View Full Version : SP_Slums [videos only]

Predrag Pesic
06-24-2010, 06:52 AM
Greetings to everyone at Gears forum,

If u like, u may check out the videos of my custom SP map. It is using original game assets and contains 3 combat sequences providing 6 to 12 minutes of gameplay, depending from the gamer's skill & experience.

Take 1:

Take 2:

Environment Video:

Both videos are showing the same map; just the approach to the gameplay is a bit different (most obvious in Boomer fight).

06-25-2010, 12:19 PM
I hope maps gameplay can last for at least half a hour,lol, anyway, checking...

06-28-2010, 02:46 AM
Here is some honest criticism that will hopefully help you out. Bear in mind, I'm not trying to trash your work, just point out how it could be better, as you seem to be off to a good start.

Some parts of the combat arenas could use a few touch ups to bring in the tactical cover-based shooter game play.

For instance, the brick building you spend most of the drone fight in is a very "2D" set up where all the planes of cover are the same direction, and there's no variation in cover height. I noticed the AI doesn't like to come in there either because there's nowhere for them to take cover and fire on you from a flanking position. Adding in some mid-height cover, like boxes, overturned furniture, or even a broken care would help a lot in here so that all of the cover areas are not running parallel. The outside area leading into the building could also use some cover at the doorways, and a barricade or sandbags leading in at an angle to help guide the player and tell them "go this way."

I would also recommend ditching in the wretch swarms, as these are only fun if you're mowing them down with impunity from a turret. The job wretches serve in combat is to coax you out of cover so that the other ranged enemies have a clear line of fire on you while you're dealing with them. Doubly so for the dark wretches with the explosion on death element.

For the boomer encounter, you only have 1 real usable piece of cover which is that large generator looking thing. Sure, there's some columns in the back, but using those almost traps you, which means you'll be screwed if the boomer advances before you can kill him since there's nowhere to go. I would also recommend triggering the encounter earlier, so that the player is encouraged to rush forward into cover instead of back-pedaling into it, which just feels weird, and would be a bit irritating since most Gears encounters encourage you to move forward into cover. That long stretch of grassy area leading to the broken car could use at least 1 small piece of cover. Right now it's far too open and the car cover area doesn't provide enough of advantage to be worth the risk of treading that much open space with Boomshots firing at you. Plus the car cover puts you at a disadvantage since it's right next to a wall, so near misses from a boomshot can still kill you.

The dialogue could use a little better timing between the actors talking. Right now it sounds weird and unnatural. Even adding in a 0.25 or 0.5 second delay between the lines would help a lot to make it flow better. I'd also recommend a different line with the door kick. Marcus being the violence-loving psychopath that he is probably would not enjoy kicking open doors all day.

The tremors in the next hallway are well done. Sound effect, dust particles, and the falling prop. Good job there.

The following fight in the alleyway is a bit on the boring side as far as layout goes. You basically have the option to take cover and pop out for some quick shots. There needs to be opportunity to advance through cover and flank or you're missing out on half of the Gears of War gameplay formula. You'll notice in the Epic maps that there aren't very many narrow corridor encounters as this isn't a corridor shooter game. Even in the few ones they do have, there's generally an alternate route so you can gain a superior tactical flanking position to fire on the enemy from. Again, there should also be some mid-height cover scattered around for variation. I saw way too much action of the AI simply wandering around out of cover shooting. That should be a rarity.

The e-hole explosion knocking over the car was cool, but the animation was not smooth at all, so it was a bit jarring. In addition, it's a good idea to place e-holes in an area where they're in range of a frag grenade so there's a reward from cutting off the enemy's reinforcements by taking the risk of exposing yourself to chuck a grenade. It should require the player to take a risky route or expose themself to harm at least briefly, but should be an achievable feat.

Here's an article I read a few months back that really helped a lot in concepting well-designed fighting arenas. I highly recommend it to anyone who plans on doing any mapping for shooters. It's by one of the Bioshock 2 level designers, and is presented very well.


Predrag Pesic
06-28-2010, 08:38 AM
2 Serenius:

Yes, thx, u are absolutely right on every topic. I have 'front', but no 'flanking', especially in 3rd encounter (alley). Idea was to create 'survivor' type encounters: retreat, defend and take down the enemies before they take you. But I did this in all of the 3 encounters, which is never a good idea.

What do you think of the map's lighting and overall look?

Thx for the article. Maybe u know about this site, but if not, u may find it useful:

06-28-2010, 02:28 PM
Thanks for the link! Added it to my bookmarks collection.

Overall the level architecture looks good. There were a number of areas where there were large, flat walls with nothing to break them up. I would recommend trying to break up those surfaces as much as possible. Add in some geometry like columns to break up a wall, add in pipes, electrical wiring, or even just change the textures from a uniformly patterned texture to one that has 2 or three different elements to it. While a lot of modern architecture has these large flat walls, they don't really fit into the Gears of War visual style, and there are plenty of props and textures you can utilize to break them up.

A lot of the lighting looks pretty good, but I would tone down the desaturation from what appears to be 40%-50% down to about 25%-30% so that the color stands out more, but still gets the gritty look GoW is known for. I noticed the flourescent lights appear to be giving off white light. I'd recommend changing that to a light blue, and make sure your lights are giving a good contrast between colors.

For instance, it appears that your lighting outside is using yellow light, but the shadows are closer to a seafoam greenish blue. Try altering the hue for the ambient lighting to be more of a blue-ish purple and you will see a much better contrast. I've found Hourences rule to color selection to work really well. Pick your dominant light color, choose the contrasting color for your shadows/ambient lighting, and then pick one other color to help highlight important areas that you want to draw the player's attention to.

Below is a color wheel and you'll notice that every color has its contrasting (aka complimentary) color on the opposite side. Ex. blue ambient lighting with orange lights, and a yellow light here and there to help break it up.


Here is a link to Hourence's sample from his book about lighting that really helps detail how to use it to your advantage:

I took a few private lessons from him to help push me in the right direction for lighting, and it helped a ton.

Lastly, here is Shaddy Safadi's (Uncharted 2) style guide about clutter that should help make your arrangements look more natural.

Predrag Pesic
06-30-2010, 06:43 AM
Thx again. :)

Few links that u may find useful & interesting:


About the dialog delay that you mentioned in the earlier post, my guess is that you are reffering to the situations when dialogs overlap or interrupt each other. This happens whenever a non-scripted chatter starts off. For example:

-Whenever Marcus takes down an enemy he may respond with: "Scratch one grub", "Who's next?" etc.

-Whenever Boomer spawns in, it responds with: "Hominid", "Enemy" or "Ground walker".

Is there a way to toggle off this non-scripted chatter, so that it does not interfere with any scripted dialogue? Or is this feature hardcoded within the game itself?