Coyote was finally eliminated from Back to Basics. And that's alright! I got a lot of testing on my map, you were all forced to play it for a few weeks, and I'm back with a vengeance to finish what I started. Coyote is out, but it's not down. To quickly sum up all the changes I made in the wake of my B2B tests...
- Checkpoint A played pretty well every time Coyote was played. So I started detailing A.
- Checkpoint B ended up choking because in order for Blu to counter Red's hold, they need to leave their more important flank unguarded. So I nerfed the flank for Red
- Checkpoint C didn't flow well because the flank made it too non-linear. I cut off Blu's access to it to force both teams to stick to the more interesting area around the cart path.
- The last checkpoint's attacking routes didn't serve any defined purpose, so I basically started fresh on the entire right side. New stairwell, new basement, new route to the balcony, new windows, new hallway connecting the flanks, and with 256 new hammer units of space.
- Fixed miscellaneous bugs, clarity issues, and general aesthetic problems.
- Added coyotes
Thanks for letting me subject you to Coyote in all those tests, and here's to getting to do it some more! The current goal is to get the parts of Coyote I haven't changed tested now that the bigger issues keeping them from being played right are sorted out. If I can get those tested, I'm hoping to enter Beta after A20!
A is still the best part of this map. I'm pretty much entirely satisfied with how the point plays, so short of a few balance changes, I feel safe getting started on the detailing.
- Changed the small health kit in the left building to a medium health kit to make it easier for Blu to push when Red has a presence on the cliff
- Changed the large ammo pack in the right building to a medium ammo pack, to make it harder for Red engies to set up on the cliff.
- Detailed most of A
B became a bigger problem in the B2B tests than it did in standard Imps, which surprised me. The problems arose not because Blu had no options to counter a Red hold, the right flank around the choke gives them the height and distance to counter most Red holding positions in the area. The problem was that in order to do so, Blu has to leave the other flank open for Red to push into. The way it connects to A means that this lets Red deep into Blu's territory, and the height disadvantage they have pushing into that flank means it can be hard to stop them once they've done so.
My eventual hope is to remove the shuttered part of the flank entirely. We'll see if the rest of the flank can be left alone in this version and if not, hopefully we'll give it a try in A19.
- Removed the route connecting the left flank to the left A house
- Added a new route connecting the left B flank to the stairway Red uses to access the engie shelf on A
- Added an arrow to point players toward it
- Added a shutter to the dropdown into the left B flank that closes once A is captured. This is to allow Red players to roll out to A with the train, but prevent them from using it to ambush Blu players when defending B
- Added a sign pointing players to the dropdown that disappears when A is captured
- Increased Red's respawn wave time once A is captured to 12, from 9
- Decreased Blu's respawn wave time once A is captured to 2, from 4
- Decreased Red's respawn wave time once B is captured from 9 to 6 because of the distance they need to cover to get to the cart.
- Removed an arrow overlay pointing to the dropdown
A little while after Coyote was eliminated, I found a piece of feedback I missed initially about the transition between B and C. Because I'm a boomer who doesn't understand the basic functions of this site, (such as the forum) apparently.
The gist of it seemed to be that C never plays as intended because of the way the flank flows. Red never sets up a hold because Blu never forms a front. The redundancy of the diagonal door and the dropdown as routes for Blu, as well as number of areas connected by the flank create a dynamic where Blu is able to spread out past what Red is capable of defending against. Neither team sets up a hold because neither needs to. The area I'd been focusing my attention and layout changes on, the lobby and the room the cart passes through, never had a chance to affect the way the area plays, so my changes did little to affect the greater flow of the checkpoint.
Bearing all that in mind, I've decided to cut off access to the flank. Its purpose is to allow one team to better control Checkpoint C. The long travel safely up to the balcony and requirement to use the low ground beneath the hoodoo means Red can use it to defend, but only so long as Blu hasn't pushed up to the ramps yet. It's possible the balcony offers too much of an advantage over the overpass to be so easy for Blu to get up to like they can, via the ramp.
- Removed the shutter over the top half of the shutter into the yard beneath C
- Added a train gate to the Blu side of the building over the track
- Added a door connecting where Blu used to be able to access the flank to the blank wall the train passes by
- Added a wall separating the new door from the rest of the flank
- Removed the health and ammo from the lower part of the flank
- Added health and ammo to the upper part of the flank
- Removed the Control Point overlay from the staircase
- Extended the trigger to open the train gate into C, to entice players to run in front of the train. Not really anything to do with the rest of the C changes, but whatever. /shrug
I'm not really sure what to do with the rest of the transition between B and C. Because of the aforementioned flow problems, fighting has never concentrated around that area. Not since before the door that closes mid-way through C out of Red's second spawn was added. We'll just have to wait and see. If A18 doesn't play well and the reason for it is that the flank is still an issue, I'm down to remove it entirely.
Last didn't receive as much testing as I'd have liked. The choke at B made sure that was the case. It's a shame too, because it's been the checkpoint I've had the most questions about. I didn't make the flanks with much intentionality, and that means giving each part of the flank a reason to exist.
I don't want to sound like I'm in denial, but I don't think it's down to the Cactus Canyon finale. Doubly so since the changes to the timing and way the train is triggered, Blu has never had a problem capturing the terminus once they have a good presence on Red's side of the choke. The problem remains how they get to that point.
So inspired by Upward, Swiftwater, and Gorge, I separated the right flank into a stairwell all the routes into it empty into. I extended the basement and added more cover, as well as a second staircase it's much harder for Red to use, and leaves them more exposed entering the flank. I added a new set of windows, one of which you can shoot through, to give Blu another angle on the Red catwalk and a better alternate angle to their catwalk.
- Removed the platform intended to help Blu hold the cart on the track since it only helped defenders
- Extended the area between C and Last by 256hu to better accommodate the flanks.
- Removed a crate from the shelf that forced Blu to commit too much to take advantage of the shelf, while the intent was to provide cover.
- Removed the elbow connecting the right flank to the balcony
- Removed the corrugated metal from the transparent section of the fence outside of the choke entrance to Last to benefit Blu
- Added some new stairs to the back of the basement to allow Blu players to peek without letting Red players do the same.
- Removed the right stairs from the basement
- Removed the tall stairs up from the basement to the end of the right flank the connector... connects to.
- Added some new prop stairs
- Extended the platform in the right flank to connect to the entire wall
- Removed the section of chicken wire from the stairs
- Added a new walled "observation room" coming out of the wall and connecting to the existing catwalk
- Removed much of the cover from the offensive catwalk
- Removed a crate intended to block sight lines
Miscellaneous clarity changes
- Added a bell sound to the left flank to B that plays while the doors to the roof are opening, to draw attention to the new route Blu can push from
- Added an arrow to the ramp up to Red's one-way door that several players missed during playtesting
- Moved the capture point overlay pointing players to C (If they choose not to use the shortcut) to be behind the large arrow that appears once the shortcut is closed
- Removed a vestigial D overlay in Red's second spawn
- Extended a bit of the wall that sticks out near C to better block the arrow sign from view from Blu's perspective, because it's irrelevant to them.
Miscellaneous bug fixes
- Clipped off the top edge of the wide train gate outside of Red's first spawn
- Fixed a cactus that didn't have its collisions enabled
- Fixed a misaligned texture under the shutter the cart passes through into C
- Fixed a shutter that Z-fought with the ceiling it was beneath outside of Red's first spawn
- Fixed a health kit patch between two brushes that wasn't applied to both of them in the right flank on Last
- Fixed a missing soundscape on the lobby side of the left door to the balcony over Last
- Fixed a misplaced path_track that caused the cart to leave the track and shake the screens of nearby players when it reached the bottom of the last rollback zone before Checkpoint C
- Fixed a case where due to a delay to the StartForward input being called in the trains to let a train whistle play, trains would sometimes not match where the cart was on its track.
- Fixed a super bright light over the health pack on the right side of A
- Compiled the map with the right lighting settings this time (Not that anybody seemed to notice???)
Miscellaneous aesthetic changes
- Removed the train tracks on wood under Checkpoint C. I had to connect all the displacements in that whole area, that was hell.
- Changed the texture of all the ramps on the map from the bridge texture of the rest of the floor to the beam texture, in-line with the stairs near Checkpoint A
- Added a new tower to the building behind C
- Raised the floor to Red's second spawn (left over from an earlier design) to be in-line with the rest of the floor
- Textured the computers in the left flank into Last
- Added an Imperial Mining decal to the final checkpoint
- Redesigned part of the roof in front of C to look less weird and flat.
- Added anvils to various clutter around the map. Because it's COYOTE, GET IT?
- Added some new spectator cameras and restricted some existing ones by team
Several people pointed out an obvious oversight on my part, naming my map Coyote and not putting any Coyotes in the map. What kind of self-respecting PROUD furry goes so far as to name his map after an animal but doesn't put it in?
- Added coyote sounds that play randomly around the map, every 45-120 seconds
- Added a trigger for the coyote sounds to play whenever a checkpoint is captured and when the round begins
- When a player is hit by the train, there is now a 20% chance a coyote will howl in mourning. To keep the map's coyotes happy, please refrain from throwing yourself in front of the oncoming train just because you want to see if you can hear them cry.
// TODO: Make a coyote cutout
I've been working on a whole zoo's (farm's?) worth of other maps named after animals up until earlier this week, but I'm happy to finally return to Coyote. How can someone write such long changelogs but change practically nothing in 20 versions?
Read the rest of this update entry...