A A group of people calling a big island. For the next 20 minutes they have to look for buildings for tools and tools, before fighting to the death. As the game goes on, play area contracts, enforcing competitors are closer together. The last person who stands wins.
Of course this is a royale battle, a new type of online shooting game that is currently being enjoyed by over 200 million people around the world. The craze started with Battlegrounds PlayerUnknown, an adaptation of the DayZ zombie survival game developed by the individual designer Brendan Greene. The popularity of Corea Bluehole developer popularity, which Greene employed to oversee the development of a full game. PUBG was launched as a beta in early 2017 and by December, it had 30 million players.
Noting this success, the Epic Games released a free royalty free version of the Fortnite online game, offering a visual cartoon style and Minecraft style construction element. That was September 2017. The following year, the game won $ 2.4bn of player purchases. In last October, Activision added a battle from Blackout to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and on 4 February, Respawn Entertainment launched Apex: Legends. Within a week, he had collected 10 million players, the value of an Electronic Arts shareholder who promotes a rocket boost.
Although the visual styles and narrative locations of these games are very different, the four giants of the genre conform to a strong set of conventions. The islands have been scattered with towns, villages and industrial complications, all of them have rivers and bridges and lowlands at sea and all are roughly the same shape. But what makes them so compelling? Why is a generation of children likely to be more comfortable traveling from Tilted Towers to Paradise Palms than they are from home to the shops?
Dave Curd is the art director of PUBG. He has been designing first person shooting maps for years, and the first thing he says about the King's battle landscapes scheme is that it will never be accidental about the way towns and other scenic features are was scattered. Everything is driven by a combination of designs and technical considerations. "If you give cities too close to each other, players are not motivated to leave, but put them too far and players are bored from the journey between them," he said. "Also, you do not want five or six cities to join each other or you can get too many assets loading immediately."
"There's a sweet spot where it's fun and performing well for everyone, and we're there by many play clusters and a lot of data analysis in the field," he said. "All maps, you notice that the art improves slightly and the assets are slightly more dispersed – we always learn".
David Vonderhaar is the director of studio design in Trerere, the Call of Duty veteran, behind the new Blackout road. When his team set up a royale battle map, he tried to bring his / her experience of first traditional shooters, but that was a mistake. "There's a need to rewrite or remove many map guides that worked for a multi-player," he said. "There are some things like the definition of a structure, we need to adapt and update the entry / outputs … We had to spend a lot of time in the early development carefully describing diversity and destination locations on the map, and how they were linked to each other. "
Breastbreak maps provide many adjoining places between intense fighting zones, and control how players are bridging around the map – especially how they go into important areas and leave them – essential. "We wanted variety, to attack or flee [an area] in particular, "said Vonderhaar." Topography helped to achieve that. Sometimes destinations uphill (Shelter), in the middle of intense forest (The Clearing Hind), or need a flat, open ground crossing (Cargo). "In a kind of game where players create their own stories, reaching a location – or moving it quickly – are important elements.
Some scenic elements are growing again, as they are useful for creating specific play experiences, which are generally difficult in an extensive open space. "One of the great challenges of the royale battle map design is that players can go to any direction, including landing right in the middle," said Curd. "So we use areas such as small islands and long bridges to create bottles and chokepoints, and to deliberately encourage some types of gameplay. In those small areas, we have a very good idea of how people interact. ; It's a kind of fun for players to bridge a bridge, to feel wake up, to feel like a highway. "
Another essential element of design is to use high architectural structures such as masts and towers. In part, this is about adding a vertical to the playground, which is the impulse behind the magnificent Blackout building area, with a glossy unfinished. However, it also means helping players find out where they are.
"These maps are truly 90% of nature and 10% of manually made architecture, so the last one must stand out, you have to he broke the station line, "said Curd. "The use of vertical architecture as centralization points – we need to identify a landmark so that players understand inherently in relation to each other. You must see it from 2km to find out where you are going. High or unique structures act as a very natural marker. It means that players do not have to keep tied up, "Over in the woods. "
What is interesting is how Royal King's battle map designers use subtle environmental bait to enable players to move and explore. "We use clusters around as small areas of security to cheat the players," said Curd. "Unlike your typical blades or barrel's bargain, a temporary old truck, a long wall or a small crack, you'd be surprised how much you can influence the player with a clear clear location and a covered location in flat distances. Players can do that risk reward calculation, OK, I'll be open for a few seconds, but then I will have access to five new buildings, and the premises are the prize because they have turn, but even more importantly, they have windows that I can see from. "
Vondehaar agrees: "We never wanted the player to feel that they are not making progress moving across the map because there is nothing to get in. If you take a measure measure between any two destinations In Blackout, you'd see what we believe is our sweet places. "
Environmental storytelling is also important to keep players interested. Epig Games have excelled this with Fortnite, creating its own mythology through falling meteors, mysterious hedges, interesting posters and TV screens that show images that suggest the new features of the game. The landscape is constantly evolving and players are delighted to guess what is meant.
In a more subtle way, royale battle games depend on scenic features to suggest a sense of history. "We use low-level things, such as adding wearing and rubbing objects, to suggest that these places are left or the residents are leaving out urgently," says Curt. "We can also be more prominent – in the Sanhok map there are training venues where you can get tips that this could be a training facility for the actual frail combatants of the breast. We do not want to hit the player over the head with a story, but we leave clues to eat them carefully. "
All the titles of the battle of the successful battle know the importance of disorders. When you're studying Haunted Hills or metallic corridors of the Hydro Dam in Apex Legends, you will not find complex multi-level floor plans, and you will not get a lot of furniture – it's & # 39 ; r all buildings rather than square and rooms are empty. In part this is to make sure players can find useful items quickly in decorative objects, but it's also about gameplay. "You want a interior in a relatively simple way so that players are able to use hearing effectively," said Curd. "They need to be able to know that the other player is upstairs, they are below, they're just outside – if we made our structures too complicated, It would be very difficult to play the game. Sound is such a big advantage and our simple style of internal design reflects that. "
As with any "live" game that is played by thousands or millions at a time, repetition drives the design process. "We play thoroughly," said Curd. "It's literally like the design of a huge first person shooter map. We have the same design principles: fun driving decisions. If we try something, no matter how bad it looks, no matter what the We thought, if the play shows did not prove it, it's got the chest. "
Only a part of the process that travels on studio ideas – a successful battle battle developer also needs to understand the variety of needs from potential players. An important element of this process is their categorization – running factories, viewers, snippers – then make sure there are areas for each. "When you have a game that comes so much, you must realize that these are not all the typical FPS high-profile cameras, especially in our Asian markets," said Curd. "We have a significant number of players that enjoy the survival aspect: are offensive, hiding, disappearing. Some players do not even go for guns – they enjoy tactics from hide and start other players, and reach the next round.
"I'm a SMG player and football, so I'm always going to make sure that there is something for people who like to join close quarters fighting. But we know we're sorry for many specialist defaults, so we want areas with smaller leaves, so that you can really see those figures against that orange pearl sun. Going to town and there is a large apartment building with many windows, we want players to feel that stress, and no-one is watching me? & # 39; "
Curd traces the style of this design method to an unexpected source. "With Dark Souls, people were excited about how it was difficult and unclear," he said. "It proved that there was a desire for dependence in a design, not to give players information as direct as possible. The King's battle genre has proven that players can tolerate very important situations, very difficult choices, and do not always know the The best way to play. "
Studios use maps not only as interesting combinations of rural and urban settings, but for storytelling, as offers to the narrative that players create as they play. There are buildings to hide items but they are also navigational tools; bridges provide access but also punctuation points to encourage shooting. The players are not told anything – they need to learn how to read and understand the environment of a battle in the king, such as a spiller raising subtle clues from the local vegetation, stream stream, or hedge direction. The worlds are open and free to roam through – nothing is referred. And the unpredictable interactions between these freedom and guidance systems are so fun to watch as they play: a valuable asset at this time of Twitch streamers and YouTube superstars.
"Whenever you ask someone for their first victory, I'll guarantee they have a small story about how they can get there," said Curd. "These games are high sports, a big risk, a high challenge, and that's very satisfying … We want tests. We want to be pushed."