This article will discuss the conditional elements that turn on and off Respawn Zones in the Reach game play for bomb and flag game types. This is an article that I had been meaning to write for some time, but haven't found much need. There are very few maps that actually use the feature in community forged maps, but that seems to be changing lately.
Bungie gave us AS_RES_ZONE, AS_RES_ZONE_AWAY, CTF_RES_ZONE, and CTF_RES_ZONE_AWAY game type labels for the purpose of enabling Respawn Zones conditioned upon the state of the team's bomb or flag respectively. This article will discuss the conditions that will turn on or off each of the Respawn Zones with these labels. In each case, they are completely complimentary. For example, when AS_RES_ZONE labeled Respawn Zone is enabled, the AS_RES_ZONE_AWAY labeled Respawn Zone is disabled; and the other way around.
For the remainder of this article, Respawn Zone will refer to any of the three types of Respawn Zones collectively. Strong Zone will refer to the Respawn Zone object, Weak Zone will refer to the Weak Respawn Zone object, and Anti Zone will refer to the Anti Respawn Zone object specifically.
This article is intended to compliment my earlier article, Respawn Zone Tutorial.
For the Assault game types, the two conditional game type labels that can be applied to Respawn Zones are AS_RES_ZONE and AS_RES_ZONE_AWAY. One and only one is enabled at any time, and is determined by the armed state of the bomb.
The bomb takes on several phases in its life: (a) spawned, (b) transit, (c) arming, (d) armed, and (e) disarming. If disarmed, the bomb returns to the transit phase, or the spawned phase if the game type is configured for immediate reset of the bomb.
For the purpose of this discussion, the only phases we are interested in is when the bomb is armed (in the armed phase or disarming phase). If the bomb is armed, then AS_RES_ZONE_AWAY is enabled and AS_RES_ZONE is disabled. In all other phases of the bomb's life cycle, AS_RES_ZONE is enabled and AS_RES_ZONE_AWAY is disabled.
For CTF game types, the two conditional game type labels that can be applied to Respawn Zones are CTF_RES_ZONE and CTF_RES_ZONE_AWAY. One and only one is enabled at any time and is determined by the state of the flag.
Unlike the bomb, the life cycle of the flag is very simple - it is either on its flag stand or it is not. If it is on its flag stand, then Respawn Zones labeled CTF_RES_ZONE will be enabled and those labeled CTF_RES_ZONE_AWAY will be disabled. If the flag is not on its stand, then those Respawn Zones labeled CTF_RES_ZONE_AWAY will be enabled and those labeled CTF_RES_ZONE will be disabled.
There are three types of Respawn Zones, the Strong Zone, the Weak Zone, and the Anti Zone. These game type labels will affect each the same way. They only react to the bomb or flag that belongs to the team assigned to the Respawn Zone.
A Respond Zone that is assigned to a neutral team and one of the four game type labels mentioned here is considered a mis-configured Respawn Zone - an error on the part of the forger. The results are undefined, but tests indicate that the game type label is simply ignored and the Respawn Zone is enabled. Tests have not been performed for team assigned Respawn Zones for which there are no bomb or flag components to the game, but it is assumed to work similarly as if it were neutral team assigned - it also is considered an error on the part of the forger whose results are undefined.
Bringing It All Together
Keep in mind that a Strong Zone so heavily weights the Respawn Points within its zone that unless very specific conditions are met, the team assigned that Respawn Zone will be forced to spawn in that Respawn Zone at one of the Respawn Points within it. Therefore, assigning one of these conditional game type labels to a Weak Zone within the Strong Zone will have the affect of shifting preference of spawning within the Strong Zone. Remember, the Weak Zone only prefers, while the Strong Zone effectively defines spawning boundaries.
Likewise, setting a Weak Zone to one of these game type labels outside the team's Strong Zone will make the Weak Zone useless, as it will never be accessible to the team, since it lies outside the team's Strong Zone - the team's defined boundary for spawning.
It was intended by Bungie that these labels be used to alter the spawning behavior during the game play dependent upon the state of the objective. Obviously the intent is to encourage or force spawning in a more forward location on the map if the bomb is armed or the flag was taken off its stand, to help in forward progress for a team. In some maps, this can be very powerful in making the game play more enjoyable, rather than forcing a team to trek the entire map just to help their team keep the bomb armed, or to flank the enemy leaving their base with their flag.
Few maps actually use these game type labels, and those that do don't necessarily use them in a way that make a lot of sense. But a couple of uses I have come across are worth noting here.
If a map is divided in half between red and blue teams, and each half covered with the team's respective Strong Zone for objective games, if the Strong Zone were assigned CTF_RES_ZONE rather than CTF, then the effect would be no zone at all for the team when their flag is off its stand. They could spawn anywhere on the map. This is an interesting idea for one flag, as it allows the defenders to spawn at the enemy base to cut off their attempts of bringing the flag back to their base to score. It is not so good for multi-flag, as it would allow much easier opportunities to steal the enemy's flag in return without extending the same level of effort in the trek of the map.
Another idea was to use the CTF_RES_ZONE_AWAY on an Anti Zone along the back portion of a team's half of the map to encourage forward spawning toward the middle of the map, still within the team's Strong Zone. While this does not guarantee the spawning behavior, it does encourage it to occur.
It is clear that Bungie intended for forgers to provide some dynamics to their CTF and Assault game type spawning with these game type labels. Understanding when they are enabled or disabled is key to using them successfully to make the game play more entertaining and competitive.