How to come up with map layouts?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Ghost007c, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Ghost007c

    Ghost007c L1: Registered

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    I have had some difficulty coming up with balanced map layouts for both teams, as well as making the map fun to play on. Any suggestions?
     
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  2. Micnax

    aa Micnax I maek map

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    Trial and error, mostly. You learn greatly from experience too, but I'd say the main aspects to consider are height variation, cover, and scale.

    Height variation makes things interesting. Because of how damage dealt is calculated in TF2, people on higher ground generally hit for more damage, so they're favourable for defending against attackers or given as a reward to attackers after capturing a point (nothing like a little payback after hard work). Having different routes with varying heights can make gameplay super interesting.

    Cover is essential for both teams, though it has to be balanced well with height variation. A high ground with lots of cover will be very difficult for attackers to take on, so giving more cover for the defenders instead can balance the battle and give them places to retreat and regroup for another attack.

    Scale is probably the most important. Generally you want to aim for a 8-15 second running distance between the first spawn and the first objective point. Taking too long to walk somewhere can be boring, and is even more annoying if you get killed and have to do the walk again. In Hammer, you can drop down a prop_static of a player model (ie. Heavy) to see how big your map is relative to what the player size is. Try to look at official map sizes and spaces for how those areas are scaled.
     
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  3. Erk

    aa Erk erk

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  4. Ghost007c

    Ghost007c L1: Registered

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    I already have a demoman as one of my scales and found out that my spawn room was huge compared to the player. Thanks for the advice!
     
  5. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    A question for the ages. If you figure it out let me know.
     
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  6. Micnax

    aa Micnax I maek map

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    As a term of reference, most people prefer 160hu or 192hu wall heights. 256hu also maybe but anything higher and you'll take fall damage when dropping down.
     
  7. Ghost007c

    Ghost007c L1: Registered

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    Ah yes, fall damage. Thanks for the tip!
     
  8. CriminalBunny

    aa CriminalBunny Lasers are just deadly rainbows

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    Grazr has made a guide on balancing and making layouts back in 2009. You can check it here! It focuses more on the Attack Defense gamemodes in terms of layout but the balancing part works for almost (if not all) gamemodes. It also talks about height variety, and he later made a thread focusing on scale! [Link here]
     
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  9. The Guy You Know

    The Guy You Know L1: Registered

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    Think of designs that would be cool for a map, thinking of a theme before attempting to make a map helps me at least. all the other links people posted too are good resources for map layouts
     
  10. The Siphon

    The Siphon L6: Sharp Member

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    Personally I just go with the flow, I can't do a paper design/layout. I guess that is the reason why I haven't made any "actual gameplay" maps.
     
  11. nitewalker

    nitewalker L2: Junior Member

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    every good layout i've ever come up with has come to me in a dream, and this post is 100% dead serious
     
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  12. theatreTECHIE

    aa theatreTECHIE Yet another Techie for the net...

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    The two good maps that I've made I did by thinking of a cool aspect for a point, then thinking about each class as I make the route through the area. I've tried pen and paper before, and while I can use it to think about ideas, I've found that just making it in hammer on the fly comes out with a better result for me. Probably why I barely have time in the 72 hour jams to do anything more than the first block out.
     
  13. Yrr

    aa Yrr An Actual Deer

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    I literally just improvise and iterate on whatever i end up with
     
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  14. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    Rather than focusing on a theory should I simply make it look reasonable and than fix it?
     
  15. Yrr

    aa Yrr An Actual Deer

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    Making a canvas to work with that you're ok with deleting and remaking big parts of is a lot easier than trying to make it perfect from the start.

    which is something i keep having to remind myself too
     
  16. [Rx.] Christian Troy

    [Rx.] Christian Troy L4: Comfortable Member

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    One of my things is mixing reality with imagination.

    When out and about in the real world, I look.at things sometimes then think "Hey, that would be cool in map.". Stuff like buildings I see, area layouts, even objects like certain tables, lights, and chairs, etc.

    One good expamle is a Cs:go map I created based on my workplace. I work in a manufacturing environment so I walked into work one day, looked around the place and thought "This would make a really cool hostage map". So I began to make it happen.

    Tf2 is a bit different though but you get the idea ;)
     
  17. nitewalker

    nitewalker L2: Junior Member

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    it's very difficult (read: impossible) to decide when and where to be creative or inspired. sitting in front of your computer with hammer open and forcing yourself to map is often an excercise in frustration, and can lead to self doubt or a lack of interest in mapping.

    a lot of great writers carry a notebook with them all of the time, so that at any time if they see something inspiring or have an idea spring to mind, they can jot it down immediately. I've started doing that with mapping too, and it's helped immensely in actually being productive when i have hammer open. if im out running errands and i see a building with a particular feature, or walk through a room and notice something that i hadnt noticed before, its often enough to jog my creativity. i can't even begin to count the number of ideas that i've had that have just been lost to the ether because i forgot about them between the time i had them and got a chance to make them into a map. being able to write that idea down immediately or sketch out a 45 second layout to solidify that idea in my mind means that when i sit down to start mapping, i have a plan already, which is unbelievably helpful in cranking out layouts.

    it's also important to recognize that creating a layout gets easier with time. with each map you make, you get more comfortable with the tools, you get more comfortable scaling appropriately, you get more comfortable with what kinds of features make for an interesting map. thats why one of the most important steps that you can take to improve yourself as a mapper is to actually put out a map, get people playing on it and testing it, and revise based on that. the more often you manage to get multiple versions of a map out, the better off you will be when you next start from scratch.
     
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  18. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    Cant agree more

    The site doesnt let me do it
     
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  19. Messing Around

    Messing Around L5: Dapper Member

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    creating layout is easy, the damn detailing is the one that give me headache, i just have no vision of how my maps gonna look like
     
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  20. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    Creating a layout is easy
    But creating an interesting, unique and balanced layout is hard.
    Hell, I could even call a box with two spawn points a layout
     
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