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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).
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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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