Monday, March 23, 2009

Field Design–Phoenix 2

Aight, you're gonna have to bear with me a minute as I hit rewind and go back to cover a couple of items I neglected last time--caught up as I was in doing a field-walking prep disguised as a field design post. (I'll get the hang of this blogging business before you know it.)
The first significant field design change--other than the no dog leg rule--occurred when competitive paintball ditched the woods. It was (drum roll please) the symmetrical layout. If you find this hard to believe or don't know what symmetrical means you haven't been playing paintball very long (Have you?) and you are (no doubt) the product of a public school education. Simply put it means the design is the same on both sides of the field. Each half mirrors the other.
Early hyperball fields were, in many respects, corrugated tube simulations of some of the bunkers and forms of the woods days. In relatively short order some hyperball and early airball fields tried to accommodate and reinterpret the woods skills set for a new kind of game wherein snakes and multi-level diamonds, for example, made crawling a part of the game again.
Since then change has mostly followed form as the conventions of a snake wire and a dorito wire dictated design thinking. In the last year or two some new ideas have begun to influence field design.

My version of these new ideas go like this: intentionally incorporate changes of elevation; minimize the defensive effectiveness of any single prop, encourage aggressive play and provide multi-directional movement options. For example, changes in elevation produce a more dynamic game by providing additional shot and control options. When the stand-up props--cans and rockets (Mayan temples)--are placed up field they function as lane blockers as well. There is also the added benefit of upfield stand-ups in that they become less defensively playable balancing out their potential offensive advantages.

There are some other elements involved but let's start in on the Phoenix layout by breaking down the D-side of the field. A home shooter laning off the break has 3 basic options; inside the rocket expecting an edger, between the rocket and the can and wide of the can toward the corner. (Did I mention now would be a good time to have a copy of the layout handy?) Runners off the break have 4 basic options. The result is a good balance of clear lanes plus a lot of offensive options including dead zones and an opportunity to play aggressively gun up.
The second key to this half of the field is the placement of the two med. doritos inside the wire that effectively create a second avenue of upfield movement. This inner avenue offers a wire control option as well as an inside out rotation option and lastly, the proximity of the two med. doritos puts the player at risk of being run down. It created a really nice dimension to the play of the D.side of the field.
It is also worth noting that no individual position dominated the play either offensively or defensively and that balance of trade-offs does a couple of important things. It elevates the importance of movement and coordinated action and tended to turn the mid-game in more gun-fighting and less lane control.
For a more in-depth look at elevation in play all we need do is examine how the rocket played. Standing the player has vision from his mirror and along the full length of the D wire with some minimal line-of-sight blocks that weren't sufficient to deny the rocket's primary roll of containing wire side movement. (There is a difference between containing and denying.) But what happens if the corner temple (which I am liable to call an Aztec the next time) forces the rocket player onto a knee. Virtually all the avenues of movement open up instantly including the can rotation to D1. (If there is no paint in the gap--go. Or alternatively edge the kneeling rocket player off his lane using the angle of the inside med. dorito.
The only thing I might have changed on this D wire is to slightly reposition the small doritos to improve their playability.

Okay, enough for now. Remember, I warned you about terminology in the first Field Design post so if you have any questions about what I mean one place or another please ask. Also, I'm trying to avoid overanalyzing this but if you are a glutton for punishment and want to ask about one thing or another--go for it, but consider yourself warned.

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