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CTF Datalab

Discussion in 'WIP (Work in Progress)' started by russtolium, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. russtolium

    russtolium L1: Registered

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    Let me start off by saying that this map has been quite a journey ( a somewhat masochistic one year journey ). Although it's been a mostly 'in my spare time' thing, it's been occasionally hard to get a lot done on this map. Juggling a full time web development career, several other hobbies and of course the delicious time-void that is videogames, there were often times when I would get an hour, if that, to spare to actually get something done.

    Considering how much effort it took to finish this map, it really should never have been finished! Thankfully, due to my sometimes unhealthy determination to finish what I start, it has been.

    This is my first map in Source, and my second map ever ( the first was a relatively bad level for the original Unreal Tournament 7 years ago ). I have made quite nearly every noob mistake in the book during the course of building this map. When I started thinking up ideas for it, the last thing on my mind was 'how hard is this to build in Hammer?' or 'will this run smoothly' or 'this idea would take way too effing long'.

    Several of these noob mistakes are apparent in the final map, but thankfully it at least runs pretty smoothly (entirely due to a brutal areaportal overhaul toward the end of the mapping process) and, at least to these biased eyes, looks pretty okay in some spots.

    This map was more or less, aside from the general major areas within the map, completely improvised from start to finish. I was so eager to start cracking on the map that the entirety of my designs was a very basic layout sketch in Illustrator. As a result, the map, at least to me, feels in places scatterbrained and too eager to use as many different props and textures as possible.

    Thankfully I noticed these problems before it was too late and managed to try my best to give some consistency to the visuals.

    I learned a lot throughout the process, about using Hammer, understanding mapping on a much deeper level than I had previously, and now that I know about optimization and how utterly critical it can be, I'll never rush blindly into building a map without considering performance again.

    Here's a few of the most poignant lessons I learned:

    - if you dislike horrible, sloppy drudgery, NEVER make a major building space with many entrypoints a strange shape ( hexagon ) and then ROTATE it so it's completely fudged from the grid, making any and all detail work a soul draining act of punishment

    - designing an entire medium to large sized multiplayer map with practically the entire ground as displacements, in addition to several lengthy underground tunnels and caves, is very bad and very time consuming

    - designing wide open maps where you can see from one base to the other in a 30 person multiplayer game is a horrible idea

    - do not overestimate what size a map should be ( this map was originally meant to be a small-medium map, the final map is very much a medium to large )

    - if your internet goes out for almost a month and a half straight (thanks Comcast!), please remember that after 30 days Steam will stop being nice and refuse to log you in in offline mode, thusly locking you out from ( conventional means of accessing ) Hammer or any other Source SDK tools.

    - it is a good idea to know during the design phase if it will be a symmetrical map or not. I did not want a perfectly symmetrical map, but I didn't want to risk making a map that was completely unbalanced. My map is odd in that although both sides look entirely different, they both share a similar enough layout structure that I could have just copy pasted and saved myself a tremendous amount of time, building both sides separately is like building two whole maps.


    Anyways, enough about the process, about the map itself:

    The map is a combination of CTF and CP gametypes. Red and Blu bases each have intel placed on a protected pedestal that can only be exposed when the opposite team captures and holds the CP in the center building. When the intel is finally taken, it must be returned to the center CP to score.

    There are no less than 3-4 different ways to enter both team bases and the center building, some of which are dirt tunnels, sewers, vents, caves, etc.

    Here's a few screens of the map:

    [​IMG]

    The center capture point.

    [​IMG]

    The middle building that point is in.

    [​IMG]

    Red base.

    [​IMG]

    Area near the red base...

    [​IMG]

    Inside the red base.

    [​IMG]

    Blu base.

    [​IMG]

    Area around the blu base...

    [​IMG]

    Around to the other side.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, the big overview. It'd look nicer if it didn't cut the water out from that height, but it'll do. ;)

    Somehow I forgot my blu base indoors shot, that one is forthcoming.

    I'll update this soon with a link to the BSP, presently internet troubles have made this somewhat challenging. In the meanwhile, let me know what you guys think.

    UPDATE: Here is the map download
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  2. Bonafide

    Bonafide L6: Sharp Member

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    looks really good. I hope to be able to jump on a server with it some time soon to play test it.
     
  3. FreeLance_FoX

    FreeLance_FoX L6: Sharp Member

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    I loved the look of this map and so I downloaded it and just walked through it on my own...

    WOW. Clearly you spent a long time on this! I'm extremely impressed by the style you pulled off especially on the blue base. Really great looking design you've made there. The problem I foresee with this map though is IT'S HUGE! As a scout it still would have taken me a good 30 seconds to get to any action having respawned in the base. What's a shame about it is that it's so full of things in between areas, too, which makes it sorta sad to say that you're definitely going to have to make some of those distances shorter. The area outside the base is beautiful but you should try to make it more compact, as you should the inside of the bases as well. For the red area between the intel and the middle, definitely try to open it up some so that it's open like the BLU area, because right now I think BLU will have a much easier time defending with all that space outside.

    Also I found one pretty major glitch: From the BLU base, if you go out the left tunnel which leads toward the courtyard outside the middle CP, there's a little pit of water that looks like you can get in it. I jumped in thinking it was another path but instead ended up falling through all these rocks and walking on the bottom of the skybox... :(

    Awesome work though, a very promising project! ^^
     
  4. russtolium

    russtolium L1: Registered

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    Thanks for the feedback and good catch on that bug. For some odd reason the brush that capped that pit was set to non-solid. I patched over it with some boards after fixing it since really, there's no point in getting in the water if it doesn't go anywhere.

    I realize the map is definitely a long haul to get to the middle point and beyond, I'll try to think of ways to ease the travel, maybe a closer set of spawn points active in certain situations or something.

    I've also noticed the difference in density between red and blu base. I think the blu base could probably use a bit more detail in areas to compact the layout more. It makes me wonder if I shouldn't make the map objectives a bit more complex, at least so that there are gameplay critical areas in between the middle cp and the respective intels. Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to have an additional objective in some of the farther out areas.
     
  5. FreeLance_FoX

    FreeLance_FoX L6: Sharp Member

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    Well honestly... if you want my opinion this would be a fantastic 5 pt. control point map. If you were to replace each team's intelligence with a capture point and then create a CP between the middle and each base, you would have a fairly balanced and unique CP map. With all of the different paths to each base and the large open areas, I'd say that you'd set your map apart as a unique and fun 32-man 5CP map without having to go in and make it smaller, to accommodate CTF.

    That's just my thoughts... although the first thing you might want to fix is the red courtyard area. I went back in today and looked over it some and clearly the difference is in BLU's favor. With their large open area that has lots of low ground cover but no buildings, their soldiers/demos/snipers/etc will have a field day defending that area if they put in the effort. ^_^

    <3
     
  6. Xi.Cynx

    aa Xi.Cynx Former Alias: †Blade†

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    IMO Make it a 5pt CP map. Put the points somewhere around these vicinities.

    [​IMG]