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How Does One Start On Layout?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Dr. KillPatient, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Dr. KillPatient

    Dr. KillPatient L3: Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Generally I have a good idea of how a single area of a map will be, usually the middle, and I can block it out fairly well. After that, though, I blank completely and have no idea whatsoever as to how to extend the basic layout of the map. :facepalm:
    What are some tips on how to create good, functional layouts and extend on partially made ones?
  2. sniprpenguin

    sniprpenguin L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Usually I just start off with a sketch of how I want the map to flow. I mean, like big squares representing areas.
    Then I look at those and see how can you make routes in-between them.
    Then, I try to make those routes as interesting as possible in terms of what they are (i.e. an elevated, yet exposed pathway going alongside the main route.)
    From there I keep building an area from that, such as working on various heights and features until I think that an area would be interesting.

    As for expanding upon an area, if you've made exits out of an already blocked-out area, you can try just expanding them naturally. Obviously, if you have a staircase as one exit, it simply won't do to have it end evenly with that tunnel you made. In that case, you already have some nice vertical play in the next area: one higher, coming from the stairs, and one lower, coming from the tunnel.

    Another good tip of mine is that if you have an already blocked out area in Hammer, trace the basic layout (in 3D) of it onto a piece of paper. Then sketch out ideas from it. This can also help with theming: If you've got a tall building in one area, try extending into where the other area would be, etc. etc.

    Mainly though, it helps to start with a full sketch out of what the map will be. This will help in planning and in execution.
  3. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

    Positive Ratings:
    there are many ways to go about doing this.

    sometimes i can have an entire map layou in my mind before i start, sometimes it's just the central areas.
    what i did for autumn twilight was to map the central area, and since it was symmetrical, i just plopped spawns into the buildings and let people play. i used the feedback (and actually playing with people on the map) to get the feel of how it needed to be extended.

    you're lucky in some regards in terms of your start - i've built up an entire map that started out as just an overhang above some displacement work and nothing else. (albeit it wasn't very good as it lacked an overall theme). and another map i've done was based entirely on a sketch of a staircase and an attached balcony.

    generally i tend to prefer having a theme in mind when i start, and making the archetecture match the theme. that way the map feels solid rather than bits stuck together, and helps players becuase they see the geometry types they expect based on the theme.
    theme can come from all sorts of things.
    for example, devil's brew came out of the beer distillery models on cp_well. - i then combined that with an old idea i had sketched out about 4 months before starting on the map involving having a cap point that moved when captured. - in this case the theme came entirely out of a single model.
    another map i could mention is nordhaven: inspired directly by creating a more magical/warm feel to a snowy map than what you see on viaduct (which feels a lil desolate to me). .... plus i may have been playing overlord too much at the time XD
    my most recent map: underhanded was inspired by doublecross in that i wanted a darkish sky and a general feeling of "this feels like a map you could imagine a spy creeping about on" (asthetically that is. i wouldn't want to make a map that caters to one class over the others).
  4. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross L3: Member

    Positive Ratings:
    pick your most boring class and bring some paper. it'll look like you're taking notes and it will help you develop your map.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  5. cadeonehalf

    cadeonehalf L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    What gametype are you working on a layout for?
    I find that the best way to design layout is first to consider the primary objective. For example, for Genesee Falls, took what I liked and disliked about each Valve ctf map, as well as what the community had done that worked well. From there, I decided to make a leaf from Turbine's book and make the intel room very open and spacious and work from there.
    I find once you have some sort of rough sketch of what you want the layout to be like, try considering it from each class' point of view.

    There should be high ground for soldiers and scouts to get up to/attack from, decent sniper sightlines that don't overpower the map, tight corridors for Heavies and Pyros, etc.

    Considering the reason Red and Blu are fighting is also a good way to create good layouts. Know in advance where they're fighting (i.e. have a theme in mind when you design) and what they might be fighting over.
  6. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

    Positive Ratings:
    To expand, I find the best way is to add improvements or ambush points into an area. For example, add a flank-route into an area. Expand it into another clearing, and add another path out of that.
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