadow a benefit and when is it merely an inconvenience? And if this ladder can be torn off its brackets by one of those [i]things[i], will I get stranded down there? Second guessing becomes harder with options that are omnipresent and persistent.
For developers, the problems are about accounting for every eventuality that the players may reach; in Quake, the biggest problem that might be faced is if the player unexpectedly reaches an area from which there is no escape. This is solved by testing your map and providing escape routes etc. In Half-Life, some players were inevitably going to bludgeon every NPC within reach of thier crowbar - solution? The death of any progress-dependant NPC triggers a fade to black, amusing in-theme flavour text and an automatic start-from-last-save.
But with the interaction available now covering not just stuff that isn't bolted down but stuff that [i]is[/i] bolted down, how far can the player stray from the intended narrative track? And how many ways can you imagine to kill a big alien wierd boss creature? 2...3...10? Can I lure it towards that gas station in the previous outdoor map, set a detpack then run for cover? It's very tall...what happens if it tries to follow me under the bridge? It moved away pretty fast from the headlights on the cop car - if I lure it to the edge of the compound and zap it with a searchlight, will that bake it's gooey little alien noodle? So much more to consider and so much more satisfying if you win by your own cunning. But it could all go horribly wrong and how many attempts will it take. What if your not up to being Gordon Freeman?
As players, we will probably have to start getting used to the greater consequences of our actions in a game. We can't simply chuck grenades about if they're going to knock chunks out of the walls and ceiling. We can't assume that a solid structure will offer cover indefinately. We'll basically have to learn more about the environment created for each game. And we'll also have to think more.
As mappers, "dumbass puzzles" probably aren't going to go very far. Set pieces will still be important - think of the way action movies are plotted. But they will have to consist of more than just a neat one-off bit of code and some interesting use of entities.

ffs Kell, stop rambling and spit it out!

If the environment reacts more realistically, perhaps we will have to act more realistically first. For mapping, that probably doesn't mean becoming movie directors or stunt co-ordinators. With movies, there is no interaction. Mapping will involve a lot of knowledge - how much does an oil drum actually weigh? Which firearms work underwater? How thick must your concrete be before it will stop a 10mm explosive-tipped caseless? And what if your team [i]do[/i] end up right under the primary heat exchangers? Good gameplay will rest on the details, rather than the cinematic flourish, because the inadvertent inclusion of the wrong type of wood or a misplaced fire extinguisher could throw a spanner in the works. Storytelling will still be possible, even desireable now that it has a resonance of believeability, but you'd better know your script, of [b]both[/b] kinds, inside out. Both a storyteller and an engineer.

btw, the grenade/teleporter secret was in e4m4 - The Palace Of Hate; it lead to a Shadowring secret on a ledge near the exit.
Sorry, why did I mention that? :/ 
Title 
And if this ladder can be torn off its brackets by one of those [i]things[i], will I get stranded down there?

Dead ends the player can't escape from is terrible map design.

Can I lure it towards that gas station in the previous outdoor map...

There has to be some sort of locality to puzzles. If a solution to a puzzle isn't near the puzzle itself, then you need to think long and hard about whether that's ok. Keys for example should be near locks because no one should have to back track through half a map just because they forgot to look in a particular nook. Tangentially, lock and key is a tired puzzle that needs to be put to rest. Anyways, as an extension of that I wouldn't let a player back track through the levels. Even if I always stick by this nice clean locality, the player may not trust me. He might not figure out I want him to push the rock on to the pressure switch right by the grate. He might end up searching all over hell's half acre for a none existant switch, and I'd like to save him a little bit of trouble with an absolutely unbreakable guarantee that the solution is not outside the map. 
Ding Dong 
Dead ends the player can't escape from is terrible map design.

Yah, but what if the player can create their own dead ends? 
Man, You Guys Must Have Lots Of Free Time 
:-P

Good post kell though! 
Kell: Space Is Your Friend. 
While we've only got a few responses here, it does seem that the direction people are headed in, is that while old games allowed multiple solution puzzles, these newer games will demand them. or maybe we could even go so far as to say that all puzzles will be dumb ass puzzles. At least when it concerns progress.

Mapping will involve a lot of knowledge - how much does an oil drum actually weigh? Which firearms work underwater? How thick must your concrete be before it will stop a 10mm explosive-tipped caseless?

But does the player know about this stuff? the point of implementing stuff like this is to create a more intuitive environment. However, for most players, the only way they would have any connection to stuff like this is through watching movies. So would it be better to not be realistic, but rather movieistic?

On a related note, how much harder or easier will it be to create a science fiction game, say on an alien world, where players have little to no intuitive understanding of how things should work? 
Yah, but what if the player can create their own dead ends?

Then like I said, that's bad map design.

So would it be better to not be realistic, but rather movieistic?

So not necessarily realistic, but believable. 
... 
Then like I said, that's bad map design.

wrong. it's only bad map design if the mapper didn't show the player, somehow, the ramifications of his actions (or inactions) before hand.

if the mapper doesn't show the player how things work in his world, he can't be expected to be claire-voyant. it would be the mapper's fault.

if the player has seen the consequences of an action, and still does it anyway, (for whatever reason), even though the mapper went to the trouble of showing the player, then it's the player's fault, because he failed to recognize a danger.

ex: back to halflife's tentacle thing in the pit.

if the tentacle thing couldn't be heard and simply flew up out of the pit and killed the player on the spot, then that would be bad map design. how would the player know what to expect?

but as kell said, there are three instances where the player is shown the dangers inherent with tangling with that thing.

another example: Chthon. how many of you started shooting at him? that's bad map design. not a lot since you don't get killed immediatly, but it's still bad. how is the player supposed to know what to do? the player is reduced to wandering around avoiding fireballs until he can get the lightning mechanism working.

and there's also Shub. the player doesn't know that the teleporter go to wherever the teleball is. the first time i played, i teleported directly into the lava. for a long time, i kept thinking that's where the teleporter always lead, since i had never experienced a moving teledest before. finally, i was cheating and i jumped into the teleporter again. it deposited me somewhere else. eventually, i figured it out... but i never finished the level the first time i played. that's really bad map design. ;) 
But does the player know about this stuff?
Probably not - right up until they take cover from an HMG-wielding turret behind a chunk of concrete that's too thin... 
Necros 
But none of your examples have anything to do with what I'm talking about. 
Thanx For That Post Kell... 
I'll be digesting that one for a while =)

BTW, I figured out the grenade/tele secret in The Palace of Hate long before I could actually perform the move...err sorry, why did I mention that? :/ 
Pushplay 
Then like I said, that's bad map design.

Ok then, but at what point does giving the player more freedom to interact with their environment make it impossible to create a good map?

Again, Red Faction. By your definition, a good map must ensure that the player cannot dig themselves into a hole. In that case, you might as well remove the geomod stuff altogether.

I don't think a good map should be required to protect a player from their own stupidity... 
Hitting The Nail On The Head 
I think Maj got it there. Say you've got to climb out that window, but its out of reach. In the corner of the room in a washing machine/table/chair/yak. If you throw the washing machine/table/chair/yak down the stairs instead of placing it so you can climb out, you're an idiot, and you shouldn't probably even be allowed near a computer. Hell, if you just do it out of a momentary lapse of intelligence, then there's always quickload to bail you out. 
You Can't Assume An Intelligent User 
Red Faction had so little deformable terrain that it was a joke.

If for any reason the level becomes entirely unwinable, then the level should fade to black and tell you that you've fucked up. One way you could do this with a bunch of special cases; if there aren't too many cases to worry about. It's more work for the mapper but far less for the programmer. Checking to see if the player is in a pit he can't escape can't be the hardest programming task in the world. On the other hand, you could attempt a generalized system for checking if the level can still be won. That would mean some pretty hard core AI, but if you pulled it off it's a system you could probably shop around to other game companies.

Imagine two games, where in both games I dodge a pink charging buffalo which then proceeds to rip a ladder off the wall. In game one that was a scripted event, and I was meant to find an alternate route up the warehouse. In game two I was meant to protect that ladder, only now I'm screwed but the game doesn't feel like telling me that. Since I don't want to give up, I'll assume that it's game one and waste all kinds of time before I find that out that it's actually game two. Only I still won't be absolutely sure, and I'll always have that nagging doubt that I gave up too easy. 
Well 
If there is one specific thing you're supposed to protect, then it's pretty easy to have that trigger an info_endlevel entity when you failed to protect it. This has been done in games for years now and isn't the issue. 
Heh 
Checking to see if the player is in a pit he can't escape can't be the hardest programming task in the world.

You'd be suprised... 
Hrm 
Or possibly surprised. Your choice. Just don't ask me to code it. 
Well Maj 
From what you've said in IRC, it appears that your idea of coding is to ridicule the designers and artists until they leave you alone.

Which is a surprisingly good tactic. I'm shocked that they haven't caught on and done the same to you. 
"can't Be That Hard" 
Writing code that knows whether winning is impossible in a game is easy, in exactly those games where our beloved "emergent gameplay" isn't present. Like freecell. 
Gilt Goes Gaga 
Ok then, but at what point does giving the player more freedom to interact with their environment make it impossible to create a good map?

Fascinating question. I think you can it break down like this: in every game player's have what I'll call "destructive" and "constructive" abilities. simple example in quake: say there is a shallow hole. the player has the destructive ability to fall into the hole and get stuck, but also has the constructive ability to jump and get out of it.

So we have this probability space of when the player is not stuck, which is defined by their abilities. It then becomes the mappers responsibility to make sure that their maps are always within this space. One of the major reasons for this thread, imo, is to discuss what the boundaries of that space are in a game with complex physics and corresponding abilities, so that we can make better maps.

back to the question, the point when it becomes impossible to create a good map, is when the space becomes super small, if not zero.....

(....MY GOD, what kind of psedo-intellectual bullshit is this?! Probability spaces? Somebody please take away my psilocybin)

To sum it up, if you give the player the freedom to blow huge holes in the ground, then give him the ability to fly, or climb AVP style. 
Expectation 
<quote>I've watched several people play Half-Life and it still amazes me how many simply charge in going "A big tentacle thing! Waargh, shoot it!" and die.</quote>

I was going to post earlier about Half-Life defying your expectations *of FPS*, not really of games in general. When you suddenly realize you can do something you took for granted you couldn't. OTOH, the only thing really new was the freedom to walk away and hear your clues fade into silence.

<quote>bad map design</quote>

It's your expectation you'll always be able to get out.. although something should happen eventually, even if it's just finding some bombs to kill yourself with.

As to Chthon, certainly don't take the rune a second time without figuring something out, hey at least it didn't matter if you saved. Shub, it's the end.

As to checking if the game is winnable, I have this unformed idea of far future basic FPS where there's an AI managing the game far more powerful than anything evident inside the game. Looks like Doom, reconfigures and rebuilds entire levels different every time and in some way responsive to player tendencies, kind of like entering the world of Tron just to race light cycles.. 
Oh, And Keys (and Buttons) ... 
aren't about finding them unless it's RPG-ish. It's about being able to complete objectives in multiple orders and the battle each and every way. 
It's your expectation you'll always be able to get out

Until I'm told otherwise, it seems like a reasonable assumption. 
Hmm 
it appears that your idea of coding is to ridicule the designers and artists until they leave you alone.

How is this different from any other coder? 
� 
all depends on the coder
wazat doesnt strike me as that at all, and most of the ones i talk to just code stuff that wont be entirely map dependant when they can help it 
Yes 
most of the ones i talk to just code stuff that wont be entirely map dependant

And that's because mappers caught on and stopped working with them. 
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