Designing and Beginning Maps

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by WarMasterAres, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. WarMasterAres

    WarMasterAres L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    Hey there everyone, I've been working on designing a map for the past two days or so, and although I have a general gist for the feel of the map I'm making and such, I really am having trouble designing the map so it remains balanced, while not being too complicated or ridiculous that it's impossible to play on without a second screen with a map up. Here's some general questions for my problems.

    One, how would I design a fair and balanced map? I don't want to give a ridiculous advantage to either side, as well as making every class usable, whether it's the Engineer or the Medic.

    Two, where would I even start making a map? I find it difficult to start a map since I don't know where to even start. Should I start on a spawnroom or the center of the map or what?

    If it helps at all, I'm going for a KotH map based upon an old powerplant of some form, where the goal is essentially to take over the plant for your team. It's partially inspired by the powerplant theme from Hydro, and the design basis for Nucleus, being that I rather like the map's layout and such.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  2. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

    Positive Ratings:
    1 - Testing. Test asap and iterate as many times as you can

    2 - Who gives a shit? It doesn't matter. Start anywhere. I've started from a spawnroom, from a capture point, from a yard section, even from nothing but a wiggly track. Anything is valid as long as your end result works.
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  3. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Positive Ratings:
    Basically this.

    More though on 2: The way I look at it, is that you're making an environment, not a map. You're making a realistic space within the TF2 universe. Look at pictures of old industrial buildings, farms, mines, desert towns, whatever. Look at how they're set up, make things like them (don't replicate them). Draw from them as influence.

    ... and yea. Who cares where you start, just start somewhere. I've started a map, thinking that it was going to be KotH, but it ended up being PL. Have an idea for a cool capture point zone? make it. Let the map build off of that.
  4. killohurtz

    aa killohurtz Distinction in Applied Carving

    Positive Ratings:
    Designing a layout to begin with can be tough, but there are two good ways to start studying:

    One is Valve maps; as you play each class, note how you use the map differently, and what parts of it work for you. What flanking paths do you take as a scout or spy to get behind the enemy team? Where do you normally build your sentries, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of those spots? Where can you stand as a sniper to get the best sightline on the enemy? etc. It's a lot to take in, but remember that it's okay to have flaws in the first version of your map. Knowing about class balance will simply make it easier to solve the problems in your layout as they are revealed by testing. (Also see: this collection of Valve maps in .vmf form that you can open in Hammer to study)

    The second method is one I don't see mentioned a lot: attend the testing events for other people's maps! (If you join the Steam group, you will see announcements when these happen.) Players will be actively leaving feedback through the in-game chat while playing the maps, and so you can get firsthand knowledge on what to avoid when designing your own. Pay attention to how the maps play, too, and note if any parts in particular are giving a team problems.

    The most important thing, though, is finishing something that you can submit for testing, because oftentimes the feedback you receive is exactly what you need to point you in the right direction.