Sid Meyer曾说过“游戏是一系列有意义的选择”，对于多人模式游戏设计来说，这一再正确不过了。在单人游戏中设计师利用线性发展，或者只是一般的玩法片段操作等设计工具 来引导玩家。而在多人模式游戏中，玩家只要使用你所提供的工具，就能够持续创造自己的体验。
在多人模式FPS地图中为玩家提供有趣选择的一个好方法就是，给予他们多种地形选择。（游戏邦注：例如，墙壁、高地、低地等都属于地形选项）优秀玩家会掌握根据情况来选择 地形的方法。例如，玩家选择比对手更高的地势总是一个更好的主意。这不但可以为其提供更高的射击角度，通常还会提供部分的掩护。现在假设你将高地设置在一个靠近墙体的 地方，那么玩家就必须做出选择：走向高地并获得掩护，还将自己暴露在极易被敌人的炮火击中的空旷之地？
在单人模式游戏中，将玩家引向人的游戏所能提供的最佳玩法体验总是有利的。通常，这会导致线性关卡设计（多数情况下，最适合你想提供的体验）。在多人模式中，线性路径 通常较为不利。优秀的玩家在一个关卡中会不断改变自己的路径，有时候是为了摆脱追击者，有时候是为了获得自己渴望的武器或拾取道具。无论是哪种，玩家在一个多人模式地 图中拥有大量路径选择总是更有优势。一般来说，优秀多人模式设计应该尽量确保所有主要地形至少有3条路径。但也有一些例外情况，我会在之后的连载文章中提到这一点。
设计师最好在动手设计关卡之前先拟一个粗略的泡泡图表。这种图表通常是由一些简单的形状构成（如是圆形、方形、三角形），并以此代表一些主要区域。当你完成了一个不错 的地域布局时，你可以箭头将其连接起来，显示该区域的不同出入途径。之后你就要开始考虑如何让玩家从一个区域转向下一个区域，该路径有什么兴趣点。如果你无法想出一个 优秀的流程来，也可以参考一些多数时候甚为管用的默认形状：
在多人模式中，重要的是让你的玩家多数时候无法射击得太远。大型开放空间一般要用许多掩体来分割。这也有利于玩家避开长时间易被攻击的状态并穿过区域。但这个规则也有 例外情况，如任何你想鼓励风险/奖励场景的区域（例如，，边界拥有大量掩体，中心拥有一件很棒升级道具，鼓励玩家冒着可能被某人击中的风险去获取该道具的大型开放区域） 。我们在之后的文章中也会提到这种风险/奖励场景。
在《Resistance:Fall of Man》中，我们的多数地图利用了不同玩家点数和游戏模式来构造。因为我们必须考虑如此多不同的参数来平衡地图，我们制作了大量选择来缓和平衡过 程。这正是多数可调整大小的地图是对称性的原因。
Designing FPS Multiplayer Maps – Part 1
By Dodger August 1, 2008 Game Design
An Overview: What is Fun About FPS Multiplayer?
Sid Meyer once said that “a game is a series of interesting choices” and nowhere in game design is this more true than Multiplayer Design. In a single player game, the designer has access to design tools to help guide the player, like linear progression, or even just general good crafting of gameplay segments. In a multiplayer game, the player is constantly having to make his own experience using only the tools you provide him to do so.
As such, it is important to approach multiplayer map design from this perspective: Provide the player with good tools and he can create a good experience.
All this sounds blaringly obvious, of course, but given how many people get this basic tenet wrong it deserves stating.
One good way to provide players with interesting choices in a multiplayer FPS map is to give them a variety of terrain options to choose from. (Elements like walls, cover, high ground, and low ground are all examples of these terrain options.) Good players learn what terrain to use depending on the situation – for example, it’s usually just a better idea for a player to have higher ground than his opponent. Not only does it provide him with an excellent angle to fire at them with, it also usually provides partial cover. Now lets say you place the high ground near a wall – now the player has a choice to make: Does he go for the high ground and attempt to get cover, or does he stay in the open to avoid getting hit easily with a splash damage weapon?
A good multiplayer designer is always thinking of terrain options and trying to engineer them to provide as many good choices for the player as possible.
In single player games, it is often beneficial to lead the player towards the best gameplay experience your game has to offer. Often, this leads to a linear level design (which is, in most cases, best suited to the experience you want to provide). In multiplayer a linear path is rarely beneficial. A good player is constantly varying his route through a level, sometimes to shake off pursuers or sometimes in order to go after desirable weapons or pickups. Either way, it is always dvantageous for the player to have a number of paths to get to and from every major area in a multiplayer map. As a general rule, a good multiplayer design should strive to make sure all major areas have at least three ways in and/or out of them. As with all rules, there are exceptions — and I’ll get into those in future installments.
In addition to multiple paths, a good multiplayer level designer is constantly thinking of how he wants the players to move globally through a multiplayer map. This level of understanding, called flow, affects everything from pickup placement in a deathmatch map to node placement in a node-capture map.
It is often beneficial for a designer to come up with a rough bubble diagram before attacking the level. Such a diagram will usually just consist of simple shapes (circles, squares, triangles) representing major areas. Once you’ve got a nice area layout, you connect them with arrows showing the different ways in or out of that area. Then you start to think about how you want a player to travel from one area to the next and where the points of interest are on that path. If you’re ever having trouble coming up with a good flow, there are several default shapes that you can always fall back on that work almost every time.
A circle is the simplest kind of flow a level could have. While you would almost never design a level that only flowed in a circle, sometimes you can define your major flow path as a simple circuit through the level. This is often a good springboard that gets you thinking about even better flows.
The Figure 8
If you play any competitive multiplayer games (most often FPSs) you will notice that a lot of levels are based off the simple figure 8. Figure 8’s are a very interesting shape for major flow. While they offer all the benefits of a circle, as far as providing interesting flow, they also have the added benefit of an additional major flow path that cuts through half the circumference of the circle.
Often, you can get incredibly involved and complex flows out of a few well-placed figure-8s.
Focal points are a particularly important feature of multiplayer maps. Not only do they divide up the players’ interest to many different points on the map, they also provide areas of visual interest. Every well designed map will contain a focal point at the most important point on the map (usually the center) as well as minor focus points in every major area.
Examples of focal points include really tall structures, interesting terrain formations, gameplay-required elements (such as nodes), pickups, and anything that adds particular visual interest to an area.
The terrain options section touched on this a little bit, but verticality’s importance in multiplayer design can not be overstated. Verticality increases the amount of player choices in an area, but also increases the “gameplay per square meter” that a map has. A completely flat map that supports 32 players might be 400m x 400m, but you could fit the same number of players into a 200×200 map just by adding one or two levels of verticality to all the major areas
on a map.
In Resistance, for example, we found that adding verticality to a space in 3 meter increments (specifically 3 and 6 meter height differences up or down) made our spaces much more interesting and allowed them to be a lot dener and generally more fun.
It’s important in multiplayer that your players not be able to shoot too far ahead of themselves most of the time. Large open spaces should usually be broken up with a lot of full cover. This also allows players to advance through areas without being vulnerable for too long. The exception to this rule is any area where you want to encourage a risk/reward scenario (for example, with a large open space with lots of cover on the outskirts and a nice powerup in the center the player is encouraged to take a risk and get the powerup with the possibility that someone might shoot at them from the well-covered spots.) We ’ll get more into risk/reward scenarios in future installments.
Wow, it’s been a month. Things have been crazy at work lately, but they’re settling down a little now. As a result, I can finally put up the rest of the update I started more than 60 days ago (wow).
What is not Fun in Multiplayer
Incredibly long view distances
This was covered a bit in the “cover” section, but it is important to break up long views with cover. Failing to do so reduces the importance of skillful close combat and increases the importance of “fire and forget” splash weapons and long distance sniper weapons. It also makes large open areas less useful as good “risk/reward” areas.
A large open space
The ability for players to choose their own routes, lines, and flows is essential to good multiplayer gameplay. Extreme linearity is a barrier to this and should be avoided except in the case that you want to present a “risk/reward” scenario.
Unassailable ambush spots / sniping positions
Sniping and ambushing people is a lot of fun. However, being on the receiving end of either of these things is not fun at all – especially if you can’t stop it from happening. To that end, sniper and ambush positions should be carefully placed and balanced. Any unassailable position should either be opened up or removed from a good multiplayer map.
While secret areas are fun to find in single player, every attempt should be made in a multiplayer game to remove intimate map knowledge as a major determining factor for victory. Secret areas, especially those with very potent powerups or weapons, encourage intimate map knowledge or hiding to the detriment of skillful combat.
Creating a Multiplayer Level
Does it need to be symmetrical?
Objective-based modes, such as Capture the Flag, are usually well-served by symmetrical maps. It’s very difficult to balance non-symmetrical objective-based maps, but it’s definitely possible.
What kind of level is it? Natural, alien, man-made? Is it a city? What kind of assets will you be using to make it?
By establishing this early on, before you do your first maps or blockouts, you can get a head start on what basic shapes you’ll want to use to construct your map. While it’s tempting to jump right into construction or mapping, I’ve seen plenty of maps get ruined because not enough thought went into this part of the process.
Does it need to support multiple modes or game sizes?
In Resistance: Fall of Man, most of our maps were constructed to take advantage of different player counts and game modes. Because we had to balance these maps for so many different variables, we made a lot of choices to ease in the balance process. That’s why most of the resizable maps were symmetrical, for example.
Choose your Areas
I define an FPS multiplayer level as a connected series of “areas”. A good area area is any space which:
a) Has a focal point,
b) Is a good space for 4-8 players to fight,
c) Contains a good amount of terrain choices (like verticality), and
d) has at least 2 (preferably 3) entrances / exits.
Choose Focal Points
When thinking of focal points, you need to think of them in two scopes: Area focal points and Map focal points. Both serve the same twin purposes:
1) To serve as navigational aids and landmarks for the area / map.
2) To provide a gameplay and artistic focus for the area / map.
Focal points also tell the players what an area is. “The Lighthouse”, “the base”, “the cave”, or “the docking bay.” Each of these gives you an idea of what it basically is, and what a focal point might be. For example, the docking bay may have a space ship in it that you fight on or around, while the lighthouse is pretty self explanatory.
Here’s a number of guidelines that I found useful in constructing maps for Resistance:
Every map should strive to have one major focal point that the whole map is based around.
The focal points must serve to add visual interest and to drive players towards a goal.
Focal points can be gameplay objectives, structures, powerups, etc…
The best multiplayer “spaces” are built around a focal point that attracts both visual AND gameplay interest
Determine Flow / Connectivity
A good first step when starting a Multiplayer design is to create a simple flow diagram. A flow diagram is simply a series of simple shapes representing areas (squares, circles, triangles, etc) with arrows between them which represent connectivity. You may remember me talking about these in a previous article. I called them “Bubble Diagrams.”
Pictured above are three examples of simple flow diagrams. Every simple shape represents a different type of area, while the arrows show the flows between them. Keep in mind that these arrows only indicate flow. They don’t necessarily convey any information about number of entrances, exits, or anything else.
When thinking about flow, it’s good to consider the following:
Global flow (pickup placement)
Local flow (focal points, terrain advantages)
Think about how to best encourage the player to make good decisions
Entrances / exits (every area should have at 2, but preferably 3)
Good deathmatch maps connect everywhere to everywhere else
Good node / CTF maps strategically block off some connectivity (to make chasing your opponents or defending objectives more possible)
Begin Roughing out the Areas
Now that you’ve got your flow down, it’s time to start roughing out your areas. This can be done on paper or in 3d, as suits the individual designer. When coming up with gameplay for these areas, it’s good to begin considering the other aspects that make up an area. Most important of all, however, is to add verticality.
Verticality is important!
Adds visual interest
Good re-use of space
Fit more gameplay into smaller footprint
Gives players interesting choices
You’ll also want to start thinking about things like view distances, how good you want your various spaces to be for camping, or what (generally) you want the gameplay to be in those areas.
Open Space Vs. Covered Spaces
In general large open spaces should be avoided in favor of spaces with lots of cover and/or verticality. The exception is when you want the player to be vulnerable, such as when creating a risk-reward scenarioRisk / Reward Scenarios
A good way to encourage players to make choices is to place a few “Risk / Reward” setups into your areas. These are any time you want to tempt the player into taking a big risk to obtain some big reward. An example would be a powerful weapon in a vulnerable spot (such as on a small beam, or in a large open area, or near a wall).
Other times you can tempt a player with an eventual strategic advantage. For example, you could place two paths leading into a base – one has good cover and excellent spots to attack the defenders. The other has a short patch that is open and easily defended, but leads to some good high ground you can use to further demolish your opponents.
A Few Extra Notes
CTF Support (Symmetry)
CTF and Node modes almost require symmetry to achieve balance.
CTF requires that the flag carrier have good places to run, but not to hide
Sometimes you will have places in your map that a good player will never go, since it only gives them a disadvantage. Try to avoid this, whenever possible.
If you find, through testing the space, that a part of the map is useless space, try creating a risk/reward scenario there. Put a pickup there or create some other reason why it’s a good place to have. Failing that, block the area off to keep newbies from having enough rope to hang themselves.FPS-Specific Tidbits
Avoid extreme changes in terrain grade. Not only do they look too steep to walk up, but they are also pretty hard to see when walking towards them. More gentle grades will often be more obvious.
When designing corridor style spaces (Pathways, valleys, streets), determine the minimum amount of space needed for the game play you are intending on before designing these area.
If possible, strive to use to already built (to-scale) assets when roughing out a 3D space. This can give you a good idea of whether or not a space you designed is going to be big enough once it has been populated with art assets.
While knowing a map well is a key to attaining vicory, in general it should not be an incredibly important arbiter of who wins or loses. Skill with the core mechanic fills that role.
Knowledge of the map as a determining factor of who wins the map is a bad thing when you have:
Secret areas – Secret areas allow flag holders to hide in CTF, and reward map knowledge over skill contests.
Powerful hidden pickups – Only people who have played the map will know where to get these. In general, place your most powerful weapons in easily accessible places and use them as focal points.
Hard-to-find gimmicks – Things like buttons hidden in the level that call in airstrikes make everyone else explode. These can be cool when they’re in an easily accessible area and provoke a gimmick that you have some countermeasure against, but not when hidden or secret.
Teleporters (sometimes) – Teleporters in general discourage fair fights, since only those with knowledge of where they go can make good decisions on coming out the other side. Teleporters can be good in some instances, but unless you really have some really good gameplay in mind, there’s usually a better solution.