During the last playtest, there were a few complaints about the maps performance. I thought I had optimised it about as well as I could have, but I went into the VMF to see if I could improve it. I could. A lot. This had the unfortunate downside of extending my compile time from 40 minutes to 4 hours, but it's worth it for those sweet sweet frames.
The red-side door of A's mining hut is accessible once again
Although this helped with balancing B, it did make A a bit bland; and funneled all of red team into the tiny choke. This door has been re-opened to combat this, but will close after A is captured.
Boarded up the window of A barn
This was done partially to help with optimisation, but additionally, fuck this window. It's caused so many problems throughout development; so it's gone now.
Fixed bots getting stuck in spawn
Bot enjoyers rejoice!
Made the impact sounds of the train crashing through the gate a bit quieter
Fixed an issue allowing players to build within blue spawn
As far as major changes go, this is it: the last batch of changes. The only things that will be in any future updates are bugfixes or minor balance changes.
Anyways, onto the patch notes!
Added a third spawn exit to Blue initial spawn
Spawncamping was never really an issue, but this will help Blue push out a little faster and safeguard against any future spawncamping attempts.
Made the window in the A barn untraversable
It was previously too easy for Red to gain control of this building by climbing up the rocks and jumping through the window, so now; while it can be shot through, you can no longer use the window as a route.
Reworked the mining hut next to A
This building is now inaccessible from B, so instead of providing a quick detour to the main choke, it now winds around and gives a Highground position over B, Hoodoo-Style.
Added a Blue forward spawn after capturing A
This forward spawn is located just beyond the first building the payload moves through, and cuts the walking time from spawn to B for blue down by about 40%
Detail pass on several areas
Added alternate skybox texture and fog
Some bug fixes
Known potential problems:
The sound of the train crashing through the gates is possibly too loud
Bots will occasionally get stuck in spawn (Blue first forward spawn specifically)
Train will occasionally not play any associated audio
The 'stairs' building immediately before B was always meant to be used as a staging area for BLU, with some utility for RED while they still held A. However more often than not, this area was underutilised by BLU and overutilized by RED on B, as it didn't provide the right kind of advantages. Now the route is a lot more similar to how it was originally in Cactus Canyon, without the highground for RED on A.
Added an additional point between B and (previously) C
The new C point is shortly after the turntable choke point, and is meant to replace the micro-point that was nearby. This makes it clearer that BLU holds an area, and that things in the map have changed, once captured. BLU also receives their second forward spawn after capturing this point, but I may revert this in future.
Improved layout in "stage 1" > "stage 2" connector
Now that there is a point after the turntable, the routing through this building needed to be improved to combat RED players potentially trying to forward hold. Generally, it's a lot less open and works as a better staging point for BLU when trying to push through the coal yard (it also had an interior detail pass).
Changed window in the D flank house to a balcony
The windows in this building proved to be quite frustrating to fight both with and against, as players both in and out of the building felt very exposed from the multiple sightlines the building provided. These windows have now been either removed or blocked, although the one that faced out onto D directly has been turned into a doorframe, with a small exterior platform to shoot down at defenders from (it's also not a bad spot for a defensive sentry).
Added new route into last from D
The small windowed room with a healthpack next to D has been opened up, and now connects to the staircase leading to the upper platform in the main building. This provides more routing options into D for BLU and makes it less predictable where a push will emerge from. To balance this, the upstairs open window in the main building has been closed.
Turntable before C turns slower
This turntable tended to not slow BLU down as much as I would have liked, so the speed at which is turns has been lowered to allow RED more time to set up a defence. This is particularly important now that there is a checkpoint soon after it.
Respawn times adjusted across the board
More or less a test with the new layout changes, I expect the times to change in later updates.
Adjusted time at which the 'Finale train' enters the map
If BLU happened to roll through last without stopping, they would always have the train hit the cart shortly after reaching the tracks. Sometimes however, this was completely out of RED's control. Their long spawn times, and a decent walk back to point meant they would usually struggle to retake last if BLU had already established their presence, even slightly. Now, the train comes sooner, so a BLU team doing particularly well will only scrape the payload along the side of the train, and have to wait for the next one to arrive. This gives RED much more time to set up a proper defence and clear BLU out.
Removed the small rock-based platform near the A rollback zone
This spot was far too easy to defend, and a sentry placed there would easily hold down both routes that could take it out, and often required a lot of effort from BLU to destroy it. In its place, there have been some standard rocks placed to add cover, and the lower area with the large ammo pack is slightly larger.
Reworked the right-most route to B
This route was rarely used by BLU previously, except for spies or other classes looking for a cheap flank. RED ended up getting the most value out of this route, as it provided a good position to attack a BLU team in the midst of trying to establish a safe zone. The route has been reworked so BLU now receives a highground position over B, as well as a couple of unsafe pickups. RED can still access this route, but it requires a class to use their mobility abilities.
Cut a piece of the B structure in half
The right-side exit for RED's first spawn was unappealing to use, as it put players in a bad position to defend B and to navigate to A. Now, the highground area for RED on B is easily accessible from this exit, and this also results in the area feeling less boxed-in (though more accessible to spies!).
Increased the RED respawn time on A from 6-12 to 8-16 seconds
A is still a point that's generally easy for RED to hold, so respawn times have been slightly adjusted. I may revert this if the removal of the strong sentry spot impacts the balance enough.
Added an additional (open) window to the C flank building
The flank building on C was being used fairly often, but didn't put BLU in a good position to attack. Usually players would run out the door only to be greeted by the entire RED team and their sentries. The upstairs window in the building was useful, but didn't give enough of an angle of the point to warrant using it very much. Now, there is a new window that has a clear sightline onto the point and surrounding area, as well as the exit of the building. This should allow BLU to cover teammates leaving the building, and help destroy sentries in the harder-to-hit spots.
Added more cacti
Minor optimisation improvements (will likely do more work on this for next version)
It's Bucket Time!
On another note, the file size of the map seems to fluctuate a lot and I don't understand why.
Added a turntable in the courtyard area of the S1-S2 connector
Throughout most playtests, blue would easily roll through from B to C, I assume mainly due to red not having much time to contest the cart and set up a defence of the area. This turntable adds an artificial checkpoint which should allow red to have a much better time trying to defend the area.