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[Mapping Theory] Use of lava or slime

Lava (and/or slime) looks neat in maps. Outside of that, I think it provides very little functional use for gameplay. I think it is often overused simply because it looks good.

I see lava being useful to frame the areas of the map where gameplay should occur. But lava is often misused as somewhat of an obstacle course inside the gameplay areas. This effectively changes the game mode to "Lava Evasion".

It's easy to receive damage in Nexiuz/Xonotic (or FPS games in general as compared to a lot of other game genres out there). Lava isn't really need to help in damaging players.

If players receive damage from the map, it should be when they are in the wrong place, like going outside of the map boundaries or falling off an edge. If a player is inside the gameplay area, it doesn't make sense for the map to do much damage to the player, especially if it's a pool of lava that they cannot escape. That doesn't add to the gameplay of the map. Rather, it becomes a point of frustration that can reduce the quality of the map.

Your thoughts?

I agree only partially with you ... slime and lava imho are a good way to improve some parts of the maps.
I mean trying to convert plain areas ( with no intresting zone ) in more intresting one for the gameplay forcing player to use better movements and be careful for the layout could be a good way.

Dokujisan Wrote:Lava isn't really need to help in damaging players.

You are right ... but receiving some damage from the map could be more intresting.

Dokujisan Wrote:Rather, it becomes a point of frustration that can reduce the quality of the map

Another point right. We are luck because there are not a big number of maps abusing lava and slime.
Think about some really used map like Greatwall_reloaded3 ... the central lava is necessary Smile
Btw nice topic
[Image: bartucnexuiz.png]

But wait a second - can't a lava pool be just what you need to try to limit usage of quad on your map? Some time ago, I've read a mapping tutorial saying that world dangers are good for making uber items harder to obtain, and, effectively, balancing them out. Or sort of balancing, at least. So I'll have to disagree, lava is not so useless.
(08-10-2012, 02:37 AM)Mr. Bougo Wrote: Cloud is the new Web 2.0. It makes no damn sense to me.

(12-16-2010, 12:35 PM)Dokujisan Wrote: I see lava being useful to frame the areas of the map where gameplay should occur. But lava is often misused as somewhat of an obstacle course inside the gameplay areas. This effectively changes the game mode to "Lava Evasion".

I think this is only the case if a mapper overuses lava. Used sparingly, like in stormkeep, it can make gameplay just a little bit more interesting.

I guess personal preference is a major factor, though.
[Image: 370.png] AKA [~] John Smith on Nexuiz

Lava and/or slime is great, as long as it is not overused. For example, battle valentine is a case where they used it in place of void, a very bad idea. It should have just been set in space, like Dance or Space Elevator.

On the positive side, the lava in Stormkeep is excellent, and punishes careless people without killing them. Oh yeah, it's also quite fun to push frozen people in there too Big Grin

Maybe this could turn into a vote to reduce the default damage for lava in Xonotic?
Hmm, or perhaps we could try to use a realistic amount of time that you can survive in lava.. oh wait.. oh.
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Good point, Rad. I think the current weapon balance needs a lower lava damage in order to keep everything balanced.

Oh, this is a balance thread too? o.O
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(12-16-2010, 04:01 PM)Rad Ished Wrote: Maybe this could turn into a vote to reduce the default damage for lava in Xonotic?

good idea ... why not converting this thread to voting polls ???
[Image: bartucnexuiz.png]

Imo used well its a rather nice gameplay element. Just like space maps necessitate not falling off, lava/slime pools call for attention to movement and environment awareness. As mentioned above it also provides a way to "balance" some more powerful items. Personalty i tend to use it sparingly in my maps, but i also like a few maps that use it generously (reslimed, hot grounds comes to mind).

Is bog still around? Or have there been attempts at quicksand? You know, to keep variety.
4m038105 - Be the change.

We already halved lava damage some days or weeks ago.
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Slime and especially Lava have been around since the verry first FPS (DooM always had Slime and Quake always had Lava).

Beside looking good Lava and Slime are mainly used to make the gameplay more interesting and often tactical. I will try to explain on the example of a very popular and wellknown duel-map from (imo) best FPS ever made and (imo) the thing to beat for every new upcoming FPS, Quake I or Quake World. The map is DM4:

To start of a Screenshot of DM4 for the (hopefully) very few people out ther who dont know how it looks:
[Image: 292.jpg]

Now to the areas with lava in them.
There are two of them, the first is the ground level of the main-room (shown on picture). There the lava is a unescapable trap because it is so deep (deeper than a model so you can't rocketjump out of it). It has two main reasons why it is there, first it makes the place dangerous so you only go down there if you really have to and if your opponent is far away (in QW far away is actually impossible) and you need some good movement to move quick trough it and not get fraged down there, however it is the only place you can land if you flee trough the tp in front of the Read Armor (a thingy you really want to control on this map) so you will land there from time to time also it makes it a little bit more difficult to get the Mega Health placed on the same level but in the second room with lava in it (about that room later on). The second reason for it to be there is that it is the fastest way for the player out of control to get it back, he only needs to knock the player in control down into the lava and it's an even playingfield again (on this map getting control back is very difficult especially against a more experienced player).
The second room with lava is the Mega Health-Room. There however the lava is only "kneedeep" so you can rocketjump out of it. It also is used to make the place more dangerous and also gives the player who did not get the mega a chance to steal away the time of the other player and get an armor instead. This can be done by knocking down the player who picked up the MH into the lava and run into the tp placed on the same level which will bring you on the top level, from where you can get to the Yellow Armor and the Red Armor.

So in Quake lava is mainly used to shift control back into the other players hands and to build up a tactical obstacle influencing the players decisions ("Hmm i got 100HP/200AP and the MH just spawned, but damn the other player is on the top level, if I go down there he could push me into the lava and switch control back, I'll instead go for the frag and collect the mega later on").

If used properly it can create a very interesting gameplay and beside that it also gives the map a nice look. However you should not overuse it and also use it only when you know to what it will lead.

That's however only my opinion other mappers can see it competely different and I don't want to say that what they say is wrong.


Lava and slime definitely does provide functional use in gameplay. As some posters before me already pointed out: There are maps where lava or slime are important features of a map. I just remember that quake 1 map, where you were able to open the floor via a button, revealing deadly lava ready to grill the other players. Features like this definitely add to a map and give that certain feel to it.
And, like also pointed out before, overuse is always bad. Not only with lava and slime, but also with: saturated lights, invisible walls, darkness, tris, items & powerups, augenkrebs textures etc. etc.

In the end it's always the mapper who makes the design choices. He must ask himself: will lava/slime make any difference in my map? If yes: Does it support the theme and the gameplay? What's the purpose of the map (fun play / competitive / design study etc.) ?

And finally: Never use lava or slime just because you are in need of a light source Tongue

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