How Bungie designed your favourite multiplayer maps

Nov 22, 2007

"You want the player to have a cool experience." Such is the belief of Bungie multiplayer dev Chris Carney, talking about multiplayer map design. And, with Halo 3 firmly installed as Xbox Live's most played online mashup, Bungie has clearly fulfilled this aim.

Carney explains how Bungie go about achieving that cool experience: "We try to make the map simple in some ways, so it's easy to build a mental map of the space ... [We make] sure that there's always some landmark to orientate yourself by."

Important also is the feel and atmosphere of a map. "Even if they get their ass kicked [the player] can say: 'Wow, that cool space church was bizarre - I want to run around that some more'," Carney continues, speaking to Edge magazine for a feature this month that examines the science and theory of multiplayer map design.

Above: Bungie's technology can create 'heatmaps' to display a dizzying array of visuals statistics, which in turn can help to tune and tweak map design

As HD visuals become selling points, though, Carney maintains that multiplayer map design should always be function over form: "The fun and playability of a map must always rule over visuals." Although, of course, Halo 3's appealing visuals only serve to heighten the brilliance of each of its maps.

To read the full feature, which also contains design views from developers like Valve and Splash Damage, grab Edge #183, on sale from today.