i think one of the reasons I still can't make a map is that I don't think I understand the principles behind what makes a map fun in TF2, or any game really, despite having played TF2 for a few thousand hours. If you asked me why pl_upward is one of my favorite official maps, I couldn't really tell you. I like the way it looks, but I don't know if I could nail down what separates Upward from the rest and makes it one of the most fun maps to play in TF2. Could anyone answer that? Maybe it's not even a TF2-specific principle, but one that could apply to level design in general, because I can't make maps in any game despite having the drive to do it. What makes Upward fun? What makes Badwater fun? Is what makes Upward fun different from what makes Badwater fun? Stuff like that. I know a lot of these answers would come if I knew how to study maps objectively, but I don't think I know how to do that either. I'm just now identifying that whenever I study a Valve map or any map for that matter, I generally am just lookin at cool things they made: architectural elements, lighting, displacement work etc. Technical things. Is it possible to study maps in a way that reveals why they work from a gameplay perspective? Maybe what I'm studying is actually what you should, but I just don't know how to apply it or something. I'm just really frustrated at this point that I've spent so much time playing games, "studying" maps, reading articles and tutorials Hammer or level design in general, but have never actually been able to make anything. Any thoughts you guys might have would be really appreciated.