how do i get over mappers block?

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L420: High Member
Jul 29, 2016
i want to make a map, i can see it, i can imagine how every little thing would come together but no mater what i do, i can never make it. it's not like i don't have the skills, its like i don't want to make it.
but i really do! i want to be a level designer for a real company and i know to do that i need to have good work under my belt. but i open up hammer, put down the player spawn. and blank! i have no idea what to do, where to go, what i wan't! it's like all the possibility are before me but i am overwhelmed and afraid to act on it! today alone I embarked to make 16 different maps, and every time. i gave up after opining hammer.
i really need help, this is all i have going for me! this is what i want to do for the rest of my life, but i can't even open the app without giving up...
Nov 28, 2017
First, make a 2D layout of what you want to make. Usually I just make a bunch of 512 blocks and place them anywhere. Depending on what type of map you wanna make, use the 512 blocks to make pretend courtyards, hallways, spawn rooms, capture points, etc. Once you finish making the 2D 'walkable space' Fill in the blanks with large walls and a skybox at the ceiling.

Boom you made a map with some interesting layout. Spend some time like changing the height and creating rooms in the large walls and adding rooms to the walkable space. There's a lot to modify and this is what I usually do when I want to make a map but have no idea what the layout should be. Hope this helps

Mess About

L7: Fancy Member
Jan 16, 2017
seem like you're making map without any plan but just ideas, very easy to get lost

I have a notebook where i just write down the ideas i got about the map i want to make: cool features, basic layout overview drawing, theme,...etc....
Even though I've never follow exactly what i wrote (because they're not super detail), but it helps me to get the general idea of what to do next


Aug 6, 2014
Putting whats in your head directly into hammer can be super daunting, this happens to me a lot. What I do is I just throw my idea onto something that's more comfortable first. Most people just use paper, but I often actually make it in something like Minecraft first just so I can get an idea of what it would be like in a 3D space.

If you absolutely have to put it in hammer before you put it in anything else, what I do is I start with the area that I have the most concrete idea of in my head first, then branch out from that.


L5: Dapper Member
Apr 17, 2017
Bit of an amateur at this kind of stuff, but what I like to do is the same thing I did as a kid when I played Halo Reach with Forge. It may be silly, but one of the things I'd like to do it get a pen/pencil and some paper out and start drawing out my ideas! It might be a bit difficult when you have a map planned with more than one floor, but basically you can organize it much like a map you see in schools, showing all the little rooms and such.

You can also write areas that you want to put points, payload tracks, intelligence, etc. Although it obviously doesn't make it easy to write down textures and entities you will have on the map, it's a lot easy to plot out your map on paper than it is to go straight to hammer (and it's obviously a little less time consuming, because you can erase and fix things much quicker!).

Hope this helped someone, somehow!


Sauce Copter Enthusiast
Jul 10, 2017
I think the block is due to just being worried on the maps performance (gameplay) before it’s even been built or tested and then annoying terrible thoughts sweep your head on how bad it’s going to be. Then a minor issue in hammer makes you give the map almost instantly. Later you get a new idea that seems really promising pops up and then the cycle repeats. (Hopefully this is your issue.)

I recently overcame this when I went back to my first ever map and started to rebuild it. (Shameless promotion I just did whatever I felt was right and never constricted myself to what would work. Because the first draft was already finished it was only a matter of play testing it.

I suggest you try to play test one of you old maps no matter how good it was. To break this cycle stop making new maps that last for 30 minutes to only be deleted it only prolongs the process.

This may not work for you but it worked for me so you might as well give it a shot.


I really suck!
Nov 5, 2016
I used to be worried about so many things the moment I placed one brush like "oh this is gonna be sooo easily camped" or "oh no this is similar to map x, better switch it up completely". Ignoring these nagging thoughts is the first step.

And I've finally got a layout down after all this time because I jumped straight into blocking with normal textures (I didn't use NODRAW first, and I didn't use dev textures). I had Ravine open in the other window and that made it so much easier to get inspiration. Sure, it's very similar to Ravine, but now it actually exists and I can move onto the parts of mapping I enjoy. Plus, if you treat every map you make like it should be quality enough to be added to the game, you'll never grow a mapping portfolio. It's good to just get something out there, even if it's similar to what's already been done. And if it plays badly, well hey, that's why it's only blocked it, and that's what testing's for.

In general, the techniques people use to overcome their mapping block vary from person to person, and sadly that means there is no "right" advice to give. Overcoming this stage is essentially a rite of passage for a mapper.
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