Hate my maps before I've even made them

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by FloofCollie, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. FloofCollie

    aa FloofCollie I really suck!

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    Hi, this is sort of an issue that can probably fall under mapper's block.

    Essentially, whenever I'm constructing a layout in the editor, I can't help but look at it and feel so horribly uninspired, and think that any chance of it being part of a playable map would just result in a boring time for everyone.
    For instance, let's say I create a Control Point atop a raised platform. All I can think when I look at it is, "This has been done countless times before and the entire map will be worthless because of it."

    This might be partly the reason why making joke maps (in any game) seems so appealing to me and others - because while you're making it, you're constantly imagining the reaction of people playing it, and that spurs you on.
    The only serious map I've released that I consider to be playable, functional, and thought-through is Cowbell, and even when I open that map up, the thought of going through and blocking up parts with Nodraw for optimization, or moving parts of the map and then cleaning up the brushwork left behind just makes me weary.

    I've tried making layouts on paper first, and that has been helpful, but idk, I haven't made anything out of it yet.

    However, something occurred to me. I watched some of Crash's 72 hour 2015 stream highlights, and it struck me that, had it been me sitting in the chair and working on that map, seeing a spawnroom open up to an empty expanse would have just made me give up on it, even though I know I'd logically make stuff to fill the space, at some point. I might work on making the displacements look nice for a bit, to waste time, and then I'd think I'd done it all wrong by detailing the displacements this early and bin it, thinking that one small action automatically doomed the whole project and whatever it could have become.
    And yet, Crash just went for it and created something amazing.

    It's for this reason that I respect anyone who's released multiple maps, as I'm sure they've had to deal with this sort of lingering worry and/or many other problems beyond the clunky editor interface.

    Maybe it's because while I'm working on it, I'm always imagining that it should have to be the next most popular map included in official rotation or something, and I should lower my standards and just focus on making something fun? Maybe it's because I started out making levels in Doom, where it's so streamlined that you can just draw the levels into the editor, making bulk changes easy?

    I dunno, I don't really know where I'm going with this. It kinda helped to get it outta my head into words.

    Does anyone else feel the same way? If so, what is it that slows down your progress?
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  2. theatreTECHIE

    aa theatreTECHIE Yet another Techie for the net...

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    Relax about the map, and just try stuff until something works. Many maps go through many, many versions before most people see it, and it's those earlier versions that tell you what works and what doesn't. If something looks boring to play in, I generally go to height variation (even if it's subtle) to break up the play space. Height I think is the most interesting thing you can play with to make maps interesting, and displacements help mappers make interesting height variations. (Think Badlands mid - most of the height variation is made using displacements)

    I've taken many breaks from making maps when I haven't felt inspired to make them. I've got things to change in my current projects, but because I don't particularly want to work on them at the moment, due to motivation and other work that I have, I'm taking a short break. I even roughly know what I need to do for Vigil, but I'm waiting until I have time that I want to set aside to map, as I know that I will always work better when motivated.

    Finally, I definitely agree with you that a blank canvas can be a source of mapper's block. It's partially why I'd be interested in another build around the track payload contest. Otherwise, just try to come up with some form of loose layout, even if you don't fully design how each of the routes will take shape before you go into the editor, then just create something. Once you have that something, test and iterate on it. It can help running around the map with others and getting a perspective on what they think of it as well.
     
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  3. FloofCollie

    aa FloofCollie I really suck!

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    I forgot to mention, there's also the problem of having put together, say, a control point setup I'm happy with, and then having no idea how to connect it to another area to make an actually interesting layout. It tends to feel less like designing spaces to work in harmony with each other, and more like filling space (particularly with KOTH, where the focal point is the middle and the rest that isn't close by tends to act as a buffer between spawn and mid). This just happened to me where I made a 5cp mid, but had no idea what I wanted the rest of the map to be. But to be fair, with my tiny portfolio of TF2 maps, I think making a 5cp map is kinda jumping in the deep end

    I also think it helps to download other custom maps and see how they handle interesting areas, since the official maps' design tends to seem standard, and looking at custom maps can help freshen things up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  4. YOYOYO

    aa YOYOYO l666: Member of the Sacred Duck

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    I used to have this problem a lot; Still do sometimes. I would be making a map, expecting everyone to love it and appreciate it. I imagined what would happen when I make a map that's so fun and beautiful to others that it goes in game and featured in the first 2 days or so.

    But then I took a break, and I realized. I'm not making this for anyone. Sure people can play it and hopefully have fun, but for me, I make these for myself. Publishing is just for others to see my creations. I love the idea of creating my own world, which is what pushed me to map in the first place.

    Though this may not be the same for other people, I make maps because I want to make my own world.

    And just a tip, if you don't know what should go somewhere, what kind of interesting geometry you should have, just take a deep breathe... And make a square. Maybe a room or a ramp. Make something so basic, its only function is just that. A function.
    You can detail it at a later date.
     
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