I don't think custom TF2 will ever be very popular

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by Armadillo of Doom, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

    Messages:
    949
    Positive Ratings:
    614
    When HL2 first came out, the only multiplayer was CSS. Bout a week later, rumours were flying of DeathMatch. And voila. Within 6 months, once the novelty of gravity gun dueling had worn off, custom content was getting quite popular. By years end, you'd be hard pressed to find a server running any of the stock maps or game modes. In DM, even if you're on a totally huge new map, you can still perform well because it's based on your personal skills. However, since TF2 is team-oriented, the same thing does not apply. In order to be competitive, you really have to be familiar w/ the map. I'm not even talking hardcore strategy and tactics, just knowing where the enemy is coming from. Coupled with the fact that you can not easily make new game types for TF2, interest in custom TF2 will always be sparce.

    And unless Valve can keep up their current pace w/ every update, the game will get kinda stale. In DM, I made or played all of the following with no mod required, just clever use of Hammer; ctf, escort, jailbreak, attack/defend, coop, and objective-based maps using a combination of those game types. I sincerely hope that Valve starts fixing and updating the editor for TF2 w/in the next year. Admittedly TF2 doesn't really lend itself to the likes of coop, or massive objective maps like in Battle Field or Quake Wars. But there are enough standard game modes that we could make a huge number of variations by mixing them. /end rant, lol. What do you all think?
     
  2. Vander

    Vander L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

    Messages:
    507
    Positive Ratings:
    110
    It may not be prudent to compare Team Fortress to Counter-Strike. CS is a phenomena that does not occur often in nature. How many other mods have we seen take out and become their own institution like CS did?

    I say we judge TF2 based on it's own merits. I think just the fact that we have such regular activity on a site such as this one speaks to the longevity of TF2.

    Here are a few items TF2 has going for it:


    - Valve has dedicated itself to at LEAST 6 more big updates. (scout, spy, demo, soldier, engineer, and sniper)

    - TF2 has received 2 new game modes this year already.

    - Sales of TF2 have a 20% increase each time an update is released. This means new players every few months.

    - TF2 has an art style that will age well. Compare TF2 to CSS and other shooters based on realistic graphics in 5-10 years.

    - The cooperation element lends itself well to tournament and league play. The visuals may also play in role in keeping leagues interested in TF2. People want to play a visually appealing game.


    All of these items speak to the sustainability of the TF2 brand. I trust Valve to know what they are doing. If they are willing to throw resources at TF2 it's for a good reason.

    In regards to the editor problems and desired game modes, I intend to be patient. Valve seems to take consumer feedback to heart and I think we can expect to get the things we want. Obviously, for those of us who want it yesterday, these things aren't coming out fast enough. Keep in mind that Valve can only devote so many people to so many projects. I have a feeling once the class updates are completed we will see more fixes to Hammer.


    In my estimation TF2 is going nowhere but up gentlmen!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  3. drp

    aa drp

    Messages:
    2,251
    Positive Ratings:
    2,551
    i agree 100% vander

    saying custom content wont be popular with a 1yr old game is a really premature statement. although i understand where immortal is coming from. tf2 has not been out for even a year, players arent tired of the stock maps yet. some are, but most arent. not yet anyway.

    i see TF2 being popular like tfc was. it has what it takes to be a long living multiplayer game.
     
  4. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

    Messages:
    1,129
    Positive Ratings:
    740
    On the other hand, with each major content update from Valve, the number of servers running (good quality) custom maps decreases dramatically. Even for the servers I used to play on frequently that ran a large selection of custom maps, these days it's dustbowl, badwater, goldrush, and steel at least every other map. And of course I should also mention the huge number of arena-only and achievement map servers that could be running custom content instead.

    I've begun to feel rather pessimistic and cynical about the future of custom maps in TF2.
     
  5. AWESOME-O

    AWESOME-O L10: Glamorous Member

    Messages:
    782
    Positive Ratings:
    66
    vander, 5 big updates?
    6 right?

    scout, soldier, demo, engi, sniper, spy
    Thats 6, or i just can't count
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

    Messages:
    5,436
    Positive Ratings:
    3,557
    The servers do control a lot of what a client recieves of the TF2 experience. Since Shmitz mentioned about servers, most of the servers (in the UK atleast) are instant respawn dustbowl 24/7 or goldrush 24/7 etc. Which really brings a monotonous experience to the for. Which is kind of frustrating.

    I'm glad that Valve seem to be dedicating so much time into this game, where i appreciate that they have several mods out there to cater for along with what they are involving themselves in with the community and store including other games etc through steam bla bla. I'm surprised they are getting the amount of work they are doing on TF2 as fast as they are. Though i was dissapointed with Badwater, it does play well and the heavy update was great. Let alone the new environment.

    TF2 has a fair amount going for it, atleast for a number of years where we'll all get our money's worth. It's unique visual style will hopefully let it stand out even longer. Perhaps not as much as HLDM did for the custom side of things. But Half-Life 2 was a massive explosion of a game release. TF2 is rather insignificant in relation.

    HL mods have always had excellent custom content support.
     
  7. TheDarkerSideofYourShadow

    TheDarkerSideofYourShadow L10: Glamorous Member

    Messages:
    792
    Positive Ratings:
    143
    You got it Lolz, he missed sniper (unless its been announced that they aren't going to update that class).

    As far as the lack of an ability to make multiple game types, etc. All I have to say is I agree. In TFC, you could do just about anything. Here, you can't even get the ctf hud to show up when you have a single CP entity in your map :-/
     
  8. Vander

    Vander L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

    Messages:
    507
    Positive Ratings:
    110
    Arena-only servers can have custom arena maps. I know a few folks in this community have made some arena maps already *cough* like you *cough*. The servers with achievement maps will only be around as long as new achievements are out...those cant be helped. It's pretty likely these servers would be running orange-crap or mario kart if they werent farming anyway.

    I understand some of you are down about custom content, but has everyone forgotten that Valve has made 3 custom maps famous already? When they decided to start releasing custom maps as 'official' maps it motivated the hell outta me to start learning more. A lot of you guys have a VERY good chance to get featured in a future update...Hoodoo, Meridian anybody?

    Turn that frown upside down!

    btw, thanks for catching my miss Lolz! I just knew I was leaving out a class.
     
  9. laghlagh

    laghlagh L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    391
    Positive Ratings:
    52
    Valve picking 1 or 2 custom maps for their custom collection every update is ridicolous.
     
  10. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

    Messages:
    1,129
    Positive Ratings:
    740
    I don't blame Valve for the community reaction. I think them "officializing" custom maps is awesome. But I can't see it as a good thing when one custom map effectively replaces a couple dozen, in terms of server activity (particularly when things like lazytown and orange_whatever servers seem to be immune). I don't have the information or statistics to really point a finger at what has caused this trend, but the fact that it's happening doesn't make me happy.
     
  11. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

    Messages:
    4,767
    Positive Ratings:
    5,508
    This is entirely dependent on the mapper... I didn't had any trouble learning the layout of a valve map within one round. I can't say the same for custom maps... This doesn't just mean signs either, it's the flow of the map. Steel for example, as lots of signs, but it doesn't flow well and navigating it is still half luck for me.

    I forget where I read it, but someone explained map flow when in the design stage as thinking about water flowing through your map from one end to the other. The water should flow easily from area to area. That is to say, someone brand new to the map should be able to just walk in the "easy/obvious/logical" direction, and always end up funneled toward where you need to be.
     
  12. Dan2025

    Dan2025 L2: Junior Member

    Messages:
    67
    Positive Ratings:
    4
    I think the major reason for that is that Steel goes ahead and forks off at the very beginning. So when your heading towards point A, you're actually heading in the opposite direction from point B. This isn't actually the case, and you can access point B directly from point A once it's capped, but it still makes a new player feel confused. Especially since many of the methods you use for getting from point to point are all nooks and crannies and hard to find when your playing it for the first time. Man did that map confuse me when I started playing it for the first time.

    As for the actual topic of this thread, I think it's really dependent on the amount of people playing it. Considering that the amount of people playing TF2 keeps increasing every time there's an update, I would think that it's going to eventually cause the whole custom side of everything to speed up. Like a boulder gaining momentum as it rolls down a hill and the incline keeps getting steeper and steeper. The fact that custom maps being made into official maps are causing other custom maps to become less popular may cause concern that custom maps will just stop being played and eventually people will stop making maps, but I think it'll probably be more of a rubber-band effect, cause if maps stop being made, then there will be no maps to turn into honorary official maps. Also, the fact that a you make might be turned into an official map will probably inspire a lot of people to take up mapping (*Raises hand*).

    But in the end, if there's more people playing TF2 then there will be more demand for stuff, and if that demand is calling for more variety in maps, then your probably going to have more people making maps. Also, more people will probably mean more servers, and if you have more servers then there's less of a demand for servers with the valve maps, since there's plenty of those already present.
     
  13. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

    Messages:
    902
    Positive Ratings:
    160
    /me points at the "cube" movement. "That's only the 1st wave!"
     
  14. Hawk

    Hawk L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    419
    Positive Ratings:
    212
    I think the new valve maps really do hurt the frequency of good custom maps on servers, but I think it's only temporary. Sure, right now I'm really enjoying Badwater Basin and not paying much attention to custom maps, but I don't think I'll be like that forever.

    I remember back when we got our original six maps and I enjoyed them for a while. But those six maps felt stagnant after a while and that's when custom maps took off. I'll bet when Valve's not updating TF2 so frequently we see things pick back up again. People get bored of things, and that's when they'll want custom maps again.
     
  15. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    ive been frequently asking peoples opinion on custom maps on my server, and you find out some interesting things...
    1st the majority of the community are completely unaware that you can download maps outside of tf2...and these are people that have played the game for 50+ hours
    2nd, most people can not handle waiting on an essentially empty screen for a 50mb map to download, and since any maps of valve quality are in that range most of the customs the average player tries are the generic poorly detailed maps or orange maps and thus they develop a bias against custom content
    3rd, because of the above few people will ever want to try customs just because the one or two they played were terrible
    4th, Its rare someone will join a server running a map they have never heard of, I try to catch people by putting up dustbowl 1st then switching to a custom, while most people will leave enough will stay that they try out the map.

    yeah...personally I think that people interested in custom content should set up a few servers running only quality customs and work towards always keeping them populated, then direct other people to the servers...
     
  16. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

    Messages:
    5,436
    Positive Ratings:
    3,557
    Unfortunately people who are just picking up Hammer now probably wont release a decent map for atleast 3 years. It's the very fact that these new people are picking up the developer tools and trying it out that we see so many poor custom maps being introduced to the community. Unfortunately the source engine and Hammer are very complicated, sophisticated things indeed.

    The majority of high quality maps put out to the community have been designed from level designers who have come from a level design background already, and have been doing this for a fair few years, moving from mod to mod.

    The biggest shame is to see the complete lack of long term interest in level design. People just want to whack out a level as quick as possible, get praised and be done with it. It seems like a rather questionable ego trip. People may keep at level design for a while, but when it comes to producing a map people are all "i want results now".
     
  17. Apex_

    Apex_ L3: Member

    Messages:
    122
    Positive Ratings:
    14
    Sadly this is true of any server that wants a fairly steady flow of players. Since players tend to seek out maps they know instead of trying new ones, we're forced to run the lowest common denominator as often as it takes to build up a game. The only good side to this is you can sometimes sneak in a custom when the map changes and spring something great on them (usually triggering the "is this a new Valve map?" response).

    It's depressing to see how many people server hop just to stay on one map constantly. I've had people tell me bold face they'll leave when the map is over or they only play Goldrush etc.

    Regarding large maps, I think Valve should implement a speed display or ETA on the download bar, because I believe many players encounter a server with a horribly slow redirect or none at all and are put off by the crawling download speed. First impressions are all that matters to a lot of folks, so one bum server makes them think *all* map downloads are that slow and hence they'll avoid downloading maps in the future.
     
  18. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    437
    Positive Ratings:
    70
    For me, I dont play many custom maps on a regular basis, because I dont know what the good ones are. I love Steel, but other custom maps, I dont really feel like learning the layout, only to figure out the map is unbalanced. I always have this nagging feeling of "is this custom map balanced?" or "Can I even destroy that sentry gun?" sure, valve maps arent perfect, but they are very, very balanced
     
  19. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

    Messages:
    1,129
    Positive Ratings:
    740
    I like finding servers that are running a map I've never heard of. Sure, a lot of times I'll see a new map name and join the server and find it's a "my first map", or stalemate hell, but I've been pleasantly surprised a lot of times, such as with cp_broma or cp_egypt.

    I recognize though that I'm not exactly in the majority.
     
  20. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Positive Ratings:
    219
    heh...personally i have yet to hate any map that is a dustbowl style attack and defend, unfortunately there are very few customs of these and those that exist tend to be mostly unfinished or huge (in file size or just plain large)...

    I still happen to think that creating a steam group for people who enjoy playing customs and are willing to work at fillings the servers would be a huge step in increasing their popularity...I mean of the few times i joined a server playing a map i never heard of it was because i saw there were 22 people playing and figured if that many people were playing it must be fun.

    So...yeah...anyone want to work with me at getting this in place? I offer up my server (its just collecting dust anyways :p) and encourage other people with dead custom servers to do the same. So...yeah...lets start with a name :p

    oh and i do not think just using this group would be the best choice...this group makes people think they need to be mappers...when what we need is players...
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2