Bounce (level design)

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Revision as of 12:49, 10 February 2006 by Kalashnikov (talk | contribs) (Ease of Use)
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A symbolic diagram of a bounce - it begins in a room with an obstacle (locked door, force field) and leads to an event that destroys this obstacle (disaster sequence, physics puzzle, button pushing), thus allowing the player to backtrack and proceed.

A bounce is a layout element that guides the player to an area which exhibits some kind of change, then leaves him to backtrack and utilize this change. In some ways, it is similar to a loop; accordingly, it also shares similar advantages.


(bounces are efficient - effectively using the same area twice)


The use of the same environment allows for easy guidance of the player from his or her objective. So, once complete, it is a quick run back to the main path and this objective-bounce will allow the player to continue on with their primary goal and progress. This is very effective of trapping the player in certain areas for a given length of time. (player can't get lost, player can always backtrack)

Ease of Use

This bounce can adhere to any objective which is why it is so commonly used in games. In many games these bounces can be as simple as coming to a locked door and going on a route to find a control room, keypad or keycard to open it. Other, more complex bounces can adhere to multiple areas with multiple objectives just to pass through one area. The more complex the use, the more intertwined bounces become with loops. (at its most basic level, its a button and a locked door; easy!)


Within many players, there has been an emerging awareness of "backtracking." Many players possess a negative view of the mechanic, and see it as an example of laziness on the part of the designer, or simply a very confusing layout element.

(author doesn't make the "change" apparent enough)


In general, a bounce is much simpler to implement than a loop, but can still be effective. Here are some notable examples:

Anomalous Materials (Goldsource)

Anomalous Materials diagram

To do: Tidy up this description, Thanks Kalashnikov you amazing man you! This Half-Life chapter begins with the player entering the Sector C lobby. There are scientists walking around and talking to one another and a Barney manning the kiosk in the center of the room. Behind him is a giant backdrop of a world map, the Black Mesa Research Facility ensemble on it. The Barney informs you of a power failure that has taken many systems offline and has caused many issues to arise. He tells you to get into your hazard suit and to head to the test chamber as soon as you are ready. This is where the 'bounce' aspect of this level begins. You travel down some hallways, past the cafeteria into a changeroom. In the corner of the room you see three large pods, only one containing a HEV suit (Hazardous EnVironment Suit). You push the button the control panel closest to you and you grab it. Some music plays as you run back through the same hallways and again past the cafeteria. You are now on your way to the test chamber. Past some security doors, past many more scientists and finally down some elevators into the test chamber control room.

Here you talk with the scientists and they express their concerns and thoughts on the test to be preformed. You are then allowed to continue by a scientist with retinal scanner access and you proceed down another elevator, past monitoring equipment and finally into the 'clean room', where you await clearance to the enter through the blast doors into the test chamber. The scientists here also express concern and dislike for todays test, but continue on as planned anyways. I think everyone here knows what happens next, so we'll skip the "Oh my God, the test screwed up, aliens everywhere, interdimensional rift is opened, yadda yadda yadda." The main idea here is that you have essentially doomed the world to enslavement and war with the future Combine oppressors. Best part is, you get to sleep through all of that!

From the end of the test chamber sequence, you awake back in the now destroyed test chamber. Electricity is sparking and equipment is everywhere. You must now make your way from the test chamber all the way back to the beginning of this chapter and out the other end of it. This allows for a lot of time to let the player know what has happened, how things are right now, the themes and moods of people and best of all: the level designer already has the base to work with. All they need to do now is destroy it, in minor-literal meanings of the term.

Power Struggle (Goldsource)

In this Blue Shift level, the player has to drain a pool of coolant, go into it, rearrange the barrels, re-fill the pool, and cross on the rearranged barrels.

Route Kanal (Source)

To do: diagram, description

Metastasis 1 (Source)

To do: diagram, description