[COLLAB] Class Expertise for Map Design

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by x6herbius, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. x6herbius

    aa x6herbius

    Messages:
    377
    Positive Ratings:
    271
    One of the most difficult things I find personally about making a TF2 map is boiling down the physical elements a map needs in order to allow each class to function in its niche and be fun to play. We all know that the Engineer needs "good sentry spots" and the Soldier appreciates "height variation", but it's sometimes difficult to translate that into actual structures in a map alongside having to deal with objectives, routes, arena sizes and "making things interesting", especially when you're having to cater for classes you may not have as much of a skill depth in.

    I thought it might be helpful if the players who frequented a specific class and knew it inside-out could write down what it is exactly that they love about playing the class and what makes it a fun experience, with specific focus on how this experience centres around aspects of different maps. I figured that if we stepped back from the rather disconnected point of view of a "designer", and focused more on why certain classes draw you to their play style, it might provide more of an insight on why different pieces of a map are important and how you could place and manipulate them to tailor your map's experience.

    Classes so far:

    Scout
    Soldier
    Pyro
    Demoman
    Heavy
    Engineer
    Medic
    Sniper
    Spy

    To show you what I mean, I'll start by talking about the Pyro who has to date eaten up almost 350 hours of my sorry life.

    I enjoy playing Pyro first and foremost because I like feeding people critical Axtinguisgers, and also becase I like chucking extra-damage projectiles back into other people's faces. Once you've been playing Pyro for a good while you begin to become quite durable, even when faced with three or four enemies. On my good days I've been able to sprint out of the enemy intel on 2Fort, reflect kill a Soldier and Demoman, pop a divebombing Heavy back up onto the courtyard platforms, slip out of the door and strike down a pursuing Scout with a critical flare. The fun from playing Pyro comes from catching people unawares; he was designed originally as an ambush class, and for the most part this playstyle has remained, albeit in more of a "quick strike" vein nowadays, but the enjoyment also comes from the fact that people often don't expect you to be able to throw a rocket back in their face or an Axtinguisher in their eye quite as easily as you can do. They think "Oh look, it's a cute little flame-spewer, let's splash his feet", and then they're on fire and within melee range, and then they're dead. Of course, we can't forget than the other half of playing Pyro is tossing people off cliffs and into the path of trains, and the control the airblast gives you over an enemy's movement is particularly valuable in almost all encounters.

    So what maps are fun to play on as a Pyro? The first thing I'd note is that narrow corridors, anything between two to four players wide, turn opponents into Axtinguisher food. Provided you can control the distance enemy players can see you from (anything further than a grenade toss becomes difficult to work with), airblasting other players up against a wall stunts their movement and allows you to come in with a critical melee hit. Maps particularly good for this are 2Fort (anywhere between the front door and courtyard), Gravel Pit (corridors between points, specifically B and C), Turbine (vents are pretty good, and intel corridors to some extent) and such, and the back corridors in Duel Pro make Pyros lethal too. Obviously not too much of the map should be enclosed or you end up with Junction; Pyros will choose to hang around the close quarters areas, so making them side routes can allow for Axtinguisher ambushes to help shut down pushes through these flanks. Specific points where you're out of the enemy's line of sight until they're virtually next to you are excellent places for Pyros to be effective.

    As for reflecting projectiles, a good size guideline for this is the distance a Demoman can throw a standard grenade: anything further than this and the grenade will have lost most of its momentum, limiting how much you can do with it, and players will have moved further in the time it takes to reflect a rocket back, meaning that it becomes more difficult to predict where to aim the reflect. Small arenas like the 2Fort spawn barn, Gravel Pit B or the rooms either side of Badlands' mid are perfect for reflects; Soldiers and Demomen won't necessarily like having to put themselves in so much close-quarters danger, so forcing transit through one of these arenas using things like control points (Gravel Pit B) will allow Pyros to take advantage of when the enemies are required to get close to them, provided that the gameplay doesn't choke up to an unreasonable extent around these areas.

    Finally, throwing people off cliffs is only fun if there are cliffs. Pyros like places where they can lie safely out of sight until enemies appear, before popping out and pushing people to certain death without exposing themselves too much. Wide cliffs with little cover are going to be less effective for Pyros than narrow, winding cliffs where the defending team has a good hold and ammo is abundant. As a map maker you can use this to your advantage: scaling up a cliffside area will make Pyros less powerful there. My personal favourite area to push people off is the rope bridge near the final point of PL Cashworks; hiding just behind the Red doorway means that enemies can easily run past you and onto the bridge without noticing you. The small size of the bridge and the platform area is offset by the fact that the route is provided primarily for use by the attackers, so it's generally only stray defenders who get stung by the ambush spots rather than causing the attackers to become overly vulnerable and limiting the usefulness of the route.

    So that's my take on Pyro and map features that make him fun. Anyone else who feels they know their main class in detail enough to provide valuable information, go ahead! I might stick up some screenshots for this post once it's not 1am.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 7
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  2. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    414
    Positive Ratings:
    242
    At this point I would like to reserve maybe heavy or engineer - or both, since I don't think there's gonna be much to say on Heavy, despite my lobby experience with him.

    Secondly, if the OP and future posters want to do a tl;dr summary at the end of their posts I'm sure we will all appreciate it; also it may be worth defining a difference between competitive and casual class roles. Engineer, sniper, demoman and soldier seem like classes this would be especially necessary for.

    Oh, and while I do not have the time at 03:00am to look it up, it may be worthwhile looking around on teamfortress.tv or UGC forums to see if anyone has discussed this there.
     
  3. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

    Messages:
    1,471
    Positive Ratings:
    1,363
    Scout: As a scout, i love it when a map has objects that break the general height of wherever i am currently. Think here of the traincars and hoodoos on badlands or the rocks on process mid - anything that a scout can dance around on top of - or disappear behind - will make the scout much more comfortable with your map.

    Soldier: As a gunboats soldier, i love it when a map allows me for a quick escape. This could be a jump from the pit on badwater up onto the catwalks above, or through the window - anything that allows me to leave the battle when the heat gets to me, so i can heal up and reenter later.

    Pyro: My playstyle for pyro is a lot about controlling the enemy movement, so anything that can help with that is appreciated. An example could be on upward, where there's often tiny corners near doors or under stairs, where i can pin the enemy while i pull out my flaregun

    Demoman: To please the demoman, you gotta work on the transitions between heights. A demoman will abuse the shit out of his weapons trajectory, and use any slopes, ramps and obstacles to conceal himself while lobbing grenades at his target. An example could once again be process, where you can lob grenades onto the mid point while hidden behind containers, rocks and structures.

    Heavy: To function well as a heavy, you must be able to move along a path, where you can suppress invaders from all angles, and take cover really fast. I remember playing heavy while being pocketed, where i ran into the enemy cart with 3 heavies sitting on it on plr_pipeline. Because there was a concrete pillar where i was, i could simply peak out, so that only one heavy was in sight at a time, and take them out one by one, even tho i was being suppressed by the fire of all three.

    Medic: As a medic, i like to abuse cover close to key points, as it allows me to hide while healing a fighting teammate. Should things go bad, i appreciate some of the same things as a scout would: Obstacles to slither out between, using the medics fast movement speed to dodge, hide and retreat.



    Closing statement: cp_process is really good when it comes to satisfying all classes, and should be learned from.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Grizzly Berry

    aa Grizzly Berry

    Messages:
    429
    Positive Ratings:
    335
    I play quite a bit of Gunboats Soldier and the one word I'd use to describe what I like best: walls. Rocket jumping off walls is far more effective than the ground and it's even better when there are other props/buildings to chain your jumps off of. Granary is one of my favorite maps to rollout on for this reason. Here are a few screenshots showing some jumps commonly used. The red circles are the rocket blasts.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's another good example on Process:

    [​IMG]

    Another thing to keep in mind is rockets come out from the right side of the player's screen (with the exception of the Original). This makes rocket jumping off objects to your right much easier than your left. It also makes it easier to shoot around objects on your left. Keep this in mind when designing mirrored maps, as it can lead to imbalances.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. x6herbius

    aa x6herbius

    Messages:
    377
    Positive Ratings:
    271
    Just as an aside: how do you rocket jump off walls? That's the one thing I can't seem to do. (Although it did take me about a year to be able to rocket jump at all as a Soldier)
     
  6. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

    Messages:
    1,264
    Positive Ratings:
    748
    Aim to the wall and a little bit lower. If the wall would be 90 degrees and the floor is 0 degrees then it should be somewhere between 45 and 60 (allowing a quite horizontal jump).

    For the first attempt avoid pressing any WASD buttons as that is able to counter its effect. If you dont press it you can see easier if you did it correctly. And after that you can try to influence it by moving.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  7. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

    Messages:
    4,489
    Positive Ratings:
    2,213
    OK, I'm confused. How did you manage to fling off that wall onto the pipe? Shouldn't it have bounced you away from the wall, to the left?
     
  8. Acadium

    Acadium Playtest Extraordinaire

    Messages:
    113
    Positive Ratings:
    11
    Air strafing. You put the rocket mostly behind and below you, then strafe to the right, letting you pogo off the pipe.
     
  9. Tumbolisu

    aa Tumbolisu  I ⌄ I 

    Messages:
    931
    Positive Ratings:
    895
    No matter what game, i mostly like playing defensively. Defense means for me that i deal damage without having to worry about taking any.
    So, when I'm...
    Scout:
    Beeing able to stand above the enemy. Jumping from place to place without getting in anyones way except with my bullets.
    Soldier:
    Using walls and other things to rocketjump and quickly take someone out. Beeing able to retreat is also important.
    Pyro:
    Using strange routes to ambush people. Airblasting people against walls to rek them with the axtinguisher.
    Heavy:
    Jumping down on somebody or coming around a corner. It's good if the enemy doesn't know when I am there.
    Engineer:
    Building Sentries around corners or at dark places. Highground is also very effective.
    Sniper:
    Beeing able to stay far away but having a huge impact. Standing above people gives a nice view of who to shoot, but standing too high up makes it difficult to aim. The less places that people can come from, the less things to care about.
    Spy:
    Ramps, corners, sidepaths... Anything that helps to hide or stab is good. Beeing able to take a healthpack quickly after a fight helps a lot. Even a small hightvariation can lead to a stairstab.

    I didn't cover Demo or Medic because I don't even know what I'm actually doing as these. A good team seems to be more important than a good map in my opinion.
     
  10. nightwatch

    aa nightwatch

    Messages:
    640
    Positive Ratings:
    446
    Holding down "w" or "s" locks your trajectory and your momentum would send you in the opposite direction from your rocket blast. If you don't hold w or s, but only a and d, and move your mouse smoothly to the right and left, you can curve around quite a bit and change direction in midair. This is how surfing works as well.
     
  11. TMP

    aa TMP Abuser of Site Rules

    Messages:
    948
    Positive Ratings:
    551
    I'll write a treatise on what I find fun and not fun in maps when I play pyro in both competitive and in public play in a few days, after I get done with a few of my other projects.

    Keep in mind I'm a bit odd though.
     
  12. Prestige

    aa Prestige im not gay anymore

    Messages:
    1,769
    Positive Ratings:
    1,517
    adding little bits of cover (poles, crates, 64-96u hills) that function as a blindspot for a sentry spot can make said sentry spot way more fun to play against (imo) and quite a bit weaker. demo spam, soldier cornering, hiding in the blindspot, etc..
     
  13. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    493
    Positive Ratings:
    172
    actually it's not a matter of which buttons you press, but the direction in which your buttonpresses "push"

    you have to push about 90 degrees away (it's actually a little less, but approaches 90 as you move faster) from your movement direction then turn in that direction too. that's why just a/d work so well. but if you hold w you have to turn a whole extra 45 degrees before you actually start turning.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  14. Samniss Arandeen

    Samniss Arandeen L1: Registered

    Messages:
    33
    Positive Ratings:
    7
    Heavy:

    Multiple paths to the objective and good tele spots give us a chance to make it to the fight before it ends. Give us cover in range of objective spots so we can duck out of the way, and so Medics can heal us from safety. Give us chokepoints to hold down.

    However, we still need to be killable, so cover that can easily be flanked is always a plus. Don't let us stand directly on the objective for extended periods or else we become overpowered. Have one or two sniper lines to the objective and cover from it that doesn't quite give as much of an advantage at closer ranges. Nooks and crannies are great Heavy counters as well given Spies can hide in them and Pyros can Axty us to shit using alternate routes...yet clever Heavies can use them to an advantage as well. And at least one alternate route should be impractically long for the slow Heavy to take without assistance.

    Medic:
    Medkits, medkits, medkits! Firing spots our Uber targets can fire from with great effectiveness. Cover within medigun range of the action. Places to hop around like a madman dodging bullets and backstabs.

    Spy:
    Stairs, cliffs, ledges to drop from and stab. Corners and dark spots for us to cloak and disguise. Backdoor access to the Sentry spots so we can sap 'em. Hallways and side hallways for us to get behind the enemy whilst still dodging the fucking Pyros.
     
  15. Kierany9

    Kierany9 L1: Registered

    Messages:
    19
    Positive Ratings:
    10
    Scout:
    Open spaces, props and brushwork to double jump onto and flanks. Anything that lets me outmaneuver my enemies. Railings are incredibly annoying for any scout.
    Pyro/Spy:
    I like enclosed areas, lots of dark corners and lots of flank routes with health and ammo on the way. I also need an escape route after an ambush/stab.
    Demoman:
    The higher the skybox, the better. For fighting, I enjoy areas that aren't too narrow but at the same time not too open.
    Engineer:
    Ammo is all I need. Also, sightlines and cover are an engineer's worst nightmare.
     
  16. Valkyrie

    aa Valkyrie

    Messages:
    138
    Positive Ratings:
    112
    Engineer: With extremely high level competitive experience as this class I feel like I can be of use working out if a map is good for them. What I really like about Engi is the simple fact they kick ass in both attacking and defending. Give me long sightlines and a pyro buddy and I will be in love. I hate loads of corners.
    "sightlines and cover are an engineer's worst nightmare." completely not true, you need long sightlines for a sentry and wrangler, you will kill any class in the game with that.

    Spy: As a person with about 1100 hours on spy I have found spy just annihilates in almost any map, long sightlines for the ambassador, and ramps and stairs everywhere for stair stabs, corners for escape. I hate confined long corridors though.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  17. Aman

    Aman L5: Dapper Member

    Messages:
    229
    Positive Ratings:
    72
    As far as pyro goes I love playing on cp junction. This is due to the enclosed spaces and the places I can access with the detonator.
     
  18. Moonrat

    aa Moonrat The end of an era

    Messages:
    877
    Positive Ratings:
    502
    As Engineer you should always make sure he can actually keep a building alive in an area, but not to a level where he has complete area denial.

    In my map Cliffhill, there are 3 different Engie spots the player is recommended, with the use of ammo being close to them.

    The first is in the middle buildings, it is elevated, and has a small ammo kit on the bottom floor, there is only one way to get directly to the sentry, and it is relatively safe from Snipers. But there is only a small space to put buildings on, so that limits the players options, and there is cover in the room as well as 3 different entries.

    The second is near the main point, and gives the Engie a Medium ammo kit and only one entrance, the problem being that such a small room can easily get the Demo to use his grenades. (Making you safe in Competitive due to the fact that most Demomen simply spam stickies in a display of false skill, rather than using their options effectively.) Also the fact that the spot leaves you blind to incoming attacks.

    The Third spot gives you the ability to see, and a narrower entrance, as well as direct access to the Medium kit, but now the roof is open, and that leaves the sky open to attack.

    Basically make some good spots, but make sure that the Engie can be attacked somehow.
     
  19. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

    Messages:
    1,264
    Positive Ratings:
    748
    Also, a suggestion for this list.

    Make a seperate group for mvm. From my experience many players are good pyros in normal games but terrible at mvm (and the other way around aswel). MvM has alot diffirent skill requirements per class. Someone might be a poor heavy in a normal game yet be a very reliable one for mvm. MvM is a very diffirent way of thinking and playing. No matter how good you can dodge an attack in normal tf2, in mvm it rarely matters. Yet in mvm positioning and following the good upgrade path is far more important.

    A good spy in a normal game for example would have no issues taking out a group of 3 and survive to go for the 4th without cloaking. In mvm the bots will simply have a static response time and aim at you... no matter how good your skills of hiding are. There knowing the mvm system itself is far more important.

    The list might often match with the class they normaly play. the total list of classes they are good at - and especialy the primary class - can vary alot. In my case:
    Normal tf2: Pyro (main), medic (secondary), engy
    MvM: Medic (main), Engy Scout Heavy (secondaries), Pyro (which i rarely pick since its already a less good choise to begin with)
    (and yes, i know this list is irrelevant without hints on how to play, it was just an example that it can vary)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  20. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    414
    Positive Ratings:
    242
    This is definitely true. Spy in MvM is completely different to normal spy play, to the point where just about nothing carries over. That's why most players have such a difficult time playing it in MvM.

    Having said that, Alias, is it really necessary to construct it's own section? I'm just curious, having never made an mvm map myself. Did you really find when making mvm_intercept that you needed information about how the classes play? I can't help but feel that design is much simpler than in normal play as you don't have to balance PvP across the map, only the amount of "work" one class does in comparison to another.