Same Map, Different Time (And Season) - Is The Difference Between Night And Day… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Same Map, Different Time (And Season) - Is The Difference Between Night And Day…

All of us or most of us or maybe just some of us have ideas we'd like to see in a video game. I know this because I see these types of blogs rather frequently. Most of us will never have the opportunity to be a video game developer, but that doesn't mean we're not full of worthwhile ideas. Over the course of the past few years, I've blogged about this subject before, and I've also shared some of my ideas along the way. I don't think any of them are necessarily ground breaking or earth shattering - most of them are probably ideas other gamers have expressed or considered before. But still, there is always a bit of satisfaction that comes with sharing an idea or blogging about a subject, and then seeing it mentioned by a professional in the industry...or even better...come to fruition. It's almost like a bit of validation that, yes...I have good ideas that deserve to be in a game.

Well, I had one of those moments today.

Quite a while ago, I blogged about the process of designing maps and how I thought it made sense to take a base map, and with a few tweaks, you could make several variants of the map. The obvious modifications would be time of day, or a day and night version of the map. But other modifications include weather (a rainy or snowy version of the map) or perhaps even a before and after version - like if a natural disaster or man-made disaster occurred and resulted in a significant degradation of the map.

I realize it's not as easy as taking a lit map and making it dark. You would have to tweak the lighting and probably even modify the color palettes and what not, but it is certainly doable. I know this because a few games have done this before - like the game I saw today that did it.

In the past on rare occasions I've gotten grief from one or two people if I mention a game I support at my job. But I'm not here to peddle any products or try and persuade any of you to play this game. I merely mention it as an example to illustrate my point about the idea of taking existing maps, making a few modifications, and totally expanding the number of available maps in your game with several that are essentially the same but look and play entirely different.

Today Wargaming released an update to World of Tanks on the Xbox 360, and one of the most significant features of this update was it took several maps from the existing rotation, and added night time versions of some and weather effects to others. Specifically:

Rain Variants

Malinovka

Mines

Cliff

Night Variants

Prokhorovka

Abbey

Sand River

Snow Variant

Mountain Pass

The results were spectacular (and received very well by the community).

You can see the effects here if you're interested.

Here was a game that had a handful of maps - no weather and no night time option - and now you can play some of the original maps with these effects. And they look and feel and play totally different.

As soon as I saw it, I said to myself..."THANK YOU! SOMEBODY FINALLY LISTENED!"

Of course that's not entirely true, but I did think happy thoughts because this was something I've talked about before and I was not only witnessing it happen, but witnessing a community who really embraced the idea.

And I still stand behind the idea. I think a lot more companies could benefit from this approach. I'll be honest...I'd love to see Blood Gulch in a blizzard with snow and ice covering the ground or fly over Wake Island in the dark with the only lights coming from the stars and the enemy outposts.

Nuke Town in the rain. Yes Please.

Perhaps the most dramatic reskinning of a map I have ever seen was in Team Fortress 2. In fact, for the longest time I didn't even realize it until I heard someone call it the Halloween version of  one of the other regular maps, and it occurred to me they were right. I was floored. I was like, "Holy crap...you're right - these maps are practically identical. Amazing how some cosmetic adjustments here and there completely changed the look and feel of the map. The maps were Mountain Lab and Mann Manor.

A game I think could really benefit from this makeover right now - Titanfall. Let's hope someone listens to this idea.

Do you have a favorite map you would like to see in a different light or under different weather conditions?

Cheers.

 

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