Tips for Forging Invasion

[Originally posted here: http://www.bungie.net/forums/posts.aspx?postID=57565175&viewreplies=true

I thought I’d share some helpful tips and tricks to help Custom Invasion Forgers with their Invasion experiences. We need a lot more Invasion maps, so I’m hoping this thread will help encourage higher quality ones. Here are my tips:

> 1. Opening Rush**
This is the most important phase of your map. It not only decides the outcome of the rest of the match, but it also shows whether or not the players will like your map. If your 1st phase is pants, people are not going to enjoy it. To make it fun, you need to follow one (or all) of the 3 combat styles: Stealth, Instant Combat, and Battle Charge. I’ll go over each.
Instant Combat: If you’re going with this approach, make sure your combat fits this pace. This pace is high adrenaline and very explosive, which is what Instant Combat should be. Try to allot no more than 10 seconds of walking time for both species before the combat begins. A good example of Instant Combat is the first phase of Breakpoint. The key to pulling this off is to minimalize breaks in pace and combat. The Defending team should always feel pressured.
Stealth: Stealthy 1st phases are very difficult to do correctly. The best example would be Boneyard. While I’m not a fan of the exposed Elite spawns, I do like that it takes more than rushing to capture the territories. If you’re going with the stealth approach, make sure there are multiple paths to your objective and nooks for your attackers to spawn their teammates in. The latter is very crucial, because players build playing styles off of that.
<strong>Battle Charge: This would be your Battle Charge. The ants-in-your-pants itch of the imminent combat that’s about to come is what you need to capture here. Imagine if you had vehicles on opposite ends of Hemorrhage that were about to clash in the center. Another example is seeing Elites from far away rushing a gate the Spartans have to protect. The key to this is to make sure you can see your opponents before you’re in range for combat. You can either have vehicles or closer spawns after the initial rush. However, you want to try to refrain from a lot of walking in your maps, which I’ll talk about next.</strong>
Another thing I will remind you to take note of is how easy your phase is to win. Normally you want attackers to win 70-80% of the time. Nobody really gets upset if they lose the first phase to attackers. However, you still want Defenders to feel like they have the ability to skunk the team and prevent them from advancing. Finding the right balance is essential in making sure your initial impression on the map is good.
> 2. Less is more
Unless you deliberately slow down your game, know that Invasion needs to be steady-paced. You have 2 rounds to worry about, and you don’t want players exhausted after the first one. The best way to keep the pace up is to build a smaller map and/or keep the combat closer together. If you’re spending half of the phase walking to the objective, your spawns will likely need adjusting. Unless you take the Stealth approach above, walking-time needs to be limited. This is because most skirmishes last 30-45 seconds long, and then the player respawns for 7 seconds. If he spends 30 more seconds to get to the fight, then he’s only going to have 2-3 instances of combat before the phase ends.
The best way to test to see if your phase is steady-paced is to time it. Walk from the attacker’s spawns to the objective. Count the time it takes you to get there, the time you have for your objective, and the time you think combat will last before you die and respawn. If after all this you are only in combat 2 or 3 times, you’ll probably need to adjust your phase. Strive for no less than 3 combat instances.
> 3. Take the wide approach
Except for the grenade spam, Breakpoint’s first phase is near perfect. This is because it is wide. If you’re going to have two territories, the best way for it to work is to make the playing field wide. You don’t want to make it too wide though, lest the defenders be unable to reach the other territory. A good sprinting time from territory to territory would be 5 seconds.
The wide design isn’t the only way to do a first phase. It’s simply the most balanced way for two territories to work out. The narrow design is much more difficult to pull off and requires intense balancing because of the funneling effect of players… If you have one objective like a bomb or a large territory, the only way it can work is if the Defenders have superior spawning and the Attackers have better weapons. You then need to make sure that the Attackers are closely funneled together so they can teamshoot and plow through the Defenders. Superior spawning could mean high ground, more cover, or shield-protected spawns.
> 4. Test the map with AAs
**It’s imperative that you consistently test to make sure your map can support all the Armor Abilities you will have in play. When I’m Forging, I always have unlimited Sprint so I can test running distances and bumps in my floor. Evade and Jetpack (if applicable) need to be tested as well so you make sure players cannot break your map or reach unwanted locations. **](http://www.bungie.net/forums/posts.aspx?postID=57565175&viewreplies=true)

> 5. Attention to spawning is crucial

There’s nothing more frustrating than only having one spawning option all the way through the round. Spawn locations in Invasion are not influenced by enemy presence, so they can be camped by the opponent. A good way to set up your first phase is to have fireteam specific spawns (0, 1, and 2 spawn sequence), and then an additional “community spawn” set to spawn sequence 3 or higher that they can all spawn at. If you don’t want a community spawn, you can choose to add additional spawns per fireteam.
The latter phases should never have less than 2 spawns because of how easy it’ll be to camp them due to stronger weapons. Also, try to refrain from fireteam-specific weapon caches. If the fireteam you designate isn’t using their supplies, then nobody else will be able to use them (i.e. Breakpoint vehicle bay).
Lastly, be sure to use your spawning perspectives on your hill marker to your advantage. If you have trouble placing a weapon, put it in front of your spawn location and then players will know where it is. Be wary that your spawn perspective faces the direction of the next objective as well. As amusing as it may be, it’s not good to watch players spin around in circles when they spawn and wonder where the hell they are.
NOTE: It hasn’t been fully tested, but rumor has it that Fireteams with spawn sequence of 0 and 1 will get the extra player if you’re in an 8v8 game. Spawn Sequence 2 will only have 2 players. You can use this for areas where you don’t want more than 2 people spawning at a time.

> 6. Don’t be afraid to do the unusual

What if you reversed the Core and you had to take it into enemy territory instead of out of it? Another good idea is to switch the perspective of the phases. For instance, you can have the territory spawn right by the Defenders and force the Attackers to work twice as hard to keep them out for 30-60 seconds.
Also, did you know that if you set a vehicle to the label “INV_RES_ZONE”, that it then becomes invulnerable? When you apply this to a Shade Turret, the user invulnerable except to EMPs and Plasma Grenades. This encourages players to use the Shade Turret, which is great for suppression if it’s placed in the right location. I advise against doing this for other vehicles unless you’re using them as “props” and they aren’t part of the map.

> 7. Edit your loadouts

Not every Invasion map is the same, so you may need to take extra care to edit the loadouts in your gametype. If you have extreme CQB situations, spawning with the Sword and Shotgun will encourage players to camp this location. These would be better off as pickups on the map instead. If you have a vehicle-oriented first phase, don’t hesitate to add grenade launchers to your loadout to balance them out. If your map doesn’t support the Jetpack, you can simply remove it. Invasion is the only custom gametype and map set that Bungie will accept into MP so long as it plays well.
I find that the most trouble for loadouts comes with Elite options. Here are my suggestions:

> Spiker and Needler are a good combo, as the former takes out shields quickly and the latter only needs 3 needles to pop.
> The Needler is a mid-ranged weapon. Use it appropriately.
> Don’t give Jetpackers something they can’t use from height. A Concussion Rifle or Needler are best
> Don’t be afraid to give Elites Sprint or Armor Lock
> Hologram should always be included for the Spartans in a standard Invasion experience

> 8. Pay attention to how people play your map

When you’re playtesting, always be on the attacking team first. Keep your eyes peeled and watch what other players do on your map. Be observant and sit back on the side lines to see where players move. You will need to study these patterns so you know what to change. You can even go as far as writing them down to remember what needs to change.
This also includes watching your saved films. After a playtest, jump into theater and watch the match from every player’s point of view. The decisions they make can often tell you what needs to be removed, added, or tweaked on your map.

And there you have it. These are just some tricks of the trade that I’ve been using and teaching many other custom Invasion forgers. Before you comment though, note that these do not necessarily apply to mini-game-style Invasion maps. I hope this helped, and please feel free to share your own tips as well!

I always welcome any Forging advice. That was a good read. Thanks!

I enjoyed the read. I liked how you made a point to distinguish between and promote different moods/tones of intended gameplay.

I do agree fast paced is fun, but mixing things up and giving contrast to games is what really helps to makes things fun for me. I can say, it’s not going 220km/hr that makes speed fun, it’s the acceleration and curves while getting there that makes speed fun.