Gameplay theory test: Dustbowl

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by MrAlBobo, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    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

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  2. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    3-1

    [​IMG]

    The game becomes very straightforward at this round, there is only one way to the point and it basically comes down to the better team wins. Any sentries that guard the point are fodder to the hoards of demos this round always seems to produce. Blues strategy is usually the same, build ubers and and kill the sentries, then cap while the red team is distracted. Red usually builds counter-ubers or runs into blues spawn areas to kill the somewhat unsuspecting people. The effective sentry spots have the effect of guarding the area that you need to cross to reach the point, but not the point itself. These things combined along with blues close proximity to the pint make this point in blues favor when it otherwise would be difficult to attack.


    3-2

    [​IMG]

    This is the last round and as such red has many advantages, they spawn right beside their point, they have many effective sentry locations all in separate locations, and many in locations where the sentries can support each other, its a wide open area that snipers on both sides can dominate, with red snipers having a bit of an advantage as they don't have to dodge around the constant pipe bombs. The underground tunnel is essentially worthless, it is very difficult to lead any kind of upward assault in any situation, not to mention that the sentries are going to have a field day, hitting you without you being able to do much about it. However the lower level is effective for a good demo to lob some stickies and kill some of the more effective sentries, but all in all, the lower level is more to take pressure off your main assault. Essentially this is also very straightforward, and victory will go to the team that works best together. Blue can set up base camps on this round as well, but they are by no means as well shielded, and can be easily pulled apart by a red uber.


    3

    This is by far the most simple of the rounds, this basically prevents you from using little tricks based on the level to your advantage and reduces the game to a pitched battle of the most basic nature. This works very well as a final, and maintains a high level of excitement throughout.


    If this goes over well, id like to try it on a map I am somewhat familiar with followed by a map I have never played before to see just how well this works.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  3. Icarus

    aa Icarus

    Messages:
    2,246
    Positive Ratings:
    1,182
    I love the progression of difficulty on Dustbowl, no map can match that
     
  4. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    tis one of the things id like to make more common, but so few people make attack and defend maps anyway that it really doesn't have good odds of showing up...
    i think next ill work on an entity setup guide for a dustbowl type map
     
  5. Spike

    Spike L10: Glamorous Member

    Messages:
    716
    Positive Ratings:
    82
    1rst pic I would want to tell a Spy secret. As RED, hide cloaked on right wall, outside bottom house, and wait BLU to attack the house, then jump over the cliff and backstab as much as you can.

    Also this is not very secret but for those who don't know, as BLU, you can jump on top of the wheel outside CP house, then jump again on the balcony, and sap the sentries.
     
  6. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    yeah...i wasn't really going for class specific tricks, would take far too long to write, just the basic gameplay...then ive got another guide somewhere on my comp about the various shortcuts and hidden paths you can take around the level
     
  7. TMP

    aa TMP Abuser of Site Rules

    Messages:
    948
    Positive Ratings:
    551
    I note that this only applies to genericism: The better spots are the ones that are effective yet unknown to the masses. You categoried it decently, but some areas are just so much more strengthened due to more players of higher skill. (IE, Dustbowl 2-1 can be really strong if you have coherence onto the two buildings.)

    Overall, it appears to work very well for most things though. I want to see one for goldrush now :p.
     
  8. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

    Messages:
    944
    Positive Ratings:
    564
    PLEASE DO! I am right now creating gemoetry for an attack defend map, and have no idea how they work =] so the quicker teh better :p:p:p
     
  9. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

    Messages:
    1,767
    Positive Ratings:
    1,404
    You just did. :p
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  10. Altaco

    Altaco L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    485
    Positive Ratings:
    121
    The basic shape of goldrush and dustbowl is the same. The actual layouts are VERY different.
     
  11. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    again...for the same reasons as before...i can't say every possibility about every situation, for the most part i assumed that the teams were of equal skill and had played tf2 long enough to know how the game works

    doing another valve map would be pointless, only did dustbowl to set the framework, I want to try using this system to give feedback for custom maps

    and as for the dustbowl entity set up guide, i intend to do that simultaneously with my next map, which i intend to start when my laptop arrives
     
  12. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

    Messages:
    944
    Positive Ratings:
    564
    If thats by the end of Feb the all is cool, thats when I plan to release a1