View Full Version : Tutorials: Theory: Connectivity and flow

23-07-2004, 08:08 PM
Connectivity and flow

When designing maps it is important to plan your design so that the rooms and corridors flow from one point to another. These are the necessary steps to designing adequate flow in your maps.

Space design principles:-

Focus view

Open this means an open structure like an outdoor area with spanning distance or simple a non enclosed area.

Closed this means an area which is closed in by walls or structures, ie. A room or connection of rooms enclosed.

Focus view this means a combined principle of an open and closed system, basically this means the viewer can see into a closed area and an open area, like a window from a house into a garden etc.

So what use is this theory in mapping?

Well it's important to apply this knowledge when designing a system that flows.
Focus view uses a visual principle rather than a physical interaction, so a window or portal base is more likely to be used for this reference base. These are simple references to make mapping easier to understand how to design a system that flows from once principle to another, now let’s look more closely at these principles.

Open systems
An open system allows a player to move around freely with no restriction of direction or physical dimensions, obviously this is to the limit of the game engine itself, but in theory this is sound and true. The halflife engine has a fake concept for an outdoor map, basically it is really a closed system because the sky brush has to cover and enclose the entire open area. The thing to remember is that when designing an outdoor area, you must understand that the player must be able to move around and interact with that space type and be able to recognize the difference between an outdoor concept and an indoor one. This is really about how you layout your map or how well constructed it is.

Closed system
This is a system which is closed by walls or structures, the player must be able to move around from within the boundaries that are layed out. And be able to move from room to room etc. (Pretty obvious)

Focus view
This allows the viewer to see from one system to another

How do I use these principles?

Here are the general rules for open systems:-

Must have at least 1 input source (This means that if you had a river you would need a mountain, or a dam, basically this is how this look in context to the way things are layered out but this can affect game flow, this is more to do with realism than actual flow but good flow incorporates the visual side of things as we shall later on i.e., a windmill needs wind, an outdoor light needs power, a car or vehicle needs a path or road).
Must contain at least 1 ring flow (This means that a player must be able to move from A to B then back to A again, this makes good flow when moving around in an outdoor area, bad flow is when something leads to a dead end and no way but back).
Must have adequate dimensions (The outdoor area must be adequately sized for the theme that is used; IE the player must not be restricted by dimensions to move around or to jump, so the structures must be designed to fit in with the theme used).
Must have at least one port (This means either a door into an enclosed area or a portal of some kind, port could mean anything that connects different systems).
Must not contain too many ring flows (This means that the outdoor area must be structured and not too open for multi-paths which can lead to player confusion). I would say that 1-3 maximum ring flows provide a good flow for a single open system, anything more can make a map too complicated and simply boring to explore.

Here are the general rules for closed systems:-

Must have 1 or more input source (This means that if there is a lot of electrical things around, one presume there is an electric generator or if there is light coming from somewhere, then there is a source).
Must have at least 1 ring flow
Must connect from one system to another via either focus view or ports
Must provide at least 2 or more ports (There are 2 ports needed for a good reason one needs at least a way into a room, and most importantly a way out if the entrance becomes blocked. This is what design flow is about, careful planning ensures pleasurable gaming experiences and limits confusion when exploring or moving around).
Must have at least 1 corridor/passage in a ring flow (Bad design flow is when one has to run around a single room and never see other parts of the map, this also creates space problems.

There are more rules for these 2 systems but I will explain them more using pictures which define what is good and what is bad. First though you need to know what these references mean:-

Flow types
Path types
Port types

Flow types represent the continuity of a system that allows something to flow from a specific point to another. There are different types of flows which are specific to 1 way direction or both:-


Path types represent the type of direction or specific goal place the player has to move along in order to get to his/her destination, there are many types of paths:-

Line (this means the player only needs to go straight in any given direction)
2d Zigzag (this means the player must traverse in a zigzag fashion)
3d Zigzag (this means the player must traverse in a zigzag fashion but in both up and down directions as well).
Portal (this is a path system that relies on portals to build a path, IE from one teleporter to another etc like in the c2 maps).

Hopefully these pictures will summarize how to make things flow:-

Sorry about the quality of these image i lost the originals

http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/line.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/zigzag.JPG[/img [img]http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/ring.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/abad.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/agood.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/bbad.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/bgood.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/cbad.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/cgood.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/combo.JPG http://www.tinmansworkshop.com/e7/e107_files/images/tutorials/members/flow/eightway.JPG

23-07-2004, 08:09 PM
These tutorials are made available because my site is going down soon. So I thought instead of deleting them, I can make use of them here for begining mappers. I Hope you find these tutorials useful.