An comprehensive tutorial of the maze layout in Four Floors. You will be able to figure out exactly what path to take before even entering the building!
Ultimate Guide to Four Floors Maze RNG
Four floors is a map with perhaps the most amount of randomized elements out of any PAYDAY 2 heist. As you go along through the maze, you will find that several obstacles like closed doors with claymores, makeshift walls put up in the center of the hallway and simply closed rooms are blocking you and forcing you to find a new path in order to get to the top.
In the recent events of the Geldgeil League tournament, every team had to deal with these random elements and adapt to the maze on the fly in order to reach the top in record time. Of course these runs could go a lot faster and save quite a bit of time if you could figure out a way to know the maze, so that you don't have to adapt to the obstacles as much.
The issue with this idea is that most elements of the map aren't exactly visible from the outside. Even if they were visible, a lot of these obstacles don't actually render until you reach the specific floor where these obstacles are located.
But what if there were a way to find out how the maze is formed anyway? This is the story of how we figured out the different elements of the map and were able to figure out which path to take before even entering the first floor.
It's important to understand that no matter what you do, some parts of the maze are always going to be obscured. That is why it's important to have a basic understanding of how the maze works, so that you can apply this knowledge along with any information that can be scouted out to map out what possibilities there are.
Let's start off simple with the overall layout of the maze.
After blowing open the door with C4, the heisters are forced to go up the stairs and are met with a blockade that will either be on the left or the right side of the staircase. This forces the heisters to take the path opposite of this blockade. Being forced in one direction means that the opposite direction will be completely inaccessible in this run. This same behaviour repeats on the 2nd and the 3rd floor, although these two floors share a hidden connection. Being forced to go left on the 2nd floor (south in preplanning) means you will be forced to go to the left side of the 3rd floor (north), while going right on the 2nd floor (north) will always force you to go up the ramp to the right side of the 3rd floor (south).
While the first and 2nd floor don't share any forcing connection, the fact that the layout on the 3rd floor is connected to the layout of the 2nd floor means that there are 4 overall possibilities of directions the maze will force you to go through. These been left&left, right&right or the two alternating variations.
First Floor Specifics
Now that we have a basic understanding of the layout, it's important for us to take a deeper look at each of these variations per floor and determine how the obstacles are laid out and related to one another. For reference, see the following image:
This image is an overview of the major obstacles, organized in a colour scheme to differentiate between different types. The following will explain all the colours and what they mean:
- Static obstacles, these obstacles will always block your path no matter what circumstance. You're forced to find a way around them.
- Holes in the wall. These holes are all dynamically generated and have complex logic behind them. Still, there are specific patterns you can see after multiple playthroughs, which are indicated by the next colour.
- Relations between certain obstacles. This means that if one obstacle is active, the other will not be. As can be seen in the image, most of the holes in the outer and inner parts of the rooms on each side will share a link so that one path is always available. Holes that don't have a connection in this image have slightly more complex logic to them. It's also noteworthy that the right side will always spawn a wall to block you if the first hole is not active, whereas the left side does not share this behaviour.
- This is the direction you will be entering the floor from.
- These are improvised walls that may or may not be active during your run. I theorize these do share a connection but don't want to clutter the image. Expect to have at least some of these active during your run, which means that the left side can either be very fast or very slow, depending on your randomized setup.
- These are the walls that block you off and force you to go either left or right at the start of the stairs.
Just from this information alone, we can already conclude that the right side will be slower on average, while the left side is faster on average but has the potential to make you walk even further than the right side if you get unlucky.
We will look at how to further abuse this information in a later section.
Second Floor Specifics
Let's take a look at the 2nd floor. The same colour scheme is used to mark major obstacles, with one new obstacle being introduced:
- These are the drillable gates that will always block your path. Only one of these 4 locations will ever be active at the same time.
The logic and relations on these floors get more complex than the first floor since a player is never allowed to skip a gate, which would easily be possible with true randomness if heisters are forced to go left. As you can see in the image, the left side is a lot less complex for a player to navigate and might seem more enticing, but keep in mind that the path on the 2nd floor predetermines the entrance of the 3rd floor.
This is why we need to also check out the 3rd floor in order to determine which side is more desirable.
Third Floor Specifics
Once again, we'll be using the same colour scheme, with some new colours and a slight adjustment to an existing colour.
Red: These are the possible locations for the circuit boxes that'll open the metal door blocking your path. Only one of these will spawn and will have a wire leading from the door to the box's location.
- These are the ramps that are used to get up to the 3rd floor.
- These are the metal doors blocking your path.
As you can see in the image, the left side has more downsides than the right side, besides the fact that all the boxes force you to backtrack. There is also potential for a wall to appear that will block your path and force you to go through the rooms. It's also noteworthy that all these boxes can be interacted with through the walls, making the right side even faster.
Gaining and Using Information
Now that we've established the major obstacles that are in our path, we can start making connections and trying to figure out what path is most desirable overall, as well as ways to figure out if the current path is ideal or not.
The best possible path will be as follows:
- Going left on the first floor with 3 holes on the inner side. Even without these holes, the left side will have the potential to be a straight shot for the stairs and is generally a solid choice.
- Going right on the second floor with 3 holes on the inner side, with the earliest possible gate location on the 2nd floor. Having the early gate will allow the runner not to worry about switching to his saw in time, as there are no enemy spawns nearby. However, this early gate is also the only one visible from the outside and will warn us that we will have to turn right on the 2nd floor. The right side will also lead us to the right side on the 3rd floor, which is more direct and has fewer RNG elements slowing us down than the left side.
Cool, so now we know our ideal situation and why it's good. We can keep this information in mind and attempt to take the fastest path as we run through the corridors. However, we can do one step better.
Remember how way back I said that most information isn't accessible, and even if it were, it wouldn't render? Well, as it turns out, there's a way around that.
This is all the information on the first floor that we can determine from the outside. By simply looking through the windows, the holes in the walls are always visible (as long as you look from proper angles). But you won't know which side you will be going to since the walls that block your path are unloaded. That is where the following dumpster comes in:
By jumping up on the specific spot where the trip mine is, your character will barely enter the trigger that tells the game to start loading in the first floor specific elements and will let you see the walls that block your path. By looking at the following window, right above the door that you have to blow open with C4, we can now see if there is a blockade or not.
What you should see before jumping
What you should see during the jump
What you should see after the jump (if this blockade is active)
Having a blockade will mean you're forced to go right, while having no blockade means you have to go left. Using the information of the holes on the inner parts of this area, we can now determine both which side to go to and which holes are active. Using this information also allows us to figure out our fastest possible path and avoid dead ends!
Let's try this in an example. Let's assume that we went to the spot, saw that the blockade is -not- there and that our teammates called out that the 3rd wall is the only one that's broken. We can now draw out the following path in our head before even entering the door:
Of course, we cannot see all of the improvised walls, but we can still adjust to these rather quickly by knowing where they could possibly be and keeping in mind what path to take if we do see these walls appear.
The following positions are the ones we used in our run, which will allow you to see the holes in the walls with 3 people while still having time to do all the necessary interactions.
This position will let you see the first and second wall on the left side
This position will let you see the third wall on the left and right side, as well as the first wall on the right side
This position will let you see the second wall on the right side, as well as the 3rd wall on the left side
Any elevation makes this process easier, which is why most of these spots are in elevated places. Also, remember to shoot out the windows for a clearer vision of the wall, as it can be hard to spot the differences through the glass. The last position will also allow this person to walk a bit further into the corner and look for the possible early gate on the second floor, which will look like this:
Second Floor Tricks
We determined that even though the 2nd floor is too high to scout out, some information can still be acquired by looking at the right angles and using throwables.
As previously discussed, by being in the corner next to the C4, we can see if we get the early gate on the right side of the 2nd floor.
Since only one of these gates will ever spawn, we now know we will be heading to the right on the second floor. The runner now also knows to pull out his saw on the stairs to use it on the gate.
The last trick we found is one we never quite got to use in an actual run. It's about finding out if one specific hole on the 2nd floor is active. More precisely, we're talking about the third wall of the inner rooms on the right side of the 2nd floor.
People are very prone to run into a dead-end since there is a chance the hallway would be blocked off. However, with precise throwable tosses, we can determine if this wall is active or not simply by tossing a throwable through the window. Despite the wall never rendering from the bottom floor, they will still retain their collision, and as such, throwables can either get stuck in the wall or pass through.
Either throwing knives or javelins can be used to perform this trick, but the javelin setup is much more precise.
This spot will let you line up a consistent toss for the throwing knife. Aim at this specific spot shown with your laser right (preferably using the judge since we all did in the tournament). You should be aiming for the middle of the gap between the bars of the ladder.
And now, toss a throwing knife. Make sure the window is broken, as the throwing knife will bounce off the window otherwise. If you did not break the window, you could toss a second throwing knife since the first one will break the window.
These images show what your result should look like with a non-broken wall, while the following images should be what it looks like with a broken wall.
The javelin travels a lot further and thus requires a more precise angle. Line yourself up on this specific spot, jamming yourself against the corner of the wood and the wall.
Aim your laser sight at the middle of this branch, a bit above the dark spot
And now toss your javelin. Once again, make sure the window is broken, or you'll have to throw another one. After a successful toss, you should be greeted with this sight if the wall had a hole in it.
And with this, if the wall was still in-tact:
That concludes all the information we managed to find during our practice of four flours for the Geldgeil League tournament. Hopefully some of this information was either useful or entertaining to you. May you be able to use this info to either not get lost in the maze anymore, or simply flex on your friends with some precise throwable tosses.