[GUIDE] Uploading your Map, Using TF2Maps Bot, and Finding Feedback.

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nesman

master of fast travel
aa
Jun 27, 2016
913
TF2Maps offers playtesting sessions called “Map Tests”. These sessions are invaluable for getting feedback on your map, so you can use it to improve your maps. This guide will walk you through preparing your map for a playtest session, using “Mecha Engineer” to queue it for a Map Test, and how to find the feedback that players leave on your map.

1. Before you upload

Before uploading your map to our site for a playtest, you need to make sure it is in a playable state. You can use this checklist to make sure everything in your map is working correctly. Here are a few important requirements:
  • Your map is compiled - You have to compile your map before it can be played, make sure you are uploading the BSP, not the VMF, to the site.
  • Your filename must be all lowercase and have no special characters - This is a general rule of thumb for any filename storage. Our servers are Linux-based, and don't like it if it attempts to load a map with capital letters, spaces, special characters, etc. Stick to just lowercase letters, underscores, and numbers.
  • Your map must have a gamemode prefix and a version suffix - Before compiling your map, if there is no gamemode prefix (ctf_, cp_, pl_, etc) or version suffix (_a1, _b2, _rc1, etc), you'll need to add one before uploading. Some gamemodes function off of the gamemode prefix, and a version suffix ensures that players can download multiple versions of the same map, without running into map-differ errors.
  • Your map should have lighting and shouldn't be leaking - Fullbright means that there is no lighting in your map, make sure your map is properly lit before submitting it. A leak in your map can cause optimization and lighting issues, which should be plugged before a test.
  • Custom content, if implemented, must be packed - You can use tools such as CompilePal or VIDE to pack custom assets into your map. Without packing, the server won't be able to get collision data for custom models, and players without the assets will see error textures and models!
  • Your map needs to function! - Run through your map to make sure everything is working! Doors open, capture points can be captured, players spawn in the right rooms, etc. If your map breaks during a session, it will be skipped!
And, before uploading, make sure your map has a unique name! It's not uncommon for a generic word to already be taken by a pre-existing map. Use the search feature in the Map Factory subforum to make sure the name hasn't been taken. Although if a map is considerably old, and is for a different gamemode, you should be fine to use the name regardless.

2. Uploading your map

Getting your map uploaded to our website is a very simple process:

  1. Click on the blue "Add Download" button on the Downloads page.
  2. Select the appropriate Category for your submission.
  3. Fill out the appropriate information. The Tags, Steam Workshop Link, and Additional Information URL fields are optional.
  4. Hit save!
Once you hit save, a thread will be made* in the subforum that it belongs in. Maps are placed in the Map Factory subforum, models and textures are added to the Models & Textures subforum, and other submissions are added to the Tools & Resources subforum.

*Threads are not created for Mann VS Machine Population files. They are still accessible from the Downloads page.

3. TF2Maps Bot and you, how to use it

To get your map onto a Map Test, you have to submit it to a bot we call Mecha Engineer. Mecha Engineer handles the map list that hosts will use for Imps, and notifies users when their map is played on a Map Test. To use Mecha Engineer, you'll have to join our Discord server.

If you're already in/once you're in the server, you can use Mecha Engineer by entering the #bot channel and use these primary commands for adding or managing maps on TF2M Bot's map list:

!maps - Gives current list of maps in the queue, also links to the website
!add - <url> <notes> - Adds a map to the queue.
!update - <map name> <new url> <new notes> - Updates a map in the queue.
!delete - <map name> - Deletes a map from the queue.
!uploadcheck - <filename> - Checks if a map is uploaded to EU, US, and the redirect.

Note: Do not include the brackets when sending your message, more commands can be found at bot.tf2maps.net/commands.php. The above commands can also be found in the pinned messages in the #bot channel.

Second Note: If your map is considered a "joke" or "april fools" map you need to specify that in the notes.

Once you add your map to the map list, all you need to do is wait for a Map Test to start! Map Tests are ran by community members and occasionally by Server Mods or Staff members. They are entirely impromptu, so stick around in our general chatrooms to see when one is about to start!

4. Feedback: where to find it, how to use it, how to watch it

Our servers feature a unique plugin that allows players to leave text feedback about the map. This feedback is stored on a webpage that you can access any time via the Feedback Page. The Feedback Page is sorted by most recently newly played maps. Once you're notified that your map is being played, you can load up the page for your map and see the feedback is there. Each page is updated in real time, so there's no need for refreshing to see new feedback!

Sometimes you'll receive feedback that has coordinates attached to it.

J5k8tZ6GkvKzE_Ed9axTAFgfJGdLORfuveW7_BgOO3xqsSUMX5w2QJiX3KFusIqwnDzFxZifwvFMjr8yzdW2O2__h_mkMolsY7J3Bl5nPMpZJcYjVc0VycDkPWDHonZ7aVVvpF0


This is location feedback, and is useful for players to quickly reference areas without having to get too specific on where it is. You're given two coordinates, one for what the player is looking at, and one for where they're standing. These coordinates can be plugged into Hammer using the Go to Coordinates tool in the View tab. Location feedback is incredibly useful for finding smaller issues, such as clipping, potential sightlines, or dark areas.

Additionally, a demo is also recorded during a playtest. The demos recorded allow you to view a session as if you were a spectator, with text chat and voice chat being recorded as well. Demos are invaluable for analyzing how players are playing and allows you to give your own insight and context to feedback given. The demos for your map are stored alongside the other information on the map's feedback page.

To view demos ingame, download and place the .dem file you get into your Team Fortress 2/tf/ folder. Once ingame, you can load the demo by using one of these commands or key binds:

  • playdemo <demo filename> - Directly loads the demo file you put in here, the game will list off demos it could load if you just put in playdemo first.
  • demoui2 - A UI window that allows you to pause, play, skip ahead, and change the speed of demos. Also has a Load button that opens up a file browser for you to find your demo in.
  • Shift + f2 - The keybinds for demoui.
5. Updating your map

When updating your map, the first thing you'll want to do is to increment the version string. Once it's ready to upload, you'll want to head to your map's Overview page and click on the "Post Download Update" button. Fill in the relevant information, upload your new version, and don't forget to change the version string on the site to the one on the map!**

**If you're updating a resource that does not traditionally use version strings, such as an MvM Population File or Prefab, you can just use a dummy version string instead. Such as V1/V2/V3.

And that should cover uploading, TF2M Bot, and feedback. If you have any questions about the content in this guide, go ahead and post a message in this thread. If you have questions about something else on the site, I would recommend you make a thread in the Site Discussion subforum.



15/8/2019: As of writing, VBot has been entirely replaced with TF2Maps Bot, functionality is almost the same, so this guide has been slightly edited to reference TF2Maps Bot instead of VBot.

8/6/2021: Hi all, nesman here. Star retired a while ago and we have another new bot now, Mecha Engineer, so I updated the extensive guide they wrote. See this post for the new Bot feedback.