Things to Avoid
The following are various suggestions to stay away from when making good maps. A map does not need to avoid all these hints to be accepted, but following these hints will make for more interesting or playable maps.
- Avoid creating anything that uses godpower
- Extremely valuable treasure right next to the entrance
- Avoid setting up monsters for an "easy kill"
- Do not place monsters on top of other monsters
- Large groups of monsters that can be killed quickly with spells
- Inconsistency between monsters and treasure
- No warning for players if a map requires a specific skill/class/spell
- Rooms that can trap players
- Don't make ends of maps require multi users
- Maps with several levels
- Spiral or single path mazes that just have monsters lining the corridor
- Avoid setting up continuous loops with directors and firing walls.
- If a map is designed for a high level characters - provide a warning sign.
- Don't make large labyrinths.
- Avoid creating prayer or spell books that are cult only, "special" and Quest spells.
- Avoid creating weapons or other items with the attack_type
godpower or protection/resistance to godpower <index>
In order to maintain the challenge level of Crossfire, the attacktype godpower is used. Since it's possible to gain resistances and protection to all all other attack_types certain monsters have godpower which will damage to player character. I know, it doesn't seem fair - but it's no fun when the game is easy, either.
- Avoid having extremely valuable treasure right
next to the entrance. <index>
Players should need to work to get treasure. If the treasure is fairly worthless (food, or non magical items), this would be acceptable. But a character should not be able to pop in, pick up a potion, spellbook, or a lot of diamonds, and then pop out again, without ever meeting a monster.
- Avoid setting up monsters for an "easy kill." <index>
What this means is, a monster should not have a location (or even worse, trapped in a location) wheich allows a character to use range attacks exclusively, with no risk. For example, a troll trapped in a room at the end of a long hallway where a PC could easily use fireball with no danger to themself.
- Do not place monsters on top of other monsters. <index>
A troll should not be sitting on top of an oriental dragon. The only exception to this would be if a monster could be on top of another monster (making sense) and hiding it at the same time. A troll on top of an oriental dragon does not make sense (could not fit), nor can the troll hide the oriental dragon. Using tricks like these which are only applicable due to display limitations is something that should not be done, nor should the player need to click on every monster he encounters to see if something is below it. (as a side note, doing this will tend to lock the monsters into position, making them unable to move.)
- Large groups of monsters that can be killed quickly
with spells. <index>
A fairly popular tactic to make high level maps is just to put 30 dragons (or other tough monsters) in a big room. Do not do this. All the player needs to do is cast a dozen icestorms, and quickly gets millions of experience. Likewise, it is unlikely that any more than 2 or 3 large (multisquare) monsters will be able to attack a player or party at once - the remaining 25 will be blocked from doing anything. This then makes it so that having 30 dragons is not any tougher than having 3.
If you want to make a high level map, instead of tossing a lot of monsters on it, take existing monsters and make them tougher. Increase their hit points, level (which then means spells they use do more damage), add immunities or protections, remove vulnerabilities, change attack types, etc. Try not to totally change the characteristics of a known monster - a normal dragon should still be dragon like. Also, remember to adjust experience that the monster gives.
- Try to keep the treasure in line with the difficulty.
Five stat potions should not be given out for defeating orcs or gnolls (even if there are a lot of them), but if you need to defeat several dragons to get to the potions, that is fine. Likewise, if it is likely a lot of spells will be needed to defeat the monster, and those spells have a chance of destroying the items, then perhaps a few extra items (to take this into consideration) is not a bad idea.
- If the use of a specific skill/class/spell is needed to
complete the map, that should be stated near the map entrance. <index>
How clearly this is stated depends on the circumstance. If use of a certain skill is needed, there is probably no good way other than to state that a skill is needed. If use of a certain spell is needed, stating that a spell caster of XX level might be sufficient, with the assumption that a spellcaster of that level would have the spell. It is safe to assume that all characters can fight, but spellcasting (especially certain spells) should not be assumed, and thus should be stated.
Also, don't put in hidden rooms requiring dimension door if they only real way to know about them is pure luck or looking at the map. If you want to do something like that, at least put some clues in.
If a certain skill would make a map easier, but is not required, you don't need to necessary state it. The idea of this is that it can be frustrating to wander into some map, complete most of it, but find out you can't finish the map because you lack some skill or spell.
- A map should be designed so that a character can never
be trapped in a room. <index>
Except via other player interaction, see Try to make corridors in dungeons or mazes a few squares wide. A character should never be forced to dimension door or word of recall out of a map because some gate closed behind him. For a character without these spells, it would mean death. A simple method around this is put a lever on both sides of the door. If the door is opened by special actions (saying things, dropping things), just put the level on the hard to get side of the gate.
- Don't make ends of maps require multi users. <index>
This ruins that map for single players (not able to complete it), and makes a map that requires multiple players for only a small portion.
If a map require multiple players to simultaneous be on it to solve the map, put a sign or message so players know. Such maps would be those that require manipulation of levers or buttons in certain sequences in order to get through gates.
- Try not to make the maps too many levels deep. <index>
To get to the goal, it should not require a 6 hour continuos sitting, as the player works through each map to get to the next. Multi level maps are fine - just don't over do it. One way to do this is have several maps with a key or other special item at the end. The final map could have the various battles, and then a series of gates/altars when uses up these keys.
- Avoid lining monsters in a single path. <index>
These are not very good for multiple players, not particularly interesting (map justs consists of killing all the monsters), and tend to be an easy and safe way to gain experience. The solution is to make the hallway at least 2 (ore more) squares wide.
- Avoid setting up continuous loops with directors and firing
This is best explained with an example: Do not have two directors, each facing each other, with a bullet (or lightning, fireball, etc.) wall firing into them at the side.
Having numerous directors is fine. But make sure that eventually, there will be an exit/detonation point for the fired spell. Having these loops typically bring the game to a halt, as the objects just multiply and the game consumes more and more cpu time.
- Provide warning signs on high level maps. <index>
Don't make high level character maps where low level characters can wonder into without warning. Put a warning sign nearby, or gates or doors so the player can see they are in over their head, instead of instantly getting toasted the second they enter the map.
- Don't make large labyrinths. <index>
Making of labyrinths is easy with crossedit, just select auto-joining and make a zigzag pattern with the mouse. This results in a boring map. If you make one, try to put some sort of theme or plot behind the map.
- Avoid creating prayer or spell books that are cult
only, "special" and Quest spells. <index>
Not all spells are available or should be available to players. Some spells are unique to worshippers of a certain god or cult and should only be available to them. Others are used by monsters only and labeled "special" and some are only available in one location in the whole game are are known as Quest spells. Note: With the new spell code, it is very easy to just create 'new' spells within a map itself. That is the preferred way that quest spells should be done now days.
- Cult Spells
- Poison Fog
- Cause Smallpox
- Wall of Thorns
- Insect Plague
- Ironwood Skin
- Remove Damnation?
- Raise Dead
- Finger of Death
- Face of Death
- Cause Many Wounds
- Cause Red Death
- Cause Black Death
- Flaming Aura
- Retributive Strike
- Wrathful Eye
- Divine Shock
- Cause Critical Wounds
- Cause Many Wounds
- Forked Lightning
- Special Spells
- Immunity to <...>
- Small Speedball
- Summon Evil Monster
- Meteor Swarm
- Large Icstorm
- Dragon Breath
- Ball Lightning
- Cult Spells