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How Does Game Design Influence Level Design?
So I was playing Wipeout Fusion last night (the highlight of my Christmas loot), and I was thinking, "Wow these racetracks look cool." And then the next thing I thought of, as I often do, was of course, "Hey, I should make a Quake map out of it!"

But, of course, there are no futuristic anti-gravity racing mods for Quake, as far as I know.

Then I thought of Slide Quake (http://singe.telefragged.com/slide/), A little known, but much loved snowboarding-style Quake mod which has seen some attention from the Qmap crew from time to time (Fern had a short-lived review/repository site for the mod). In playing the maps included with the mod, and a few user made maps, I got the overwhelming feeling that this simple but fun made had far more potential than the maps provided it. The existing maps seemed to "inhibit" the fun.

So, then, better maps; a common need of mods. Many Quake mappers stick with vanilla Quake because the rules are familiar to them: they have had years of practice with the same system of gameplay, and they know what works. To try something new is a big step sometimes.

What exactly is it that "works" in vanilla Quake? What about in Slide Quake or Wipeout? There are a number of gameplay conventions and
texturing/modeling methods that are more or less ubiquitous. For instance, consider the concept of trim: generally, walls and platforms are given some sort of trim in order to make the texture themes flow - that's a graphical convention. Or think of a gameplay convention in Slide - the level had better be mostly downhill, otherwise you won't be going very far or fast. Or even take Wipeout Fusion - the game programmers created the physics engine such that the racing ships fly and handle in a certain way. As such, the twists and turns of the level need to be formed so that the game ships can navigate on them relatively easily. The ships lend themselves well to long sweeping turns; as such, a level with many tight turns or angles would be very hard to race in and probably not much fun.

That's the real difficulty right there - understanding the game's mechanics, and then applying that knowledge towards making the best possible (read = most fun) level.

Next time you play Quake, or Slide, or Wipeout, or any game, think about what "works." Which strategies work better than others, and why? That is, what aspect(s) of the game mechanics is the strategy making quality use of?

There is a whole other angle to this as well - think of the purely artistic aspects of making levels for a dramatically different game. There are issues of scale, detail, style, and form to overcome.

There's a number of gaps in this discussion/rant - feel free to pipe in!


P.S. I don't think any Quake engine has the power to do a very good wipeout mod (i imagine that racing through a Quake level at that breakneck speed would make the BSP tree shit a brick), but I could see a definite possibility with UT 2k3, what with the terrain features and 3dsmax importing in the editor to make those smooth track splines.
Ok, So I Cant Have An Empty Title (or I Could Cheat) 
if you make the visible tunnel quite small it could be done but then it's rather claustrophobic. wonder how wipeout maps are made. any clues? 
Tunnel Vision 
hmm, I hadn't thought of tunnel maps as i was ranting. that would probably work, but would also eliminate being able to see lots of cool scenery as you race by at breakneck speeds. 
 
the curves are the answer. narrow tunnels are for newbs, be it wipeout or quake. 
 
the curves are the answer. narrow tunnels are for newbs, be it wipeout or quake. 
Bug Report: 
going back and then forward makes re-post in opera 6. 
wipeout fusion owns.
I have completed it, 100%. :) 
Curves 
yep. marilyn monroe knew enough about those 
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Website copyright © 2002-2017 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.