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What is level design for Carmageddon?
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Toshiba-3 created What is level design for Carmageddon? on Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:22 pm
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Hello guys, everything is in the title :sbsmile:

Ok, as the years went by I started to find level design more and more interesting. I'm a big Doom and Quake fan and like to play the new levels still being created to this day. I like to read and watch level/mod reviews online and try to follow the thought of great level design (I suggest the Custom Gamer channel btw (HL2/Quake)).

So, well, this is a domain that really interests me... but how does it apply to Carmageddon maps? Serious question. You might think that considering the years I've been modding the game I'd have an idea on subject but actually no. It seems to me like we make maps a bit randomly, either driven by aesthetic achievement or just because we can (conversions, bidding our time, etc.).
Carmageddon isn't even like other racing games... it is so open and non linear, how could we get a precise idea of level design ideals for our game?

I guess other games could show parts of the way ofcourse. Though only one that comes to mind is Powerslide, and it's not similar enough to Carmageddon. Would you have any to suggest?
Carmageddon has peds for time, good and bad powerups, recovery, elevators/doors (C2), material modifiers, opponent paths, checkpoints, cops (C1), smashables, noncars... and all of this kind of defines what the leveldesign/gameplay might be all about I think, do you have other defining aspects to suggest?

But because of the open/nonlinear gameplay curse, Carma leveldesign is often limited to reproducing real life areas and plotting stuff here and there to add basic game interactions. While I think there isn't much to do about it for Carmageddon 1, there's that very annoying thing that Carmageddon 2 introduced: missions.
Most of us don't like missions, and for good reasons IMO. In C2, these mission levels are modified maps to add a specific objective. But what if we actually thought the objective first and then created a level to support it and make the players try to complete it? I think we never gave a good enough look at what the 'mission' status can bring us when making a map. It limits the open/nonlinear gameplay aspects and allow us to get something going on.

Ofcourse we couldn't get super strategy-filled-full-of-surprises levels done like in some FPS scenes. But I'm sure we could get fun and challenging stuff. My current appreciation of the original levels and even most of our addon maps, is that we 'just' roam around, bash some peds, insta-waste ennemies as we encounter them and yep that's it. Even TDR multiplayer maps weren't really that fun, somehow you just had to memorize the powerups positions and be the fastest. Missions bring the challenge in C2 but they aren't very fun or interesting. What levels do you find fun and/or challenging btw?

I liked the TDR Arena though, found it interesting and we often had great gameplay going on there, trying to reach the nuclear bombs, pushing opponents in the crushers, meeting in the corridors. Coffeycup's Blunderdome is a very good map in that regard as well. The C2 Silo mission is a very challenging one too, but not fun at all ofcourse, but I kinda find it interesting. In C1 I always loved the Castle level, always felt like they could have done much more with it, a more abstract castle-themed level. Abstract levels are very interesting because you're even more free to work on the gameplay-inducing design and setting atmosphere than when you base your work on a real situation. I like Coffeycup's (him again) port of Unreal's Deck17 and his Doom maze, this level design approach would fit C1 like a glove, even if without an objective as I blabled before.

Ah well, rant over :sdead:

Here's a list of the questions though:
    How does level design apply to Carmageddon maps creation?
    Do you have any racing game with similarly nonlinear gameplay to suggest?
    What are aspects that define the Carmageddon gameplay in your eyes?
    What are your thought about using the mission level status to our advantage?
    What original and/or addon levels do you find fun and/or challenging?
Image / carmageddon add-ons at road reaction
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coffeycup on Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:48 am
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Wow what a great thread.
I guess this is a response to what make Carma gameplay, and random thoughts because that's all I can doafter too much food on Thanksgiving.

I think a lot my favorite C2 maps have an outer loop that is bisected with roads and a central open area where a lot of the action takes place with peds and the AI. See Airport, Junkyard and Quarry levels.

Huge maps are great but one con is a lot of times you're driving around alone as the AI scatter around the map. So for a lot of non-stop action small arena maps are great.

I think there's a lot of features like lifts and sliding doors/walls could be worked into maps more (I'm usually lazy and haven't much), especially a Doom inspired one. But how the AI handle the changing geometry would be interesting. Tosh, your Arena with the grinding gears and Harm's Cactus maps were really nice examples of interactive elements. Mastro was doing some crazy stuff with this Doom and Mario maps.

Messing with Special effects volumes for low gravity effects is fun. Having an outer space map with 'floating' decks like the old UT2003 Phobos maps where you'd have to float across a void to the next deck. I can see the AI just stupidly floating off into space already....

Adding custom drones and noncars always adds a lot to a level instead of using the stock objects. Having a helicopter land at your outpost or have forklifts moving around your warehouse map etc. would be a nice touch. But I guess that's level design 101.

I wish people would make more maps. I don't think they're any harder than making a car, sometimes easier depending on what you're making.
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Toshiba-3 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:44 pm
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Great thoughts Coffeycup. Indeed Harm's Cactus is a great arena level. But like most arenas it is most enjoyable in multiplayer or with a very strong AI. Speaking of multiplayer, I also think this is one of the strongest points of games like Doom and Quake and what drove some mappers to develop interesting gameplays and rise the standards of leveldesign for those games: multiplayer maps have a very high replay value and gameplay brought by great level design is thus very important. And well... Carmageddon 1 and 2 never had proper multiplayer and thus we stayed with singleplayer roaming. :ssad:

And yes, I forgot about the sfx volumes even though I cited your blunderdome! This is a really good Carma feature! Allows to create a lot of effects which can have a direct impact on the gameplay. Just too bad be can't set the direction of gravity.

You mentionned Mastro's work, and yes I forgot about his Karnak experimental map for C1. Which is spot on what I'm talking about:

Ofcourse these are rather puzzles we'd see in a FPS, but he used Carma-specific gameplay features to set the path to an objective.

This reminds me of C2 levels I designed (on paper) several years ago. One is directly inspired by WipeOut and set in the Silo. It is for example using smashable+rewards on the ground to simulate the 'boosters' from WipeOut. It has jumps, damaged parts where you need to drive on the ceiling (it is a long round tunnel), loops etc. But then again it is completely linear and closed.
Another level was a huge flying rock in the sky (ala Castle In The Sky). You'd be dropped at the top and would have to reach the bottom by driving through ruins and tunnels, often being on the edge of falling. As you went deeper, more and more of the structure would detach and fall, using big smashables. This level would have been something we rarely see in Carmageddon: vertical, and would force a lot of action in a more restrained space.
Finally there was a new take on the Beaver Woods that I'm still planning. It's titled Zombies in the Woods so you get the idea: zombie attack. I won't tell my ideas for this to keep the surprise but this would show how much of a story we could put in a track even though it'd still be an open level. A dark setting, an attacked village, a mysterious source of zombie invasion, gore cliches, scripted events, etc.

Just talking about all this makes me want to stop everything I'm doing at the moment and start making levels. I feel like we made sure enough addon cars in the course of 15 years :slol: Also C2Scientist showed how practical it is now to work directly in Max to make levels thanks to Harm's scripts. I must stop adding new entries in my Carma to-do list!
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coffeycup on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:05 pm
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Those are great ideas. The vertical one sounds challenging. I like the destroyable environment idea. Always wanted to do a rope bridge or wooden planks. Either have a smashable 'wooden plank' texture that you need to drive carefully over or you'll fall through into the chasm. Or use loose noncar boards laid across two horizontal beams. Would be a nice effect with the boards shifting around and falling.

I actually walked around with a little notebook writing down map ideas for a while. 'course that's as far as a lot of them got. Did want to do a WW2 map with ruined french village and cathedral. Collapsed roofs and piles of rubble that could be used as jumps. Lots of explosives like a fuel depot and land mines.

Still thinking about an outer space level with lots of stuff floating around. Rocket ship and asteroid drones.
Now I want to screw around making something too!!
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Mad_Maxine on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:09 pm
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This is the kinda topic you can only get here, I love this kinda thing, where thinking and planning goes in rather than jsut spewing ideas 'Woudlent a racetrack be cool!? Or a factory!' kinda thing.

tho you lost me at zombies..

Ok so to answer the question, what do I like? well I like maps that come with all the fetures.. wich hardly any do? you know. new everything! A new map, with new peds that fit the map, and new drones, and new opponents to suit the place (if the map requires set opponents liek the cops in bruise brothers) but hardly any maps have new peds? some have new drones? I guess theres not a lot of maps to choose from really, compared to some things. and Only just now it feels like we are having ideas on map fetures and such,
Tho the only idea I had was of having noncars in slots in the floor to act as gates and such wich can be swung open and such.

Tho I have a whole bunch of map ideas, like a rage racer style ovel around a smll portion of city, in a futurish tokyo kinda image, maps that go from day to night as you progress, with special boxes, and sky texture, tho I guess they would have to be one way maps?

Anyway!, we should all do something!, because we have the power to make an awsome map, with drones, and opponents, new peds, new fetures, with our heads togeather and such, If that ever happens im on board.

Nice topic tho tosh, I guess we really dont think enough about maps, Id love to make some but dont know how, other than the small ones I do in cared.
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Deep_Blue on Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:53 am
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Mad_Maxine wrote:


Nice topic tho tosh, I guess we really dont think enough about maps, Id love to make some but dont know how, other than the small ones I do in cared.


Same problem I have. I really dunno enough. (Trying like hell to learn in my spare time.)

I have lotsa smallish, plain maps made in CarEd-These are the ones I'm currently screwing up trying to learn with.

:techsupport:
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
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Toshiba-3 on Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:26 pm
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That WWII ruined village sounds like a good plan. Destroyed buildings and props could justify the limits of the gameplay area. And just as you explained you could use the decor and turn it into gameplay features rather than just plotting black and yellow striped concrete jumps. That's exactly the kind of thing I meant by making the map according to objectives/gameplay necessities rather than dropping some gameplay elements afterwards once the map is made.

I'd really like floating/space levels too but we all know how the game likes to crash when the opponents fall in the void. And measures to prevent that are annoying :/ Such maps could still apply to multiplayer though.

BTW I remembered how Metal Gear Solid devs used lego blocks to make and preview their levels. Just thought how handy this could be to keep track of proper proportions (in regard to vehicles) while making the map and also visualize the geometry and space use beforehand.

Honestly Maxine, I'm pretty sure you would enjoy the zombie invasion level :swink: It's not bland full of zombies idea, there would be normal peds first then wow corpses before I ran them over, and then... approaching the dark woods... :crazy: oh noes a suicidal peds powerup just activated in front of that zombie hord, run for your bodywork :grin:

Maxine, Deep-Blue, you know, CarEd is sure enough I think, just look how far Mastro went. As long as you know your limits (what you can and can't do) and work on smaller maps. Coffeycup made a lot of 'cheap maps' with a lot of potential. Maps like his Another 8 Map are rather small but serve their purpose as it should.

One of the keys to all this is probably extensively designing on paper beforehand. Like writing list of ideas down and doodling them etc.
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coffeycup on Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:26 pm
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The outer space level would be surrounded by sfx volume boxes so you'd float instead of falling into a void.

I tried making something last night. Two really tall skyscrapers floating in space with a sfx volume box between. I don't know if it was because there was no 'floor' or because the box was so big, but just as I'd be almost across the gap floating towards the opposite building I get recovered and put back where I was jumping from.
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Harmalarm on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:45 am
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Interesting topic there tosh!

The question has been bugging me for some time as well. In the past, the seemingly easy conversions I did from several games always turned out to be rather unsatisfying. And I think, in most cases, this was because the maps came from games with a more linear gameplay (powerslide, san francisco rush 2, revolt) Some of these maps where never released because of this.

I guess, as you already mentioned tosh, because the gameplay in carmageddon is sandbox oriented I think the main thing to do then, is to come up with a sandbox with as many 'toys' to play with as possible. I guess this is why I love the 'maps and tricks galore' topic from C2s so much. It just gives wild ideas for all the possibilities. (some of them not really interesting for gameplay though)

But as we discussed some times there are many things to add to improve gameplay and to set the right mood in a map. At some point we came up with the thunder and lighting idea. Using small env boxes to simulate lightning by setting their background override option to plain white? If you scatter some of these around your map, add thunder sounds to them, it would give the impression of a thunderstorm and 'random' lighting.
Other thing I thougt of once was to make lava actually deadly. I always thought it dissapointing in the Hell level that the lava was harmless. Well, if you put a plane underdeath and add an environment box just below the lava surface with a high gravity value, the cars will be crushed just as they hit the lava, resulting in certain death...

Anyway, I think adding things like the above, can turn a map from a dull environment into an action packed one.
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Hairba11 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:22 pm
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quote: there's that very annoying thing that Carmageddon 2 introduced: missions.
Most of us don't like missions, and for good reasons IMO. In C2, these mission levels are modified maps to add a specific objective. But what if we actually thought the objective first and then created a level to support it and make the players try to complete it? I think we never gave a good enough look at what the 'mission' status can bring us when making a map. It limits the open/nonlinear gameplay aspects and allow us to get something going on.


I think there can be discussion on the levels. i don't necessarily love many of them, but i think going back and playing some of them since the opening of this discourse has made me realize something.
the stock car's handling files suck. Hard.
when you are running around bashing (and extending your time) it is fine. but when you have a time based challenge the physics and handling conspire against you and you are left frustrated.

i remember playing the original when new game and having to run the first few races before the quarry speed challenge to finally have enough money to buy the purple piledriver which was one of the best handling cars in the game. and it was still crap.

taking out the satellite dishes was a whole batch of enough acceleration, and enough braking once you hit the roof.

i still play the trucking hell level, although i have replaced the big dump with that huge transformers movie excavator. it is good for figuring out which car i loaded keeps giving me the "wheels outside all shapes" error.

i hated the "find these peds and kill them" challenges, not that i am against smoking peds, but because the cars sucked to drive anywhere in a hurry, then trying to get them to turn and accelerate and stop

to this day i have never completed the final mission in the silo without the iwishicouldflyrightuptothesky cheat. i've tried multiple times. i get about 15 minutes into the 10 minute challenge after stopping the clock and give up and fly through the walls till i find the big button.

and the aircraft carrier, while unique, always irritated me during normal racing because the lower level wasn't open, but opponents would occasionally be respawned to the engine room and you had to abort race.

now there are a decent number of replacement tracks, but are there replacement missions? i don't know how they are coded in.
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coffeycup on Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:46 am
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Yeah, never cared for the Aircraft carrier levels either and the game would tend to freezewhen opponents went off the edge.

It's been so long since I've done any missions I forget how they play out. X amount of smashables? Guess I'll have to try.
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Mastro 666 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:11 pm
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Hairba11 wrote:
now there are a decent number of replacement tracks, but are there replacement missions? i don't know how they are coded in.


// Foro del Carmageddon & Mastro's Carmageddon Web
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Hairba11 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:41 am
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cool! i hadnt seen that one
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Toshiba-3 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:18 pm
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@Coffeycup: That autorecover is indeed an annoying issue. Maybe you can prevent it by adding opponent paths and nodes across the gap. Also a large invisible insta-recover plane under the gap (to have a mesh down there). Can't remember if the identifier flag is > or !! for that use.
You know what could be greatly enhanced by such a setup? The Eye Of The Beaver mission! Especially if sfx volumes are used to tweak the jumps. Level design (skin) could be changed to something either space-like structure or some out-of-space-and-time floating monolithic ruins. And the satellites changed with gargoyles or something?

@Harm: While I agree entirely with what you said, you mainly talked about environment props that aren't directly related to the gameplay. Toys like that can enhance the gameplay but you need a minimum of thought put into a progression for the player or else it's just sandboxing until you're bored.
However that lava idea is absolutely awesome. We have to try and tweak that. Insta-death is a very rare occurrence in Carmageddon (unless being crushed by Big Dump or suicide against a wall). And such a feature is insanely useful to build up a proper progression in a level, this could also reduce drastically the sense of immunity players have when playing Carmageddon.
Additionally to this, we should also find a proper way to prevent recover and repair. We talked about this a few times with Maxine. Could be done through keymap editing, removing credits or even hexediting. But such a feature isn't really possible for vanilla mods. I'll come back to this later.

@Hairball: C2 physics are indeed kinda counterproductive when it comes to creating a specific level design with some gameplay on your mind. You have to adapt the geometry and so forth. Exagerating the C2 physics could even lead to particular levels. A bit like Ziggurat Vertigo did in Quake. Or more recently Nyarlathotep (still for Quake, if you like Quake I really recommend it).
About the aircraft carrier, I guess we could easily fix that problem by removing the opponent paths and nodes in the engine room. Should prevent the game from spawning the opponents in there.

@Mastro: Had already seen back then, great adaptation of the Doom level :)


Ok, I know I talk a lot about Quake, but as it is my primary center of interest level design-wise, I always come back to it. And thus I thought about something in particular. Quake is often used as just an engine+resources, custom maps being able to redefine a lot of variables and scripts to change most aspects of the game if necessary (this time I share In The Shadows, bringing Thief gameplay to Quake). These maps are kinda portable, as they only require the executable or also the id1 folder in case they use shared resources.
It should be possible to bring something similar to C1 and C2. We could share our advanced work directly within a much stripped down version of the game. This is not unlike Harm's DD2 TC or Freddy's SOD, Maxine's Truck Me. Often thought Coffeycup could have expanded his Nightmare Peds mod into such a little portable experience ; four selected maps like the beach, a single specific car or a handful of selected ones on the theme, etc. etc. Such portable TCs or advanced mods can also modify the physics, effects, menus, as they please.
We could do even better, and actually set up an executable that would patch the path to /data/ in memory and lead the game to load assets elsewhere. That would be more legal and a bit cleaner maybe I think. And then you'd be free to do the mod you want, and change whatever you want (and thus getting rid of repair/recover), and legally share it with anyone with either C1 or C2, because the patch would launch the game using an alternative to /data/ like /nped/ for example in the case of Nightmare Peds etc.

Well you get the idea :)

As a last note on Quake, (if you play Quake that is) check out Sock's last incredible map The Horde Of Zendar, which is regarded by many as one of the best Quake maps ever:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYxSF4DZEqM


And by the way, these questions are still open to everybody:
    How does level design apply to Carmageddon maps creation?
    Do you have any racing game with similarly nonlinear gameplay to suggest?
    What are aspects that define the Carmageddon gameplay in your eyes?
    What are your thought about using the mission level status to our advantage?
    What original and/or addon levels do you find fun and/or challenging?
Image / carmageddon add-ons at road reaction
Espyo on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:31 am
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Ah, level design... I can imagine this topic going on for quite a while, it's such a beautiful thing to talk about.
I hate to be "that guy", but it's sad how levels in games nowadays are all so linear, and aim to provide the fastest possible way to complete it without any sort of distraction. Sure, confusing the players and making them lost in a maze sucks, but linearity in levels closes so many things, it should be a crime.

I've examined, read, etc. on level design on a few types of games, from Doom to Sonic. Carma's greatest strength is mostly bringing chaos to an otherwise normal location, while still featuring tons of places to drive and roam on, in the way only cars can. There are terrains that're both flat enough to obtain speed and to roam around, but bumpy enough to give variety.
Unlike the likes of Doom, it's hard to acknowledge levels in Carmageddon as being made up of "pieces". In Doom, you have a corridor, a room, a secret... in Carma, everything is just one big thing, and I think that's one of the biggest problems map makers have to face.

The only other racing game I can think of that has neat level design is Cel Damage. The arenas are small, but open-ended, and you can go pretty much anywhere.

I believe missions and normal levels can kind of coexist. Heck, when Reincarnation comes out, I'll try to create a "mission pack" mod as fast as possible, I love me some missions :grin: , but as for normal levels, you can see small traits of tiny missions for some minor goals, in some of the existing levels. This is a bit combined with treasure-hunting.
I remember one of the beach levels from Carma1 has some goodies behind a fence. To get to it, first you must drive to a specific point nearby to collect a Bouncy Bouncy. Then, you must make your way through the path until you get to the fence, all the while, dodging a strategically placed cop that'll sabotage your attempt. Finally, you have to time a jump with an acceleration to make it over the fence, hopefully before the powerup ends.
Carma2 also has some things of the sort, but there are mostly paths to get to the goodies, not necessarily powerups or tasks you have to follow.
Levels in the Carma games are pretty big, so there's quite some room for special sections in which you need a powerup, a ramp, or some other imaginative way to reach them (can't wait to reach a powerup that requires you to ride on top of the Big Dump!), but it's also a bit of a task to not make them look like they belong in another game. They have to be a semi-natural part of the level, and have to flow with the gameplay, to the point where at any point, somebody can rise up to the challenge and get those goodies.

Though, I suppose that, like anything, the following rule applies: everything in moderation.
Too much wackyness on the altitude makes levels impossible to play on, as you spend most of your time climbing (looking at you, MagnaChem Rural Developments Inc.), while not enough altitude variation makes it look like you're playing on a dull sheet of paper. Too many walls, and you're travelling a maze. Not enough walls, and there's no exploration. Too many tunnels, closed rooms, ramps and hanging pathways make it look like it's an artificial theme park made just for you, instead of feeling natural, not enough of those, and it looks bland, etc. etc.

Of course, that's just scratching the surface on Carma level design, and me, being a guy who never even touched any editing tool, can't really say anything worthwhile on the matter. But I'm sure that, in the end, it follows something along these lines. That's the mindset I have, at least.
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Deep_Blue on Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:58 pm
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BIGGER.

That is all.

:grin:
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coffeycup on Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:55 am
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Deep_Blue wrote:
BIGGER.

That is all.

:grin:
ha ha ha.

I just came back from dinner and having a few pints so I'll try not to ramble too much. :beer:

There's one type of level that to my mind that is unique (I think) to Carmageddon and that's the rooftop jumping like in C1's 'Blood on the Rooftops'. I found that really fun maybe because it was the level featured in the demo and played it a bazillion times. There was a little roof jumping in C2's Beaver City but not like in the original. I usually had to stop and line up the car for each jump on those.

The roof jumping in the Junkyard levels was better, especially if you had the fans activated with 'RussellsFannies' :grin:

I really like the Airport levels, a nice big loop around the outside that you could really do some driving on and a lot of things in the central part to mess with, the airport itself and all the airplanes.

I think my least favorite levels were the C1 mines. Maybe I'm just claustrophobic, but there's not much 'free roaming' in a tunnel.

Other things in some of the levels that to my mind were maybe less successful; while I liked the inner raised racetrack and loop in the C2 Fun Fair levels, the drive through log flume ride was not fun for me. Then again the zoo made up for it. :0

In the Beaver Mountains ski levels the outer loop and ski jump were great, but think there could've been a few more points of interest in the center part to explore/destroy like an ice rink or shopping area. I'm just being picky now.

So I guess for me the perfect Carmageddon level, is not a misson, has nice fast section of track that you can race at 200+mph with some interesting, interactive/destroyable features to cause some sort of mayhem hopefully resulting in casualties in the population.
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Hairba11 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:25 am
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Coffee, you nailed my feelings on a lot of it.
beaver city had an outer loop, and limited rooftop jumping but there was a bit of a congested feel to it. the c1 city scape seemed larger.

max's end of town/junkyard offered a lot of obstacles that seemed natural
good rooftop jumping, an underground section, tube jumps, an "offroad" track in the junkyard, but no good outer loop for high speed cruising

i agree with the feeling from the c1 mines. they offered limited play as the uss lewinsky does in the carrier levels. at lest there is a little more stuff to play with on the carrier than there ever was in the mines.

driving the log flume and roller coaster tracks in the funfair were a challenge less fun, making the big loop-de-loop or getting the perfect 92-93 mph to make it through the burning ring were more fun. i just wished the elephants made their appearance more often

the ski jump was fun but limited, as was careening down the bob sled track. my biggest gripe with the mountains was trying to keep my car on the road. not sliding off, just the elevation changes launching the car, even heading up hill

the hugeness of the dessert makes it fun, though i wish there was a flatter portion for some good high speed running. maybe a ground zero level shallow crater.

i was never a real fan of the nuclear silo either

back in the day i enjoyed playing a add-on track i think called "garage" with a vw bus and i think something else in it, scaled up to the point the in game cars were 1:32 or 1;43 scale toys driving and wrecking. it even had an oil change pit.
i would have loved to see an expansion of that idea racing through a boys bedroom, dessert terrain bed spread, stuffed animals with properties like the boulders. action figures like bushes, a "lifesized" hotwheels track setup running from a bookshelf over a chair back, banked corner across a desk, loop-de-loop over the chair seat, jump over a trash can, track ends pointed at a rail crossing for a H.O. train layout running from under desk to under bed and back.
a lot of fun could be had with that

i haven't tried any of the new maps, admittedly i used mapstocalypse to put them in game years ago, i haven't tried manually inserting one yet, mostly due to ignorance.
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Harmalarm on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:40 am
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The thing is that making a good and big open area track for carmageddon simply takes time. Looking at the original tracks from both c1 and c2 you can see they created a single map with different races, mostly 3 of them. Each of these races features a specific strong point in the map. Looking at the c2 beaver city for example, one race goes round the city over the highway, one over the half destructed double decker highway, and the mission over the roofs. Probably, stainless planned these strong points, and later added the different races to it, because the races seem designed instead of ramdonly added later.

Did anyone ever create a map with different races in them? Usually we just create a single loop right?

@tosh; yeah, I was more talking about specifics than the general level design question.

Only racing game with similar non linear gameplay I can think of now is twisted metal. But I think we can all agree the rest of the gameplay is very different.

What makes Carmageddon so special for me is the room for discovery. I still haven't gotten the layouts of the Bleak City districts memorized completely, even after all these years. When playing the android version I made several new discoveries for powerups, which I think is great. And the additional changes made to the maps per race are nice too.

I'm not against missions. The beaver city mission was tense, but the rest of the missions were just a bit dull. If they could be more challenging I think I would enjoy them better.

@Hairba; you mean something like this? http://www.cwaboard.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=8026
(Mental note to self; Damn I should finish this when I get back!)
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Hairba11 on Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:49 pm
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yeah, that's it. :grin:
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Deep_Blue on Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:34 pm
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Hairba11 wrote:
the hugeness of the dessert makes it fun, though i wish there was a flatter portion for some good high speed running. maybe a ground zero level shallow crater.


Ya mention that crater..
Ya mean summin' like this bomb crater?

Attachment:
Bomb Crater.jpg
Bomb Crater.jpg [ 105.67 KiB | Viewed 5916 times ]


For some odd reason, I just like making terrain...

*Holy crap! I just stole the Barringer Crater!*
***When I die may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline***
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Hairba11 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:42 pm
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ok, ok, i'll behave.
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Sleep Dirt on Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:26 pm
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Here's a couple of little things I like about Carma maps, my biggest likes are the variety and room for adventure, in the same line as what Harmalarm says about adventuring and learning the maps, the maps are fairly big with enough little allies, tunnels and rooftops to have a good space to adventure in, although some maps and areas may not be overly strong they are strong or random enough to take a while for me to remember there layout and details. If I'm on a map I don't play often and I'm in the right mood I can have a good little roam about and see what powerups are on offer, whilst doing so I have hunt for my other favorite things: secret and strange places, like ledges that look impossible to reach or an odd hole half way up a mountain, the "how the fuck do I get there" sort of places. I really like destructibles too, I feel they help a lot for the atmosphere, its nice when you have just trashed five big AI on some little street and you can look back too see wasted AI, bent lampposts and speed signs lying about in the aftermath, makes a nice scene of destruction.

I haven't played the missions in a long long time, they defiantly had there charm at first but for me got boring rapidly, I think mainly because most quest objectives I could do as and when I please on any map I wanted, hunt peds, smash cars, make crazy routes and pull stunts, so it quickly made check point and ped hunt missions obsolete, so it wasn't long before I was playing only my favorite maps more and more till missions never got played.

Now you have me thinking about it tho, I think missions under modded area with some really cool possibility's.

Anyways, a mission type I'm a sucker for is boss fights, so the Trucking Hell quest should be a favorite but gets old fast, as it revolves around getting the solid granite and a direct hit, the mission doesn't live up to how I like a boss fight. To make it a little better I thought Dump should have some minions swarming about trying to waste you whilst protect him, and though its not possible a repair-credit limit would make it a million times better, adding the need to think and strategize a little , To be fair I haven't played that mission in ages, I might give it a go laters.

I did have a thought about a giant ped boss though, like a giant monster dude, maybe he's about to trash some nuke plant or something. As there are lots of ped powerups you could use against him there would be a good deal of verity as to how you take him down, you could use kangaroo and afterburner to get head shots in, and the map could have lots of rooftop type places to jump to get head shots with the flamer, bastard ray or p-repulsficator, that is only presuming you could set him up like a giant car, using the damage txt for varied limb damage, and maybe with smash texis for wounds and detachable for severing body parts. Not very plausible I know, but a fun little thought
The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution.
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Toshiba-3 on Mon May 23, 2016 2:26 pm
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Input sent by Stygimoloch back then. I should have posted it directly :sgn:

stygimoloch wrote:
All of the below is, of course, *imo.

The main thing a good map needs is duel arenas - the large enclosed spaces, with maybe 3 or so entrances, where the bulk of the car combat takes place. Examples would be the area full of cows in Coastal Carnage under the broken bridge, the large open circular gallery in Devil's Canyon Mines and the trench around the side of Frosty Pass.

Intersections and crossing routes are also important, for having alternate racecourses, shortcuts and cutting off opponents. Some routes just naturally flow when you drive them; the best maps weave a few of those together organically. I actually really don't like Hell in Splat Pack that much because it's so linear yet so confusing. There's not much reward for learning the map layout.

I know most people hate USS Lewinsky, I reckon the culprit being that it's *too* open, and more importantly, featureless. There's no flow - it's like just driving around a huge field. I don't mind it personally, because it's so small, but it's obviously not one of the classic maps.

The point about verticality is very salient. Some Splat Pack maps went overboard with it, but tiered courses, hills and ramps definitely set Carmageddon apart from most racing games.

Finally, a variety of hidden routes outside the main flow of the level. Some might be shortcuts, some might take you to rarer power-ups, some might just be interesting architecture; the point is, exploration is a huge part of Carmageddon, and there ought to be some sort of incentive/reward for it, even if it's just aesthetic.

Oh and predominantly rough terrain can suck a dick. I hate the ski resort in C2. A bit of rough terrain can be used interestingly, but when it's the entire damn map, it just becomes frustrating to drive.

This may be heresy, but my favourite map across the entire series is 1920s from the Nosebleed Pack. It has everything I mentioned above in abundance, and feels huge yet tight at the same time, together with a strong, internally coherent aesthetic (plus the ubercoolness of the airship).
Image / carmageddon add-ons at road reaction
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Toshiba-3 on Mon May 23, 2016 2:26 pm
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Super bump

It's already been more than two years since I made this thread and I'm still not into level design... goddamn cars blocking my way *shakes fist* Anyway I keep sketching ideas and following level design topics a bit everywhere. Here are random points I thought really apply to Carmageddon tracks as well:

  • Consistency within color/texture schemes to hint as to what is around, upcoming, etc. (bonus, secrets, battle, elevator, boss, path)
  • Decors can (should IMO) convey a bit of background story and even reasons for the race/gameplay to begin with. Is hasn't to be in-your-face, once again just hints here and there.
  • Secrets must be truly rewarding, make the player grin. They should also require a real effort to reach them, not just hiding a powerup behind a crate.
  • Non-linear level design means it's ok if the player doesn't see everything.
  • Unless there's a specific reason not to, areas should be at scale with the cars. I know this sounds obvious but for example I ported stupid stuff like the Old Town Square which even though it's more of a tech experiment is totally not suited for Carma. Same with the HTA track which is way too big and empty.
  • That was my next point actually: most Carma tracks (even some of the originals) are purposelessly too big. I understand it's great to roam around and drive with cool vehicles etc. but gameplay-wise it is dull. If you make a large track you really have to setup several layers of action all around to make it worth spending minutes of roaming around.
  • It's best for the player that when he's done with the level there's chaos all around, makes him have a sense of accomplishment/leaving a mark.
  • So yeah, layers of action. C1 and even more C2 offer a lot of elements to put gameplay action a bit everywhere and even interlace them: opponents, fixed cops (C1), peds, smashables/mines, or even drones being in your way. It's possible create some kind of pace when setting it all up rather than scattering these elements around randomly. As discussed previously the mission aspect can be an incentive to bring the player into these setups. Not sure the fixed timer is really part of it all though.
  • Another point that's pretty popular in FPS level design which I think applies to Carma as well is making the player have a good reason to come back (multiple times) to earlier areas. This often takes the form of an inaccessible path that you have to unlock or that requires a powerup to reach. However there are a lot of other reasons to make the player comes back (no, not checkpoints :D ) and that increases the sense of familiarity with the track. Helps the player visualize the whole track and his position in space as much as the first point of this list. This also makes it all feel more action-packed.
  • One of the most important point is teamwork. Also, being motivated/inspired by others. A good level is often the sum of many good people.

Sorry for the rambling, had all this in my head for a long time now. Some of these points are from Sock, of the Quake community. Inspirational person.
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