Caper

CP Caper B5

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Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Caper - Farming

A domination map by abp where team spawns depend on control point ownership.View attachment 165532
Map by abp
Gamemode logic and crewmate by Emil
Inspired by the map cp_tcdom_vert by Vert
 

FlipFTW

L1: Registered
Jul 12, 2020
11
Preface
I played a1 of caper during the Dec 30th 2021 playtest, my opinion at the time was that the gamemode felt incomplete, that something was missing and as a result the gamemode and map - in the current state - “did not work”. I stand by this opinion/impression, but because I was challenged on the opinion, I thought I might as well elaborate in a way not possible during the live test.

As a preface, this is an attempt to genuinely analyze the potential of the domination gamemode, in particular suggesting potential solutions and with thoughts on the unique aspects of the gamemode with corresponding benefits and drawbacks. I am not giving any criticism or advice with the intention of belittling the mapmaker or any of their efforts.

It might seem ostentatious but I want to start with talking about 5CP.

The Incentive and Impetus to Act
In payload, attack/defend, and even koth there is clearly distinct team roles - by this I mean one team is the aggressor and one the defender, players can play independent or unaware of this balance (kills are always good) but it exists nonetheless. The primary exception to this would be 5CP where many players have difficultly understanding the gamemode particularly because it asks players to simultaneously attack and defend: to know when to push AND when to hold. The vast majority of players are not trained to recognize this - and generally when left alone will form a mass of constant aggression, this unbalance keeps the game in flow, but also creates a headache to balance for.

Domination is tug-of-war, whether intentional or not the gamemode asks players to both attack and defend in a way even more extreme than 5CP because of multiple potential attack objectives and multiple potential defense objectives, thus in order to further frame the domination game mode, I’d like to go even deeper into understanding what SHOULD be the prerequisites to a push.

Understanding Advantages
KevinIsPwn’s one sentence summary of TF2 is “All competitive TF2 play is focused around using your advantages to initialize fights that your team has a high probability of winning, while being cognizant of your opponent’s advantages and playing in a way that minimizes them.”

The TL;DR version takeaway IMO is that you’re trying to preserve and snowball your advantages. Practically this usually means attempting to convert your advantages into more (larger) advantages or the ultimate goal of “converting” into last (a round win).

It thus stands to reason that recognition of what these advantages and corresponding disadvantages are is crucial to play.
In 6s there are three primary advantages new players are taught to recognize and push off.

1) Uber advantage
Having Uber or not is binary, using Uber and killing a medic with 80% charge is tough luck, or maybe not if a medic knows how to count. If I kill a medic with my ÜberCharge, in about 40 seconds when I have another charge while they were respawning I was still building my charge, meaning if I use as soon as I get, another “tough luck” moment might occur. Experienced medics know how to count - they know even if they’ve never been taught, some experienced players who don't play medic can even count/track because the effects of ÜberCharge are that significant.

But…

Believe it or not in competitive HL many medics don’t know how to count/track Uber, besides a spy being always able to check, there are a lot of events or classes such as pyro that can counteract or at least reduce the effects of an Uber. Ultimately a reduced importance with more “counters” leads to reduced emphasis (at least that’s my theory). With a greater number of players it stands to reason that there is likely more counters ready, add into this the reality of a pub having multiple medics, different mediguns, and potentially no communications - ubers typically get put into the constant chaotic aggression that creates imbalance, but not planned teamwork or constructed play. Cascade is a perfect example of a map that functions in HL but IMO poorly in pubs, in highlander to initiate a fight into mid, an ubercharge is used making space for the rest of the team to enter - but when you can't expect any level of teamwork in casual play, this means that it's very possible for teams to simply never manage to get to a refighting-state after losing mid. Unfortunately rather than relying on ubercharge as balancing tool, I think that in any pub test it's more likely mapmakers have to account for the effects/results of ubercharges used chaotically.

2) Health Advantage
It’s a bit self explanatory, but with significant damage it’s possible to aggress and obtain picks or positioning either of which can be converted into other significant advantages.

But…

The more players there are the less likely even a significant amount of damage can be used as leverage, especially with doubtful teamwork to follow up on damage the increased total health pool and potential health recovery options makes this an unrealistic consistent advantage.

3) Player advantage
Self explanatory - player advantage is perhaps the most instinctive distinct advantage, but it’s worth asking what frames this advantage and what affects it:

* Awareness/Willingness of your team - it’s not really player advantage if half your team isn’t assisting a push - b4nny screams for everyone to get in because to make player advantage work those players who are the extra leverage need to contribute to the fight. This tracking of players up and dead (how many teammates you have if a large team fight was to occur) is the crucial advantage the vast majority of casual TF2 play revolves around.

Player advantage is primarily and directly impacted by respawns in that the window of this advantage is determined by both respawn times and rollout times. As a mapmaker I’d probably think of it as putting a timer on any push - either the push is successful in a respawn wave time or has failed if the respawners for the “defenders” come to re-enforce.

it should thus logically follow that a LONGER respawn time would create larger windows to push off, while a shorter one tend toward stalemating with the advantages to push off being too neutered.

Suggestions
Alright, now I listed those advantages in an attempt to give insight into my line of thought, though it’s not as black and white as depicted, I do think that the primary advantage to play with is the respawn timers, and the primary topic of balance investigation would be how to ensure players act or react to having significant player advantages, or how to ensure that they regularly occur.

1) Creating Incentive - Incorporate a Timer
On the topic of ensuring a team has an incentive to attack and hold, I think a timer dependent on who owns the most points would be a nice solution. You could retain the aspect of domination where capping 3 points means you win, but you might be able to promote more teamwork around holding should say a 3-minute timer begin to count down as soon as one team owns 2 points. This has the added benefit of negating stalemates, but arguably loses some of the "essence" of domination and leans more into koth if that's a design taboo. I've heard this suggestion leveraged several times - I think it's a option worth at least considering.

2) Creating a Frontline - Insta-Respawn
On the topic of both creating a frontline and promoting teamwork, I think that a triggered insta-respawn on point capture for both teams would be interesting. In conjunction with general longer respawns - the capture of a point would mean reinforcement (regrouping) for the team that just capped the point, and a group for the team that just lost the point to either rotate and attempt to cap a point before the incoming wave or to meet the wave - this is the main dynamic decision of domination, and at the least I can't really see this making it any worse, this is more of a band-aid suggestion to try to encourage players grouping up as a team rather than splitting infinitely.
As a small note, to prevent degenerate options such as stalling captures before having map control I would probably think to lock control points for about 5-10 seconds after any capture.

Also of note (not sure how its done now) - respawns can be adjusted based off who most recently captured a point, as unless the round is over that team will always have 2 points the other 1. Whether you decide to give the disadvantaged team shorter or longer respawns is an interesting topic of conversation, as many 5cp actually have the team pushing last have shorter respawn times, but this is a longer conversation.

3) Creating a Hub - Leaving choice in the player's hands.
One issue with constant moving spawns is that it makes it impossible to setup and certainly makes it much more difficult to gain familiarity with surroundings. I think one of the solutions I heard thrown around was to create a hub that players spawn in, and the options of which "zone" to teleport to given in front of them, with zones they obviously don't own having corresponding teleporters disabled.

This also has the added benefit of giving some utility to teleporters should you allow them to be built in this pre-combat area, I think its worth noting un-contestable entrances are not without precedent, it is at least an interesting idea to consider.

4) Adjusting the Geometry - A Central Control
The last potential solution is to create either a point or area on the map that can be considered to be a central control (focal point). From this point the main routes to the other points would either run through or branch out from. By adding this you clarify which team has the main "incentive" to attack - this can be thought of a bit akin to powerhouse, where ownership of the outside provides a staging area into attacking the last (and the lobby actually additionally serving as a staging area to both sides).

Post-Script
This post consists of primarily thoughts/ramblings after having interacted with the gamemode/map. I may edit this post at a latter date with a more thoughts, criticism, or advice.

Ultimately the creation of a map is a personal creative endeavor, and I don't have any desire or intention to compromise a creator's own vision for their map, everything above is just suggestions or advice listen in the hope that it could help guide your design process, but you are free to take and discard whatever you find useful, be it all or none of it.

If you do want to have a conversation regarding my thoughts over any potential ideas or for any discussion related to TF2, my DMs are always open on discord (@FlipFTW#0777)
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

Updated to a2

I'm more confident in the gamemode changes than the layout changes.

Changelog:

Team with most control points owned wins when time runs out. Otherwise, it will stalemate. Shortened max roundtime from 10 minutes to 6 minutes Shortened captime from 7 seconds to 6 seconds Each control point owned adds 1 second to respawnwaves time Capturing a control point adds 45 seconds instead of 90 seconds Team instant respawns whenever they gain a control point Rerouted A > C connectors Gave B...

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

a3

Changelog:
New water route from A to C point New vent route from A to C Added short fence on B Fixed a bug where players got in the wrong spawn Reverted A > C route More pickups Drained water at B Opened a window at C Capture points now take 8 seconds to cap instead of 6

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

a4

Changelog:
[/B] More platforms at C Moved well door entrance at C to face the C control point Leaving spawn at A now takes longer Bug fixes Opened various areas / chokes Some new movement options in different locations Rock! [B]

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

a4b

1654270090683.png

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

The map is Ugly now

-New silo stairs
-New silo hole
-Map is now fully textured
-Point cap time increased from 6 to 7 seconds
-Default spawntime increase from 6 to 8 seconds
-Points no longer lock after capture
-Max roundtime set to 185 seconds
-Capping a control point adds 60 seconds of time

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Gravidea

L4: Comfortable Member
Apr 17, 2017
162
Honestly, I haven't gotten to play this map on a full server yet, but so far this is feeling like a shortened version of Territory Control and I kinda love it! Can't wait to see where this goes! Keep up the good work.

Also, I'm really liking the gamemode type. Would you possible consider releasing a prefab someday in the future? I think it would be awesome to see more maps like this!
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Honestly, I haven't gotten to play this map on a full server yet, but so far this is feeling like a shortened version of Territory Control and I kinda love it! Can't wait to see where this goes! Keep up the good work.

Also, I'm really liking the gamemode type. Would you possible consider releasing a prefab someday in the future? I think it would be awesome to see more maps like this!
Thank you!
With Emil's permission, I could release a prefab of the logic once the bugs are ironed out.
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725
Another Bad Pun updated Caper with a new update entry:

b2

Changelog:
-Fixed spawns breaking (thank you emil!) -Punched a bunch of holes in Control Point A -Pushed spawnpoints inside of A further back -When B is the neutral point, the gate between A and B closes -Retextured some areas -New awnings! -3D skybox details

Read the rest of this update entry...
 

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725

Another Bad Pun

In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire
aa
Jan 15, 2011
725