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Static (decorative) object placement
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Adhesive_Boy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:40 am
   Subject: Static (decorative) object placement
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Static objects never really seem to be emphasized a whole lot. They are generally what people place last and put the least amount of thought into. I really think, however, that good object placement is what can make or brake a good level.

So (forgive me if this sounds too much like an essay question on an exam), how do you define "good static object placement"? And in what ways do you think it enhances the level, beyond just being decorative? I'll hold off until later...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:13 pm
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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Will write more later, now just a little observation - brown plants sometimes look just like brown guards. I shoot many innocent brown plants in my career, wasting vauable ammo and alarming the whole base.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:55 am
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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Whew! I haven't posted here in a long time... Had a lot of PC related problems in the last week, so that didn't help Razz Bleh...

Anyway, about static items... I can't believe I didn't reply to this thread the second Jack posted it. Static items are something I love to play with, and I agree with Jack that they are one of the most important aspects of good level design. A lot of people though don't take that much time with them it seems, which is strange... Static items are "furniture" and totally affect the way your level is perceived. Next to selecting good wall textures and enemy placement, good decorations are vital. Get ready, kids, it's time to play Interior Decorator!! Smile

Christopher Lowell aside, here are my personal views. First and foremost, decide what the theme of your level is going to be. Is this a tunnel type area ? Or a dungeon ? Or an office / meeting room area? Is this a boss level where all the Third Reich masterminds meet ? Planning your theme totally is the first step. Next, decide what kinds of decorations make the most sense for your level. A high-ranking area with officers and SS guards galore should, in my opinion, have green plants, tables, pillars, chandeliers... All the expensive niceities. Whereas a dungeon area should have skeletons, blood, cages, torture devices, etc. All the things that really show that this is not a nice place to be for the player.

Next up comes placement. I prefer to go for the most part realistic, although the occassional use of symbolism will creep in there. Tables with chairs I like to usually have centered in a room, or at least one square away from any walls around them because, well, the Nazis need a place to sit around it, don't they ? Bare tables without any chairs I think look good when set inside a single square niche with perhaps a piece of treasure or food in front of them. A lot of the decorations in the game follow similiar guide lines... Realism in accordance with the theme of the level.

Also, take your color scheme into consideration. This is a cosmetic thing, but it is important. Maybe I'm just picky, but sometimes brown plants just look better than green plants when it comes to playtesting. For example, a level with a dark brown ceiling and predominately brownish walls is a nice choice, but when you use brown plants on the level it tends to make things look "dull" and the plants just blend into the background too much, as you will also have brown guards patrolling the level and this makes the game look boring as there isn't much that attracts the eye. Switching to green plants on this level would probably be a better choice as they usually tend to spice things up quite a bit and the level doesn't fade into the background so much. This is just my personal taste, but this is something I always try to consider.

There are several types of static items that can be used to enhance gameplay as well. Pillars can be used by and against the player, as while they may slow down or impede the enemy, they can also do the same to the player if he or she is trying to make a quick getaway from a boss or an oncoming horde of Nazis. I have several opinions on proper use of such decorations, but I think this post is getting long enough. Also, I think this topic should be coupled with a topic about room sizes and shapes and how to use these items for the player's advantage / disadvantage.

Anyway, maybe that's enough to get things rolling here Smile Start posting some more ideas, people! I'm sick of seeing this place so bare! Smile

Oh, and welcome aboard, Kuki! Everyone is welcome to post here, so long as they're talking about making maps for our favorite games Wolf3D and SoD Smile As Adhesive_Boy (Jack) said in an older post, this document is supposed to be written by the community for the community Smile I think people are just nervous about coming here because they think it's for "Professionals Only"... That's nonsense. I think the more people that contribute, the better.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:10 am
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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Well I think an important thing to note about static objects in wolf is that they tend to be somewhat universal. I mean if you look at the table with chairs, its not too fancy, and its not really grimey. It could work well in both a regal dining area and a lowly guards dining area. The beds are just plain, but work well in either a officers sleeping quarters or a prisoner bed area. However some of the static objects aren't as useful. The spears on the rack are more for decoration then anything, and wouldn't be used for any other purpose then that so they really only fit well in a regal area. The one rack of hanging kitchen utensils looks very odd since they don't have shadows underneath them and should probably only be put in alcoves within the walls so they don't stick out too much.

Also I have a thing about the bucket. This has to be IMO the most under used static object in most wolf maps. This little bucket works well as many, many things. You can use it for cleaning, put it near a well, or water on the floor. Its good for dogs to drink out of. It can be used as a *cough* *cough* chamber pot. It looks great in a room that looks like a janitors closet which would have a sink, the bucket and a few brown barrels in it and maybe a puddle on the floor. There are other uses for it, so I think people should play around with it more.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:33 pm
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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You raise an excellent point with that bucket idea. I'll have to try that idea out with my current map-in-progress. I still have numerous sequences to create for it. Cool

Another good point stated here is the use of color schemes. I agree with it 100%, and always slave over a map to make sure nothing is too much of one color. But I also keep in mind that colors have psychological effects on the map as well. The color Red increases anger and frustration in many situations, while the color Yellow increases joy and happiness. So whenever you make a "hard" room, I consider it wise to place one or more objects with Yellow in the room somewhere, while you totally avoid the color Red in that same room. This definitely decreases the frustration factor - not just for the players of your map, but for beta-testers of the map as well.

But one consideration I haven't seen posted yet is "balance". I always make sure that the placement of objects is reasonably balanced. In other words, you shouldn't have two or three objects in one corner of the room, while you have ten or twelve objects in the opposite corner.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:16 am
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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.....


Last edited by Thomas on Wed May 25, 2011 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:33 pm
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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One tip I forgot to mention ...

Where there are areas "blocked off" by solid objects (like a group of SSs behind a few barrels) - and you'll never get to these blocked areas, you'll see next to no difference at all as to whether or not you have a ceiling light or chandelier placed in the barred area. The fact is, the solid objects, the dead guards, and the live guards are all drawing so much attention to themselves, the ceiling lights and chandeliers go unnoticed.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:09 am
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.....


Last edited by Thomas on Wed May 25, 2011 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:47 am
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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I have a grip about the use of the stove. It seems the stove is supposed to look like its connected to a wall from the pipe (maybe I'm wrong I don't really no anything about these stoves.) but it just looks weird when its out in the middle of an area IMO. I think it should be used in alcoves or in corners, or at least against a wall. That's JMO of course.

Also, something I've noticed, the tables make a fine little block off if you wanna have a kitchen area with a counter. Like a serving hall or something. Have a room with a back room and a door on the side. The back room can have the kitchen utensils and the stove and of course some guards and some food and ammo to make it worth going in there. The front room can have an opening that leads into the rest of the area, but have it blocked off by a row of tables making it look like a counter and have a guard there that would be the chef.

Just an idea! This place is bare so I thought I'd add.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:18 pm
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I'm with you on the stove, Ringman. I've never, ever placed one in the middle of the room. Now that you mention it, I think the pipe thingy was why, but I never really thought about it.

Same would go for the suit of armor, too. I actually don't see too much of this sprite anywhere in anybody's TC, to be honest. I ought to use it more myself, in fact. Idea
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:24 pm
   Subject: Re: Static (decorative) object placement
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Tricob wrote:
One tip I forgot to mention. Where there are areas "blocked off" by solid objects (like a group of SSs behind a few barrels) - and you'll never get to these blocked areas, you'll see next to no difference at all as to whether or not you have a ceiling light or chandelier placed in the barred area. The fact is, the solid objects, the dead guards, and the live guards are all drawing so much attention to themselves, the ceiling lights and chandeliers go unnoticed.

Another thing I found about these types of areas, is that it's not a good idea to only give the enemy one space of area. If the enemy has no where to move, he just keeps trying to move east (nodir links to east in dirangle), which looks kind of weird. You can see this in places like Level 1 in Schabbs2000 and ATAW.

You can make him always face the player in these kind of situations if you want, by changing CalcRotate() in WL_DRAW.C to this:

::: CODE :::
   if (ob->obclass == rocketobj || ob->obclass == hrocketobj)
      angle =  (viewangle-180)- ob->angle;
   else
   {
      if (ob->dir == nodir)
         return 0;
      else

         angle =  (viewangle-180)- dirangle[ob->dir];
   }

That will also make enemies in areas like E5L4 look alot better, like described in situtation 1 here.
But still, for guards behind poles, it will still look kind of weird to see them trying to run "on the spot". Maybe these alteratives would work better...

::: CODE :::
xxxx          xxx            xxxox
ogxx          xxx            xxxxx
xxxx         
ogx            xxxxx
                 x
xx            ogx
                 xxx            xxx

The second/middle example is used in E2L5, one of the first rooms has this with purple walls. It looks good, but when I saw it, I actually looked around for a while for a secret area (since it seemed like there could be something back there, as I couldn't see the whole area from the other side). So, I guess the first example would be best if you want the area to look closed off, but having the same enemy run around to different areas (example 3) can be fun too, so I guess it depends what you want to do. I suppose seeing a guard moving 90 degrees before shooting you (open side blocks) looks more realistic than jumping 180 degrees though. Any thoughts?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:06 pm
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Chris wrote:
I suppose seeing a guard moving 90 degrees before shooting you (open side blocks) looks more realistic than jumping 180 degrees though. Any thoughts?
It would make "behind the barrels" sequences a little too limited and/or predictable, I think ... *unless* you added a little extra strategy.

For example, one little trick I remember doing was in Level 2, Episode 2 of "Operation: Kill BJ!". I blocked off the SSs in two areas, so they'd show up in 6 different squares. Like this ("o" are barrels):

XXXXXXXX
*******o
*******o
*******o
***XXXX
**So
**So
***o

You wouldn't get their attention until you came into view of the last three squares they're visible from (The player approaches from the north to the south). So the player moves forward, hears the SSs shout, the player backs away two or three squares, and the SSs move to the upper level of their "playground" and shoot the player, even though he's supposedly backed away from the danger!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:38 am
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One thing I've done twice now, is to throw the player off by making static objects that look like they could be enemies, so people waste their bullets on them.

The one sneaky little bastard is in Drawn and Quartered on the underwater level, I have no clue how many times, I myself, shot at that thing.

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