City Map: yay/Nay?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by NovaCor, Apr 10, 2012.

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  1. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    Hi all. I am working on rebuilding a few of my Urban style maps designed for Far Cry 2 for TF2. Ive been playing since release and know Ill need to make a few minor changes off the bat, but overll the layouts should transfer over fairly well. Most of my Urban maps for FC2 were some of the most popular for the short time FC2 was a vaible Mp game.

    This is my first project to rebuild, and its already underway. A few minor changes and it should be a good CTF map, not as much of a deadlock as 2fort but not far from it. I plan on one choke point for each team's side, and the entire map will be copied and rotated with a connecting area in between each team's side.

    http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.ph...Bonus-Fallout-Version!?highlight=AGENT00KEVIN

    This was by far the 'star of the show' on my FC2 servers. Spawn points and case points will obviously differ. The inner buildings can be entered and fought in as well as roof access for sticky and rocket jumpers, as well as savvy engies who can sentry jump. Sniping will be mostly at ground level with one vantage point up high at each team's base building. The narrow-ish alleys would be great places for Pyros and Heavies as well as indoor areas. Scouts would fair pretty well everywhere, and engineers would have 3 good places to set up camp throughout the whole map. (One point on each team's side and one point in the middle to be fought over by each team)

    I had stair access to rooftops in Fc2 but I think it would make snipers too powerful in TF2.

    I was looking for thought on Urban maps overall and opionions on the basic layout. I will have some screens of the map in Hammer soon; as of now I just have about 1/2 of one side done but not detailed.
     
  2. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    The issue with urban maps is that they typically confine players into small, claustrophobic spaces, giving a lot of power to scouts, heavies, and snipers depending on the size of the area. Demoman are also very powerful because they can exploit chokepoints.
     
  3. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    Im carefully trying to avoid any one class from being too powerful and/or offering alternate paths without making it too difficult to defend.

    The alleyways are large enough with the sidewalks to strafe, about 288 hammer units wide. 128 for the road, 80 for each sidewalk. There are the two main buildings which are small that could easily duck off into should a Heavy camp the short alleys. You can also pretty much bypass all the alleys by travelling through the buildings, only crossing them as opposed to running down them.

    Snipers should have a hard time completely locking things down by having them on ground level in addition to alternate paths through the buildings.

    I was concerned with any one class being too powerful when laying out the map in Hammer...the overall layout was played thousands if not hundreds of thousands of times in FC2; its just a matter of getting the dimensions to fit for TF2. I figured around 300 units would offer room to move but not be so large that it could not be crossed in a reasonable time.

    I should probably get some Hammer screens up at very least to show what dimensions I am building in as opposed to showing maps from a different game :) That would help me get better feedback on dimensions and where to go with it.
     
  4. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    Here are a few preliminary hammer screens. I know fullbright looks like crap but its all i have atm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One thing Ive been strictly avoiding is small spaces. With the exception of the interior of the smallest buildings, there should be enough room to maneuver but no so much that retreat is not an option. IMO TF2 is all about finding that difficult balance in dimensions. The ends of the streets will be fenced off and inaccessible as they are in the FC2 map. There are some small variations between the two, but neccesary to bring the maps over to TF2.

    What I have so far is the overall basic - very basic - layout for one side. Then Ill copy it, retexture the team colors, rotate it 90 degrees and build a connecting area in between them. There will be two routes through the connecting area but fairly easy to set up a blockabe by either team. While I dont want a total stalemate, I also dont want it to be a matter of whose scouts can get back and forth faster with little actual fighting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  5. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    now, the issue with that is the sightlines, Snipers will dominate those points.
     
  6. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    One of the only way you'll make a balanced urban map is if there is lots of debris/cars/barricades blocking off sight and breaking the battlefield up, along with plenty of doors (even if it means having a broken wall).
     
  7. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    I can both agree and disagree with this. The sightlines as they are now are no longer than sightlines on any other given official map. As a matter of fact, they are more limited than many of the long views in maps such as 2fort, Gold Rush, Thunder Mountain, Egypt, Mountianlab, etc. You just cant look at a map and totally rule out long views. Otherwise you would not play any maps, because every single one of them has long sightlines somewhere in the map.

    Obviously the Sniper needs his place as a support class. Ive given a few specific places intended for them to be, along with ways around and ways to sneak up behind them. Of which many TF2 maps do not have...I can recall several official maps where I was forced to go down a semi-narrow area with a sniper vantage point overlooking the entire thing save for the occasional alcove.

    That said, Ive been adjusting the layout a little to shorten some of the sightlines a little bit. The long view on the left side has been cut 25% and the long view on the right side has been cut 50%. That should help the slower classes traverse each area with less vulnerability to snipers.

    I will be hard pressed to populate the alleys with vehicles as there is a very limited selection of Valve models, and most user-created models I have found so far say they cannt be redistributed - which makes their creation for an MP game nearly pointless. I can, hovever, use the gravel trucks and build a small construction project site with a fill material pile for each side as cover and detail. Those would either go along the main road or the left side alleyway.

    I do want to be clear: I am not going to outright map against snipers no matter how much people hate them. This map was designed for FC2 with the AS50/Dragonuv snipers in mind; limiting their ability to control a map while not making them useless to play. The same prtincipal will apply to Tf2. Every class must have its place, no matter how annoying they can be :) That means areas where Pybros and Hoovies are strong, as well as areas where Snipers and Ninjaneers are strong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  8. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Gah, I wrote a whole essay on the pros and cons of making a city mapping theme pack, before I realized you were just making a city map using existing props and textures. Oh well.

    I don't have much to say about the layout that no one else has said already, but from a purely aesthetic perspective those buildings look preeeetty modern. This is definitely not my subject of expertise so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that while glass facade skyscrapers of that type were around in the 60s, they didn't dominate the urban landscape like that.
    To get a more authentic and time-appropriate feel, I think you should mix it up with some Bauhaus, some art deco, some pre-modernist stuff and maybe a googie storefront here and there.

    If you do that, though, you'll probably have to make a few custom props and textures.
     
  9. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    The issue i see with the screenshots is a complete lack of any layout design involved. TF2 is not counterstrike and needs a lot more critical thought in order to control the gameplay because the classes are that much more mobile, espeically vertically. Allowing access to roofs is something that requires serious thought and not simply "it'd be cool to use this roof as a vantage point".

    A) When you have that much open sky demomen and soldiers have a habit of bypassing chokepoints and defences altogether. The "breaking through chokepoints" signiture TF2 gameplay is completely lost.

    You can't just make a city and expact to be able to play a game of TF2 in it. you have to design a TF2 compatable layout and then build the city around it.

    B) There are only 2, maybe 3 sightlines in TF2 that exceed 3,000 units, badlands setup area is 3,200 but has an FOV of about 20 degrees which seriously limits the area which snipers can exploit their distance advantage. Another is on upwards with a sightline of around 3,800, but is almost never in use because of chokepoints at either side of the area coupled with spawn waves causing the teams to meet and battle away from this area.

    The only balanced map that came close to an urban theme was cp_relay (an entry in our contest #6) and was more of an industrial estate than a city.

    http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=10518

    TF2 maps are particularly linear/narrow in an effort to concetrate gameplay and bring the players to action hotspots, IE the objectives; as opposed to and in stark contrast to games like BF3 or MW3. TF2 is nothing like these games and such gameplay is unlikely to be successfully emulated in TF2. Large areas typically play terrible (see orange_x), particularly for engineers, pyro's and spies who are short range classes. Good examples of large areas in a map are badwater start, sawmill and perhaps a few rounds in hydro, but it would be a stretch to acll hydro a balanced map.

    When designing your map, especially when trying a new type of map, you need to do a lot of research in order to make it work. I would suggest researching layouts. Start by referencing existing maps and writing down their area sizes. Some are listed in the tutorial i provided above.

    Whether this works or not depends on your approach. You can't just smack a grid style New York city into Hammer and go "this will either work or it wont" (i can tell you now so you don't waste your time, it wont work that way). First you need to understand the class mechanics, this comes with months of gameplay experience or study. This will give you a good idea on area designs, then study existing map layouts for reference points.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  10. xzzy

    aa xzzy

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    Badwater could be a city map if you changed out textures and did some tweaking to the hill outside the opening spawn area. It's really just a problem of managing scale and routing players.. same as any map. The textures you choose are largely irrelevant to this goal.

    Cities don't have to have wide streets or be perfectly flat, either. It could be a cramped "old construction" location, maybe built on a hill. Train tracks or river channels could be used to break up the terrain as well.
     
  11. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    I dont have a problem with that. They did exist, as did very tall skyscrapers, but you are correct - they didnt dominate the skyline. Thats an easy fix though. Excellent aesthetic advice. I dont have a problem making some basic models myself, and any kind of textures are quite doable - Im doing a total conversion Mod and so far do everything myself outside of weapons modelling and weapons/character animation. Id just have a hard time doing the vehicles in the same style due to their roundness and overall curves and shapes.

    As far as sightlines go, the longest one in the map if far below 3000 units. Somewhere around 1700 or so, and the street length in the left side alley is 1250 Hamnmer units; roughly 100 feet. Thats why Im slightly confuzzled about sightlines and all - they are not very long at all, but I am being told they are.
     
  12. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    Slightline issues are pretty much never about length, they are about what is seen. A 5000 unit sightline that occurs by accident through a couple buildings down a linear map won't mean anything, because the time someone will spend in view is very small on top of how often someone will cross it. If you have a short sightline down an unobstructed street and it is one of two routes for the other team to get from A to B, there will be no shortage of targets and you will have your whole field of vision to pick from.

    Orientation also plays a huge part. If the sniper can fire perpendicularly to the direction of travel his targets take (crossing the street vs following it), it will be a huge combat awareness advantage since most of them will not be looking his way but rather focusing on others ahead.
     
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  13. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    I have to disagree and say you must be attempting to insult my abilities in an attempt to play 'who has the bigger penis'.

    I said in the original post that Ive been playing Tf2 since day 1. That means I already have a firm grasp on class mechanics. And complete lack of layout design? The map's layout was played hundreds of thousands of times on Far Cry 2. To say there is no design is completely ludicrous and very insulting. Not only is the layout designed to funnel players to a central location, but the alternate route gets you there too so you can play your role. All you see now is half the map, very unfinished. 3 paths lead you to the exact same destination.

    And the largest sightline I have now is around 1700 units - a far cry from the seemingly random 3000 Hammer unit number you started tossing around. This is why Im partially confuzzled on what to do - Im being told a 130 foot line is too long...and if you come around at the building corner its only 1200 units, a mere 100 feet.

    As far as the rooftops go, there are only two per side and they are intended as routes for Demomen ans Soldiers, also stated in the original post. (that you apparently did not take the time to read) They pass through the same areas as the rest of the classes and do not continue for the length of the map, forcing them on the ground to pass through the central chokepoint.

    Funny how a guy who tells me to do my research couldnt even read the whole thread before posting. Bit ironic eh? Im not here to stroke my e-peen so you can put yours away.
     
  14. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    Exactly! :) Ive been careful to not have the sniping areas perpindicular to the travel paths, but rather looking down them. Ive also carefully adjusted the locations so that telephone poles and other details get in the way and break up just how often the sniper is able to fire and hit the target. While it is possible in one area to look across the travel direction, youd be forced to stand in another travel lane and be completely exposed.

    I do slightly disagree with short but wide views...short views are not great for sniping and dramatically reduce the accuracy of most snipers. And a sniper standing out in the open in a wide FOV is a sure target with his low health. But thats only slightly disagreeing. I wouldnt want to funnel players down a meduim sized area with a full view for the sniper either. Which is why Ill be adding those construction sites I mentioned earlier :)

    What I really need is a good passenger vehicle pack for Tf2, but I havent been able to find one yet. 3 or 4 variations would be plenty with skins, and I did find a good flatbed truck model pack. perhaps I could ask the creator if he could make a few cars in the same style. The trucks alone would be a great addition as the buildings that you can go through as alternate routes have loading areas behind them.
     
  15. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    You must be confusing this forum for some other part of the internet. Criticism is given as charity here. Accept it or leave
     
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  16. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    Train tracks were a possibility I was considering, as well as elevation changes among the streets. I could make a few easy changes to not make the map so flat and almost boring. The train tracks would probably go along the right side and curve around to be on the same side for the other team.

    Another idea I had was adding a freeway ramp with supports and grassy nature areas underneath with lots of terrain variation to bring some green into the map.

    Water was also a concern - we all know how urgent it can be to find water when lit on fire by a random flare or the dying puff of a Pyro. I was thinking more of a shallowish canal though, not something as large as a river. Thats because the map is supposed to be fairly small; taking roughly the same amount of time to run from case to case as it does in 2Fort.

    All great suggestions :)
     
  17. NovaCor

    NovaCor L1: Registered

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    I think if you review the rest of the posts you'll see I accept it freely. I also have the right to disagree. Especially when the poster has not even read the entire thread and appears to be very uninformed.

    But then again, this type of attitude has always been prevalent in Tf2. Maybe its because of the more kiddie style of the game. There is a vast difference in constructive criticism and destructive criticsim. I would place the post in the latter of the two.

    Besides, this wouldnt be the first TF2 site Ive left due to childish behavior. I dont enjoy keyboard geniuses and/or toughguys stroking their e peens in my threads. Especially the 'if you dont like it leave' guy. Thats a bit ironic too...apparently I am not allowed to disagree.

    Why dont you visit this page and review some of the criticism and how it is taken. Or if you must stay here, where you can be a keyboard warrior safely, just read the rest of my replies.

    http://www.moddb.com/mods/novacor

    When criticism is well placed and accurate, I make the changes and thank the poster. When its asinine and destructive, Ill call it out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  18. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    No, see, childish behavior is reducing someone's comments to a dispute over penis size.
     
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  19. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Hold your horses there fella. No need to jump on the defencive. You wont learn anything if is all you do is disagree, reject and ignore any advice you don't like.

    A) 3,000 units is not a number i pulled out of my arse, it is a consistant number i found after doing an indepth study in TF2 scale and gameplay mechanics: http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=12605

    I can see by your screenshots some of those distances are clearly over 2048 units in length (thanks to the spawn point reference and texture scaling/tiling). Standard "lengthy" sightlines appear anywhere between 1,800 and 2,600-2,800 units, if you exceed these then we are giving a pre-emptive warning to avoid it if you can because generally they are really really bad.

    B) Calm down. Who has the bigger penis is irrelevant. Concentrate on the matter at hand. Your theory which you asked to be critisized.

    C) How long you have been playing the game is irrelavent, but a good guide. Whether you learnt anything from it is another matter and what is being brought into account. Just because you played a game for 4 years doesn't mean you learnt anything from it, if you have the skills of observation and critical thinking then that's good. But judging from you screenshots there's either a lack of understanding for TF2 mechanics or a lack of skill/experience in Hammer. These aren't insults. These are observations.


    D) Far Cry 2 isn't TF2; and this is kind of my point when i say there's no applicable layout design. The map doesn't appear to have been designed for TF2, now you admit you've been testing it in a completely different game with different gameplay mechanics. This proves my point. Just because the map works in 1 game does not give it a seal of approval for every other game in existance. Your failure to notice that was my primary point of concern, in order to learn the nuances of TF2 mechanics you need to study TF2, not Far Cry 2. One of the things that makes TF2 so unique is it's class based gameplay along with its strange movement perks such as knock-back and explosive propulsion.

    E) Apparently you are because most of your responses seemed to revolve more around protecting your ego than taking on board any kind of feedback.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  20. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Right off, being rude will not get you far here. We give feedback, we pass our understanding of the game onto people who ask for feedback (like yourself). If you aren't going to want to listen, don't ask for feedback in the first place.

    grazr knows his shit, I'd suggest that you listen and take feedback from him and not pass it off so quickly.

    And with that being said.
    First off, Far Cry 2 =/= Tf2. If you are porting a map with FC2 game theory in mind, then the map is doomed to not play well. It doesn't matter if the map was played 1 billion times and is the most perfect Far Cry 2 map ever created. It was made for Far Cry 2, not for TF2, and as such, will not play as well (probably will play poorly) as the original counterpart.

    Second off, playing TF2 since day 1 does not entitle you to a full understanding of gameplay theory and design. Yes, you know the mechanics, yes you know what class roles are. But why? Why are layouts they way they are? Not just "funneling players." You don't want to ever funnel, you want to guide them. Why do players always have trouble at this one section of the map? Why is dustbowl bad? Why is Coldfront fantastic? Why do they have a height advantage here?

    As grazr noted with Demo and soldiers. Since they can RJ/SJ, if you give them a lot of vertical space, they will happily use it. They can go above and pass choke points with ease (examples I can think of is Nucleus, badwater start, Egypt (a little bit in s1 and s2) and badlands. This ability to jump will make them very powerfully, especially to the really skilled soldiers and demos.

    Sightlines need balance, they should be short, but long enough that snipers can safely snipe. You don't want to just have long sightlines in random areas just for the sake of having sightlines, you want to place them where they are needed. Around choke points is usually the major place they go, but even they, the sightline usually only covers 1 maybe 2 parts of that choke, and not the flank (or vice versa, covers flank, but not main choke).


    EDIT: Goddamit guys, stop posting so quickly.
    EDIT2:

    I love you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
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