First map, balance questions

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Pc_Madness, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Hey guys, I'm making my first TF2 map, and I'm looking for any tips of making sure that its balanced early on, before I start wasting time tidying it all up and detailing. :p (already learnt the hard way not to start detailing before your happy with the layout :p) Its got some missing walls and brushes that don't line up properly, so hopefully no-one dies of shock at such a mess. :p I'll fix it up once I've got the layout sorted.

    Anyway, the map is going to be a 3 stage A/D map (dustbowl), and I've started work on Stage 3. Its basically the old secret base in a mountain kinda thing. :) Stage 1, base of a mountain, alpine theme, stage 2 will be kind of a industrial look to it and 3 will be Spytech themed. Still gotta figure out where exactly the missile is going to be.. inside the mountain or on the other side, or in a valley.

    So I've thrown together a basic layout and looking for yays or nays on if I could be alright or not, if I need more routes, that kinda stuff.

    First Cap:
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office0012.jpg (screenie)

    Supposed to be a reception area, I've only got two routes of attack which worries me a bit, but I think sentry nests will be kinda hard for red since Blu can attack them from so far away. I was thinking I might close the two main doors up a bit with glass (its used in the 2Fort spawn rooms, gotta find out what it is) to allow for sentries in either corner.

    Possibly a shorter path from Red Spawn to Cap 1 (path from balcony to corridor on the side of Cap 2) which locks once Red lose Cap 1?

    I've also got a second route that goes underneath in what will be a vent / service tunnel and leads to a maintenance room and allow them to attack the sentries from that way.

    The Vent would be Blu only and the start of the bridge (Blu side) would be as far as Red could go.

    Couldn't really think up any other good places to have a path come out for blu. :\

    Corridors between caps:
    Honestly wasn't sure what to do with these. I might add some little alcoves for the health / ammo packs. Should I widen the smaller ones up a bit? Increase the height to make some of the corridors a bit more rocket jump friendly?


    Cap 2:
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office0013.jpg (screenie)
    Ahhh... tricky. :p I like the stairs + the big window with the missile, but all that space makes it a pain to balance. I'm not sure if I should ditch the little sniper ledge to make up for a lack of good Sentry spots for red (I was thinking of adding some roofed offices next to the cap for some protected spots for the sentries).


    Anyway, opinions, thoughts, should I stick to my day job? :p

    And I spose you'll need this,
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office.rar (cp_office - working title, 1.7mb)



    And while I've got yous, some general questions:

    - Did my Cubemaps work? :p They're tricky little buggers. Also, how many should there be in a map? Every room / corridor?
    - Rounding corners, whats the best method? I did an Arch with a Glass texture, and all of the sudden my compile times (Normal, not fast) were like 15 minutes, got me thinking perhaps thats not the most optimal way. (Although I think I was texturing all of the faces, not just the outside ones).
    - Is there a way to make middle click with the mouse scroll activate camera mode in Hammer? So many other 3D editing programs use this. :\
    - Waterfalls, I've got 4 in there atm, is that a safe number? Can I get 2 large waterfalls? I saw an amazing waterfall in...surf_greatriver? That was huge compared to prop_waterfall001.mdl, but perhaps they did it themselves so the performance hit wasn't a big deal on such a small map. I might get a screenie if anyones not sure.
    - Skyboxes... am I right in understanding that I only need to skybox the large window at the second cap and the glass bridge, the rest of it can be outside it?
    - Is there such a thing as too many entities? I'm kinda tempted to go nuts and add lots of stuff to the final cap (big screens :D), but I don't wanna regret it if its going to limit what I can do in stage 1 and 2.
    - Brushes... is it better to have one large brush and use it as the walls for two separate areas, or to make two small brushes and have empty space in between? Few times while mocking this up that I've been able to cheat and just use one brush, but wasn't sure if it was wise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
  2. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    You may want to scale up brightness by 3-4 times.
     
  3. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    And while you're at it, you may want to scale the whole map to about 75%. =P
     
  4. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    I haven't done any lighting yet, the lights that are in there are just in there so I can see. :p

    Yeah, that'd solve the cap points being a bit roomy :p I might shorten the back corridors as well, means Red won't have to travel as far to get to cap 1.


    Any other suggestions before I start again? :p
     
  5. StickZer0

    aa StickZer0 💙💙💃💙💙

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    First thing which I feel is more important than brightness or so - use Red dev textures for parts that are going to be defended, blue parts from where you're going to attack, and then orange where it's neutral and no-one hold any ground. Use grey for the floor.

    Ok, from spawn, you have two pathways, the main one, and the hidden one on the left that i personally think should be removed. It's incredibly longwinded and pointless, and it comes out at a place which gives no real advantage for such a long journey.

    For the first cap point, red should be able to access the higher points quite easily, at the moment they only have one high entry point, whereas blue have two (ramp and rocketjumping)

    The second capture I like, forcing blue to climb and then hold a cap while underneath the defenders is a good idea, but it's very open. Try creating some cover by adding unenterable rooms around the point.

    Overall, I feel the layout is very counterproductive for both sides, but especially blue. It's hard to know where you're going and there are many random paths which lead off in other directions. Try drawing out the layout very simply first in a piece of paper, with only the main path, and then add a few side routes that can cut off travelling time or amount of battle they'll be going through but also has a downside, such as being slightly harder to traverse or comes out lower than you started. Don't take that too literally though.

    Also, i'm pretty sure you have a leak somewhere in your map. There's an option to Load the Default Pointfile. Open it, and find the little red line that is leading outside, and then seal it. That should considerably improve the lighting.

    Final little thing, when mapping out the basic layout, try and keep on the 32 grid. The [ and ] buttons make the grid bigger and smaller, find the one that is 32 units larger and stick to that when making walls and floors, and then use the 16 grid for side passages. This way you won't accidentally have holes under walls and stuff. Good luck :)
     
  6. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    But if it was shorter would it be more worth while? I was thinking perhaps send it through the cliff on the right instead of under the bridge, as your right it is a bit long winded. :\ I don't like the idea of 16 players all funneling through a single choke point like that, so I wanted a second route. :\

    Yeah, I was thinking the same, another route from the upstairs room behind the cap to the balcony. :)

    Ha, for a while I thought you were off your nutter, the red line was pointing to nothing. :D Turns out the Waterfall was a lot wide than I realised. :p Shadows are much nicer now. :)

    Cheers for the tips, I'll post attempt 2 in a day or so.
     
  7. StickZer0

    aa StickZer0 💙💙💃💙💙

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  8. Blue552

    Blue552 L3: Member

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    That is a sexy looking map you got there. Only advice I could really give is make sure there are multiple access points to one area
     
  9. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Ok, Attempt 2!

    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office.rar

    Now featuring way too much light at the first cap (I'm gunna do a domed roof, as soon as I can figure out what'll look good), working setup time / cap points and roughly 15% smaller. :p I also widened a heap of corridors and threw in some dodgy lighting. :p

    Layout changes:
    - Moved tunnel under the bridge to the right of Blu's spawn so that it goes through the cliff face to the right.
    - Added another room above the first cap for the health pack / ammo.
    - Added another route for Red to get the balcony
    - Added a path that goes under the second cap for Blu.
    - Added a sheltered area next to the cap for Red.
    - Ditched the Snipers nest at Cap 2, as well as the path that was underneath it.

    Things still don't line up properly in spots... going to take a while to fix I thinks. :p

    Anyway, any better? *hopeful*

    Edit: Added in the glass roof for the first cap, looks ok. :)
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office0018.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  10. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Attack of the bumps.

    Ok, I had some fun detailing and changing the layout a tiny bit. Any final thoughts before I try testing this thing out with real people? :p
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office_a1_stage3.rar

    A few screenies:
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office0024.jpg
    http://www.phillipmccallum.com/map/cp_office0026.jpg


    Is there a checklist of things a map should have before its ready to be tested? I think to fix the round timer, and make Red's respawn into a proper room and add Portals (right?). Anything else? :s Setup gates and point capping seems to work ok. :)


    Also, any one know if there are any door / door frame libraries out there? Looking for some fancy doors to make things interesting. :p

    Oh, and anyone know of any good map name generators? :p All my current attempts are a mixture of 'Mountain' or 'Missile', but theres a fair few maps already with names like that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  11. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    Name generators in general: http://seventhsanctum.com/

    What your map might still need: Soundscapes, cubemaps, proper spawn room doors (with blocking enemies out)... that is probably about it?
     
  12. Nutomic

    Nutomic L11: Posh Member

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    It should be fully working, and tested on a listen server (with bots). No fullbright.
     
  13. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Yeah, I've only got soundscapes near the waterfall. Have to see if there are any "officey" sounds. :p Spawn room doors should all work. Cubemaps are an issue though, some of the textures feel a bit too shiney, theres the purple checkerboard appearance even though theres a cubemap near by.:\