The Evolution of Duel of the Fates

Discussion in 'Developer Diaries' started by MaceMadunusus, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. MaceMadunusus

    MaceMadunusus Level Designer Movie Battles II Team

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    Over the course of Movie Battles 2 Duel of the Fates has seen many iterations over the years. The first of which starting in Build 17 and ever since then the community has continued to enjoy it throughout the years. Within that time we have made numerous changes some for the better and some for the worse resulting in the level we currently have in public today. I will be making a brief summary of those changes over the years then detailing some of the changes made over the years to its hopeful successor known to everyone as Duel of the Fates Version 2 or DotFv2 for short.

    For those that just care about seeing the new DotF scroll down until you see the large layout image.

    History of Duel of the Fates
    Duel of the Fates was initially released in Build 17 all the way back in 2005. Initially created by =tom= using some base assets from LivingDeadJedi's FFA Episode 1 level.
    [​IMG]
    In Build 18 (Sept. 2006) we saw the main route change significantly. Originally the hallway from the main hangar into main was an L shape. That all changed when it was converted into the U-like shape we have present today. That change was done for several reasons but the easiest ones to go over is those for performance and gameplay. Adding more corners allowed for better culling of the hangar from main. It also served to give the rebel team some much needed additional cover and give them their own area to make a stand if they couldn't fully push into main. Murderous doors were also a thing to be removed in Build 18.
    [​IMG]

    In Build 19 (Jun. 2007) there weren't really any layout changes but there were some minor bug fixes and the start of the texture updates by Frost. You can clearly see the changes within the brick texture and the floor of the main hangar.

    [​IMG]

    Release Candidate 1, or RC1 (Jan. 2008), saw the finalization of the texture updates by Frost which was a pretty massive change to the map we had been playing for years at that point. I personally joined the team between B19 and RC1 and one of my tasks was assisting Frost with the visual updates. I removed the hangar door to give everyone a better view, fixed some texture bugs, and made some minor performance improvements across the level. These updates gave DOTF a large majority of the aesthetic it has today.

    [​IMG]

    In Release Candidate 2 (Aug. 2008) there were some updates to the Full Authentic gamemode version of DOTF. After that though, we took a break from DOTF changes for a little while and come back to them in Release Candidate 3 Patch 4 (RC3P4) [Oct. 2009]. This was the first update we added minimaps to MB2 and almost every level received one at the time. The following update, Version 0, saw more minor exploit and cosmetic fixes to the map.

    Version 0.1 (Oct. 2011) saw some FA fixes for our Droideka model and mechanic revamp.
    Similarly Version 1.0 (July. 2014) saw some FA fixes, exploit fixes, performance improvements, and allowing Droidekas to open the throne and federation doors.

    Version 1.1 (Dec. 2014) was the first build in years to see some major layout changes to Duel of the Fates. This route changed both primary and secondary spawn locations slightly, added a way to open the main federation door without using secondary objective, added the right side balcony route to throne, and even shifted throne slightly. Minor fixes and balance changes to this version came immediately after in V1. and 1.3. An example of one of the balance changes was the secondary door hacks being moved to the entry of the generator room from the pit area.

    [​IMG]

    History of Duel of the Fates Version 2
    Before we start I want to just note that I will go over the design goals of each of the areas in the final section. For this bit I will just be outlining how things were built unless some of those goals are particularly relevant to the design.

    The first iteration of DOTFv2 started all the way back in 2009 under the code name PadmesPlayPen (Thanks Wildebeest). July 6th, 2009 to be exact. I started working on it as a side project because I felt that while DOTF was a pretty well done map it was far from perfect. In particular I felt that main could use a redesign to better match the movies while providing more cover for both teams and making things like pop sniping a bit less viable. When starting I intentionally built on top of the old map. Removing the old stuff as I went to not disturb much of the layout proportions outside of intentional changes. Changing the layout was not my initial goal.

    in this first iteration I also made some changes around the bend from hangar door into the main corridor itself that was partially added to the main line DOTF in v1.1. It always felt cramped around that corner especially on near full servers. In order to fixed that I increased the size of the fighting area and added additional points of cover that players of both teams can use. So far we have seen these changes increase the ability for rebels to stand their ground so that hangar retreats aren't required as often. I also modified T-Junction and the throne side of main slightly.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    We held a few initial test sessions to see if this was an idea worth pursuing and the initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So from there the only thing to do next is to continue to flesh out the idea. So I begun to finish up T-Junction and started work redoing the main hangar. These areas stayed pretty much the same and only really changed visually.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    And now it is time to continue down the path of reworking areas. Like above work continued on the Hangar and expanded back into main route as well as federation spawn, generator room, and two of the side routes.

    [​IMG]

    Then things get a little dicey. This is around the time focus on other levels became more important and the changes being made to DOTF needed a bit more thought and time put into them. A break from the project was needed and focus went to other things like Republic Cruiser, Cloud City, Enclave, Kamino, Conquest etc. I also had to take an extended absence from MB2 around this time as well which delayed Cloud City significantly as well.

    Since I was gone for quite a while Pande decided to take a stab at making DOTFv2 a reality circa 2013. Though for reasons I am unaware of he decided to start from scratch. And well it didn't really continue much farther than a few test sessions. By building from scratch and not using the original source material everything was just not quite right. Hangar wasn't the same size, the hall from hangar into main was much larger than it needed to be, federation spawn was vastly different from what we have now, and the list goes on. Designing for both visuals and performance is important for many levels as well, in MB2 you can't exactly fight well if you drop to 20fps. There ended up being way too much visual detail for MB2 to handle even in an unfinished level and as a result of these issues it was not favored by QA testers and was scrapped.

    [​IMG]

    There was another concept layout between that time where we had the balcony in the public version of the level on the left side route, generator side route was expanded and the changes to main were what were built prior to this.

    [​IMG]

    That didn't really work out for some obvious reasons. There wasn't much point expanding side route in the way done there and the position of the balcony felt like a bandaid fix than anything worth while.

    Following that I made a return to finish things like Cloud City and other tasks in late 2014. In late 2015 Spaghetti and I worked on further expanding DOTFv2 where we saw the main foyer and throne room start to take shape as well as the left side route. In this iteration of DOTF there was no right side route at all because we wanted to try and see if the expanded left side and main routes were able to make up for removing it due to some space limitations with that layout. Generator room was also mostly finished at this time. You can also see the new objective starting to take shape. This layout was initially based off of a concept layout change for Eridan Crisis but expanded even further based off of feedback from the team.

    [​IMG]
    Within the next few months we saw that in testing this layout wasn't quite doing it but was better than the previous in several respects. So here we go with another iteration in early 2016. This saw the addition of a new and also pretty large right side route that was a very open courtyard just outside of Federation taking inspiration from the changes made to DOTF in V1.1. The back portions of this route that lead into throne used the design from the much earlier right side route concept. This was also around when we made some changes to several of the pillars in main to make sniping through a few little cracks not possible. It wasn't fun at all! And we saw some lighting and texture upgrades so that we could see more clearly in the newer areas. The secondary imperial spawn also was flipped to the other side of throne in this time as well resulting in some changes to the left side route. Side route from generator was curved a bit to make a more flowing path and reduce the travel time for imperials.

    [​IMG]
    This didn't quite end up working out as we wanted it. Left side route was in okay shape but not entirely where we wanted it to be. Right side route ended up being way too long and there was no way to really fix it with the open courtyard design from Fed and was scrapped entirely.

    Which leads us into 2017. Spaghetti and I were having hard times finding suitable route changes. I have no idea how many layout concepts we went through but it was quite a few of them. Here is one of the ones I managed to save from May-June 2017-ish. You can see another right side route starting to develop based off of one of the earlier concept changes Spaghetti was working on before we settled on this being the correct direction to go.
    [​IMG]

    With a much better baseline concept for the changes we wanted to make (which I will detail more shortly) construction began and lead us to where we are now. We needed to shift the throne area slightly, lengthen the path to left side, add two more secondary spawns, add routes back into main from the side routes, and more.

    Finalization of Duel of the Fates Version 2
    It was a long road but we are finally here. It took many iterations and concepts most of which no longer remain and quite a lot of which never even saw a test session because of flaws evident early on. So here we are! The new layout for Duel of the Fates.
    [​IMG]

    Now lets go over each area shall we?

    Hangar
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    One of the most important areas of Duel of the Fates. This area outside of visual changes has pretty much never seen anything done to it and that mostly reigns true today except for one small thing. I bet a large portion of people are wondering where catwalk is. Well... it has been removed. The changes to main route allowing teams to hold their position much easier lessens the need for a strategic sniping and rocket position from the top of the catwalk.

    The secondary objective location changes also means that the attacking team has the potential to get access to federation much faster than before as well as changes to side route making that path also more viable. Visually it also was never in the movie and never felt like it quite fit where it was. There were plans to fix that but it was no longer a necessity for gameplay to keep it as a large portion of its use would just be down to people delaying the end of a match and camping.

    Outside of that and some small changes to adjust rebel spawn position to account for changes in Main and Side the hangar remains almost purely visual changes.

    Main Corridor
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Main Corridor always sees some of the most intense fighting at the beginning of a round. However at times it could be frustrating to play in because of a lack of cover for both sides when advancing and the prevalence of power for snipers and other heavily defensive classes. The choke point around the initial corner was far too tight and needed to be expanded to allow for more fighting room and additional cover. The main hallways cover has also been increased significantly and the pillars modified to prevent sniping through the edges that earlier versions had. We wanted people to have the ability to slowly push in either direction without the corridor feeling largely like no-mans land that it does from time to time with the skimpy cover we have now.

    T-Junction
    [​IMG]
    This mostly remained similar to what we have now with some expansions and changes on either side and the entrance to the Throne Foyer being in the "middle" offset slightly to the left of main to keep from drawing either at the same time. Performance is important. Like main, the cover here was also changed slightly to fit the design and give everyone more options when fighting here.

    Left Side Route Entrance from Main
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The entrance to the left side route from Main saw some pretty significant changes. It is now much longer with the cover changed significantly and a small expanded area in the center of it that acts as a protected secondary spawn for the attacking team

    Generator Room
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Going back to the generator room we see some significant changes to each of the walkways. They are now much thinner and more curved than before. We also moved both secondary objectives to the consoles closest to the hangar that work in a tiered fashion. Meaning that instead of having to walk between the two consoles to hack a different part of the secondary objective you can just stay at one console and hack twice. And this works properly even if you have a teammate on either side if you want to cut the total hack time in half. There is also a nice new indicator on top indicating the state of secondary objective that you can see as you enter the room.

    With these changes we no longer saw a point in having the Pit area in the main assault map and lessened the size of the walkways as we wanted to have the fighting focused elsewhere in the level. However we still added some additional elevators and walkways that allow people to more easily get to every level of the generator room should they choose to fight there. In addition to those changes there is an area denial mechanic in the generator room if someone is just camping the upper areas.

    Side Route
    [​IMG]
    Side route from the generator room always felt pretty cramped. It was too much of a bottle neck. The cover on either side of the room has been increased in size, the width of the corridor increased, and the distance to the end of the hallway is decreased. This change in flow at the end of the hallway also has an additional purpose of decreasing the travel time between Gen. and Fed. which allows the defending team to set up defenses much faster without increasing the time for the generator door to open making defending side route much easier in that respect while increasing the cover here helps both teams.

    Federation Spawn
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Federation spawn has always had some issues in the public versions due to not having enough spawns that could in rare cases cause people to get caught on one another, get telefragged, or even crash the server. To prevent this the size of federation was expanded greatly and a new alcove added to handle both the additional spawns needed and to serve as another protected secondary spawn for the attackers when the time came.

    There are also new locked/unlocked indicators above the doors here so you can tell when side objective has been done.

    Northern Hall - Right Side Route
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    The new right side route is now a large hall that is almost entirely open without the secondary objective being completed but a door at the end has an indicator to let you know if you can pass all the way through or not. We wanted to have a lot of fighting area, some minor protection when passing between T-Junction and fed, as well as some additional inter-connectivity to the main route via a door into Throne Foyer.

    The upper part of this route behind the locked door holds a small hall with one of the defending teams secondary spawns and a doorway into the Throne Room.

    Main Foyer
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Some of you may have seen a picture of this on Facebook not too long ago but even since then some changes have been made. Such as some texture upgrades, increasing the size of the lion statues and railing pillars for more cover. We wanted main to have inter-connectivity to all the routes and the lower portion has direct access to the right side route initially and left side route after the secondary objective has been completed.

    We also wanted direct access to the throne room getting rid of the door that we have now.

    Courtyard - Left Side Route
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    The left side route is now a courtyard area, similar to some of the earlier iterations. It starts completely blocked off until the secondary objective is completed has multiple routes to traverse. The first one when coming from main is sheltered to provide a buffer to people coming into and out of the area and to provide a visibility blocker for performance. It has a roof to keep people in the inner area sheltered from outside attacks.

    The left most part of this route is very similar to the old side routes being close quartered, up stairs with lots of cover.

    There is also a route up the center landscaping to the upper level that classes with higher jump capabilities like ARC can use without using the stairs.

    Throne
    [​IMG]
    Last but not least. The Throne room. This is one of the areas that changed the most significantly in DotF V2. No longer is it a massive camp fest defending the doorway and the window. Rebels now have three lanes of attack into the room one of which is wide open for the taking. It is very important to pay attention to your flanks.

    The objective uses a Capture Node that starts fully in the defending teams control. The attacking team must flip it to their side to win the match. They can do so by having more players in the capture zone, marked by the outside border on the ground and the minimap. However if the defending team has equal number of players it will stall the capture and if they get more it will quickly reset to their side. Defenders it is very important to contest the capture point and use the chairs, throne, and outer pillars to your advantage as well as extremely close double secondary spawns.

    Community Assistance
    Like with everything we have ever made, nothing is perfect. Duel of the Fates Version 2 is no different. There are some things I would still like to work on or change but at this point I need to see how things play on live servers before I make more adjustments. Definitely expect changes to be made in the weeks and months after release based off of your feedback. I also want to extend a special thank you to all the testers and developers that helped with this project as the information was invaluable. I am glad we went through all those earlier iterations to find out they were not worth pursuing.

    Also remember that this was far from a solo project. While it was mainly the work of Spaghetti and myself it was definitely a team effort. Zudni, Redsaurus, Defiant, Viserys, Plasma, Lervish, Scerendo, GoodOlBen, Pipex, Hexodious, McBober, DT85, Starushka and more all helped in some way. Whether it be coding new entity definitions, making statue models, scripted cinematics, or spending hours with me combing the map for bugs. We also have a new objective type to use in other maps now. Yay!

    Rend 2
    OpenJK has a new and more modern renderer called Rend2. However its updates are currently only in single player and have yet to be ported into multiplayer. As a result of this and needing to focus my time on finishing the level instead of redoing and testing all of the old textures in PBR DOTFv2 will not be compatible with Rend2 on launch but will be sometime in the future. A good chunk of the textures were already made with PBR compatibility so look forward to that in the future. Example Preview

    Thanks
    Thanks for reading, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
     
    Onysfx, The Unguided, verq and 42 others like this.
  2. Sir Crusher

    Sir Crusher Internal Beta Team

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    It surely has been a long way. I can see the emotion behind that project
     
  3. Hellion

    Hellion

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    Wow, this looks amazing. Makes the current DOTF look horrible
     
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  4. Noob

    Noob Donator

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    looks a lot better than when i was beta testing it. good progress i really like how Left side turned out with the stairway. Right side is almost indistinguishable from the beta build. I miss the outdoors section with the clip thru AAT
     
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  5. Penekowski

    Penekowski Armchair Developer Moderator Movie Battles II Team

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    I love it, but I'm really gonna miss the catwalk. So many funny experiences there, but well :(
     
    Hellion likes this.
  6. Gumba

    Gumba EU Official Server Admin

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    These are the posts I live for. Great work Mace.

    It looks fantastic and I can't wait to play it!
     
  7. kikili

    kikili Movie Battles II Team

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    DOTF never felt so much Movie like !!!
    Amazing job !!
    Sure everyone can't wait (including me) this to be released !!
     
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  8. Manyo

    Manyo

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    Looks absolutely amazing and will surely take care of my Dotf fatigue.
     
  9. foggy

    foggy

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    orgasmed
    i rate 0.5 darth mauls/1
    ps
    please. Please. PELASE DONT BE SECOND ALDERAAN
     
  10. Hessu

    Hessu

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    Looks very nice! But #BringBackCatWalk
     
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  11. Jameson

    Jameson

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    This is... something beyond amazing.
     
  12. PreflightArc

    PreflightArc

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    Looks amazing, can't wait to play on it. #BringBackCatWalk
     
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  13. Puppytine

    Puppytine Slayed dreamer

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    Great post, and great improvements.

    I have some concerns, though:
    dotf won't the same without the catwalk. Please consider to bring it back.
    It was said classic dotf won't be available anymore (blocked?). If it's true, it's a mistake. Servers owners should be allowed to choose between old dotf and new dotf, the same way like they choose any other map (Smuggler, Kamino, Lunar Base etc).
    Graphics look absolutely amazing. But what performance will be? Are potatoes in? xD
     
  14. Liniyka_xddd

    Liniyka_xddd EU Official Server Admin

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    Looks heccin amazing! #BringBackCatLady
     
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  15. Manyo

    Manyo

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    I'm pretty sure seeing a rotation server with Dotfv2 - DotfClassic - Dotfv2... is the thing that will kill me.
    The two maps still seem so similar that i think it would be better to only have one map in the official release and try to get everyone on board with it. (if we are able to download the other one somewhere else)
    V2 does seem like an improvement in every way except for catwalk and maybe upcoming fps problems. Getting the map in peoples hands will show if the fps are even noticeably worse compared to DotfClassic and if there are indeed issues, they might be fixable.

    I understand the reasons for removing catwalk (camping rocket arcs, drawing peoples attention away from objective), but i also think getting it back in would help in convincing DotfClassic people that this new version is the way to go. And it does give the option of rebs defending from there while others rush into the generator room. As long as admins forcespec last standing players that just camp there for no reason and imps get a bit smarter about rushing into hangar the positives outweigh the negatives in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  16. Garth

    Garth

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    Awesome work, it was really good to read this thread aswell. Thanks alot
     
  17. Nex

    Nex EU Official Server Admin

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    Great job. Although it looks pretty well visually it's still too early to judge how it's gonna play out in reality. People will have to adjust, come up with completely different strategies which might take some time for sure but it's normal. The thing I love the most about it (and I see few ppl crying over it already) is catwalk and gen pit removal. Simply the best decisions in MBII history. Don't you ever try to bring it back. We have had it long enough and it definitely didn't pass the test.
     
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  18. Noob

    Noob Donator

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    alderaan is underrated
     
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  19. jango40

    jango40

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    Dotf aint dotf without catwalk
     
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  20. Aizencin

    Aizencin EU Official Server Admin

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    New dotf > new dust2
     
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