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Structure

When you forge a map, you are forging structures using blocks from the Canvas palette. But it is the Spaces, Walkways, and Paths that you are really forging. And the Structure of the Space, the Walkway, and the Path are more important than the structure of blocks that form them.

Room To Move

Spaces need to be roomy. They need to create Paths through them that are fun to traverse. They need to have cover to hide behind during fire fights, and that cover should be part of the structural surroundings.

Cover should be part of the structure itself – it should look like it belongs there, lest the structure feels incomplete. When you plan out the structure that you want to forge, you want to plan on how the structure itself will provide both the necessary cover and the necessary room to move about. You want a structure that will accommodate both the movement and cover that you want the Space to provide.

Spaces need plenty of room in all three dimensions, and these dimensions can change from one end of a Space to another. What is important is that you consider how these changes will impact movement and cover as one traverses the Space. If you try to squeeze the middle of a Space, it may provide cover well enough, but you could make it unwelcoming to pass through. If there are sharp corners within the Space, that should be okay, so long as a player is not forced to make the turn right at the corner where a camping shotgun may be waiting.

Shallowing The Turns

It is important that when a player turns a corner that they can do so away from the corner, or that the turn itself is shallow so that the corner cannot conceal a camper. This is true for both Spaces and Walkways.

Unlike Spaces, however, Walkways should have a consistent width and height from one end to the other. This means that if the Walkway is narrow (e.g., say two Forge Units), then any turn in the Walkway should be shallowed to avoid campers around the corner. Making a 90 degree turn into two 45 degree turns or into three 30 degree turns is what I call shallowing a turn. Using curved walls is also a good way to shallow a turn.


Shallow turns allow a player walking at full speed (perhaps even sprinting) to have time to react to campers around the corner due to the way that the camper emerges into the field of view of the player turning the corner. Unlike suddenly finding a camper at your feet at a 90 degree corner, the camper may be some distance away while they become exposed to the player making the turn.

Tight, narrow turns if at all should only be in places where heavy defense (e.g., flag room) is necessary for the purpose of giving an edge to the defenders – to make the last line of defense a bit more powerful. But anywhere else I think you want to consider either wide areas around the turn or shallowing the turn itself.

Dance Floors

A Dance Floor is any area that a player can jump and move about erratically to throw off the aim of their opponent. Every Space that you forge should have plenty of room to dance about in, and in all three dimensions. Any constructs within a Space that hinder dancing can lead to frustration during fire fights.

With Walkways, the width is some times limiting, making dancing more two dimensional – up/down and forward/backward. This is okay, and is sort of expected, but you don’t want this limitation to be over a long length of Walkway. If all one could do is back out the way they came while dancing up and down and backward, the Walkway will feel like a trap, and discourage players from taking it.

The rule is to avoid low ceiling everywhere on your map. There may be a place for them on your map, but that alone would make your map the exception. Consider carefully if the frustration is a warranted risk you are willing to forge into your map.

Cover

Cover on a map should not just be for cover alone. In most cases it should be part of the structure itself. This is the most ideal, because it helps your map look more realistic and less cluttered at the same time.

But in some cases you will be in the open field and want to plant rocks or trees. Rocks, trees, and crates are good examples of Lazy Cover – cover that is thrown onto the map and doesn’t really look like it was originally part of the design of the structure or even the original intent of the map. The difference is that in open fields, rocks can actually look like they belong there, that they were not an after thought. How you pull off rocks in an open field is more a matter of Art than Geometry, and we will talk about this later.

If you use rocks in an open field, and really any sort of cover not part of the structure itself, then you want to give the rocks additional purpose and utility. By making it possible for players to run up an incline edge of a rock, you offer them the ability to raise their elevation to see over other obstacles, while also giving them the ability to move back down the inclined edge of the rock for cover. The rock no longer provides just cover alone, but also advantageous sight lines. This is Multi-Purpose Cover. In other words, if you are going to add cover somewhere that doesn’t look like it is part of a structure, then at least make it useful in some other way so that it can also pass as cover.

Leaves on trees and bushes make great examples of Soft Cover – cover that is only able to shield you from your adversary’s vision, but not their fire. The leaves on Boardwalk are the best examples of Soft Cover. They allow snipers to hide and wait for targets to appear in their sight lines while being very difficult to spot through the leaves. The colors of the leaves on Boardwalk were also a hue that gave neither red nor blue team an advantage. They are both equally blending and contrasting with red and blue. That is why those specific shades of hues are chosen by the publisher in the first place.

Summary

Structures need to provide room to move, engage, dance, take cover, and recover. Cover should be built into the structure itself – and the structure should look incomplete without it.

Walkways should be of consistent width and height. When narrow, corners in Walkways should be shallowed to avoid surprises from campers.

Avoid low ceilings.

Lazy cover should be avoided unless you can make it a necessary component of your map; and then it needs to provide other functions besides just cover.

Soft cover is for hiding behind though it doesn’t actually protect.

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