[GUIDE] How to design and make a good map.

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by zpqrei, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. zpqrei

    aa zpqrei Theme Changer Extraordinaire

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    Guide to follow when designing a good map.
    By zpqrei

    Introduction

    Hey. I've played on enough custom maps to know if they work or if they don't. There are a few important things that I think are necessary when designing a map. To help out the people here who are new to mapping (and maybe even a few who are experienced!) I've decided to create a list of things that you should, but by no means have to, do.

    BEFORE YOU EVEN OPEN HAMMER

    1. Get a piece of paper and a pen/pencil. Start by drawing the basic outlines of the map (maybe the boundaries or the basic CPs/the track). Think about the map carefully. Does a spy have enough room to recharge his cloak out of harm’s way? Can a Pyro ambush anyone? Is the Sniper massively overpowered? This last one is seem very commonly in custom maps. If you are allergic (or generally dislike) paper and pens/pencils then you can use something like Paint or Photoshop but I find it easier to have a sketch on paper next to me while I map.

    2. Have a clear idea of what you want your map to be. This is helped by the map you've drawn in section 1. But sometimes a layout doesn't give you the full gist of what you want it to be like. In this case I like to draw some concept art. But as long as you know what your buildings are going to look like, what entrances you want into a Intel room, how many props are going to be in a large area, etc then you'll be fine.

    HAVING OPENED HAMMER


    3. Block out your map in developer textures. This may be tedious to those of you who hate devs but I love 'em! Keep an idea of the colours you want to use but still remember that quickly slapping a dev texture on and then changing it when it turns out the game play isn't brilliant isn't that big of a deal. But changing the whole area if it is fully textured and detailed is really heartbreaking (I know this because I worked for quite a long time perfecting the displacements in a cave section but when it was released I had to scrap most of the displacements. It was hard - and I wish it was in dev when I had done it).

    4. Release Alpha 1. PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST! Got it?

    5. Fix the faults from said play test.

    6. Release Alpha 2. PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST!

    7. After a while of play test/fixing you should be happy with the balance of your map. Really you should enter beta when you've textured most things and got the game play right. Don't be afraid to go up to and beyond Alpha 15! If that's the time you need 'till beta then fine - no one will rush you.

    Final Words

    Thanks for reading my guide. I might upload some pictures of map designs I've made as an example later. If you want to see an awesome plan then head over to the WIP ctf_areospace thread or to see how Valve do it (which seems a lot better than mine!) head over to the QA with VALVe Thread.

    -zpqrei
     
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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  2. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

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    Nice thread, Im still currently on my first map and have done basically what you said, so at least in some way Im doing something right :p:p
     
  3. zpqrei

    aa zpqrei Theme Changer Extraordinaire

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    Don't take what I say as fact. Experiment. That's what I do. You don't have to do the same!

    -zpqrei
     
  4. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Hm, i was planning on doing something similar, a guide to decent layouts. But, i barely have time to do my competition entry; lol.
     
  5. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

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    One thing I do is use a great resource: Friends.

    I have many friends on steam some who I'm closer with and talk to more than others. There are a couple of these who know nothing about mapping but want me to add little things for them, a bit of water for a pyro-hating spy, a high place for a soaring demoman. While keeping with sketches and my inspiration I want to make my map more of a "work of art" not like detail yet but some things that could set my map from other maps, something that little bit different. I am going to use curved walls and the likes, just to be a little different. Now this may fare in my favour, or people could hate my attention to detail. Now its time for me to stop typing as much :p
     
  6. zpqrei

    aa zpqrei Theme Changer Extraordinaire

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    That sounds really good. I'm glad you think like that. I'm sure your map will be much better than most maps (including mine!) for attractiveness and attention to detail.

    -zpqrei
     
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