How to plan a map, the right way

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Sebi, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Sebi

    Sebi L2: Junior Member

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    When I watched the SourceTV Demo of the last Gameday on my map (htf_sebi_a4) today, I heard players agreeing that it has an obvious "First-Map"-ish layout and feel. While that is true and I can perfectly accept that, I asked myself how does it come that players feel this way?

    How do the more experienced mappers plan and layout their maps? And how do they convert them from paper to vmf?


    I always hear about height variation as one of THE key elements that can make a map truly great. Agreeing to this, I ask myself how to plan proper height variation. My piece of paper is 2D after all.


    Planning
    How do you do it? How do you get past this most important of all parts of creating a map?
     
  2. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Usually when someone says that it has "First map feel" it means there are a lot of mistakes, ie, over scaling, long hallways, gimmicky things, weird texutres, bad brush work... the list goes on. It isn't about the planning. Personally, I don't think you can ask how other people plan and expect that to make you better. You get better at mapping, by mapping.

    Some people layout the map on a piece of paper, others (like myself) build it in hammer and then adjust it as the map develops through the building stage. Some people see things in real life and are inspired by it to make something like it.

    In the end, its really how you feel comfortable doing it. There is no right or wrong way to plan/make a map. You just listen to feedback from others, and don't do it again in the future. You shouldn't be asking how other people plan and what you should do to plan, you should be asking why your map comes off as a "First time map."
     
  3. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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  4. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    what i meant there was the map felt overly simple at some locations. the mid was kinda fine, but intel area was basically a flat area with a huge brush to hide the intel behind, there was a long sniperdeck-dedicated path, the last cap was under ground in plain flat narrowish caves, etc. you dont see stuff like that in maps by more experienced mappers. you need bit more heightvariations, bit more niches especially in caves, bit more runthru houses and stuff in more emptier locations, bit less huge flat walls so the whole thing isnt as rough and is more interesting to play in.
     
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  5. Sebi

    Sebi L2: Junior Member

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    Frozen:
    I am truly impressed! How could you possibly plan a map in hammer? I still feel far too uncomfortable with hammer to actually let it compete with a piece of paper. On paper I can layout much faster what my imagination is telling me, than i could ever do this in hammer. To me, mapping is a tedious process which unbearably tedious by bad planning, because it gets more and more complicated the more comlpex the brushwork gets. So making minor changes can require you to make lots of "repair" cahnges to the rest of the map. For example: When I lowered the higher areas of my map, it required my to lower everything that connected to it, too. What seemed like a minor change in imagination, morphed into a relatively large piece of work in the process.

    ---

    MangyCarface:
    I printed the first ~20 pages of your work. Gonna read trough them in the next few days.

    ---

    Sergis:
    I see what you mean. This map does not look very professional.... because I am not professional. That's why I asked the more experienced of you guys for a bit of help. There is the problem that beginning TF2 mapping with a new concept. It is approved by friends of mine so I think it is not that bad. But the key roadblock is that there is no other map for this game mode. That's the challenge I wanna take. Making something from scratch aka not copying anything. Basically everything is new to me, with the exception of the hammer editor programm itself.

    It would be so great to understand how an official map gets from being an idea to being an official release.
     
  6. Shanghai

    Shanghai L6: Sharp Member

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    I plan my maps out on paper, using words to tell how players will interact with certain areas (i.e. On top of building, opens after C.) I don't include height on the paper unless it's important. I only use rough sizes and placements of the elements of the map, marking out the paths I expect players to use. Then, in Hammer, I build according to the schematics, tweaking and moving things as I see fit. Then, I judge the height of things based off what looks good, what I imagined when planning the map, and what will play well. I keep the layout sort of flexible.
     
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  7. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    I should've clarified that I do doodle small area's onto paper for inspiration or a baseline, but not whole maps. This is how cp_frozen was created, just doodled a few tiny area's and then used my head to fill in the rest. I am a visual/spatial thinker so I can run through my maps in my head and make them in hammer. If what was in my head doesn't pan out in hammer, I adjust accordingly. Its just how I think and plan things out.

    You get more comfortable with hammer the more you use it. I've only been doing this for a year and I am still not comfortable doing a few things.
     
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