CommStation

Discussion in 'Map Factory' started by Keonyn, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    ctf_commstation_a4

    Red and Blu both lease space at a small remote Communications hub which they have shared with an uneasy peace for some time. Recent combat in the area has suddenly increased the value of the intelligence and data that is transmitted through the facility and now Red and Blu want the intelligence the other has gathered.

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    Alright, well this is actually my third map, but the first one that I actually felt ready to post up (the first two victims of the learning process). My initial mistakes revolved around trying to go too big for an early map when I was still learning. In this case I'm going with a simple CTF layout and have pretty much just done the blocking. Only props are just copy and pasted temporary light fixtures and attached entities and the flag. The map is functional, but it's obviously early alpha at this point. Spawns all work, flags work and can be capped, spawn doors and visualizers all function; everything else is pretty much minimal though so I can work with the layout and make sure I have what I want before I start putting a lot more work in to the finer points.

    There are two smaller bases where red and blu are based separated by a yard that is partially covered by the antenna array itself. Across from the antenna array is the primary building which is neutral and acts sort of like 2Forts sewers in that it provides an alternate and more covered way to get from one base to another. To provide further incentive to use the building it will enter the enemies base near their intel, while the entrance from the yard will bring you to the other side and on the lower floor, requiring you to travel through their base and in front of their spawn to get upstairs and to the intel room. There is also an underground area that links the antenna arrays base to the basement of the neutral building.

    The neutral building itself has an open area in the back on the second floor for traffic to move through. Traffic can also move through the front side of the building on the lower level. The basement sides are not connected, so you can't get from one end of the building to the other through the basement unless you take the tunnels out and then back in. By providing multiple passages but having them closely linked I want to prevent a team from camping and holding the routes between bases, but also keep them close enough together where teams can respond to enemies more quickly.

    Props will obviously mix things up a bit, and there's a few changes I'm entertaining at the moment (mostly changes to the bases and reducing the neutrals basement). At this stage though it's just a basic layout concept I'm working with before I start detailing and prop placement.

    I also looked around and couldn't find another CommStation map, though I did find a CommPost. It's a flexible naming concept though, and CommCenter or CommDepot would work just as well in case there is a CommStation I couldn't find.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  2. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    i'm going to say cubemaps- personally i think as an alpha thing theyre overrated, but everyone else wont.

    also, i'd switch one of the antennae for the satellite dish, and maybe one for the radar, just to avoid three identical props in the middle of the map
     
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  3. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    Yeah, at this stage though I'm just trying to get a floorplan working before I do much more. Cubemaps can be a chore and they'd undoubtedly all end up deleted and redone in the near future again anyways, but if it makes a difference I can certainly do it.

    I did try other props, but it didn't have the same appeal. In most cases major communication facilities will have a good pack of antennas, often times 4 or more. There will be more, but the dishes and such will likely find themselves on the roofs of the buildings. The antennas were placed early because I needed them for reference to size the yard properly. And believe me, if I was able to model I would simply produce 3 different variants. I like having the three antennas, but I do see your point about them being identical (aside from different orientation).
     
  4. honorum646

    honorum646 L6: Sharp Member

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    I have to say.. This map looks very basic.

    Maybe adding in some underground areas will allow for a more diverse playing field other than a sniper friendly death pit in front of the spawn bases.
     
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  5. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    There is an underground, it goes from an entrance in the middle to the building on the right sides basement. I have considered attaching the bases to the underground as well, but I feel that might make too many paths. At present you can take the yard, which is the most direct but that entrance is as far from the flag as you can get and you have to move past the enemy spawn. You can take the underground in to the neutral building, which has three levels, two of which have a path to the other side, and they're connected to the bases via catwalks at present (potential change). Do you think running the underground to the bases instead of the neutral area would be best? Or I could run a second underground route from the neutral building to the bases instead, that might be worth a shot.

    As for Snipers, it might be a problem, but that's part of the draw of taking the side paths; I also don't want to rob the class of any useful vantage points. Also, the antenna towers take up a large chunk of the yard and block the view from spawn to spawn. If they want to get a full vantage point of the enemies spawn they have to go to the neutral building where they can be easily flanked and killed.

    I've also considered linking the three buildings together as one. Currently there is a catwalk that runs from the top floor of each base to the neutral building. Attaching the three will prevent Snipers from sniping people regardless of which path they take, and it'll open up that option further. It will also prevent Soldiers and Demo's from rocket/sticky jumping on to the catwalk and getting quicker access to the flag room from the yard, since the purpose of that path is to reward people for taking the longer route.

    Also, it is a little basic yeah. It's a first map and I'm trying to just kind of learn from it too. Went CTF since, to me, the best CTF maps are generally rather simple. The larger and extravagant ones don't really play too well for me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  6. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    I don't think basic is too much of a problem here, the one I think could be the most dangerous for gameplay is the amount of open space you have, mainly in the white building. The floor is open, and the building is just too overscaled for something of its shape. I would shrink it down so that the hallways inside are about 384u wide, and the building itself should be much more then 768 long total imo.

    Also, I hate to say it but the mid is incredibly boring. I know it's your first map so I'll let you go on this one :p but it's my suggestion that you remodel it with another building featuring more complex geometry. Also, try and steer clear of underground sections as they tend to be infrequently used, narrow, too long of a path, and separate gameplay, especially in CTF.

    Finally keep in mind that this IS ctf, so you will want most of your routes to be around each flag to reduce campyness, and for those routes to come together a bit before the middle of the map so that a team has a fighting chance of stopping a flag carrier once they get said flag.
     
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  7. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    Thanks, I will certainly look at that. For aesthetics, I was going to turn the white building in to the main communication center, so I was hoping to have enough room for a control room area which would be detailed with a number of spytech props like consoles and maps and such (spytech will be the predominant theme inside each structure). The building will also grow from the outside, but that will all be unplayable area. The current shape is simply the playable area, when detailed the buildings will grow a bit. I could reduce it lengthwise, and definitely close up the top level (most problematic area imo) some.

    The mid will also be prettied up a bit on detailing, including a bit more structure on the edges of the current buildings and the antenna structure itself will see quite a bit of tweaking as well.

    You believe the underground is a bad idea? That's a bummer cause I had some great ideas on how to detail it, but gameplay is king so if it is going to be a problem I can ditch it. Even with it gone that still leaves three travel paths, the mid, white bldg first floor up front, and white bldg second floor in back; I suppose that is plenty for CTF.

    I think I see what you mean about bringing the routes together, and I have a few ideas on how to do that. I was somewhat thinking of Turbine when doing this, which has two separate routes in and out, which is why I did it that way.
     
  8. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Definately needs more cover in the middle, and split up those stairs that span half the map.

    Glass in the white building is mis-leading. TF2 never really utilises glass on that scale. It only serves to seperate players when they should be shooting each other when ever possible, should direct visibility be attained.

    Only other thing is how there's no real flanking opportunities. Although you do have the white building, even combat there will be direct and head on. I can't see any possibilities for someone to out manouvre or ambush an enemy, other than camping a doorway.
     
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  9. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    Interesting. That is definitely a hard one to get right. The more I think of it the more I feel the red and blue bases should be connected to the white building (layout would make them more like wings of the larger structure). This would keep jumpers from simply hopping on the catwalks, and make the combat less about the doorways. The white building also needs more structure on the top floor, the big open space is too direct. I have a few ideas where to go from here, should have an A2 up soon.

    The big question is the underground. I've had one person say I need one, one person say not to have one, and one mentioning of a flank path which the underground could serve as with some mods. absurd makes a valid point about the paths coming together though and a flanking path is tough to balance since it can make infiltration a little too easy. This part will take a bit to iron out I think.
     
  10. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    Okay, well alpha 2 was an experimental release so I didn't release it. Alpha 3 is finally out now with some major changes. It took me so long because I basically redid those red/blu bases at least a half dozen times from the ground up and always ended up tearing them down again because I just wasn't happy with them. Keep in mind this is still all layout blocking and when detailing is done all these brushes will be removed and replaced with more complex brushes and geometry. At this stage I am really just working on the layout.

    Speaking of layout, I'm much happier with the white building at this point. As was recommended the size of the building was trimmed quite significantly both with depth and length, and the top floor is also smaller than the bottom floor. I did add inaccessible areas with dishes on top to keep the building dominant and add to its appearance, but these additions do not translate to playable space inside. The one thing I am not thrilled about right now is the major sightline from skyway to skyway, I am going to have to find a way to break it up or move that doorway so it doesn't line up with the skyway exit.

    The part I'm most worried about are the two bases. I think the current layout will function well enough, and I definitely don't want their footprints to get any bigger than they are since I want the white building to be the dominant structure and the bases are already slgihtly deeper at their deepest point than the white building is. The one thing I am set on is the intel room, that's the layout I want to go for (modeled after an old mainframe room at my dads old work), the rest is just moving people around it and too it and keeping room for the spawn. If this doesn't work I may have to drop the intel room so the lower half of it is below ground, so I have three floors to work with, which will give me more room on a smaller above ground footprint.

    One of the reasons I moved the spawn upstairs is because it gave more room on the fighting level, and it kept the main paths of movement from moving directly in front of the door. This is important for the sake of engineers as it keeps their teleporters from being attention grabbing targets at the enemies feet everytime they walk in the front door. Part of the white buildings function is to not only allow an alternate set of paths, but also to give engies spots to build up forward bases and to give them a role outside of just turtling the flag room.

    Again, this is all simply layout work, so I am well aware the cubemaps aren't there and the structures are blocky/ugly and the lighting isn't the best. And no, the big window in the white building won't just be two giant slabs of glass forever, that's just to indicate there will be a large window structure there, but it'll obviously be more complex than that (possibly a doorway on to the balcony area as well so Snipers have at least one good spot). There's also no ammo or health packs or anything at this point, although the rest is playable (I fixed the timer in A2).
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  11. Keonyn

    Keonyn L2: Junior Member

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    Minecraft consumed my soul for awhile but I appear to have recovered and am back in the saddle with this.

    Changes in this version are pretty minor. Of course, no one saw a3 because apparently I neglected to update the link to the file last time >_<

    I made some adjustments to the yard to spruce it up a bit. Nothing huge, but once detailed it should make it a bit better than just a field of dirt/grass. I also reduced the textures of the white building to a 60% reflective texture since the lighting in there could be a bit much when I was running through it. The white building also saw the basement reduced and changes made to the middle area of the upstairs to cut the sightlines between the skyways.

    That's really pretty much it, just a few design tweaks and aesthetics to save the eyes of my testers. Next one I'll start working with basic texturing of what's there to get a visual theme going and laying down props. I expect I'll start that process this evening at some point.