OK so after reading Fr0z3n's blog and, more importantly, after drinking a not entirely insubstantial amount of alcohol I feel it's time to take a cathartic 15 minutes to write about the development of pl_clifftop up to this point. Since this thread has been very light on wordage thus far I this may seem a bit verbose, but hopefully it will illuminate the otherwise fairly closed thought processes that led to this map's creation. Also as I've been drinking I may well cuss. So if you're easily offended, easily bored or you're twelve years old then you may want to give it a miss. No? OK let's go. When I first started working on clifftop the map had an entirely different initial concept. It was to be set by the sea for starters and the idea was that blue were attacking a coastal base. The buildings along the top of the cliff were to be like bunkers and the blue spawn was to be a beach head below the cliff. Early versions of the map even had crappy brushwork landing craft parked behind blue spawn and an equally crappy brushwork naval gun emplacement. Initial reference images show that the intended direction was pretty different from the map's current incarnation. Aesthetics and themes aside though the map was originally devised to have much more pertinent dynamic features. At first I toyed around with the idea of making see-saw type lifts. The idea was that when the blue team rolled the cart onto the lift it would slowly descend (when pushed) and act as a counterweight for bulkheads or bridges being raised to allow blue to egress. This initial concept was ruled out in early pre-alpha stages when I realised that I had no fucking clue how to do it. I Still think it could of been cool but I was already biting off a big chunk of work and I didn't want to choke and have to bail on the competition (*cough* *chicane* *cough*). So instead I figured I'd go with some "simple" payload elevators. Blue rolls the cart onto the lift, stands on it, it goes up, the point caps at the top. Simple right? Wrong. I soon learned that in Source there is no such thing as a "simple" payload elevator. Nonetheless I had a good idea of how I wanted the first stage to play out and so I set about building it. Once I had the track set up all the way to the elevator I bugged my good friend leminnes for his payload elevator entity setup from corrode (which was originally build by the almighty Booj) and set to work. More on those elevators later. I'm always at my best with teh first area I design of any map. I'm not sure why, it was the same with chicane, where the only surviving feature of the initial build is the centre of the map which I built first. The same is true with clifftop, the only part of the map that is near identical in layout to the initial build is the first stage and I still think it's the best bit of the map. I've joked with my friends more than once that if I were to start three maps and then scrap everything but the first bit of each and fuse the remaining elements, I'd probably have a great map straight off the bat. I wish I knew why this was but that's another discussion. pl_clifftop_a1, stage one, the same as it ever was (only more YELLOW). Anyway, once I had blocked out the first stage and got a somewhat functional lift in I started jamming on second. It's pretty clear in retrospect that I only had a vague idea of how the middle section of the map should play out. Looking back at the first release I realise that I didn't even have a second point in there. This was fairly punitive for Blue, even though they had a nice short route from 1st point to what is now 3rd point it was all uphill and it was just as short for red. It became pretty clear straight away that this needed breaking up, to stop red simply dicking all over blue after cp1. This lead to me breaking up the space by putting another point in, erecting a building between the 1st and 3rd and running the track up the right side of this area instead of heading left. The same spot in a1 and a2. The third (initially second) point was another case of having a vague idea but not having actually hammered it out until testing. This point hasn't changed too much either bar the addition of a high flank for blue and an expanded courtyard that both appeared in a5 (I think) interestingly I notice now that I had a flank at cp3 (then cp2) in a1 which I must have culled and rehashed at some point along the way. The final stage was probably the most painful bit of clifftop to build. By this stage my ideas were starting to run a bit thin and I think I was basically making it up as I went along. I had the cart working it's way far to the right, which was supported by a covered building that Blue could hold and attack from. On top of this Blue could also storm up the hill to the final point once the cart was past the rollback zone(s?). This let to an inevitable steamroll almost every time that blue got past the second elevator, as Red were being harried from all angles with no way of getting easily entrenched. I tried to avert this in a3 by erecting a defensive line at the top of the hill. However since I wanted blue to still have a route to flank through I allowed some cramped routes in on that line at the top of the hill. In the end it simply wasn't enough to make it defensible and red suffered heavily from having that flank exposed perpendicular to where the cart was arriving from. In retrospect the reason for this is obvious, the cart track was occupying the logical flanking route and without actually thinking consciously about why I did it I adjusted the layout in a5 to switch the two routes. Seems obvious after the fact but at the time I was just trying stuff to make the stage work. I think it turned out alright in the end but if I had the chance to start over I might well have planned that entire stage out differently The final stage in a1, a3, gutted after a4 and compeltely rebuilt in a5. Looking back it was also around a4 / a5 that I started to think about scrapping the idea of a coastline setting. The buildings at the top of the cliff became much taller with angled roofs (less like bunkers) and by a7 the boats out of the back of blue spawn were gone. At one point I toyed with the idea of it being set on the side of a near sheer cliff but that went out the window too. It wasn't until I found this image that I started thinking about something completely different: I'll leave this for now and come back to it later as I've already waffled on more than I intended to about the course of the development. Next time I'll try and talk a bit more about why I did stuff and not just what happened. Also elevators, (those were such a ballache) I'll explain why the elevators came out the way they did. Either way if you made it this far then I commend you for your patience. EDIT: I didn't swear nearly as much as I expected to so I guess that the warning was unnecessary.