[Guide] The Route Formula

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by Bud Calypso, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. Bud Calypso

    Bud Calypso L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    Long Story short:

    The longer the way - the better the outcome.

    The Breakdown

    A. Preface
    B. Main and alternative routes
    C. Tactical Advantages and Disadvantages
    D. Examples
    E. Exceptions

    F. Recommended Ressources

    A. Preface

    Why, Calypso and for whom shall this be interesting?

    I read many guides on this site, learned a lot and some notes may sound familiar,
    because they take reference to these. But this topic hasn't been covered yet to my knowledge.
    Though it is one of the main general mechanics of nearly every map I played in TF2.
    It will rarely disappoint you as a player and by this won't be wrong to consider as a mapper.

    Also the majority of guides and tutorials here are about technical matters and I feel there
    is a lack of tactical ones in general.

    This is for beginners of the game, even newer mappers like myself and hopefully holds some
    basic value for veterans of both kinds too.

    (Sidenote: Funcy englitch - no interntionale. Me from Esperanto-Land)

    B. Main- and Alternative Routes

    Generally there shouldn't be less than two or more than three routes overall.
    One route will most likely lead to a stalemate or spaming.
    Four routes or more and teams won't clash or players get confused.

    There is usually one main route - the obvious one, the one that most of the team will use.
    This is caused by it being mostly the widest, best seen and most important SHORTEST one.

    And then there is at least one alternative (or side-) route which is most likely LONGER.
    There would be no reason not to use the main if the alternative routes would not benefit the player in any way.

    No shit sherlock?
    It seems obvious to stick to this but to my experience many players stay on the main route whatever
    happens, even if they lose round after round and instead blame the game/map/team after all.

    C. Tactical Advantages and Disadvantages

    Nearly every game requires you to use its mechanics to your benefit.
    Concerning the topic this is a short list of where you want to be as a player in TF2.
    (I won't explain these further, please see point F of this thread or look it up yourself)

    1. Gaining Height
    2. Being near health packs
    3. Having multiple options to move forward or flanking/advancing the enemy
    4. Class-specific benefits
    5. In favor to where enemy will appear
    6. Finding Cover

    Every alternative route will or should offer at least one of these benefits.

    This doesn't mean a mapper should punish players using the main route,
    but reward players who think about what they do, as well as for the extra way they take.

    D. Examples

    These are only a few examples of many one can make.
    The pictures will try to proof my point mostly by themselves - hopefully not too confusing.
    Their quality expect you to know these popular maps to some extend.
    To keep it a bit more simple I concentrated on only two outcomes a route will lead you:
    Health- (C 2.) and following route-availability (C 3.).



    If you ever played this map and can't remember the name of that guy who spamed the "Go left"-
    command after CP2, remember me now. This is the most obvious proof of my point I can think of.


    If the enemy forces hold some kind of resistance at this point, they have the height advantage
    and if you don't decide for the alternative, this is a deathtrap.


    And these are your options if you chose the left left / alternative way before.



    Good Example for health-pack availability by using the alternative routes.



    Though I didn't mark it, the additional height advantages becomes quiet obvious
    if player choose the alternative routes here.

    Running the risk of discrediting this whole thread...



    .. even the simplest popular map follows this principle imo. :)

    E. Exceptions

    1. KotH
    This mode doesn't rely on alternative routes and probably wouldn't work with it.
    It all concentrates of fighting around the Control Point itself.
    Though there still are examples who use this method. I may add examples later.

    2. No resistance
    If you are on the winning side, there is no need to take an extra way to get to the battlefield.
    You want to get there fast to get some frags, right?!

    3. Conquered areas
    Same goes for these. You want to take the fastest route to skip the area your team already conquered
    and where no enemy is present.

    F. Additional Ressources

    These guides are about tactical matters that add to the topic and may be edited in the future:

    Class Expertise (see C 4.)

    Balance, Layout and your A/D map

    Scale and your Map


    Health & Ammo Placements

    Tips & Tricks with Vertical Space

    I take no stand in this being complete or perfect, so feel free to proof me wrong, edit or add to it if you like.

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  2. Flippy :3

    Flippy :3 Graphics Designer and Aussie Weeb

    Positive Ratings:
    Good guide, especially for plebs like me who have only just recently gotten into mapping :)
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  3. Bud Calypso

    Bud Calypso L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    I may work it over some time - not so happy with the flow of it. But hey, first attempt on a guide.
    Glad it worked for you and hope it gives some basic orientation if one questions his/her own layout.
  4. JMaxchill

    JMaxchill L5: Dapper Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Thanks a bundle for this :D but just to point it out, on cp_orange, the alternate route is the other team's main route, and both teams main routes go through the tower, meaning there aren't actually any safer routes...
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  5. Bud Calypso

    Bud Calypso L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    I think your right basically. But the tower itself is the main cover on the map and if you made it this far, the distance to the enemy is cut in half.
    As snipers are the main danger on this map this is important. If you choose the left side of the tower, snipers on enemy's cp2 still have the distance favoring their sightline. Choosing right gives you a slight advantage under the circumstance that the enemy snipers are behind theirr upper ground and you can advance on them. Just my opinion. I may cut this out though as examples should be clear, I guess.
  6. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

    Positive Ratings:
    There's a lot here that's misleading - and some of it is just wrong, i'm afraid.


    This is misleading, and a bad summary. You need to balance routes against each other - and longer travel time needs to be balanced with a bigger benefit. Perhaps longer routes lead to higher places, or more health, or come out closer to the capture point. Long paths that arent like this won't be used much (and sometimes that can be enough of a benefit, for spies and flanking classes). The way you phrase it makes it seem like a longer route is better in itself, which is not the case at all.

    Not really - theres a lot that goes into which route players take, not least how much you highlight it to them with signs and lights. Players won't automatically always take the shortest route - they'll take the one you point them at. Make sure that's the right one.

    These are mostly right, but some extra notes are needed. Firstly, just being close to health is no good (what if it's underneath a sentry-gun?) that health has to be placed to benefit the route. Perhaps it should be on the right side of cover, or where you can easily retreat to it without breaking out of a fight.

    Multiple options makes no sense. Routes are additional options in themselves.

    Can you specify some class-specific benefits? What classes benefit from the things you've already listed?

    Dont use Orange as an example - it's all one big arena.

    This is straight-up wrong. KOTH needs alternate routes just as much as anything else - to give players multiple approaches to a point, or to let them go around the point. Some official KOTH maps dont have these routes - and you know what happens to them? People make "pro" versions that have them!

    Who is winning isnt really relevant, I think? I guess an exception could be that for areas where you dont expect combat to happen - an example would be leaving badwater's Red spawn at the start of the round - you can have only the one route - but this branches out into multiples before you get to the fight, and leaves players at the mercy of a single heavy or sentry that's snuck around the back, that they now cant avoid. This is also exactly the same as point 3.
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  7. Vincent

    aa Vincent 🔨 Grandmaster Lizard Wizard Jedi 🔨

    Positive Ratings:
    Hey Calypso, it looks like you've put a lot of effort into this article and that's great! I'm just worried about how misleading this really is.

    This is essentially false, it looks like you took the core idea of Grazrs article and expanded your own thoughts onto it. That's alright mind you, but your advice hasn't been sound. You also didn't credit Grazr, seeing as this has obviously had some influence on you.

    I will say your English is fairly decent, no worries there. It's just your ideas need some refinement. I'm not gonna get super into it because Swordfish posted essentially what I was going to say. I really just need to ask about this:



    This doesn't make any sense, you have a main and alternative route going along the same path in the first part of this picture, care to elaborate on that?
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  8. Lain

    aa Lain meep meep

    Positive Ratings:
    you wrote what i was too lazy to write, gj
  9. Bud Calypso

    Bud Calypso L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    First of thanks for the input! Seriously!

    I wasn't satisfied with the structure of this guide myself.
    The major misleading part of it may be that it switches between a player's and a mapper's perspective without announcing it.

    The summay at the beginning is a good example for this.

    Out of a player's perspective it still works imo. That's what the examples try to prove.
    But aren't you just explaining what I do in Point C? And doesn't the point about health contradict to your later statement?:

    I guess the difference lies between "near" and "more" health. The highlighted health in the example pics doesn't really make a difference between these two terms. Maybe I should better define this?

    "most seen" route tried to simplify that. Didn't quiet work out.

    No, I won't. This is at least one guide by its own and the linked class expertise covers that better than a subjective pov.
    I hoped my line:
    would direct people to more information towards all these factors.

    If I start to explain every one of them, I end up explaining the whole game.
    But to most i linked topics referring to them, see: height (vertical space + grazr's guide), to sightlines, to pickup placement...

    I think you are right with the term multiple options. Gotta cut that out..

    I came up with this out of personal perspective. In terms of length every route to a cp on a koth seems to be equal more or less.
    It made sense to me:
    As a player I don't see a reason to approach beyond the point. The enemy might appear by the other route.
    And if he doesn't I might die and risk not being able to help the team due to timelimit and respawn times.
    But maybe I just got that wrong. Also I didn't know about pro koth maps..

    Dunno. If my team is definately superior I don't care about any tactical advantage of a route that takes me longer to get to the battlements.
    This does happen a lot even after teams are scrambled, we all are aware of. Maybe I didn't take the competetive-perspective here..

    This really hurt. :(
    I'm playing this game practically since launch. You don't have to believe me but this core idea didn't come from grazrs article.
    I sure nodded at it when I read it before. And you are absolutely right, he does cover that even specifically:

    These 3 categories of path need to be balanced with 3 more considerations. Short, long and medium length paths. Due to the spawn time, players will often favour the shortest path to the objective, even if it is the most dangerous (which it probably will be). Long paths can be employed to balance area's of greatest tactical advantage, whilst short paths might be frequently counter-attacked, spammed and ambushed. In general the main route will be shortest, the high ground of medium distance and the low ground usually the longest, possibly flanking the objective completely.

    It was some time ago that I read it and remembered it by the title to be more or less specifically for A/D maps.

    I linked his article to the ressources and stated right from the beginning that I take references to other guides.
    I guess you mean I should credit him for the core idea - well if you like. Though he mentions it - to say I did take it from him
    would actually be a lie. It's just a core element of layouts in TF2 in general that becomes obvious for an experienced player.

    (btw the alternative route on the badwater pic was redudant - only the slight shift to the right on the rock isn't really one - true)

    My main goal was to simplify it down as far as possible! That's why I didn't explain every advantage f.e.
    These countless factors can be overwhelming and in question of my own layout I stick to this formula.
    You know: "This one route will be longer - why would I go there as a player?"

    It will take some effort again to work this over.

    I still have sketches for examples of ~3 more maps. Maybe I could go by beginning with the examples and show the player's perspective
    (how valve does it) solely. And then giving options how to achieve that as a mapper.

    But now that I have to admit, it has been somehow covered before, I wonder if I should work this guide over or just delete it?!
  10. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

    Positive Ratings:
    I think you need to clarify your points - how the hell am i meant to know your "summary" is from a player perspective? It seems that really the whole guide is from a player perspective, which isnt actually all that helpful to mappers? What do we, as mappers, need to do when one team is steamrolling another? Well, we need to stop it happening in the first place, but we dont need to add in a route for when you're winning extra well.

    I appreciate you writing a guide, i really do - it's great to see people getting involved! I think, however, that in your quest for simplicity, you lose a lot of the nuance and intelligence that makes a map good. You're trying to sum an awfully large, complex aspect of level design into a few sentences: which doesnt do either it, or your skills, justice.
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