Apex Legends: An ode to the doors
In video games, some players are led to believe that they are made by pulling levers like in Springfield. One of those levers should be pushed and sat back with a donut for them to change something inside a game. Unreal Engine allows developers to add co-op simply by clicking the "add co-op" button. That's easy peasy.
This is a fantasy. A game's co-op implementation is a nightmare in reality. Observing your level from the perspective of one player, you know exactly what assets you can cull for memory savings.
Whew, it gets complicated when you add two or more players. This is not an article about cooperative games, so there are a lot more factors to consider. Not at all. This is much more interesting. My friends, this is an article about doors.
The Door Problem was a brilliant essay written by game developer Liz England explaining why doors are such a pain in the arse to implement. The addition of a door creates a series of design issues. Doors aren't simply passageways into other rooms.
Can the AI also pass through doors? Would it be possible to block doors to prevent the player from progressing? If an AI gets stuck in a door, what should it do? There is no end to it.
It's for this reason that most games go for the 'simple' option and give us functional doors that can perform the bare minimum. Their doors open and close. It is sometimes just that they open. It is not uncommon for them not to open at all, and instead, you will see a loading screen.
There are times when you follow behind a soldier, and the soldier opens the door for you. A door becomes more than it was in stealth games, where a camera is pushed under the gap or a keyhole can be peeked through.
You don't find much innovation in first-person shooter games aside from blowing them off their hinges - and even then it's rare. Apex Legends is an exception. There are doors in Apex Legends like the Swiss Army knife, the General Grievous, and the Spider-Man 3. It's almost too much. It's almost there.
You have to consider doors when outsmarting your enemies in Apex Legends, as they are an integral part of the gameplay. To set the scene, let me lay out a few of their rules. So there you have the playground - a rich set of rules which, in essence, create a metagame within Apex Legends.
Take a moment to think about the consequences of the first rule. When someone is holed up in a building, an attacking player must force their way in. This gives those who are defending an advantage. However, that's another topic entirely. You can always harass them through windows.
We then have blocked. Death boxes are dropped by enemies when you kill them in Apex Legends. The box will block any door that they were standing near when they died. It is not uncommon, during early game battles, for death boxes to completely block a door, preventing players from leaving, forcing them through another door, where a team is waiting for them, alerted by the noise.
It is also possible to block doors using certain character abilities, like Caustic's gas traps. Then there's body blocking, which involves players pushing their characters up against a door to block others from entering.
By standing near the door, you can prevent the other team from opening it from the outside, since they can only push. When players have to quickly flank around or remove the door from the equation, this is often a very good way to pop a heal during a fight.
It is important to take tactical considerations into account when destroying doors. The instinct is to kick the door off the hinges if someone is body-blocking
A melee strike is required only for this. First, you signal your intent, then you prepare them for the second. As soon as the door breaks into pieces, any player worth his salt will be ready to strike when you kick it.
Throwing a grenade can also blow up the door, which is a better option. Just as the door explodes, fire a second grenade, and you've got an easy break-in. Or, if you have a Rampart on your team, you can use her minigun to rip through the door and the other person. Charged Rampage LMGs have a similar effect, but they're not quite as deadly.
As long as you shoot the handle of some weapons - snipers, 30-30 repeaters, and Wingmen, for example - you can also open doors at a distance, rather than destroy them. When people are holed up, but not blocking the doors, this tactic comes in handy. You can also use it to force the enemy to close the door, which can be used to launch a grenade or a Rampart barrage at them.
Alternatively, attackers can fill buildings with grenades and block the exits with body-blocking doors. It's not easy, but when you succeed, it's satisfying. It is also pre-aiming. You can peek over the other side of the doors since they have glass panels.
By pressing the trigger, you can pre-aim an enemy and push through the door. As well as acting as combat platforms, doors in Apex Legends also serve as climbing platforms. Step up a door from the inside, climb on top of it, and you're on top of the building. That was well done.
It is this that makes Apex Legends my first choice when it comes to battle royale games. Regardless of team composition, character abilities, loadout, or map, there are dozens of tactical considerations you must make on the fly, and all of it is complemented by the smoothest movement of any FPS. You should already know what I mean by the fact that I just spent over a thousand words on doors.