Rap Battles Could Fix Parkour Maps

Rap Battles Could Fix Parkour Maps

I go pretty abstract as I use examples from rap battles to suggest improve the parkour map genre.


  1. My problem with parkour maps is that they are rarely polished. A map maker throws some blocks down, boom. Done right? BORING. The core gameplay is there but it’s the same thing as everyone else. How does yours stand out? Well how do other genres of maps stand out? They add beautiful backgrounds, stories, music, characters, and they give you some kind of purpose. Why isn’t there an epic parkour map on the side of a beautiful mountain that you jump your way up? Why isn’t there a story so good I have to try to make the same jump 10 times so that I can eat up the next nugget of plot? I just want to see someone change up this parkour business into something more than a few blocks and a void world.

    1. Going on your checkpoint system point (which all parkour maps should have, this blows my mind that they don’t) why not have parkour that reacts to the player in the sense of getting easier after multiple deaths? The blocks would move down or move in closer, an extra block could appear… Something to keep the player moving before they give up or get bored.

    2. But there are maps like this! I vaguely remember a large amount of story being in one of the maps we reviewed from the first season of Limited Engagment.

      Your comment also got my wheels turning. I would make a parkour map “different” by introducing competitive elements such as speed boosts, power-bops, and time freezes. That’s my background in designing competitive games talking.

      What’s interesting is how you approach it from a storytelling perspective…which tells me story/theme/build/and even other mechanics end up just being tools to further the game itself.

      You’re right, those additional elements may tell a gorgeous story, and give purpose to why players should keep moving through these pakrour challenges…but let’s step back for a moment.

      What are elements of a successful parkour map? Have we defined this?

      We can rely on the platformer genre to see what’s working and what isn’t, since the majority of mechanics work around player positioning and movement. Leaning the research done for that genre of games may give us a boost.

      Moving on from that, my definition of a parkour map may differ vastly from yours:

      I like to start with the definition of the word (from Google): “the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing.”

      Well, that clears it up, but now having JUST read that definition, something stands out: “activity or sport of moving rapidly,” now this is an INTERESTING thought.

      If we’re to be the best game designers (not writers, storytellers, or visual designers, but someone who creates rulesets) we can be, everything but core mechanics is a tool to further communicate our core mechanics, so story OR competitive elements don’t ADD to the core design of a parkour map, but rather, they LAYER additional elements on top of the core game.

      Whereas “activity or sport of moving rapidly” is a goal we can use to give a player the urgency to keep moving…and that seems like a good start, at very least.

      You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about.

    3. Copied from my Skype rant to you for others to read.

      [1:31:24 AM] Moesh: This method, in particular, could lead to players just failing jumps until they get easier.
      [1:31:55 AM] Moesh: Progression, in a way, hasn’t always been represented in a game…but rather through players improving skil.
      [1:32:07 AM] Moesh: Parkour, by definition, is memorizing movements
      [1:32:19 AM] Moesh: And that’s a hell of a difficult thing to replicate and keep interesting.
      [1:33:03 AM] Moesh: One thing I’ve been thinking about since reading your comment is visually represent “schemes” or “bags” or sequences the player needs to memorize
      [1:33:06 AM] Moesh: and paring those together
      [1:33:23 AM] Moesh: “OK, this is a yellow sequence: Jump, Jump, Ladder, water drop, go”
      [1:33:41 AM] Moesh: String that together with a bunch of other sequences, and suddenly we have a design method and natural progression goal

  2. About parkour maps …

    Parkour maps have always been and always will be. During the first Beta/Aplha releases, players already started to create maps which the only goal was to reach the end of an obstacles chain. We all remember jumpcraft thing during this dark mapmaking past …

    Nowadays, the concept has evolved, and I consider the Bountyful Update (1.8) as a beautiful thing which changed it all. Especially with the /execute command, which gave birth to a lot of maps (including my first ones). As Adrian Brightmoore said, creating this kind of map is not a really difficult thing ; we only need to place a few blocks, to think about 3 or 4 easy mechanics running with ten commands and voilĂ . Here’s a playable parkour map which can be popular and loved easily.
    At first sight, it can be frustrating to see quite often content creators being rewarded with notoriety and fame with simple creations made without complex and innovative work, while several unique maps made with a lot of time and hardwork stay unkwown, such as their creators. (Let’s be honest, even though mapmaking is fun, getting recognition and feedbacks is really satisfying)

    As AB said, there are different kind of audiences who play different kind of maps. Fortunately, sometimes exceptions like Terra Swoop Force and other huge maps create a real consensus among the whole community because they are amazingly created. But to be honest, it’s a good thing that everyone of us is able to choose our playground. I admit I often play myself simple straight parkour map, and I’m having fun though.

    However, I think I have enough detachment about this kind of maps to challenge AB’s words. We need to be clear on what we call a “parkour map”. Saying that every parkour map are just combinations of spaced nerdpoles and useless mechanics is a huge generalization that obfuscate really well-thought ones. A parkour map can also be entirely scripted with an actual plot. I consider IJA’s maps like parkour ones, but he used unique mechanics, reflexion and an interesting plot.
    We have to distinguish complex and well-thought parkour maps and simple amateur ones. Certain maps such as Beyond Perception I & II or Scary Blocks are really interesting and must be considered equally as any other kind of project ( specially in Game Design).

    1. I agree with everything you’ve said here. Easily learned, difficult to master comes to mind.

      Parkour strikes me as a rudimentary games use to learn the basics of map making. There are amateurs and there are professionals. The professionals take the time to go beyond the core of the game and properly iterate their idea into a polished product.

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