Got good tips for creating a good map-layout?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Arne, May 31, 2013.

  1. Arne

    Arne L3: Member

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    I made this thread because I was seeking for good tips for making/inventing a good and original (as possible) layout for a map. Because I feel motived and I want to create a map which is going to be good.

    But the problem is. The layout.
    I have tried pretty many hours to find a good and original layout. I have played some of the stock, community and these created by you, members. But in my opinion, all of my layout ideas feel a lot unoriginal and bad to be used/created in/as a map.
    Yes, I have scribbled layouts but I dislike all of them, because I think they all are unbalanced and unoriginal, compared to the maps I've played.

    So, anyone got ideas on how I can create a good (and original, if possible) layout?
  2. Toxindude

    Toxindude L3: Member

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    Post some pics of some of your scribbles. I have done that before and people are generaly pretty helpful.
  3. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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    I generally start off with a good idea. For Sludge, it was to make the robots use the spine of the map as a potential walkway.

    After that i gradually build upon it, and rethink everything every time a new brush or prop has been placed. I basically try to build a map like i would play a game of chess - Which moves offers sensible moves later on, while being sensible right now too.

    This way of going about it takes a lot of time, and i can't really use written layout diagrams for anything because i can't observe the 3D space while drawing on paper.
  4. Toxindude

    Toxindude L3: Member

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    Agreed^ :)

    It is pretty hard looking from the top down to picture high and low area's.

    I my self start with a basic idea I like or if a building or industrial area i see inspires me. Its a constant process for me. I am constantly thinking about how I could improve an area of my map. Trying to balance it out for all classes is a challenge.
  5. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    I can't tell you how to make a layout, but I can give you some tips:

    Personally, I like to come up with a basic theme and general idea (focal point/ purpose of the map) when I work on my layouts. This helps me be a bit more creative with it, and makes it easier to detail after testing is over. Nucleus wouldn't have been created had they not thought of building it around the deathpit center area with the control point. Find your focal point.

    Don't be afraid to change things after you make them. We flipped the last area of Stoneyridge 180* sometime around late Alpha testing. It was scary and I didn't want to do it, but we did, and it flowed a lot better that way. Alpha is for changing things, so change things. Whip out a layout that you think would be fun and follows a few of the general rules, then try it out. Then change it and see if it's better. Just getting something down in the first place is the hardest part.

    Learn when to start over. This can be hard for anyone. Sometimes a layout just sucks and needs to be scrapped. Sometimes it's decent, but some big fundamental things are holding it back from being good. Scrapping something you put a lot of time into can suck, but it's worth it in the end rather than wasting more time.
  6. Fish 2.0

    Fish 2.0 L6: Sharp Member

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    I draw a line across the page and make a map around that.
  7. bob+M|M+

    bob+M|M+ L6: Sharp Member

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    layout architecture is sooo tough. it's why we end up scrapping the majority of our maps.

    there's so much to consider, but here's a method you can try:
    try to map through the lens of a particular player class. think about your favorite class, and make a dream area for that class, with all the options you need. for example, heavy/pyro would play a very peak-a-boo style game with many corner and hallway options that surround the focal point. soldier, lots of upper areas to jump to, with medium to close range corridors with healthkits and open air to jump around, etc... engi - make the most imbalanced and awesome sentry spots with full ammo packs right where you need them. do that for your favorite class... and then, put on the lens of another class, such as your least played class, and then counter-balance it. break it down. think how that class could enjoy the map. then you start to cycle through the classes, and place models of each class in their respective spots where you think they would enjoy the map and have options the most. this kind of mapping can really help with a balanced layout.
  8. fubarFX

    aa fubarFX The "raw" in "nodraw"

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    just do what you would like to play. it's that simple

    if you don't know, stay away from hammer for a while and think about it
  9. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Don't do this. It's what I do and it gets terrible results.

    Unless you play all nine classes equally as much, building the kinds of environments you enjoy playing in will most likely produce the kinds of environments that put your favorite class(es) at an advantage, resulting in class imbalance.
    Also, as I've slowly started to realize, the things that make an area enjoyable are usually not the most noticeable elements of the area, but rather how those elements function in the subtle complexities of the design of the whole map. I enjoy the elaborate flank routes of Upward, the rooftop running on Sawmill and Harvest and the winding interiors of Barnblitz. I've based all my map designs on incorporating elements like those, but I've obviously lacked a sense of the kinds of things that actually make layouts good. As a result I've ended up with unfocused maps containing pointless and confusing routes, high grounds that that turn everything into rocket spam, and cramped architecture.

    I hope I'm not coming across as self-pitying here. I just want to say that whatever the secret behind good layouts are, it has way more to do with experience, knowledge and a feel for flow than with doing what seems like it might be fun.
  10. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    1) think of a cool idea
    2) turn it into a good idea
    3) surround it with other good ideas, or even just good boring stuff
    4) make the map.