I recently had an idea of a way to analyze the gameplay of a map based on simple overhead pictures, as a case study I did this on the map I was most familiar with; dustbowl. In this my goal was to touch on various points of gameplay in each area, that I could use to similarly use to asses other map. Things like most used paths, areas that might be too open, and how areas that could be over powered are balanced out. Anyways...this might be useful to someone, so im posting what i wrote. In all diagrams, the blue lines indicate the paths the majority of the team will follow, the thicker the line the larger the concentration of players. The dots will represent sentry locations and the x's with represent the sniper locations. 1-1 This segment of the map is reasonably open, it has two narrow ridges with a gully in the center, both teams have equal access to every part in the picture, so there are no advantages in that sense. The left part is the only one with direct access to the control point and as such receives the highest congestion in traffic, the majority of players on each team with be on this side. The left side involves a slight detour and forces the blue team to cross more open ground to take this path, as such it is less used. It does however happen to be blues best sniper point as most of the area can be covered, a single offensive red class can usually hold this side by camping the spawn exit from the little shack, making it a somewhat more undesirable path. The gully in the center is essentially no-mans land, anyone going in this path is essentially fodder for anyone on the opposing team that notices them. It also happens to be in full view of the red teams primary sniper spot. The basic strategy of what happens when this map is played is: red will set up sentries in and around the control point, which happens to be the only logical place to put sentries. This as a whole means the point can be easily taken with one uber and sufficient back up, for red to not succumb they need to have counter-ubers in place along with work put into slowing the others teams progress, primarily by killing their medics. Both the red and blue sniper spots closer to the bottom of the picture will be able to wreak havok on each team as they can see most of the outside part of the map. Red should lose this point, they are at a disadvantage far too frequently for them to lose it. Note that this control point is essentially open space with the cap hidden away in a little house. 1-2 This segment has no less then 5 entrances for the blue team, making it hard to track where the blue team will come from, yet at the same time makes it reasonably simple for the red team to sneak in behind the blue. Once again the control point is located in a building, so most of red's defense will be consolidated in and around that building, however this time red has a few spots outside the building to provide covering fire, this will thin out if not kill anyone who tries to move directly to the point, so it thus creates another obstacle in the way of blues victory. And in the event that blue gets an uber and heads to the point, this covering sentry will prevent anyone from coming to their aid when the uber ends, thus requiring that blue come up with a more complex strategy. Snipers have limited value on the part of the map, sure they can get some kills but for the most part due to the closely grouped and hidden nature of the teams they will not do alot and get killed fast. Obviously most of blue will attack all at once out of the gate closest to the control point, this is by far the most effective path as it also allows you to avoid the covering sentry for the most part. As such red will almost always have a sentry there and an uber waiting if at all possible. A really effective red team will work to control the gated area that blue normally controls due to ease of access, with red controlling that area it is suddenly far harder for blue to win. This map is in favor of blue but red winning here is quite possible. 1 For the most part this round tends to have a variety of different narrow path choices, as a result of these multiple paths everyone has far more routes to choose from and the odds of one on ones increases. Its is one of the few rounds that give red an easy chance to get behind blue and attack unawares. As such this round has a more casual feel and allows far more types of strategies to be used. This works well for a 1st round, as its more geared toward having some fun with minimal consequences, and you can never be entirely sure of what to expect. Obviously it is in favor of blue, primarily due to blue having a base camp within a 5 second trip to the control point along with red spawning far from the control point. 2-1 This round both has a large open area surrounding the point itself along with the point being in the open itself. This is balanced by the point being within easy range of a number of quality sentry locations and being raised off the ground and accessible by only a few routes. For the most part red does not have a standard path they simply tend to scatter around the open area with a few people lurking around the point, with a few people waiting on top of that one house you can climb on. The very nature of this round is quite clever, while it is very open, it does not actually suffer from that, because of where blue needs to go, and where red normally places sentries, the large open areas are used infrequently by the blue team. Instead they tend to keep close to the walls, and avoid the openness for as long as possible. At this point the path near the bottom of the picture probably looks quite attractive, its close to the point, close to the blue spawn, and is a good place to attack sentries from from. The thing that balances that out is the fact that there is not a nice incline to run up, no, in fact you need to stop moving for a time while you jump up a bunch of boxes. That combined with the narrowness of the path makes this quite a killing ground for red, for example, if a heavy is up there he can completely halt your advance, if not kill you. In fact, even if you have an uber on you, jumping makes you more vulnerable to knock back, so you will be unable to get up if the heavy keeps firing. One of the most effective ways to assault the point is from below, but to get there takes considerable skill and luck, as it requires being out in the open for a bit of time. 2-2 The 2nd control point follows much the same theory as point 1-2, namely giving blue a place for a quality base camp near the red point. As such, this round is still in favor of blue, though not by as much. Red's spawn is closer to the point and blue's base camp is nowhere near as convenient, they need to either pass through a very easily defended area, and hope there is not a medic there waiting with an uber heavy, or go around/under and pass through potentially a large number of well placed sentries. This is the most sentry defendable point yet, the point is out in the open, yet in an area where sentries can watch it from multiple locations, locations that are not easily defeated. Because of this, blue requires some skill and coordination to win this round. Once again snipers are not well suited to this round. I will not sketch out travel locations on this round as both teams for the most part are very unpredictable, blue for the most part will use that little tunnel on the right side of the map (map not picture) and build ubers in there, then charge in through that area. Red will then basically puch against them, and try to claim that tunnel. That tunnel happens to be key for blue to claim a relatively easy victory, if they lose it, it becomes much harder to win. 2 This round as a whole tends to narrow out a bit, namely the paths become more direct and teamwork becomes more prevalent in order to win a confrontation. You also begin to see a good number of sentries and blues primary goal tends to be destroying the sentries. Once again this round tends to be in favor of blue, although this time it is by a small margin.