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What makes a good duel map?

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Been watching a lot of videos regarding mapping for Reflex and decided I'm going to give it a go, But i want to know from a whole lot of players from all skill levels on what makes a good duel map for them, First I'm probably going to come up with a layout, then maybe get opinions on where i can place items from a few players.

 

so anyways, what makes a good duel map for you?

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Just my two cents:

1) Vertical rather than horizontal space. Vertical space creates more interesting combat. It can also emphasize the value of positioning more than a "flat" map (due to Reflex's fast player movement). A mostly horizontal/flat map ends up having two problems: combat/positioning is limited and the map's meta will inevitably be dominated by aim-only play because a respawning player will probably be safer off the spawn. It also makes it easier to avoid fights and run away. 

Good examples: Catalyst, Simplicity

What-not-to-do: Toxicity, Campgrounds (iconic but just too big for duel)

2) Balance is a red herring. A map that makes it too hard to control all armors ends up being all aim. You can make it too hard by making the map too big, have too much armor, or put armors in places that are too easy to defend. Long story short: The harder it is to cycle armors, the more often both players will stack up, and therefore more fights that boil down to aim.

Instead, it is okay to create a map where, feasibly, a player can run fairly quickly (5s-10s for a complete loop) between all major armors (yellows and red). And it is okay if the map feels somewhat "one sided". The reason is due to Reflex's tiered armor system which prohibits a player from picking up certain armors if they already have a certain amount of amor. This makes it inherently more difficult for the in-control player to cycle armors perpetually.

Good examples: Wicked, Use and Abuse, Phrantic

3) Always atriums. The most common layout is two atriums with connecting hallways but it commonly ranges from 1-3 atriums. Any more and you risk making the map too big and/or open. A map of nothing but hallways will quickly become boring.

Atriums, as opposed to hallways, are where most of the fun happens.  Use item placement to create interesting situations and spaces that allow for difficult or fun shots.

Good examples: Aerowalk, Catalyst, Pocket Infinity

4) Teleportals make maps smaller. Good use of teleportals can turn a big map into a smaller one. By creating teles that go from one side to another side (or from outside to middle), you can make the gameplay faster and map feel smaller.

Good examples: Wicked, Catalyst

5) There are no sacred cows. If I've learned anything in my 10+ years of dueling in AFPS games, it's that there's a tendency for people to want to recreate the same duel maps over and over. Personally, I've had the same inclinations but it's a waste of time. There's already an endless number of well made but similar duel maps out there. 

I say, don't be afraid to do something new or different! 

 

Edited by lolograde

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In my opinion, one of the 'mistakes' a lot of Reflex mappers make is that they give players too many options. That might sound a little weird, but in my experience, a hard choice between two options leads to much more interesting gameplay than an ultimately easy choice between eight options. I think that a complex map with lots of routes and angles and pillars and whatnot will ultimately come down to aim a lot of the time, because there's a combination of moves in all that complexity that's just plain better than all the other combinations, so both players will try to abuse that play time and time again and the game is decided by whoever does it slightly better.

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