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PL Alpine Forest

Discussion in 'Map Workshop' started by Wolfen, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    Beta 1

    This is my first release of my contest entry. it is hard to believe it was almost four months ago when I first read about this competition and started planning.

    I haven't been posting images or updates due to various reasons. Mostly I didn't want to be judged till I had something that was strong yet still needed work.

    I now know that this build is the strongest I've had yet, which is why it is now Beta and now Alpha 5.

    There is still much to be done with this map but with the help of the TF2maps.net community and my friends over at the Gamers With Jobs community, I'm hoping to make something fun and interesting.

    The idea behind this map was originally to give you a choose your own adventure type payload map. When that turned out to cause me more issues than it was worth in the first month I just went all in for one path dedicated to each time.

    Even more interesting is that the original theme was going to be New Zealand based. Somehow I ended up with a Alpine theme instead. Actually I have pictures of the first few builds when parts of the map were using the rainforest props for the middle part of the map.

    I'd pack in more information here but I feel this is a nice starting point for now with the above image and a video I created for this release. It is a fly through of the map from the starting spawn till the final point.
    http://youtu.be/oVm4qbr1xfw

    Beta 3B:

    Much has changed since the first version. I continue to listen to the comments and complaints given by both mappers and players. There is still much work and testing to be done before submissions open.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  2. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    dem pinetrees

    good night sweet framerate, you will be missed
     
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  3. Tarry H Sruman

    aa Tarry H Sruman Large Orphanage Proprietor

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    Having trees in the playable area can be irritating, and having this degree of prop spam in any area can kill the framerates of the faint of GPU.
     
  4. ForbiddenDonut

    aa ForbiddenDonut

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    Reduce the amount of prop_static trees by about 85% and rely much more on skybox trees (the 2D ones).

    Fix up the lighting - it's absolutely way too dark in some spots (pictures 1 & 2).

    Finally, clean up the sightlines. I could snipe someone across the map from the hillside in picture 3.
     
  5. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    Sergis, I've been playing this on a server for a few weeks now with the same amount of props- To combat lag the objects at the far side of the map fade out at a distance. I do plan to cut out 10% of the trees after I complete the map but not the 85 ForbiddenDonut wishes.

    Terry, I can see why some would find them irritating but the taller trees are there to keep them from being irritating and the smaller are more spaced out. Another reference to lag, I really haven't noticed it yet and I'm using a rig from 2009. If someone has a really old rig and would test out the map in it's current and future state, I'd love to help them out.

    Forbidden, I'd rely on the 2D trees if I hadn't tried that and ended up with weird issues of world peaking through my skybox. I've not used skybox's a lot and this is my first try. When I run into issues I overbuild/under build and then go back and smooth it out.

    Lighting in image one was fixed because that is no longer part of the map in Beta 2 which will be released Saturday.

    I've been working on sightline though the sniper cliff next to the river will remain. Since most of it's shots are shots in the dark now with recent changes, the exception of a few specific spots that are very far apart.

    One last note, since there was such a large notion about tree's and not so much about gameplay, I have started removing the groups of trees and using the one object prop. Thus the prop count goes up while the amount of trees go down. :)

    I enjoy all your feedback and will use it to inform future builds. Though I can't please everyone so there will be compromises. :D
     
  6. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    It looks like there are masses of long routes with no or no viable side-path.
     
  7. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    Latest update radically changes the map and gameplay flow.

    Go ahead and take a look at the map as well as the updated pictures I attached to go with the new release.

    I eagerly look forward to suggestions on how to improve gameplay flow be it sign positions or strategically placed ammo and health.
     
  8. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    Latest build of my map: Alpine Forest RC1

    RC 1
    - Third public release, Seventh tested
    - Removed Ravine
    - Added more ammo and health
    - Detailed some of the spawn rooms
    - Added alternate paths
    - Reduced frame rate issues to a decent 30-40 in the more heavily populated areas.
    - Continued testing with various players to try and find glitches
    - Removal of a Red Spawn room
    - Changed Tunnel spawn room into a radio tower
    - Started work on the skybox


    Many other changes happened as well but listing but finding and listening them all would take much time, something it seems I'm running out of.

    This is the first Release Candidate but it still has much work togo if the test I just finished had anything to say. Mainly I wanted to get the map to a point it was complete able.I hope to get another release done by Monday morning but just in case I'm going to go grab a screenshot for the submission thread and throw this build on there.

    I doubt I'll get anything but I want the satisfaction to know that I submitted something to a level design competition.

    Edit: To go along with the jump from beta to release candidate I celebrated by creating a small teaser video showing brief bits of the map.

    http://youtu.be/3grp3zz5FgE
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  9. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    RC 2 was posted in the main submission thread.

    I'm very glad to have entered this competition and even if I don't win anything I'll be a winner. Because I took a map that had major issues and made it a fun and enjoyable map with the recommended 10-32 players. I also learned a lot of things I didn't know and still feel compelled to continue working on it after the competition has been completed.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  10. Wilson

    aa Wilson Founder of Wankhouse

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    I don't know about you but there is lots of issues.

    Most of your map is very linear and flat, there is never any interesting space to fight on (and the hillside area is not exactly most ideal place to fight) You have also limit where players can go by spamming lots and lots of tree props, sometimes creating very narrow paths for players to use. This doesn't only eat a lot of fps, it also gets on people's way when fighting..

    The map also lacks any sentry spots for RED and is extremly sniper friendly, mostly because areas are usually open and linear. Map itself has ambitious ideas for detailing, but it feels like we are nowhere near their full potential. The detailing relies too much on propspam and not enough on brushwork and lighting.

    In the end of the day, to be fully honest.

    Is it fun? Not really.
    Is it good attempt at first map? Yes.
    Should you continue working on it? Yes, tough layout needs some serious work.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  11. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    I'm seriously starting to wonder if I post two different versions between here and on the Gamers with Jobs private server where I've been testing it. In fact I'm quite confused since the sentry locations they've been using were either quite obvious or in obscure places that made me proud to test with such witty people.

    I disagree full heartily with propspam. If an actual forest just " tree spam?" I wanted the map to look like a heavily forested area. I didn't want players to feel like they were surrounded by the usual Red and Blu corporations. To help the keep frames smooth and it not feeling too rocky I made it so that props fade in and out.

    Sadly the build I put out the day of the competition closing wasn't optimized as well as I had wished. Today playing on my personal copy I get frames from 200 at the start to as low as 40 near the barn and City. With 32 players and explosions that means the frames can dip to around 20 - 30 which isn't too unusual for Valve's own payload maps from what I've seen using cl_showfps.

    Just wanna ask, what map does? Even maps that Valve has created still sometimes need a tuneup and change for new weapons or exploits. I will admit, I'm still working on the skybox, but that is the most detailing I'm worrying about other than some of the spawn rooms.

    I've had great fun on the map.

    I've listened to everything they commented on as players at Gamers with jobs and fixed most of their complaints, the only one I was never able to solve was length and by the time I hit testing there were only a few areas that could be deleted.


    I take your comments about first map as a compliment since it was my first time making a payload map. :)


    And while I am going to continue working on it, I have no doubt no matter what I do to it from here on out, it won't please the mapping community.

    Next time I will do better since each time a mapper makes a new map they are taking everything they learned from their last map. Be it the good or bad, how much players loved or hated it. They also take with them the knowledge and experience of how much time and effort they put into the map. :)

    Thank you so much for your comment W.S Wankhouse. I take each comment to heart and use it in one way or another. :)
     
  12. Wilson

    aa Wilson Founder of Wankhouse

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    You are testing with your friends and people you know, these said people also probably don't have much experience with making balanced and good tf2 map. My friends once asked me to make script for a play, they said it was awesome, it wasn't.

    I am not sure what you are trying to say. Look at your map and tell me half of the map is not covered in tree props. It is possible to make players feel like they are in a forest and not another spytech base without throwing tree props and other forest props all over the place, look at Dr. Spud's ctf_landfall or Forest map from Bullet Corps Project.

    I think you are confusing gameplay and detailing here.

    And when it comes to Valve maps, there is some ambitious ideas that have been done successfully.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, YOU. I once had fun on my payload map i made sometime go, others didn't. Don't fall into trap of author bias.

    So why are you not listening to me then? As i said earlier, your friends and people who know you have habit of thinking everything is awesome because they don't want to insult you. If you only listen to people you know, your maps are probably going to suck. I know, it sounds like a terrible thing to say, but i have yet to see really good maps come out of by testing only with people you know.

    If you think like this, you are never going to improve.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  13. Bereth

    Bereth Well-Known Member

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    Eh. It's a legitimate attitude. Even maps which are considered perfect often have flaws which are pointed out regularly. Badwater and Badlands are perfect examples. People love them, but people often point out their flaws.
     
  14. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    I'm not going to address the gameplay issues that are obvious from the screenshots. I tend to think Wilson is wrong about everything except basics, which seems to be what he's going on about.

    Regardless, I wanted to let you know that fading props in and out taxes the player's computer almost as much as just leaving a prop rendered does. It's more effective to fade large props around corners or small props at large distances that don't get culled by portals than it is to just set a huge fucking forest to fade as you go through it.
     
  15. Wolfen

    Wolfen Member

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    See if someone had explained it this way I would have understood what everyone meant. I might have been messing around with the SDK and hammer for years but I know that I'm still a noob.

    I don't understand half the things that go on behind the scenes yet and my only way to tell how performance was doing was by playing with 22 bots and putting on cl_showfps and watching the frames dip from 200 downwards and then judging what I needed to do from there.

    Also this community as well as my teachers at Full Sail have taught me with this map that while a few sketches and ideas are good, more is better.

    Keeping this in mind I've made a new rule for myself where there must be 7 sketches that show off the entire gameplay area as well as sketches of the detailing and world. This is already working for the better as one idea I thought was kinda interesting only made it to 6 sketches before I realized how tight and closed in the gameplay spaces were and how bad a map it was.


    As one of my teachers said a few months ago, we all have hundreds of ideas, it takes a designer to take the hundreds of bad ideas and learn from them.
     
  16. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    Remember that if sketching doesn't work for you, it's not a big deal. I've never sketched a thing in my life, and my maps aren't the end-all best ever maps but they are fine. Mostly. Kind of.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. People have different workflows.

    I would also advise that you not necessarily listen to groups of players that don't have a mapping or gameplay bent (ie Gamers with Jobs--I have a job, listen to me, I'm an adult). Players tend to be terrible at knowing what exactly is wrong with something (and how to fix it is another matter, often something you have to solve yourself); mappers and/or modders tend to (but not always) have a better idea. Anyone can be an armchair mapper, but just like backseat drivers, they are assholes and stupid. Forget them. Absorb the lessons of people that treat this hobby like a job and spend all their time doing it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2012
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