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Forcing A Player To Play A Certain Way
See title. Discuss/Flame.

This is only in reference to SP maps and more about gameplay design than linearity (although no doubt that can be used to achieve the outcome).
basically Good or Bad ?

Recently thought about this for a whole 5 min after playing JPL's latest map (although this is by no means an attack on the map, just that it was the catalyst for some brainfarting).

Should a map designer force a player to play the map, or part of the map, a certain way or in a certain style (eg stealthy rather than run and gun) or should the player always be free to play any which way he wants ?

For example, in JPL's map, there were lots of enforcers placed quite well, but the nailgun was introduced late. In effect this forced me to play the map differently to what I would normally do in a map full of enforcers. I either had to get up close with the SSG or bunch them together and use the GL.

Another example would be to not have the GL/RL introduced till after a section with zombies.

I think one way to cater to both ways would be via secrets. In this scenario, for example, a NG/SNG could have been a secret and therefore if you found it you could play normally, otherwise as the mapper intended.

It would also add replayability in that you can play the same map in different styles.

That's all I got, this could be the worst topic ever but I wanted to post in something other than the Film thread. 
I dont actually have a decision yet on whether I think it's a good or bad ploy. Maybe when I activate my brain again tomrrow or so, I'll come up with a choice. 
Forcing a player to play the unusual way is a good thing, but has to be used carefully. When implementing such things you should always do good beta testing, because it easily can get annoying. And be prepared that some players will complain about it. I didn't have problems with late introduction of the NG in JPL's map. In fact it was fun for me. I can imagine maps played with the SG or GL only.
Sometimes players can just refuse to play the certain way imagined by mapper. This will cause frustration and complains. In my latest map I also wanted the player to use the GL most of the time. I have reduced the amount of nails and shells. During first beta testing many players complained about ammo shortage even if they had 30 rockets left and didn't have to fight shamblers with grenades. I had to add more conventional ammo again. 
Idea + Stuff 
You could start the player off in a room with all the weapons. The player can then choose one or more of the weapons before being teleported to the level proper, and depending on the choice, you could change the size of the ammo caches for certain weapons (with annoying to set up triggers and funcs). This would allow them to choose a weapon to play with from the start, which may or may not be introduced in the level during normal play.

I think the simple rule of Quake is to use the ammo/health available to get through the level. Players who moan because they are forced to use explosives to take down a shambler, or have to knock down zombies and come back for them later are cry babies :)

I don't have a problem with a mapper who forces me to take down a whole level of bad guys with just the shotgun, but don't force me to use the axe (for a long time, or for strong monsters) if I have to kill the monsters. That's all. 
Differently Vs Specifically 
Playing differently can be good, as long as the designer doesn't force the player to play specifically. e.g. force the player to develop new strategies against enforcers sometimes, but don't force him to use only one or two strategies.

But then again, forcing him to play differently is kind of forcing him to play specifically, albeit not on as large of a scale. 
...that first idea is excellent. One wouldn't even need to teleport them if it was a base map. Ooooooh, you've got me thinking! 
Clever Idea, Than... 
For example, in JPL's map, there were lots of enforcers placed quite well, but the nailgun was introduced late. In effect this forced me to play the map differently to what I would normally do in a map full of enforcers. I either had to get up close with the SSG or bunch them together and use the GL.

I've found that I never have that problem. Then again, I've kinda trained myself into using the SSG most of the time, and so I have no problems taking out anything weaker than a Fiend with it.

Both hdn and event provided an interesting twiston the normal order of progreesion. It was nice for a change, but I'd prefer not to see it become the norm... 
I'm rather open in terms of gameplay. I just think that a player need to be "directed" in a certain way in order to find the exit of the level. I played some levels where I spent half an hour just looking for the next door to open, because it was not very well indicated... And concerning weapon/ammo placement, I agree there are certain "rules" to respect... Nevertheless, the only point is that you would be able to kill all the monster you face with te weapon you have.. it should be enough.. though... 
Good Thread 
I think it's useful to force players to learn new tactics, but you should avoid making an entire level too shallow by building it all to require the same tactic. You should also not build most of your encounters to require ANY one tactic.

Think of these "forced tactics" situations to be exceptions, and the rule is gameplay scenarios that allow more player choice. 
Permutations And Stations... 
...Than's idea could be expanded by having three stations in a level when one had to choose which weapon (from a choice of two) to pick up next.

It feels like two thirds of the way through the level and you have a choice..."Do I pick up the RL or the LG." Obviously the ensueing combat scenarios need to be doable with either.

With three stations, eight permutations and possibly one good reason to replay the level. 
I will soon release a map in which you have to fight 1/2 of the way with the shotgun. I'm expecting some bitching. 
Anything Limiting 
the player options is almost always very annoying. With more options, the more complex, interesting and above all, replayable gameplay will be. 
Here's A Thought 
that hasnt been thought through really.

What about giving the player some indication that the upcoming section may involve something "out of the ordinary" or a change in regular tactics.

I have absolutely no idea how to do this without making it annoying like in some recent games where they tell you via cutscene or sat com or radio that you will need to do the next bit stealthily. Well, no fucking shit sherlock, I've been collecting sniper ammo for the last 10 min and am armed with only a knife and sniper rifle.

But something like that would be ideal when done correctly.

I like metl's post in that there should always be more than one tactic available but do you think all tactics should be indicated to the player via some method or let them work it out themselves after dying a few times ?

I should be writing the new season of Lost, providing more and more questions whilst pretending to give some answers. 
I think a better way to say what I was trying to say before is, it's a good idea to sometimes force players to NOT use a specific tactic. In other words, out of 5 possible ways to play the game, we're desiging an encounter so that one of them really won't work. If you rely on that one tactic all the time, this "forces" you to learn a new one.

This is actually a way to keep the game fresh, becuase if you can use your preferred tactic every time on every encounter, you will get bored and it will be the game's fault. If you are forced to switch it up, you will enjoy it more. I think it is up to the level designer to encourage fun and discourage boring, because the game mechanics will usually encourage low-risk tactics. The punishment for high-risk tactics is losing, but the punishment for low-risk tactics is just boredom. Players will quit out of boredom before they quit out of being challenged. 
hmm, i was going to use something similar to than's idea in a map i planned: the player has all (or at least a set of) weapons right from the beginning. their use will be influenced by the type/amount of ammo in the seperate sections of the level.

apart from the weapons/tactics question, i thought about the ability to use tricks (jumps etc.) to play a map. i tend to make a map fool-proof in order to assure that the player can play it correctly - i.e. without accidentally screwing it up, for instance by getting to an area which he is only supposed to visit later and thereby skipping other parts of the level. this involves, among other measures, clipping off potential 'threats' to 'proper gameflow', like certain slopes, gaps,...
while it ensures the player plays the map like i intended, it also limits his freedom in a way. the problem of linearity in recent games comes into play here, too.

as for weapons, i don't have a problem with certain set-ups. having to fight shamblers with grenades/rockets is uncommon and requires a change of tactics, which can be interesting as well as very annoying. a thin line here.
on the other hand, having to play an entire map with rockets only might also be nice, since one can't use the rl in tight, crowded corridors the regular way, either.. 
Exactly, Metlslime 
I was trying to say the same thing. 
Interesting Topic 
I like to make people play in the nude.

I find they have more fear that way. 
forcing me into a certain style of play is annoying. i play the game the way i want, not the way the designer wants. and if that isn't possible, it get's frustrating.

Of course that doesn't mean i don't adjust to different situations (i.e. ammo), but e.g. i play shooters quake like most of the time - strafing around enemies etc. if that doesn't work, it get's really annoying... 
In mapping one can give the player two or more directions to explore, in that way there is a certain kind of freedom to search the level.

in my last map I could only find one or two
trails to play the level and visit each section. 
nice discussion! i especially like than's idea! 
Ankh: Single Or Double? 
I will soon release a map in which you have to fight 1/2 of the way with the shotgun. I'm expecting some bitching.

I hope it's the double, for your sake... 
OK. I will introduce the SSG in easy skill at the beginning for you ;) 
One way the game can be fun is if it makes me invent new tactics and gives rewards for them. (Not lame tactics like finding a specific place where the monsters can't reach and shooting everyone from there.) But say, sometimes to rush through a crowded enemy area to an armor or weapon or use uncommon weapons or movement tactic around the map or triggers or something. Even quite specific play style, say, proceed in a narrow tube using a shaft against bouncing spawn - requires snappy aim skill, but it's cool. ;)

I also think in general mappers tend to concentrate a little too much on SSG, it often is used for the entire first half. Give bigger badder weapons earlier and put more enemies. :) Maybe that's just my qw background.

And, to balance all said above, of course oldskool can be fun too. 
if you constrain the player to a specific play style, it shouldn't be done for a long duration. 
OK. I will introduce the SSG in easy skill at the beginning for you ;)

Actually, I'd prefer it if you didn't. Starting the map with just eh single is fine, the double isn't needed until a bit later on. About 15-20% of the way through would be best. Having if available straight away is just spoiling the player.

Take the Marcher Fortress for example. On Easy, there is a fiend walking away from you right at the beginning. (I've never tried any other skill settings). You have to take it out with just your shotgun. Now, the fiend has 300 health, and your shotgun does 24 damage (6 pellets each doing 4) per shot. That means that to take it down in 13, you can only miss with 3 pellets. If you can't consistently kill it in 13-15 shots, then you need more practice with the shotgun.

So, having to do that for a little bit is fun. But for half of the map would be tedious as hell...

Oh, and to answer your question that you asked in #qdq today: Yes, vores can damage themselves if the vore ball hits something that they are very close to. Maximum damage the vore can take is 16. 
Don't be angry with me. I know i still have a lot to learn :) 
Forcing A Player To Run... 
I thought I would bring this thread back to life because I've been getting people to beta one of my maps recently and the problem I've been having seems quite relevant to this thread.

I won't spoil it, but at one point in the map, the player has very little ammo and faces a large ambush which is completely impossible to deal with unless the player is an absolute axe master. The idea was that I would funnel the player into the next area, dazed and confused, being chased by the enemies that spawned and there they would find the munitions neccessary to deal with the monsters. Because I had planned this over in my head, there was never any doubt in my mind what to do, and I thought it would work fine when playtested.

However, when it came to watching the demos of people play this section of my map, I was horrified to see them try to battle the monsters with almost no ammo, then run away into another area of the map and kind of end up stranded, unable to get into the area they should be going without taking damage from the angry monsters. I received a lot of negative feedback about the lack of ammo (even though there is more than enough if you go the RIGHT way ;), and not a single person did what I expected.

I'm not quite sure if this happened because I didn't signpost the route clearly/time the monster spawns well enough, or because people aren't used to just running away and feel they should always be able to tackle any given situation with their chosen/favourite method.

Anyway, it looks like I will have to alter this section so that players have more ammo, but it is a shame, because not only am I going to have to rebalance the rest of the level a little to compensate, but it was quite a unique (if perhaps poorly executed) moment in the map.

Perhaps I was trying to coerce the player into doing something he didn't want to do, and just not doing a good enough job :/ Whilst writing this I think I have come up with a solution though... MORE monsters to use up the extra ammo, and the ammo could be used as a lure into the correct direction. 
With Regards To Retreat Impetii 
I think that adding another danger, to force the player to move, would be warranted. I'm thinking like, falling floor (into lava), spike crusher door mover thingy... some sort of obvious thing that cannot be survived except by fleeing. 
make the choice/route obvious.

something like what inertia said above, make the floor start to crumble a bit forcing you towards the area with ammo.

but yes, this is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. 
Forcing A Player To Play A Certain Way 
HL2 does it all the time. and everybody loves it 
1) there was not enough ammo after the ambush, I even tried with godmode.
2) I didn't have enough health to take but a few hits.
3) It was cramped and the ambushers so many that it was impossible to get past. 
or just some text message telling there are more supplies ahead. not the most stylish solution, but works without great changes. 
or just some text message telling there are more supplies ahead.

Assuming the player can read and comprehend English in a split second, or even that the player can read English at all.

than, it seems like that could work, but since I haven't seen your scenerio I'm not able to comment objectively. 
Let's get serious about this.

The best way to get a player to understand a gameplay situation like that is to have already introduced it in a smaller form earlier in the level. For example, let's say you create a distinctive looking room or structure that will house the "ammo cache." You would place several of these rooms earlier in the level, in situations where the player can discover them without any real combat urgency. So that players know when they see a certain styled doorway that that must be another "ammo cache" room. This time, they will come into the room full of monsters, see the overwhelming numbers, AND see a doorway they recognize as leading to better firepower.

As an added bonus, the level as a whole feels more interesting becuase it has the memorable feature of "ammo cache rooms" instead of the scattered placement of the average level. 
That Sounds 
quite good to me, but the design would have to be distinctive to be memorable. 
yeah gotta train player. like Pavlovs` dog 
1) there was not enough ammo after the ambush, I even tried with godmode.

That was the idea, the player was supposed to run away and find more ammo. I've decided to add more ammo in that area so that the player has a bit more of a chance if they decide to stay and fight. Also, after the ambush you get the most powerful weapon in the game. The already accumulated 80+ cells is enough to take down half the damn level!

2) I didn't have enough health to take but a few hits.

You shouldn't have taken so many hits earlier on then, eh ;) There is some health just inside the doorway of the route you were "supposed to" choose. I've hightlighted the route a bit more clearly, so hopefully the player's attention will be drawn that way.

3) It was cramped and the ambushers so many that it was impossible to get past.

There were three, and they all start away from the player. You only have problems (afaik) if you run back to where you came from, which is where the first ambusher spawns. I've tweaked the timing a little bit to make the player more inclined to run earlier, rather than going to fight the first attacker.

Of course, adding ammo is just going to make the player be more willing to become involved in a battle he isn't quite ready for.

Anyway, I was able to survive the whole level on nightmare without too much ammo trouble (I made it, of course). I had plenty of shells and grenades left at the end (when I got killed just before the exit). Nightmare is very tough though - which is how it should be, and actually the tight ammo means it could be a challenge for two players (not sure about 3 or 4... still easy I think.)

By the way, sorry if I sound like I am taking the piss because you couldn't do it. Nobody else made it through... only Tyrann survived long enough to get to find the LG without dying, and he did get a bit lost beforehand and died shortly after :/ (this was in the first beta though, which was by far the hardest with least ammo and health). Everyone else gave much the same feedback as you, but I wanted to keep that particular aspect of the gameplay, just make it a bit less frustrating. The current version (rc2) should have resolved most if not all of the problems and the next version should allow the player to fight the ambushers if they choose, but it will still be hard. 
yeah, I understand that and it sounds good, but I couldn't really add the same features throughout the level without really altering it a lot. As it is a remake of DM3 with a fairly faithful DM mode, it's kind of out of the question. As Nitin points out, it would have to be a fairly distinctive design for the player to remember and associate it with ammo or whatever. I will be using that idea for my turtle map though (but in a different way). 
try to do what inert told you - moving crusher or similar 
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