Glossary of mapping terms

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by I dinne ken, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. I dinne ken

    aa I dinne ken Has currently had enough

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    Ever wondered what a mapper is on about when they say the phrase "Hole gameplay" or "Doorway soup"? Or just can't remember what microgameplay means again.

    This glossary should help, even though it is quite chunky.

    It is split into two parts, Normal terms and Meme terms.
    A term that is a meme doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't useful. And a normal term doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't silly. Beyond that, each term has a primary tag and then subtags. Terms are categorised and ordered by their primary tag.

    Normal terms
    • Leak: A compiling error that occurs if the inside of your map can "leak" into the void, leading to bad performance, potential map crashes and dark lighting. Level construction.
    • Packing: Adding in custom assets to your map file so that it can all be downloaded in one file. This is so that every asset in the map correctly appears for the players. Level construction.
    • Viz / Visibility: A system by which Source makes decisions about which parts of the map can see any other parts of the map, which informs what the game renders when the player is in-game. Having "bad" vis, where too many parts of the map or irrelevant parts of the map are rendered; can have large performance impacts. Level construction.
    • Alpha detailing/psuedodetailing: Quick, non-committal detailing that can be done in alpha. Usually done to aid with navigation. Level construction, detailing.
    • Propspam: If an area has too many props in it and it feels like they're there to compensate for the space feeling boring. Level construction, level design, detailing.

    • Choke: A part of the map where a team's forward progress is more easily halted than the rest of the map because of a constrict in area size. Not a bad thing to have if in moderation and properly considered. Level design.
    • Crack Sightline: A sightline that looks out onto a very specific and unintuitive spot from a very specific and unintuitive spot. Makes it very difficult to see the sniper. Level design.
    • Decloak spot/gremlin spot: A space where a spy could pretty easily decloak without being noticed by their enemy. Usually hidden behind a prop or in a darkened corner. Level design.
    • Dropdown: A room with a hole cut into the floor which lets you drop down into another area. It's usually either inaccessible for all classes, or only available to be entered by mobile classes in the other direction. Level design.
    • Flank: Isn't necessarily the same thing as a side route. But is a route specifically designed to surprise or get behind the enemy in some way. Level design.
    • Highground: A high route through an area, or a high up section in an area. Most used by classes and players that want to confront the immediate threat in front of them with advantage. Often by choosing the highground, you forgo a later advantage for an immediate one. At the cost of being much more visible and in the open than any other route. Level design.
    • Lobby: An area where a team can come together to, or fall back to. A place where a team figures out how they are dealing with the next obstacle. Level design.
    • Lowground: A low route through an area, or a low down section in an area. Most used by classes and players that don't want to be as noticed. Often by choosing the lowground, you forgo immediate combat advantage over eventually attaining the element of surprise and advantage. At the cost of being much more affected by splash damage if you are immediately seen. Level design.
    • Macrogameplay: Gameplay on the macro scale. The counterpart to microgameplay. The consideration of how routes and their attributes interact with each other as a whole. Level design.
    • Main route: A primary route that will be used by a team to get to where they are going. Will be used by a large amount of the team as it will be the most consistent route in the experience it gives. Level design.
    • Microgameplay: Space has microgameplay if it is a space that has smaller props and objects that are intended to be used for a gameplay purpose. Purposes could be: for hiding behind, manoeuvring around, or quickly getting on top of to gain a small highground. Level design.
    • Midground: A mid-elevation route through an area, or the middle ground. Will be used by the highest number of players and will generally be the most straightforward route to the objective out of all the routes. Other routes should be made in reaction to this route, having lowground and highground branch off and to the side of it. Level design.
    • Oneway: A route that if you go through, you can't go back. Usually signified by a setup gate prop in a non-setup situation. Dropdowns can also be considered one-ways for non-mobile classes. Level design.
    • Pickup cubby: A medium-sized indentation in the walls of a room which have pickups inside of them. Level design.
    • Propjump: A vertical path made out of props that you can jump up to get to another area. Can be neat, but janky if used too much across the map or if too many jumps are required. Level design.
    • Room-corridor-room: A way of mapping that some newer mappers may fall into. Where they create a room, then corridors, then another room. Then repeat this. Rather than creating an interesting, dynamic space with interiors and exteriors. Level design.
    • Sentry spot: A place that a sentry is likely to sit in. Would be at a good close-range vantage point over other players and with a fair amount of cover and ammo around. Don't make the sentry completely untouchable though, they should be vulnerable in some way. Level design.
    • Shutter door: A door that uses a metal shutter so that it opens upon a player getting close. Can be brushwork or a prop. Level design.
    • Side route: A secondary route that will be used by a team to get to where they are going. Will be used by a lesser amount of the team as it will be potentially more hazardous than the main route, but will also yield high results if navigated competently. Level design.
    • Sightline: A long corridor of vision. One that longer-range classes will find advantageous. Usually longer than 1536 hammer units. But shouldn't be longer than 3000 unless properly considered and designed around. Level design.
    • Slide: A fun slide that players can go down. Acts as a fancy version of a dropdown. Differences being that it not only moves you downwards, but it also moves you in another horizontal direction as well. And by doing so, guides players in a specific direction. Level design.
    • Sniper spot: A place that a sniper is likely to sit in. Would be at a good vantage point over other players and would probably be at the end of a sightline. Don't make the sniper completely untouchable though, they should be vulnerable in some way. Level design.
    • Viaduct formula: A way of constructing koth maps which involves the use of an initial courtyard, 3 connectors, another courtyard, a place you can hold as well as routes around it, and finally the point. Is somewhat controversial, as having so many people following the viaduct formula has led to a lot of similar koth maps. But is a good way of helping beginners understand koth map design. Level design.
    • Flow: How easy a player finds it to physically move through your map. Can be affected by things such as the number of turns and the severity of turns, but can also be affected by how obvious ways through your map are, or the lighting inside those routes. Level design, level construction.
    • Signposting: Map elements that indicate where players should go or how the player should interact with a space. This can be through layout, detailing, lighting or even literal sign props. A good example of this is how the visual elements of Upward's first point direct you along the payload track. Level Design, level construction.
    • Pickups: Health and ammo boxes that a player moves into to consume. Level design, level construction.
    • Hero prop: A prop which was specifically designed to be the focus for an area inside a map. Because of this, they can afford to be more resourscively expensive and detailed than other props. They can also become iconic to the extent that it's very very difficult to use elsewhere without sticking out. Examples include Badlands' spire, 2fort's bridge models, (and to a lesser extent) nucleus' midprop. Level design, visual aspect.
    • Mid: The middle area of a symmetrical map. Level design, other.

    • Alpha: The stage of map development where you are experimenting and formulating what the map will eventually be upon completion. Other.
    • Beta: The stage of map development where you have found a good layout which you are polishing to make play great. Touches which aren't necessarily worth it for an alpha such as colour-coded routes and more in-depth detailing may also be present. Other.
    • DMing: The process of fighting, but without having an objective in mind beyond that. For example, Player destruction is a very DM heavy gamemode. Other.
    • rc/release candidate: The stage of map development where the gameplay is fully sound, and you are pretty much entirely focusing on detailing the map in hopes of it being in a state where you could "release" it. Other.
    • The Cap: The physical area that you have to stand in to cap a point. Other.

    • Environmental storytelling: Detailing that alludes to or shows the outcome of events that have happened in your map outside of gameplay. Making it feel as if people actually inhabit your map. Visual aspect.

    Meme terms
    • Box map: A map that was built to fill a skybox box so that the overall shape of the map is rectangular. Level construction. Meme.
    • Diaper skybox: A skybox that has excess open space around the gameplay space. And isn't sculpted to the geometry of the map to aid with optimisation. Level construction.

    • Bad player pit: A deathpit which players who aren't as good at the game are much more likely to fall in than any others. Level design.
    • Chinstyle CTF: A style of CTF which heightens the gameplay after a player has picked up the flag. Usually employs a relatively safe observation point over the other team's flag, as well as geometry which requires the flag holder to go past the other team's spawn. Level design.
    • Doorway soup: An area which is comprised of too many doorways. Leading to a lack of variety in gameplay due to constantly fighting between doorways rather than other geometry. Level design.
    • Gay roamer spot: A hard to reach spot in a map which a single player can easily sit in and which has an advantage over any incoming players. It also may or may not be easy to hide in, be behind enemy lines, or be in highground. Used by "Roamer" players in 6s competitive. Level design.
    • Hole Gameplay: Gameplay space which compels players to fight between two spaces that are connected by a hole. One that is large enough for a player to move through. Level design.
    • Nipple point: A control point which has some form of cylindrical geometry sticking out the centre. Can be gotten on top of such as with Gullywash' midpoint, or can be impossible to be gotten on top of such as with Mannscape's B point. Level design.
    • Open world map/strand-type map: A large, open map that has an absence of obvious designed player flow in it. With a lack of any clearly defined "routes". Level design.
    • Hell in a cell: A structure in a map that has a frame and chicken wire (or just generally seethrough) walls. Alludes to real-life "hell in a cell"s in wrestling. Can be gotten inside of, but can also be out of bounds. Level design, visual aspect.
    • Visual gameplay: Any design which helps players better navigate your map. Such as using team colours for areas, or specific lighting for an individual route, or using landmarks to express where the focus of a gameplay space is. Originally a term that had no meaning. Level design, Visual aspect.

    • Gay baby jail: A space in which once you enter, you cannot leave. Other.
    • Rat-type-map: A map that is overscaled to the point where you feel the same size as a rat does in real life as playing in-game. Can be intentional such as with ttt_dolls. Other.

    As this community ages, the language we create to describe things becomes more and more esoteric. Hopefully, this guide could be useful to any confused because of this.

    Note: If you see any definitions which you think are incorrect, or there's a term that you think is missing, or you think a term should be recategorised; message me on the Discord server and I'll edit this thread if you can convince me.
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  2. Yrr

    aa Yrr An Actual Deer

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    Hero prop is not quite accurate, it refers to props that are the focus of an area and so can afford to be more expensive etc. These props just happen to also be the iconic prop of the map.

    You should also add "Nipple point" and move "Chin-style" out of "normal terms" since its pretty specific to us
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