CTF Base Layouts: Unifying Two Sections of the Same Base

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by StoneFrog, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    Sorry for the ambiguous thread title, but I'm not sure how to describe it.

    I've been working on my first major TF2 mapping project, ctf_watermill. The map is named for the iconic undershot watermills located at each end of the river. Unfortunately, the mills are rather small to house entire bases and I don't want to make them much larger or it will ruin their antiquated feel. The solution? A bridge spans across the river and a second building, also part of the bases, is located there.

    Think of it like the original badlands from TFC where there were the major bases but also those little outposts overlooking the canyons.

    Here's a 3D wireframe view of the watermill (almost done in terms of layout) in Hammer. That little thingy you see on the other end of the bridge is to be the other building. Now, I'm not sure what kind of building would go well with a watermill (so far I'm either thinking a different watermill or some really generic building).

    [​IMG]

    It was here (while trying to cram a respawn room into the attic of the mill but failing horribly) that I realized my problem. With two buildings, especially since I'll probably put a respawn room in each, there won't be much communication or defensive strategy between the two. It'll be like a CP map. Some guys will be defending the watermill, some guys defending the other.

    Normally, this is kind of a good thing as it encourages division of responsibilities, but then cp_gravelpit comes to mind - one part of the map will be completely ignored, and since the intel room (it'll be underground in the cliffside behind the buildings) can be reached through either building, it'll be really easy to cap.

    I need a way to make it more obvious that the two buildings are part of the same base and remove any "no man's land" feel that may exist between the two buildings. For example, if this was a castle map, I could wall the entire area in so players would still have a general idea that this is one team's territory and it all must be taken into consideration when attacking and defending.

    I was thinking of a crater or valley or something, but that'd close the map up considerably.

    Any ideas? Also, do you guys think that respawn rooms should be "out of the way" of the normal gameplay paths, or should it be like 2fort where the respawn rooms (well, at least one of the respawn rooms) is passed on one of the routes to the intel?
     
  2. mtv22

    mtv22 L3: Member

    Messages:
    116
    Positive Ratings:
    22
    Is just 1 team defending and the other trying to get the intel? You shouldn't have the spawn rooms on the path to the intel, that's probably the part I hate about 2fort the most.
     
  3. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    It's regular CTF, like in 2fort. Once the map layout is done I may tinker around with variants such as reverse CTF, but for now it's just standard gameplay.
     
  4. mtv22

    mtv22 L3: Member

    Messages:
    116
    Positive Ratings:
    22
    I kind of like the idea of both teams sharing the same building, as long as it's big enough and not just a bunch of low ceiling rooms and cramped hallways.
     
  5. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    They don't share the same building. Each team will have one watermill connected to one <other building>.

    The map still uses 180 degree symmetry like Valve does in their CTF maps.
     
  6. mtv22

    mtv22 L3: Member

    Messages:
    116
    Positive Ratings:
    22
    hmm ok. By looking at that layout it would seem almost impossible to get to the intel if you have to go all the way through the enemy base.
     
  7. fisheye

    fisheye L1: Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Positive Ratings:
    1
    If the intel is "underground in the cliffside", then I'm guessing there's some sort of tunnel/cave. Why not join the mill and outbuilding together with a similar tunnel?
     
  8. zaratustra

    zaratustra L2: Junior Member

    Messages:
    52
    Positive Ratings:
    1
    Make the other building an "advanced outpost" of sorts, closer to the enemy. That way people can hold a forward barricade and still have to go back to protect the intelligence.
     
  9. Mar

    Mar Banned

    Messages:
    607
    Positive Ratings:
    63
    ERP! *CAR SWERV* *CRASH* *BOOOM!* *CAR FFIRE*!!!!!

    Woh! I am hearing some very bad stuff right now. Small, cramped areas, narrow spots. Spawns before the flag. This could make for a very bad CTF map if your not careful.

    First thing for a good CTF map is that the flag is before the spawn point, or away from it so you don't have to fight spawning enemies that you just killed (this is 1 reason 2fort fails). So make the spawn in the house behind the mill, and put the flag in the mill.

    Second thing is that mill is looking kinda small. It might be a bit to tight. Put the intel in an open room, with multiple, several, many, various routes to get to it. only 2-3 routes to the intel is what makes for a bad map. (again 2fort.)

    3rd thing. To make a bit more space, and the map more fun, don't player the cap the roof of the mill. Let players walk all over it. This will give them more space, more flanking routes, and it will be much cooler.

    4th thing. Make the whole thing on water. Have both of the buildings be on stilts and have them over water so that a player can cross the entire map swimming. This opens the map up some more.

    5th thing. Don't close up the map with a valley or crater. This does 2 things, 1 it makes the map small, and tighter, which you don't want. A great CTF map is big and open, (again, not like 2fort.) 2 thing, valley is kinda un-original, every map is in a valley. maybe have a waterfall of a mountain. This waterfall comes from a fresh water spring, and it forms a river. This river powers the mills and surrounds the buildings. It then runs of the other side of the mountain. So if you zoomed out of this map, it would be one giant river of melting snow running through the mountains, with these 2 mills nestled into a lake that has formed on a cliff.

    That's about all I got right now.
     
  10. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

    Messages:
    818
    Positive Ratings:
    244
    on way to connect the buildings together would be to use similar texture styles, and another would be to make the bridge between them be covered by a roof (using same/similar textures as the roof on the buildings).
    as for a purpose for the building across the water in a thematic sense. well most rivers have crossings, and a crossing at a water mill makes sense too as it means less distance traveled to get the ground grain across the river.
    ergo, the building could be a storage room (barrels, and grain sacks), or a kinda 'gate house'.

    hope that helps.

    personally i like the water mill idea, and having a base underground which has the flag in my opinion is also good. make sure you go spytech for the underground base though, as industrial wouldn't quite work here
     
  11. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

    Messages:
    1,443
    Positive Ratings:
    356
    I don't think each base needs to be simply one building. It's more about the ground that each team has easy access to.

    So BLu's 'plot' can be in 2 buildings across the river from each other. Flag can be in one and spawn in another. But they both have to be easier for Blu to access than red.
    Down the river Red is in the same position. So if it's mirrored it'll be completely fair even if you have 10 buildings.

    I like to think of my maps more as pathways. They can be paths through one building, paths through 2 buildings or paths through mines. Everything else is just for looks. You could have 2 maps with the exact same layout, one could be a 2 building base, one could be one building, one could be on the moon and the other underground. That's all looks but they still share the same areas the player can go.
    2 buildings can connect via bridge, one building could just have a glass hallway there instead.

    I also feel like maybe you are 'cramping' the player too much. There's a balnce between tight narrow paths that are hard to navigate in combat and h8uge levels that are just too big. You gotta find that middle ground for it to be fun.
    Getting stuck on doorways, feeling clautrophobic in game isn't fun. Of course you always have to have some tight areas and some wide open ones but if the map is just one or the other it's usually not good for all classes.

    I think it's a good concept and would like to see it finished. Maybe the other building can be a warehouse, barracks, secret underground lab...
     
  12. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    Thanks for the replies so far, although I think I need to clarify on my idea of the map in regards to layout and spaciousness:

    As opposed to the cramped halls of 2fort, this map is to be considerably less linear by allowing multiple pathways. There is to be emphasis on equal division of team effort (much like flagrun) with large outdoor areas (of which none have been done yet).

    Rather than particularly distinct sections of the map, the map's bases are relatively unimportant, the main focus for the action is in open outdoor areas. However, the map is to still be segmented in a way to allow each class to shine, with various small shacks and other useful structures along the way.


    A CTF map perhaps slightly more open than badlands...

    Mar - Thanks for the points but you haven't answered my questions. I think you also need be aware that the mill is a WIP and is nowhere near done, and I have already figured out how the river is to work. Players in TF2 seem to hate water considerably, although there will be small islands and whatnot out there. The river flows beneath the bridge (which is built atop some rocky outcrops) and passes over them before whooshing downhill like rapids (an excuse for players to die or get pulled away if they pass the bridge, essentially the boundary for the playable game area).

    I've had another idea where the map is a bit more like:

    WATERMILL
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    <OTHER BUILDING>
    <><><><><>
    TERRAIN
    <><><><><>
    <OTHER BUILDING>
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    WATERMILL

    That horrible ASCII layout of mine also omits the river pathway. The "terrain" could be broken up by some steep incline with a winding passageway around it and another up it. I have a log bridge fetish (thanks a lot, arena_watchtower) and intend to use those as well.
     
  13. Mar

    Mar Banned

    Messages:
    607
    Positive Ratings:
    63
    Cool, just make the flag in the other building, and the spawn in the watermill. Not the other way around because then it is too hard for attackers to pass the enemy spawn, grab the flag, pass the spawn again and get away.
     
  14. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    This is kind of an idiotic basis for the map name but one reason I named it as such was because I wanted the watermills to be sort of iconic or a major part of the map. I'd like it to serve more purpose than as a spawn building.

    Maybe I could make it kind of like a guard tower? Spawn room, battlements, etc. A central area for the defenders to stay near without forcing attackers to go through.
     
  15. Mar

    Mar Banned

    Messages:
    607
    Positive Ratings:
    63
    |Spawn room
    |
    |
    WATERMILL w/Flag
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    <OTHER BUILDING>
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    WATERMILL w/ Flag
    |
    |
    |Spawn room

    Or

    |Spawn room
    |
    |
    WATERMILL w/Flag
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    _______|_|
    Terrain____<OTHER BUILDING>
    ....................../.../ (cat walk) so you can have symmetrical buildings and terrain.
    <OTHER BUILDING>___|Terrain
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    |_|_______
    WATERMILL w/ Flag
    |
    |
    |Spawn room

    Either way you do it, make sure the Spawn is away from the Flag so that attackers have 2+ routes that bypass the spawn, or else the map will become a gridlock.
     
  16. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    The original idea was both buildings would have spawn rooms, although the watermill, being considerably more "out of the way" of the action and being harder to defend, would have a longer pathway to the intelligence than the pathway from the other building would have.

    Although currently I may scrap the "other building" and either expand on the watermills considerably or just make the spawns something else.

    Is it an oversight that you're suggesting one "other building"? Hang on, in a bit I'll show you some horrible MSPaint ideas of my layouts.
     
  17. Altaco

    Altaco L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    485
    Positive Ratings:
    121
    There's always the option of having the mill be an entry point into an underground spytech lair.
     
  18. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

    Messages:
    1,443
    Positive Ratings:
    356
    I don't think it really matters which is the spawn or intel room.

    What matters more is what I said before. How the paths are laid out, and how you want that to effect the gameplay.

    You also aren't locked down to having a balanced map by having the bases straight across from each other.
    You could do them at 90 degrees around a river bend. In a U shape, in an S-bend. If you build half and mirror it it will be fair no matter that the shape is.
     
  19. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    395
    Positive Ratings:
    81
    It was originally going to be a sideways S much like badlands (TFC's badlands, not that bastard offspring TF2 has), but it may be downscaled a bit from what I originally planned. It's hard to tell at this point.

    Do you guys usually design the middle of the map first or the bases? I'm not talking about actual, say, drawing on paper or planning, but what do you map out first.
     
  20. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

    Messages:
    1,443
    Positive Ratings:
    356
    I usually have a pretty good idea in my head and wing it, adjusting a bit for scale and whatnot as I go.

    In my current project I'm tryingto be a bit more disciplined. I made a very rough basic map.

    Started with a floor and threw a bunch of blocks in and player start for scale ref. I blocked out the entire map in a very crude blocky way, went in game and ran around as a scout to get to and fro times to compare to other maps (30 seconds from intel to intel in 2Fort for example).
    I rescaled the map several times based on that until I got close to what I want the floor plan to be.

    Then I blocked out my main building in a little more detail, added some rough water pools, put a few balconies and ramps in for hieght variation.

    I probably spent a few hourse over a few days just blocking it out, moving stuff around just for a rough idea. Since I scaled everything together several times nothing is snapped to grid, it's real ugly, but none of this is gonna be in the final version other than scale.

    Then I took one building (outside only) into a new file and did the same with the inside layout. Just a quick sloppy blockout of the area to check size and paths.
    Once pretty happy I drew a block for size around it, put that block in a new file and started making the final building. I've been working on that for a few days. Once it's done it will be copy/pasted to a new file to mirror and change textures for the other team.

    I'll do the same in another file for the outside area. Once it's done the two finished buildings will be dropped in.