Cactus Canyon Redux

PL Cactus Canyon Redux Final2

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Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
Cactus Canyon - Back from the dead

This is a project I have been working on for some time, and i'm very happy to finally have a playable version.

This is far from complete, so expect to see some jankiness and stuff generally looking unfinished, as well as some balance issues. But hey, what else is playtesting for?

Here's the changelog:

Map wide:
  • Artpassed the whole map
  • Combined Stage 1 and 2
  • Reduced initial BLU attacking time
  • Fixed several out-of-bounds exploits
Stage 1:
  • Replaced small shack outside blue spawn with rock
  • Extended width of raised wooden area to the left of blue spawn
  • Re-added deathpit to main building outside of blue spawn
  • Added a route across the deathpit to the cliffside in the main building outside blue spawn
  • Added a small raised spot next to the stairs in the main building outside blue spawn
  • Raised the displacements leading up to the cliffside building after the cliffside dropdown
  • Removed the diagonal window overlook at A (replaced with non-diagonal window)
  • Replaced the buiding-based cover leading up to A with rocks
  • Added a propjump up to the window overlook at A
  • Extended the fence-cover behind A
  • Moved the health/ammo pickups from directly next to A to behind the fence-cover
  • Added a cave route to bypass the choke immediately after A
  • Removed the balcony overlook over A
  • Removed the open windows to B
  • Reworked the building route from A -> B
  • Added a Blue forward spawn for after they cap B
  • Added additional rock-based cover near B
  • Removed roof access near B
  • Time to leave red spawn reduced
  • Shifted the position of the right-side red spawn exit
Stage 2:
  • Removed blue spawn
  • Converted the left flank out of blue spawn into a building that connects stage 1 and 2
  • Removed the ability to immediately access last from the first courtyard (replaced with new route)
  • Added an additional point near the train overpass
  • Added a blue forward spawn near the train overpass
  • Increased the frequency of the train coming into the map
  • Removed the middle train gate
  • Removed the deathpit and train bridge on the far end of the map (the one with the full healthkit)
  • Removed the small room overlooking last
  • Increased red respawn time
  • Removed the section of track where the cart moves through a shed on its own
  • Moved the second point into the main building
  • Removed the additional payload mechanics introduced when it enters the final stretch
  • Significantly reduced the thickness of the first choke
  • Added additional cover near last

Punn Ames Ardum

L1: Registered
Jan 16, 2021
Yeah this seems really cool, sadly I haven't played the actual beta/alpha map of cactus canyon, but hopefully that'll help me provide new feedback instead of a "why'd ya changed this?" sort of deal


L6: Sharp Member
Dec 16, 2014
Mad props for daring to work with the existing file rather than remaking it completely (at first glance, I'd say the map is pretty flawed and it would take more time fixing inconsistencies than starting over). Is there a chance it'll ever see the actual second stage that was removed?


L4: Comfortable Member
Apr 17, 2017
Looking cool so far! Two things to note, and one possible feedback:

1: For some reason, the cart will roll back past the second last point when the attackers haven't been pushing it for a while! Generally payload carts aren't supposed to fall behind checkpoints. Maybe check all the other checkpoints for this as well, just in case?

2: For some reason, this step near the second last point has an invisible/nodraw texture instead of its usual texture. It's the only visual mistake I've found on the map so far, so I wanted to let you know in case you missed it!

3: This is more feedback and is completely up to you, but I believe Attack/Blue would have a better time if they had a second exit to their last spawn location. Don't know how you could possibly do this or if it would cause problems in map layout, but of course, it's just a suggestion!

Good luck with the artpass! Loving this map so far, and I'm really happy that I get to experience Cactus Canyon like this! Thank you!


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
Thanks for the kind words everyone! Today's playtest went pretty much as I expected, but I now have a clear idea of what I need to change, particularly from B onwards (A -> B seems pretty good).

Firstly, I've removed D, and moved C back to where it was originally (slightly past the rollback by the train overpass)
In both rounds, blue took C very easily, and D+E were basically part of the same push. This change should enable red to put up more resistance and make more use of the surrounding gameplay spaces. I have also adjusted the time added after each cap so that blue has a lot less time to work with once they eventually get to last, though I'll be messing with this a lot as I make additional changes.

The next thing that needs changing is basically the entirely of last.
The room the cart moves through is quite boring, and the sightline running through the building makes pushing the cart a bit of a nightmare. So, my goals are to block the sightline by having the cart take a route that isn't just straight, and add other ways for blue to enter.
The train tracks have also proven to be an issue. The sightline is just too long, and the track itself just isn't a very inviting flank option. So I plan to re-add the train gate in order to block the sightline, and create a new route that is safer to use. I want to make last similar to barnblitz, where it's difficult to push in but an almost-guaranteed win if you do, so this new route may take the form of a highground-dropdown of some sort. So, basically, that whole building needs a rework.

Lastly, the courtyard outside of red spawn needs an overhaul. It's quite flat, and while I tried to spice it up using displacements, it's just not enough. I'm not entirely sure yet what I'm going to do with this area, but I'm sure I'll figure something out once I've made changes to the main building and the cart path.

Mad props for daring to work with the existing file rather than remaking it completely (at first glance, I'd say the map is pretty flawed and it would take more time fixing inconsistencies than starting over). Is there a chance it'll ever see the actual second stage that was removed?
Unfortunately not, the removed second stage is far too bad for even me to work with.


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
This update aims to tackle many of the issues seen within the first playtest, but further gameplay changes are still to come.
  • Reverted point C to its original position
  • Removed point D
  • Re-added the middle gate to block the sightline on the train tracks
  • Adjusted spawn times
  • Greatly reduced the time awarded when blue captures a checkpoint
  • Reworked the building the cart passes through before last
  • Added a new flank route behind last
  • Moved the final gates to be in-line with the small building near last
  • Improved lighting in many areas
  • Trains now kill you if you get stuck in the carriages
  • An additional sound now plays before a 'final' train enters the map
  • Train gates now close much sooner
  • The train now slows down to a stop after being hit by the bomb
  • The 'final' train has been made slightly faster
  • Additional cover has been added near B
  • Payload path logic improvements
  • Fixed the payload checkpoints using the wrong skins
  • Detail improvements
  • Clipping improvements
  • Fixed the payload not correctly stopping at the final checkpoint
  • Fixed the 'final' trains not opening the train gates
  • Fixed not being able to comfortably shoot through windows near A
  • Fixed some missing overlays
  • Fixed an issue causing some brush faces to be transparent
  • Fixed some displacement errors
  • Fixed some players not having a good day
Known issues:
  • An area of cliffs near B goes in-and-out of existence. (This is caused by an aggressive optimisation strategy)
  • Some displacement seams
  • Light bleeds through some displacements
  • Cart can regress past a checkpoint if regression begins before it can be pushed any further

Read the rest of this update entry...


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
More playtests, more feedback, more things to change. There were some obvious problems, but also a lot of non-obvious problems.

The first of these to show itself were the respawn times. I had previously made adjustments to the respawn times in order to compensate for the reduced time added per cap, but it seems like I overdid it, especially for D. Turns out, a 30 second respawn time puts the team who has it at a huge disadvantage. Plus; it isn't very fun. Who could've guessed? I've already made some adjustments to remedy this, and hopefully it should strike a good balance now.

Secondly, I think I've figured out what to do with last now. The improvements to the building separating C and D have created problems in other areas, specifically red spawn. This got me thinking, and realised that red spawn, as a whole, is very flawed. The doors open and close based on what points are capped, but this can be confusing to both teams when it comes to routing. There is also a very powerful sentry spot immediately outside of red spawn, which for a payload map isn't unheard of, but there is also a very safe blue route leading to it, therefore, also the red spawn exit. Not good. Lastly, the spawn building itself takes up a massive chunk of the gameplay area near D, and if it wasn't there, I would have a lot more room to make interesting and impactful changes to D. And then I realised, I can just make it not be there, and solve all of those problems. My current plan is to move it to be connected to red's first spawn, exiting out at the cliffs next to the train tunnel. Obviously this is a lot of work so don't expect the next update for a little while.

And one more thing: With these changes, I think I've now departed too far from the original design of cactus canyon as a whole for it to be considered "Cactus canyon but detailed". Obviously it still retains most of what made cactus canyon.. 'cactus canyon'... but this will likely alienate those who expect to be playing on it. As such, I'm making a name change to be more in-line with what the map is: a remaster.
So, from the next update onwards, the map will be named "Cactus Canyon Redux".

Also, apparently the train cars kill you if you try and ride the platforms? This is very funny but not at all intended.


L2: Junior Member
Sep 22, 2015
I would suggest bringing down the skybox/adding a clip. It is crazy easy for demos to get behind and there is nothing you can do to stop them.


Out of maps
7280 5960 -1348
2570 1980 165

Can stand/build up here
760 1680 888

Can build through the doors
1285 -310 -976

No door collision/clip
3860 4650 1370

A Ninja

L1: Registered
Nov 21, 2014
I tried this map out on a full 32 player server tonight. The overall consensus was that it was a vast improvement from the original (valve) version, however there were 2 main complaints that kept coming up.

1. A number of players seems to suffer significant FPS drops on this map compared to others. My own gaming rig is so out of date that I didn't really notice, but you may want to take that into account moving forward.

2. That last cap can be a pain to capture, since you have to time it right and hold the cart on the tracks for the train to come by. Obviously this was a design choice in the original map, which you carried through, but I just thought it was worth noting, since the attackers often became quite frustrated at desperately holding that point in vain as they waited for the train to come.


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
Whoops, looks like I forgot to work on this for a while. Guess I should try and let people know what's going on with this project.

What's the state of this project at the moment?
I have been rather busy over the last few months, and not really had a lot of motivation to work on a map in what little free time I have, though I do have a plan in mind for what the next update will entail (it's a big one!). I can't say exactly when the update will come, due to me still being quite busy, but i'll try to work on it when I can!

What exactly will be in the next update?
Firstly, I need to finish the changes to D. I have already relocated red spawn and done a little work on the surrounding area but there's still a lot more work to be done. The changes to last also require changes to be made elsewhere, particularly around C and the area between B and C. The building the cart moves through before D is also getting another big change. Basically, C and D are going to look and play very differently.
Secondly, I'll be re-doing the cliffside area outside of blue spawn as well as a few other areas. I want to move as many large-scale areas as I can into the skybox (and also implementing a skybox in the first place), but also I generally want to make the main canyon a lot 'grander', currently it's rather underwhelming. This should also help a lot with optimization.
Finally, the finale may be changed. Currently it's operating using the iconic 'hold the cart and wait for the train' mechanic, though I may change it to be a simple 'cap and then the train comes' system. I don't think I will implement this in the next update, but I may in future depending on how D plays.
Oh, and detail improvements, of course.


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
Wowzers, this is a big update!

  • Rethemed blue spawn
  • Pushed cliff detailing into the skybox
  • Overhauled detailing for the right flank route/buildings around A
  • Opened up the right flank route/building to the cliffside
  • Doors to A flank now open after A is captured
  • Removed walls of the building in the A > B choke
  • Rethemed RED's first spawn
  • Added additional cover around B
  • Reworked the rightmost route in the transitional building between what was stage 1 and 2
  • Removed balcony from transitional building
  • Removed walls from corridor route in the coalpit area
  • Added additional cover and height variation to the coalpit area
  • RED now gains a forward spawn for a short time after BLU caps B
  • Detail overhaul of 'Stage 2'
  • Expanded the deathpit near C
  • Re-added the funny healthpack
  • Train doors for C >D building are now opened after C is captured
  • Reduced cover around C
  • Moved RED final spawn further back
  • Reworked D (too many changes to list)
  • Overall detail improvements
  • Lowered overall RED spawn times
  • Clipping improvements
  • Optimisation improvements
If you happed to get a chance to play this new update, please let me know what you think of the changes!

Known issues:
  • Some textures are misaligned
  • There are some leftover particles in mid-air
  • Train may occasionally kill its passengers
  • Some seams
  • Train doors opening is not as dramatic as it should be
  • Deathpit near C does not use the 'fall' damage type
Update coming soon to address these issues

Read the rest of this update entry...


L2: Junior Member
Sep 22, 2015
Updated bugs

Out of maps
7280 5960 -1348
-3165 3225 -424
1922 2570 -118

Can stand/build up here
760 1680 888

No door collision/clip
3860 4650 1370

Missing func_respawnroom/nobuild
8240 5539 -1599 (elevator)


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
  • Clipping/spawn fixes (thanks Boonie!)
  • Fixed some textures being misaligned
  • Cleaned up remaining particles
  • Fixed the train killing players that are riding it
  • Train door opening is a bit more dramatic (but still a little buggy)
  • Deathpit damagetype fixed
  • Displacement improvements
  • Reduced file size

Read the rest of this update entry...


L2: Junior Member
Sep 22, 2015
That was fast, nice! Here are a couple more.
Disregard if you already had any of these on a fix list.

6464 5157 -1828 (build through slats)
3980 6800 -2179 (death trigger to low)

Dirty spots you can sit above spawn doors
775 638 -691
3990 3026 -177

Some areaportal wonkyness

This cliff wall clip is weird, should be able to walk into the indents
-1945 2305 -1044

Replace skybox > nodraw behind displacement so you don't get weird lighting

Enable collision on this sign, hidden stickies are no fun


Desert theme enjoyer
Nov 10, 2017
  • Fixed an issue causing RED players to spawn in the incorrect spawn rooms
  • Removed one of the two rollback zones prior to B
  • Widened the area around the B rollback zone
  • Increased length of final rollback zone for D
  • Increased frequency at which trains spawn when about to cap D
  • Extended time in which RED receive a forward spawn for C
  • Adjusted spawn times (both teams) for B, C, and D
  • Adjusted sightlines for C
  • Adjusted pickup placement and quantity/quality
  • Misc. Detail improvements
  • Minor logic improvements

Read the rest of this update entry...