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D. U. I.
Designing User Interfaces. Well, ok, not quite.

I had some free time on my hands, and so decided to play Yoshi s Island because of some of the praise it s been getting here. And while cruising through it, I realized just how many visual clues it has. Arrows and various signs are in abundance, so you re never lost or confused, and most secret areas arent tucked away under some obscure texture, but are in plain view, just waiting for you to figure out how to reach them.

So Im curious, how much importantance do you place on making your level easy to navigate and understand? Do you do anything special, if so what? Or should the player have to figure everything out by themselves? Does having these hints make it too easy?
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Oh.. 
i thought what he meant was "why is that good?" 
Clich� Indeed! 
Once I`ve been thinking about, what was the tritest clich� in both SP and DM maps, and it was unequivocal that that is making the end of the map or a later/better part or a secret item visible. Every map consists this clich�, in different levels, but mostly on a very high level. I`m not talking about that showing later map parts is stupid, a good map should even consist such things, (as they do too). But the whole effect and idea and wittiness of the map should make it a background feature. When this teasing-feature is too flagrant, then it makes the whole effekt of the map duller. If one has been already playing on lots of sp maps, then it`s very annyoing even.

And there should be less shoot-button secret areas too, because that's also hackneyed and not really creative too. 
 
No, I think he meant 'why is it easy to understand' and Tombstone pretty much nailed it. 
 
And there should be less shoot-button secret areas too, because that's also hackneyed and not really creative too.

Yes, though it gets difficult to invent new ways of hinting/revealing secrets after a while. 
But 
I don't think the whole shooting a wall secret is nearly as clich� as the lock and key method. 
"difficult To Invent New Ways" 
Most secret places come during making the map without the thought of putting a secret there. And there are countless possibilities for that. (It doesn`t mean that a mapper who creates most of the secrets this way, is not creative, but it's because the fantasy of a man is not infinite.) 
Oops 
I guess I could have made that easier to comprehend. Anyway, I did mean 'why is it easy to understand', as I assumed that it being understandable is, in fact, a good thing. though any reasons to why it's a bad thing would be welcome.

It would be interesting to see a study done on what makes map layouts effective

I think so too, so how about we do it right now? it's the perfect time and place, I think. 
What Makes Map Layouts Effective 
That's too broad. First you need to define effective. Then you need to define what kind of map. Finally you need to define what kind of user. 
Pah 
but somehow, Shamb, I can't imagine you completed Rubicon without impulse 9

Dude I had to use Impulse 0 in Libris Improbis demo level to remove all weapons to make it just slightly challenging... 
Go, Shambler! 
/me gives Shambler the Amulet of +9 Dick Waving 
*cough* *cough* A Bit Of My Own Medicine 
That's too broad. First you need to define effective. Then you need to define what kind of map. Finally you need to define what kind of user.

effective in terms of understandability.
any kind of map, or part of.
user == newb.

Basically, let's just make a list (or Top Ten!!!, you guys like Top Tens, don't you?) of maps that people learned almost instantly, or very quickly, and afterwards try to find any more common traits or methods that the authors used. 
Oh, 
and of course no box maps. the map should be in actuality somewhat complex (ie: > a box map), but seemingly quite simple. 
Or, 
perhaps we could take it the other way. We could make a list of maps where you got so lost and confused, that you had to take drastic measures (like propelling oneself at high speeds through small holes) or just gave up. Then we can find the what-not-to-dos, and extrapolate to find the to-dos.

This would probably the easier of the two lists, since the beauty of understanding something really well, is that you don't realize just how well you understand it. 
 
Dude I had to use Impulse 0 in Libris Improbis

Haven't heard of that map - is it on your site?

you guys like Top Tens, don't you?

No. Fuck off. 
Oh 
 
Impulse 0 
LAFF 
Libris Vertiginis 
...ya ya, okay I forgot.

Gilt interesting idea....might have a think about it....custom maps right?? Ones that really made sense as far as navigation and stuff goes.... 
Gilt 
That's a better idea. Unfortunatly my memory isn't so good. 
 
I see no reason to limit this to custom maps, or even quake. this is a universal issue. As long as it is 3D FP it will benifit us.

I mean, real life Casinos are notorious for creating buildings that are hard to leave. The principles should be the exact same. 
So... 
don't put clocks in your level. 
Oh, 
so that's why there are no responses. oh well, better luck next time. 
Ez 
I dont think that simple and easy-to-figure layouts make a great DM map. Such maps are shallow 
Hrm 
Not necessarily, Speedy. 
Gilt 
this stuff doesn't work in quake. this is part of the "nintendo school of game design", which is best exemplified in the zelda games. You can make secrets obvious because these games constantly extend your possibilities through items and skills, so getting there becomes a puzzle. In quake, once you see that is a place you can go to, getting there actually isn't a problem, since your skills are always the same (bar fps physics differences :) You have almost no way to create a path that is obviously there yet hard to imagine how to pass. 
Aye... 
but you're talking I think about a cerebral approach to puzzles - "I know the things my character can do, I can see the path I need to follow, so how do I match them up?" In Quake, as you say, the player jumps the same height/runs the same speed/fits through the same hole from the beginning of a map to the end. That doesn't mean those abilities cannot be tested, it just means the tests are based on the player's own skill. Not puzzles, but obstacles. Which maybe is where it ceases to be what Gilt is talking about because a test of skill is not about 'communicating to the player'.
Sorry, I don't really seem to have a point to make atm :/ 
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