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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?
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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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