Correct use of environmental hazards?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by NerdKoopa, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. NerdKoopa

    NerdKoopa L1: Registered

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    My question is this: Where and when environmental hazards should be used in your map? What I've understood, trains and other moving hazards can make otherwise open areas less friendly for snipers and sentries (for example, cp_well's middle point) and bottomless pits can narrow down the amount of possible routes from one location to another. But why use a bottomless pit if you can use a building to do the same AND break some of the longer sightlines? Where is a pit a welcome addition and where is it a nuisance?
     
  2. REEJ

    REEJ L7: Fancy Member

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    an "expensive" medikit (trying to get it is likely to get you killed) is another example already ingame
    forgot which valve map it was
     
  3. Mick-a-nator

    aa Mick-a-nator

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    Lumberyard? the one with the small health kit on the log over the death-pit at one side.

    but back to the question, hazards are used to make a path or objective feel risky. Take the following example, ctf_well. You can rush past the centre, but you run the risk of getting killed by a train, or you can take it easy and be patient, but then you risk being killed by the enemy. Another example in cp_well or arena_well this time. As spy, you could cloak and try and run past, but you could get killed by a train again, or you could take the slower, but safer water route.
    Hazards are to give the player options, but keep those options balanced. simply putting a building in the way may be the best option, or it could just create an unfixable choke point, or it could provide the perfect route for a team. In those cases, think about whether a hazard could do the job you want it to do, and still keep that route risky enough to make some people avoid it.
     
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  4. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    Rule #1 of hazards, worth repeating: They must be obvious. Glaringly obvious. Even the most newbie player should look at a hazard and think: "That looks very dangerous."

    I should also mention that some maps use trains not so much as hazards but as random events that one or both teams can exploit, such as cp_freight.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  5. sniprpenguin

    sniprpenguin L6: Sharp Member

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    Again, to repeat the obvious, it should be plain obvious. You should never get any "OMG HOW I DIES?!" on your map (at least from the envirodeath)

    Also, going with the idea of risk-reward with healthpits, you could also use it on major objectives that should be hard to take. Well midpoint is a good example, as is Thunder Mountain Stage 3, point 2. Both have hazards that can make or break a push.
     
  6. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    I would say environmental hazards can also be used on flank routes to prevent them becoming a main path (by allowing a single patrolling enemy to easily kill people, or simply slowing the onslaught).
     
  7. red_flame586

    red_flame586 L7: Fancy Member

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    You shouldn't make environmental hazards to prominent, It's rarely a good idea to have a major path or point or similar right near a death-pit where a blowback class such as pyro or FAN scout can easily push you into the hazard. Always make sure there are ways to get around them so they don't become to much of an annoyance.
     
  8. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    its a risk/reward balance. Environmental hazards should always be twinned with huge rewards: look at lumberyard, sawmill, well, freight, thundermountain.
     
  9. TMP

    aa TMP Abuser of Site Rules

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    The only one of those that really has a HUGE reward in terms of the gameplay is Lumberyard: The others all are objective based obstacles.

    And then you have Egypt's. I honestly love egypt's death trap but many people hate it. I remember when it first happened to me. I was like ":O"

    Its all a subjective thing. They add in fun for pyros, soldiers, demomen, fan scouts, and to a degree engineers. They're a high risk high reward thing, and can be fun, but can also be really annoying.

    If one turns out to be more annoying than fun, you'll know, and its best to remove it.
     
  10. skinnynerd

    skinnynerd L2: Junior Member

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    It should also be noted that a lot of death pits are also spam-eaters, for example, the pit in nucleus and steel.
    In Valve maps, hazards are used to make points easily clearable: sawmill, nucleus, steel

    EDIT: Also thunder mountain
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  11. owly-oop

    aa owly-oop im birb

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    The environmental hazard I hate the most is whenever the last point of something is defended around a huge deathpithole. Pretty much upward's last point.
     
  12. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    Never use water to indicate a hazard. It's the wrong use of environmental hazards.
     
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  13. honorum646

    honorum646 L6: Sharp Member

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    Water pretty much incites a player to jump into it as protection for pyros, etc. If you make it a hazard, it's very frustrating when you jump in (expecting something safe) and suddenly die.

    If that made any sense.
     
  14. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    Sawmill's are my favourite, as dynamic cover too. There's almost nothing like those saws- freights trains are like them, but too big and rare.
     
  15. Mr. P. Kiwi

    Mr. P. Kiwi L5: Dapper Member

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    I can sort out what I think environment hazards do:

    Bottomless Pit -
    Well this nice death pit is great for minimizing spam in an area. For instance, look at Steel's point E, if there was no bottomless pit there the place could be captured very easily at the beginning of the game. More of this is the "Expensive Medkits", like the one in Lumberyard; these medkits are great for Arena modes where you would have to think if you want to risk your life for more HP or to try to live without them.
    Don' use them too much, however, because they should be only in places that without them the map will be overwhelmed.

    Trains -
    Trains, these fabulously dangerous contraptions are used occasionally to interfere once in a while in the main fighting area, or again, minimize spam. Train tracks should be, in a map with trains, one of the biggest focuses of the map. They should have a nice "train yard" area of there own.
    Unless you want them to appear once in a while for the theme of the map, they should be in places that will kill spam.

    Other -
    For this category the saw blades in sawmill are a great example – they categorize the point area outside the capture zone. This is effective if you want to say: "whoa, this is the fighting area, outside is for different things".
    Of course these should be in the theme of the map – you won't put saw blades in grass filled meadows. Or rabid ducks in an ice map.

    If anyone has any objections feel free to tell me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  16. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    YES. you put rabid ducks anywhere there is space
     
  17. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I can not understand how anyone would ever make a map that doesn't include grassfield blades or rabid ice ducks. Or... or BOTH. :eek:hmy:

    cp_icefieldbladegrassduck here I come!

    Kep
     
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  18. Mr. P. Kiwi

    Mr. P. Kiwi L5: Dapper Member

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    I'm looking forward to play it!
    :p
     
  19. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    I almost feel like a train is like a repeating electric shock. Every time I see one I'm like "that could have been me on those tracks" so I feel like it spices up the gameplay and accelerates it. Sawblades are like area denial, I never ever go near them. Ever. Unless I'm trying to make a basket.
     
  20. Huckle

    Huckle L4: Comfortable Member

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    The easiest explanation, while being totally unhelpful is: use it only when you have a great reason for doing so.

    If you're questioning the choice of a death pit, look where it's used. E cap on steel doesn't have long sightlines because it's an enclosed area but the pit is there to reduce spam and make it easier to cap the point before all the other points have been taken.

    Trains and sawblades do pretty much the same thing. They're used on a mostly flat surface to block sightlines as well as being close enough to kill people fighting for the point and making areas riskier. The difference is that the sawblades are more of a constant and might feel less random than the trains (they can stop pushes on freight for instance).

    If you have an uneven surface with long sightlines to begin with, I wouldn't say that the hazards will do the work for you. If an area is too open, you can always add a structure to cut down some higher level sightlines and have a big opening with sawblades on the lower level, just like sawmill. Figure out what you want to do first and then try to accomplish it, don't add something just because it is possible to do so.