Idolon's judging journal

Discussion in 'Contests' started by Idolon, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    As opposed to putting all my final thoughts together at the end, I figured it'd be easier to just post everything as I go, then look back on what I wrote and compile what I ultimately think of the map. It's just a bit easier for me to work this way, plus I wont forget anything I felt was notable, and if any other judges want to know what I have to say, they can.

    march 3: maelstrom, sludge

    MAELSTROM
    -didn't actually get to play, only watched a match (8/6 on the server) so notes will just be on aesthetics/what i can get from running around in SP
    -nice to look at
    -the new pit you added looks really nice for some reason, especially with the barrels on the bottom
    -cubemaps? don't know if this is just on my end or not since sludge was missing them too
    -the spawn room looks cool with the amount of grittiness you put into it, dont know if it really follows the tf2 style but i like it regardless
    -there was a z-fighting error but it wasn't a big deal since it was hard to notice from ground level
    -indoors area near spawn could use some more detailing, walls are blank enough to bother me (even posters would be enough)
    -your cliffs have a lot of grass on them and it bothers me
    -the tank door opens downward and that's different from pretty much every other door ever, you should make it move to the side or make a new roll-up door
    -i like that you added a forward upgrade station but there's no reason it can't be further forward
    -the ramp in the upgrade room should be all the way across, just because having that gap will screw someone over one time and they will hate you because of it. you could make it half ramp, half stairs to maintain the visual interest since a wide ramp would look bland. either that or make it a grate and keep the junk under it
    -caged-in generator near the water path needs clipping
    -there's a cliff edge near the side bridge area that's almost a 90 angle, should smooth it out

    SLUDGE

    -actually played this one, engineer
    -the wave with the backburner pyros was fairly holdable until the pyros came, then we were forced to use the rest of the map. unsure if intentional, but it was consistent along every round we played
    -i noticed we failed earlier rounds more than later ones. i also felt we got a LOT of money in later rounds, a lot of which i probably didn't need. consider revising money amounts
    -the bear claw heavies happened so often that it was almost "oh boy not these guys again." consider mixing it up, so even if they are the same enemy it doesn't become super monotonous
    -lots of weird shadows appeared. other people told me this happens on other maps too so i don't know what to tell you
    -fps is this map's worst problem. you could probably make use of occluders on the building walls
    -good placement of ammo/health, small health in the storage shed was pretty much useless though
    -i like that you added the barrel on the stairs, made me smile
    -good job blocking the side bath that Donut said was overpowered. really improved the map flow, made that portion less of a place to hold out on. feels a bit cramped now, but i think its fine
    -no cubemaps, but could be just on my end. have yet to verify with anyone else
    -thanks for removing the railing in the building near the front area (you know the one)
    -the reset zone was remarkably hard to use, i think we used it once during the round. you should switch the water routes around for tank/reset paths for a version and see if the (new) reset route gets used more often
    -the trees in the OOB area with the airboats can't be seen without them fading. you should remove them just to improve the framerate, rather than up the fade distance
    -karst rocks could also be another framerate hit
    -the binksi logging building has a tree in it
    -there's a lot more props that could use fade distances
    -i'm getting a lot of
    Particles: maximum verts exceeded: 51444 verts, 77166 indexes
    Too many simultaneously active particles!
    in my console, more framerate hits yay
    -i like the first area because you can circle around the rock and and get to uber medics without their giant noticing. adding anything to facilitate to that mechanic would be superb (height advantage)
    -the only high ground in the first area leaves you with your back turned (usually to demoknights), meaning nobody really wanted to use it. consider making it take longer to get up to the platform (or putting the route up in a more visible spot to people using the highground)
    -you could also remove detail sprites to improve framerate
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  2. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    March 18 (oh god i took a long hiatus, time to CRAAAAMMMM)

    ISOLATION
    -first thing i noticed was the aesthetics, really look nice. could be mistaken for a valve map
    -the gameplay is kinda not good, played soldier + engineer
    -the large building in the center of the first arena seems like it should be the main holding point, but it can only see one entrance and is a death trap to anyone who gets swarmed by the melee bots
    -the roof of that building feels like it should be so much more powerful than it is. it has no cover or health/ammo, and has a lot of falloff from anyone shooting from it, and consequently is really underpowered. i would revise that entire building to be more like decoy's center building
    -engineer didn't have many good spots to build. an ideal sentry spot has lots of cover, ammo, and isn't easy to sneak up on. while making an ideal sentry spot is a bad idea for balance reasons in most gamemodes, remember that mvm is a cooperative gamemode and can it's okay to be unfair
    -there's a lot of area to cover and as a result our team was pretty spread out. if you created a more defined spine i think it could fix a lot of issues
    -there isn't a whole lot of usable high ground in the main fighting areas. the best high ground is at the thin outdoors passageway, but a combination of claustrophobia and your bot choices makes that portion very hard to hold.
    -your pickup placement literally ruins this map. ammo/health is used in mvm to create strong defensive holds, but all of the ammo is placed at the sides of the map, making it INCREDIBLY inconvenient to go find ammo when you run out. this lost our team quite a few rounds. please re-evaluate where you put your pickups
    -you could learn a lot from looking at official maps. while i do appreciate that you're trying something different, it just isn't working
    -your crit melee bots could be vastly improved if they stuck together in clumps. it would make explosive class players' lives so much easier (and more fun!). having the crit axe pyros swarm around you and get you from behind was pretty irritating
    -only got to wave 3 - tank seemed really hard to take down since everyone kept on running out of ammo and scrambling around, trying to find the scarce resource
    -i would run another version with just pickup placement changed before you make any layout changes. it's a very serious issue

    EDIT: found some more things to complain about
    -wave 1 was hard to beat but i blame the pickups on that
    -wave 2, medics were super irritating because they healed their patients to full health and made them invincible. you should make their ubers last shorter, and maybe limit them to only heal giants
    -the only projectile robots you had were demos, which are the worst projectile robots. you should add hitscan enemies in the mix, they're probably the best to have
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  3. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    March 23

    PLATEAU

    -played soldier (stock rl + buff banner + discp action)
    -first part where bots come in is really great and i like it, probably best first portion of the contest
    -rest of map is kinda bland though
    -the entirety of the map works to a degree, but it just isn't much fun to play
    -good job on the bots, unique + challenging + feel like something valve would put together. not too outlandish but is different enough from standard maps to feel good
    -for some reason you tame the detailing down in each new version. your church idea was so much cooler and i wish you had stuck with it. the finale doesn't really appear special in any way, since it's just a wooden shack at the end of a small gulch
    -upper portion to the first area could use some work, i would recommend making the center more focused. right now the main path is only 1/3 of the entire width of that section and it's easy to ignore if you're grabbing health/ammo
    -in every official map, the bots take some very narrow path to get to the bomb area, making it a lot easier to focus while players are a bit more panicked. i would consider this if you want to redesign your finale
    -taking the high ground at the finale just feels counter-intuitive since you have to walk past the main fight to get a vantage point, and then you're likely to get picked off by robots since nobody else is up there with you. there should be a much higher high ground that's closer to the spawn so players don't have to walk away and come back
    -the section around the death pit is kinda cool but it's hard to hold since the bots take a path that leads them away from the high ledges (which most players ended up not using anyways)
    -in fact most of the high ground in this map wasn't used very often when we played it, and i think it's because all of it is on the sides and the travel time doesn't seem worth it. i would try and make the high ground more centralized
    -the absolute highest ground on the map seemed pretty much useless because it was really far away from everything, meaning falloff/projectile speeds made it fairly undesirable
    -did not play past wave 3 because we had a server full of wimps
    -bots had a tendency to not take the main path as the bomb bot and i ended up backing up into enemies a lot
    -thanks for fixing the collision model on those construction lights



    EDIT:
    Hey, I'm thinking that if I can't judge every map before the deadline (we lost 1/3 of our players on wave 3 of plateau + real life + tf2 not working) I might just count myself out, but still give the feedback like I would normally. If I do manage to get all 6 maps in (I think I can do it), I might also just have my score weighted a little bit less for not playing each map thoroughly. What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  4. Seba

    aa Seba DR. BIG FUCKER, PHD

    Messages:
    2,363
    Positive Ratings:
    2,365
    If you can't judge every map your votes won't count either way; feedback is more than welcome though. Not playing a map thoroughly won't lower your influence, I want to keep it even across all judges.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  5. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    March 31st (oh my god i might actually finish judging!)

    VENTUS
    -out of all the contest maps, this is the most official feeling one
    -very pretty, probably best aesthetics. didn't feel under-detailed even though it was (by normal map standards, not mvm standards)
    -gameplay felt like an mvm map should with proper height advantage and such, places players should stand felt obvious. maybe a bit more cover?
    -waves were pretty cool, diverse yet tame. some waves could stand to be easier and/or more spread out, look at the Extra Credits episode of "differences in scale vs. differences in kind"
    -the waves were particularly cool because when we failed one, we had to change our strategy and try again. usually, once we figured out the "proper" strategy it was easy to execute. this is the best thing you can have in an mvm map, have it be more of a puzzle rather than a test of strength
    -loads of clipping issues, bots liked to get stuck under things. you already knew that though
    -i like that you added incentive to get the jump height upgrade, don't know if that was intentional
    -slow-killing water was a bit unexpected, maybe make it a bit more noticeable somehow? I almost died because I didn't know I was being leeched
    -there's a area behind the docks near the hatch where you can get yourself stuck in
    -the long bridge is probably the worst part of this map. long sightline with no cover/height variation and it's easy to miss snipers trying to pick you off from the side. I would recommend doublecross-ifying the bridge to be more interesting, maybe tie in the construction pack? i don't know, but get creative!
    -going under the bridge was really really underused, and consequently it was kinda easy to miss engineers. maybe make that a bot route if it isn't already
    -played as soldier, seemed fine overall
    -remember to scramble your stair textures

    ISOLATION
    -played it again, had a lot more luck getting through (beat it)
    -played pyro
    -blasting enemies into the deathpits was kinda awkward but i've also never done pyro mvm so that could just be an engine thing
    -i think now that i've played the map with a good team i like it a bit more. it's still got some weak spots though
    -spies got stuck in upgrade room, was hilarious
    -nothing to say that i haven't before

    -DESTRUCT
    -played heavy
    -overall layout is okay, kinda boring though. bots only have one route and going into that trench while there are robots is basically death
    -waves are obnoxious, usually just one type of bot (pyro, soldier, demo etc) and it was pretty boring. definitely suffers from "differences in scale vs. differences in kind"
    -the long tunnel portion is interesting but maybe not as good as bigrock's because of how blind the corner is after it. going down the tunnel only to find 3 crocket soldiers coming right at you and nowhere to run is not fun
    -map suffers from lack of routes to take, usually only one staircase in certain areas to get up to the elevated ground
    -did not complete last round, display drivers crashed and i had to quit
    -the best sentry position we found was right underneath the bot drop-off zone, which was really weird
    -snipers stayed in their little roost in the upper-right, did not come down. make sure you put a fun_respawnroom up there for them to function properly
    -detailing has good ideas but seems like a mishmash of a bunch of different things. concrete buildings have wood stairs embedded into them, odd texture choices. the brick building where the bots come out is especially odd since the brick wall that fell out is still in one piece, and the brick wall is also 2 bricks thick
    -pickup positions seemed alright but you could maybe centralize them, also put health and ammo next to each other to make things easier on players
    -no cubemaps
    -tank looks weird when it does corners
    -probably the only contest map to not have a forward upgrade station, which is a shame because it's a really good idea
    -when crocket soldiers enter the tunnel it's impossible to enter the tunnel at all and the game turns into crocket crocket revolution, lost a lot of money that way. the crocket soldiers just weren't much fun at all
    -i had a hard time finding good heavy positions (close + cover). i also don't play heavy a whole lot so i don't know if this is a normal thing
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  6. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    April 2

    MAELSTROM
    -played stock demo (pan)
    -i really like the detailing/ambiance, worst part of detailing is your displacements. they're really un-smooth and weird looking, and the alpha blending seems really random. I'd work on it
    -the door from spawn that has another door across from it probably needs a sign, since both doors are identical and it could confuse players for a split-second
    -the heavies that set you on fire were the most annoying bot I've encountered on any map of this contest, especially the large ones
    -flying guillotine scouts were also kinda annoying
    -overall your pop file has some good ideas but you seem to want a gimmick or be unusual with every bot type. it's not a sin to have a basic enemy
    -2 tanks at the same time was NUTS, i don't know how we even did that
    -forward upgrade station doesn't work if you just lost a round
    -layout seems okay
    -your deathpit probably killed me more times than any bots, i walked into it backwards on accident at least 6 times (i counted!). put a railing on it
    -i enjoyed this map, which is good. just needs some polish

    PLATEAU
    -played solider (same as before)
    -not really much to add from last time, it's just kinda not fun. i had a hard time staying mentally engaged while playing it
    -the laser soldiers are super annoying because it's hard to see projectiles and you can't reflect them, plus their resistance type is "bullet" which is counterintuitive to players (i know you can't control that, but sometimes you have to work with the game you're given)

    SLUDGE
    -played pyro (degreaser/flare/axtinguisher)
    -first wave is really long, i actually said "i just realized were still on wave one" out loud
    -rocket launchers should almost always be stock. that way players actually have an opportunity to see and dodge the rocket before it hits them, which is especially important with crockets
    -maybe less medics per heavy on one of the waves, i forget which. we failed it a lot though
    -fast tanks are still cool
    -last wave, the tank got taken down before it even entered the water. i think this is okay though, just maybe send it in not right at the beginning? it hardly set us back any
    -you could definitely do with less of almost every bot type. waves overstayed their welcome
     
  7. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    April 2 (again!)

    ATOMGRAD
    -played soldier
    -gave up on wave 3 (rtv)
    -wave 1 is almost all hitscan enemies and not fun
    -your "fodder" bot is scattergun scouts and they are far too powerful
    -lots and lots of support - spies were in every wave?
    -detailing has some cool ideas, but they're not superbly executed
    -the buildings in the first area are way off scale, i'm as tall as 1.5 floors?
    -no cover in the entire map
    -first area only has one small coverless highground to hold. the other high entrance has no real good defensive position and is also hidden (i didn't know it existed!)
    -too many powerful bots at the same time. it's okay to make weak bots
    -we missed almost half of the cash on the first round
    -layout is very overscaled, warehouse section is huge with no cover from the spam of 1000 robots (basically a deathtrap)
    -there's just too much stuff going on on a large scale
    -the bridge in the warehouse is used to reset robots, but it's impossible to use because of your bot choice and the scale
    -i'm not sure if i can be very critical of specific things on this map because it misses the main reasons that mvm is fun
    -to fix this map, rework the scale and add cover, make the warehouse more fun to fight in. the dish at the end is cool but is really big, you should add more stuff happening to it (height advantage over the dish or something)
    -remember that overscaling also causes falloff issues

    ISOLATION
    -played engineer again (pistol, no wrangler)
    -display drivers crashed + tf2 refused to launch, didn't finish
    -played with a good team this time. points still stand that engineer is really weird to play since i don't know where the strong spots are at all. i spent a lot of time moving my sentry back to take down giants
    -fun if you have a good team, but not very good if you don't
    -don't have much more to say that I didn't say earlier
    -cash from a tank fell into a deathpit and we lost the bonus because of it. don't know if that's fixable though
    -pyro bots should not be able to reflect rockets
    -waves are a bit boring, but work well with the map. if you make the map more easily defendable you could have much more interesting waves
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  8. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    Since I've now played every map, I'm going to be posting non-final scores. These scores will adjust over time, and whatever I have at the deadline will be my final score. I will also write up summaries that cover the important stuff that my notes go over, as well as all of the notes for the mapmakers to examine at their will.

    Maps G & B Waves Aesthetics Technical
    Atomgrad 3 3 7 7
    Destruct 3 2 5 7
    Isolation 7 10 9 10
    Maelstrom 10 8 8 8
    Sludge 8 9 8 5
    Plateau 5 4 4 7
    Ventus 6 5 10 5


    Need to take a look at technical side of things.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  9. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    April 3

    VENTUS
    -played demo for 1 round, pyro for rest
    -did not complete (rtv)
    -waves are pretty hard actually, especially those huntsman snipers. huntsman snipers are bad because they're basically snipers without the big line to show you if they're aiming at you. also there's a LOT of them at once
    -the route below the bridge was used a few times by the robots, and the map was a lot more fun when they did. the bridge route is definitely much harder to defend
    -wave 2, way too many spies spawn
    -a lot of the waves were pretty fun but just too hard in a lot of cases. i blame the bridge mostly, since it's a huge sightline with no cover
    -good potential, but a few issues are creating a lot of not-fun. it shouldn't take a whole lot to make this map a lot better

    ISOLATION (again, guys?)
    -played demo
    -usually if we played a round and failed, we beat it the next time. this is good
    -fix your pickups and make highground quicker to access and you've got a good map on your hands

    DESTRUCT
    -played scout
    -that wave of all crit soldiers got the server to quit
    -sometimes the wave indicator during a lull period would show something other than what would happen. for instance, in the crit soldier wave, it showed 56 crit soldiers when infact the first 3-4 waves of soldiers were not crits
    -scout doesn't have a whole lot of room to run around in in the first area. look at mannworks' first area for an example of a good place for scouts
    -i want to be able to look out from spawn. i died a lot coming right out of the spawn because i got hit in the face with a rocket or something
    -no cubemaps
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  10. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
  11. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    April 4

    MAELSTROM
    -engineer (stock)
    -engineer doesn't have obvious spots but still powerful ones. i like that
    -heavies that set you on fire when they shoot you are annoying
    -guillotine scouts are annoying because you can't really see them hit you, you just take damage and bleed
    -two tank wave is pretty hard
    -apparently you have some bot spawning issues
    -sometimes bots don't take the bomb path if bomb is already at hatch
    -also you mentioned that the deathpit is a bit wonky at times
    -missing cubemaps
    -fun, but needs tweaking

    PLATEAU
    -played pyro (degreaser/flare/axtinguish)
    -we gave up on wave 4
    -i actually had to use ubercharge canteens for once, which is nice
    -waves become really hard really quickly. i blame the map design, but the pop file certainly doesn't do it any favors
    -having a pyro is a must, we had 3
    -your map is a straight line with mirror symmetry, and it's really boring to play because there's hardly any corners or flanking opportunities. you just go straight at the enemy
    -you should change it so bots go up the ramp instead of down, bots with height advantage is almost always bad (only part in an official map that does this is coaltown finale)
     
  12. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,421
    Positive Ratings:
    4,154
    Congratulations! You're one of 7 people who managed to get a map into this contest! Or, in the case that you're reading this and you didn't submit a map, help me congratulate these people. Let's take a moment to celebrate, now that judging is finally over!

    [​IMG]

    Okay, now that that's over with, let's talk about some things that I learned from this contest that I think are vital to what makes MVM fun. Everyone (not just the entrants) should keep these in mind when designing for MVM.

    First, let's talk about catering the pop file to your map. Some maps are definitely "easier" that others, in that the same pop file on both of these maps would be a lot easier on one than the other. While this is not really a bad thing for either map, what we should keep in mind that some maps don't work well with harder pop files, which is a bad thing. Valve knew, while they were making their first 3 maps, that they were going to be reusing these maps a lot, which they did! Replayability is a huge factor in designing a MVM map, because half of the gameplay is the waves themselves - a map should be able to be played with a large variety of different kinds of waves for it to be truly great. The easiest way to accomplish this is to do what Valve did: make bot paths low ground surrounded by buildings with cover and health/ammo. This probably isn't the only way to go, though - feel free to experiment!

    Secondly, let's talk about differences in kind vs. differences in skill. Watch this video. In the video, the narrator talks about how bumping up the difficulty number (health, number of robots, damage output) is a viable tactic to make things harder, but adding different mechanics (bot types) is what allows you to make interest curves and really bring out the best in your map. Some maps had issues with monotonous waves of robots that seemed to drag on - mix it up!


    Some notes about how I judged:

    Technical wasn't based on the number of issues a map had, but instead, how much these issues affected the gameplay of a map. For example, a map missing cubemaps is going to get a higher score than a map with broken bot paths.

    Waves were scored on how fun they were to fight, as well as how well they interacted with the map.

    I included all of the judging notes that I took during the duration of the contest and included it in the PDF for your map. None were written with proper grammar (or an awake mind), but please read through all of them - they go into more depth than the "official" scores, and hit on more specific issues rather than broad ones.

    Now, let's bring on the scores:

    Maps G & B Waves Aesthetics Technical
    Atomgrad 3 3 7 7
    Destruct 3 2 5 7
    Isolation 7 10 9 10
    Maelstrom 10 8 8 8
    Sludge 8 9 8 5
    Plateau 5 4 4 7
    Ventus 6 5 10 5


    And of course, PDFs with all of my notes on every map.

    Atomgrad
    Destruct
    Isolation
    Maelstrom
    Plateau
    Sludge
    Ventus

    I'll be posting these PDFs in the respective threads for easy reference. Enjoy!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013