Interview Questions Thread

Discussion in 'Site Discussion' started by Armadillo of Doom, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    As taken from this thread; http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?p=42253

    While we'll do our best to organize everything, I ask that you take time to read through this thread so we can get as few repeat questions as possible. There is currently no limit per person, and no closing time for the thread, so get'm in while you can.

    Edit 1: Here's what I've put together as of page 4. Big thanks to everyone who contributed! We'll be sending this along shortly.

    Edit 2: Revised as of page 6. I think we're close to if not on the final draft.

    Here is what our community has come up w/ so far. We weren’t sure if this is something we should be sharing on the Steam SDK forum, so right now these inquiries are only from our group.

    Your mapping process

    The most common thing that people want to know about is your development process. If that’s something you can share, we would like to understand exactly what happens when you are designing a map from the ground up.

    Is it possible to simplify this development process into bullet points for general reference?

    How many people are usually working on 1 map?

    How closely do you work w/ the people doing textures and models? And what program do they mainly use for TF2 artwork, and specifically textures?

    What compile settings do you use for your maps? i.e. soft shadows, hdr, etc.

    What means does Valve utilize to test maps for balance? i.e. How do you figure out the number of seconds to adjust respawn time when a cp is taken?

    Can we see developer-level paintovers of more of your maps, a la the beta Hydro + paintover present in one of your powerpoints?

    When do you determine a map is finished? Unlike the rest of us, VALVe is able to update maps if an issue occurs. How helpful is this when deciding if a project is done or not?

    General Inquiries

    Which of the current maps was most challenging to develop?

    What kind of alternatives were considered to the Alpine environment?

    Is it common for level design ideas and layouts to get traded in between different game development teams during the design process? IE: A design idea that turned out not to work so well for Episode 2 having made it's way into Team Fortress or Portal.

    Since most displacements are natural cliffs, can you tell us how you created the satellite dish in Hydro?

    Do you have a favorite game type that you enjoy mapping for or playing?

    How have the ways the community received your maps fulfilled your expectations? How have they surprised you?

    What do you think is the coolest idea you've come up with while mapping, and did it end up in the final version?

    You have shown that you are willing to also include maps with more experimental gametypes like cp_steel in your community map pack. How far would you be willing to take this? Would you include a map with a new prefix and game type if it met your standards for quality?

    On behalf of everyone at TF2Maps.net, thank you again for taking time to speak with the community. Everyone here really wants to know how the pros do it, so having some of our questions answered really means a lot us. Sincerely, name.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  2. Gadget

    aa Gadget

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    three questions that instantly popped up in my head:

    * Can you give us some information about your workflow on creating a new map?
    * Can you give us some important rules to follow for creating a good gameplay layout? (some DOs and DON'Ts maybe)
    * How many people are usually working on a map (just one or a team of mappers and environmental artists)?

    I'm not a native speaker so you might want to change wording.
     
  3. TheDarkerSideofYourShadow

    TheDarkerSideofYourShadow L10: Glamorous Member

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    What is your favorite part about mapping?
    What do you find to be the most difficult aspect when making a map?
    What means does VALVe utilize to test maps for balance, or are you guys just so good at it now you can skip that step :) ?
    What part of mapping, or the maps that you've worked on, do you dislike?
    What advice would you have to share with the mapping community?
    Do you ever try and sneak in Easter eggs into your map?
    How did you get started mapping, and end up working for VALVe?
    Do you often try community generated maps?
    What is the process you go through when planning/creating a map?
    How do you stay focused on your current project? I would imagine getting paid to finish helps, but that is still a difficult issue for most mappers.



    Okay, thats all I've got atm. Mostly just stock questions. I'll think of some more later.
     
  4. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    Foremost interest for me is what their early alphas and betas look like, both during testing and before their artists do paintovers. Direct observation helps the best I think...
    Another general question would be their approach to new layouts, where they get their inspiration, how they develop it into a full layout and work from the first basic one onwards.
     
  5. Galago

    Galago L2: Junior Member

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    How do you create your textures? What program do you mainly use for TF2 artwork, and specifically textures?
     
  6. HojoTheGreat

    HojoTheGreat L5: Dapper Member

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    - What would you consider to be the most overlooked/underutilized stage of map development (ie. Concept, theme, layout, optimization, detailing, gameplay testing) by the community?

    - Is it possible to simplify Valve's map development process into bullet-points?

    - What are your top tips for map optimization?

    - Do you have any favorite community maps, and if so what changes would you make to them?
     
  7. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    Two awesome, awesome questions :)
     
  8. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    What references do you/did you use?
    What places do you commonly go to for inspiration?
    Are there any resources you would recommend to the community?
    Will we see an expansion to the alpine theme?

    What compile settings do you use for your maps? (In terms of lighting, things like bounces, softshadows, etc.)

    ...where'd the spytech go?
     
  9. AWESOME-O

    AWESOME-O L10: Glamorous Member

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    lol'd

    -Why are there still some stupid bugs in Hammer World Editor?
    -Is it possible for one to launch hammer without starting Steam?
    -Will Steam cloud also sync map files?
     
  10. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    -IYO, was it a mistake to create 5-cp maps for TF2? some people think the game is better for A/D (myself included)
    -what is one thing that custom mappers never do/include in the map that you would like to see in a custom map?
    -what is your favorite VALVe TF2 map?
    -what is your favorite custom tf2 map?
     
  11. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    Aside from Hydro, Which map was the most difficult to develop?
     
  12. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Actually hydro just looks complicated, it's easier than getting a payload to work atleast..

    I like the questions stated previously;

    How long does a mapping project usually take and how many people work on a given project.

    But my own: Will we see the ability to scale props in any form? Even if only a conversion of 1/16th is allowed, to manually and easily convert models to skybox models.
     
  13. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    1. Do you guys at Valve use a different updated version of Hammer to that of what we do
    2. Can you give us some tips on how to make the displacements "TF2-ey"
    3. How many people work on a map, and generally, how many versions does a map go through before it is finished
    4. How many maps are you working on at the moment? Do you work on more than one map at once.
    5. Do you develop the map around a theme and then build the map into that, or build the theme around the map?
    6. How often do you play community maps? Have variations in game types from community maps ever influenced you when mking new official types?
     
  14. Artesia

    Artesia L6: Sharp Member

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    I'd like to know how ctf_turbine was included as an official map, as it doesn't have nearly the level of detail as the other maps published by valve.
    I'd also like to know if there is a process to have community maps reviewed for such an honor.

    Model compiling... better way to do it? any chance of ever getting support for files straight out of a 3d package like other game editors have? Perhaps a new visual program where you import an obj file and texture images, and it compiles and exports the vmt's, vtf's and .mdl file... The maya plugin you included gives me an error when maya tries to load it.

    Are there any plans to support creation of custom gametypes by incorporating the following into hammer?

    -ambient_generic_tf entity which plays a sound for only one team
    -info_player_teamspawn to have a way to specify which spawnpoint a dead player will appear at (like the closest spawnroom, or farthest, or random)
    -Custom hud, the ability to mix hud styles (like have a payload setup with 2 CPs above it). -Custom scoring HUD to allow score keeping for custom gametypes like Domination, with a new entity to keep track of that score. (perhaps just an entity to show a custom hud sprite on the hud, with an X Y position so we can move it, with an overlay setting we can input text to. Font size setting. overlay color/type as well... font style would be the classic TF2 font of course.
    -Custom HUD option for making a minimap. It would use an image made by the mapmaker of a simplified version of the level. it would track position and direction of the player relative to the position of the driving entity. Also it could track and display the position of the intelligence, Command points and payload which color indications of their current status. Optionally it could but wouldn't need to be able to display friendly player locations (spies show up as friendly to both teams when disguised).

    I think the minimap would be a neat option, not as default but it would help people from getting confused on more complex maps. Also it would give us a way to let player "track down" the intelligence for say a keep a way game, where points are scored for amount of time the intel is held (I've heard it called "rabbit" in other games).
     
  15. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    TheDarkerSideofYourShadow covered most of my questions, lol. I do have one to add though. I would like to know more about the process of developing new environment styles. Like how and why did they decide upon Alpine, and what kinds of alternatives were considered.
     
  16. Brandished

    Brandished L5: Dapper Member

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    Heh, I was thinking this over as well, but not for TF2, but rather the OB engine in it's entirety. Some entities to allow mappers / mod teams to create and test out custom game types without a lot of coding or server-side plugins. The three I thought could be useful and have wanted in the past were:

    -Filterable ambient_generic type entity that isn't broken like the current ambient_generic (see all the bugs)
    -Filterable game_text type entity
    -Filterable brush entity (similar to the func_espawnroomvisualizer, but with an actual filter option)

    And by filterable I mean having a filter settings just like the trigger brush based entities (trigger_multiple, trigger_hurt, etc) do that could hook into the I/O chain the same way .
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  17. TheDarkerSideofYourShadow

    TheDarkerSideofYourShadow L10: Glamorous Member

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    Is there anything you wanted to do, but couldn't do to in game limitations?
    What do you think is the coolest idea you've come up with while mapping, and did it end up in the final version?
    Which gametype do you enjoy mapping for the most?
    How do you feel about the state of the custom content community?
    How do you feel about custom gametypes/deviant gametypes?
     
  18. HojoTheGreat

    HojoTheGreat L5: Dapper Member

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    Did you mean beyond this? I as well would be curious what other alternatives they considered.
     
  19. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    Which custom gametypes do you find most interesting?
     
  20. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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