Planet MoFo’s “Passion” map is possibly the most modded and re-made map in BZFlag history. The original was a map called ‘Christ’ by ducatiwannabe, after it was taken up by Planet MoFo it quickly lost that name and became known as ‘The Passion’, due to the server descriptions of the servers it ran on – it would be advertised as ‘Planet MoFo – Passion Of The Free For All’, or ‘Passion of the Red vs. Blue!’.

In it’s history it has been changed and rebuilt to fit various different play styles and games, but it’s general layout has stayed pretty much the same: A central ‘cake’ consisting of three layers, with eight boxes around the edge in this configuration:

The four corner boxes usually have a flat (0 height) pyramid above them, and the cake usually has tunnels through the bottom layer and sometimes through the top layer too. In most versions there are also four pyramids on the floor by the corner boxes to deflect laser.

There have been so many versions of this map it would be nearly impossible to list them all here, though some variants fo include 3-sided and 8-sided equivelants as well as CTF versions with bases at the corner boxes.

There are a few little secrets that this map has to offer, and there are some prime spots for GM, L and SW that have probably been what has earned this map the title of ‘camper paridise’, though camping is part of this map’s fun. It’s so easy to do, it becomes a battle for the prime spots.

The map has also spawned many similar-shaped counterparts, including the Nativity in Black map and Sir Pants’ Octagon map.

All in all, what makes this map so popular is probably it’s simplicity. The simple symmetry and open space/box balance make it easy to find your way around and it is often a very fast paced Free For All map. With only 25 boxes and 8 pyramids it it’s basic form, it is probably the simplest of all of the most popular maps today.

This topic is free for discussion: what do you like/dislike about this map? Is there a specific version of this map you particularly enjoy?

Maps: Play Styles #2

Monday, August 7, 2006

This is a series of posts that give some general pointers for designing maps for different play styles.

For a standard CTF map the most important rule is what is known as “CTF Balance”. It needs to be equally easy for both teams to get the opponent’s flag. This can obviously be solved by simple symmetry, but other more ingenious mappers have made maps with perfect CTF balance without total symmetry. One prime example of this is the popular map “Babel”. If you can get a good balance, then you can go on to think about building distribution in a similar way to FFA. More on that in the next post.

Maps: Play Styles #1

Monday, August 7, 2006

There are three main types of maps, Capture The Flag (CTF), Free For All (FFA) and Rabbit Hunt or Chase (RH/C). Each has a different set of rules that need to be followed (generally) to create a map well suited to that style of play. With a bit of thought you can create a map that encompasses more than one style.

Of course, these aren’t strict rules that you need to follow, they are simply guidelines as to what most mappers feel makes a map most playable, and, in short, playability is what the best maps have. The .bzw platform is incredibly versatile, yet incredibly simple at the same time. With a bit of imagination and a text editor, some map makers have taken maps to places that they have never been taken before.

The next three posts in this series will demonstrate the main map rule for each play style. Next Time: CTF