Mapping Research

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by LornMind, May 5, 2010.

  1. LornMind

    LornMind L1: Registered

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    'Lo there everyone.

    I'm doing a research project on TF2 and the community that has cropped up around it, particularly the community that works on the built environments within TF2. The fact that this place exists is heavenly, because anyone here who's a mapper is essentially capable of providing me with some feedback and insight to:

    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?​
      Why do you make make maps?​
      Why TF2? Why not another game?​
      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?​

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?​
      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?​

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?​
      How close are you to this community?​
      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?​

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?​
      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?​
      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)​
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?​
      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?​

    You can be as thorough or as concise with your responses as you wish, and you can answer any of number of the questions. If you could be so kind though, let me know which questions you are answering. Especially insightful responses will probably be included in the bibliography and main body of my paper.

    Thanks for your time!
     
  2. What Is Schwa

    What Is Schwa L6: Sharp Member

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    I would estimate Swift has taken up about a hundred hammer hours over the course of a year. I've played it maybe 20 to 40 hours.

    I map for TF2 because I enjoy it and it offers me a creative outlet.
     
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  3. Icarus

    aa Icarus

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    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?​
      Roughly 100 hours over a course of a month for me. The more experience you have, the more efficiently you can use your time

      Why do you make make maps?​
      It's a fun, creative outlet. Ever since I was young I liked to create and design environments. I'm perhaps hoping to get into something related as a career.

      Why TF2? Why not another game?​
      TF2 is an interesting and dynamic game to design for. You have you take into consideration many gameplay elements, such as all 9 classes, the game mode, the flow, balance, optimization, items, and try to create a map that everyone (pub and pug) can enjoy. TF2 maps a a lot more complex and have a lot more thought put in than what you'd imagine.

      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?​
      I try my best to maintain the TF2 universe. the map has to stay within the fiction, and be a totally believable location. at the same time, though, I want to present something new and fresh to the players. Whether it be a new environment setting, or a new twist on a game mode.

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?​
      TF2 would be my first real attempt at 3D mapping, and it's stylized approach really allows for some creative ways to design and detail certain areas. You only need to make a suggestion to the player in order for them to understand how something works, like Hydro's knee-high fences. Nobody questions it. You can also put a lot of humour in the environments too, as TF2 sometimes likes to use lampshading.

      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?​
      Spytech/Indoors. I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed detailing interior areas a lot more than doing exteriors.

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?​
      I think you mentioned it yourself. It's a congregation of prospective and skilled source mappers alike.

      How close are you to this community?​
      I try to be considerate towards newer members, but my respect has to be earned.

      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?​
      No testing = worse maps. it's not very often you'd find a place that would play alphas of maps.

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?​
      I played mostly Spy during my first year. Then I moved onto Engineer. But now I mostly play Pyro. Kind of a rock-paper-scissors going on, eh? :p

      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?​
      Well, he IS awesome.

      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)​
      If it was good, and I enjoyed it, I don't see how it would hurt to try it out.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?​
      Yes, and more will come ;)

      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?​
      They're great, but the more recent maps are far superior to them. Like anyone else, Valve mappers get more experienced in the game, they know what works and what doesn't. Presently, I find it completely understandable why they won't make another Territory Control or Gravel Pit map.


    /me is weird and thinks surveys are fun
     
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  4. StickZer0

    aa StickZer0 💙💙💃💙💙

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    Thar you go :D
     
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  5. Geal

    Geal L4: Comfortable Member

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    How long does it take?
    I would say an ideal length of time for a map would be four months (the length of the contest). However, this does require quite a bit of dedication and time spent to attain this deadline, I'd say a more common length of time would be 5-6 months.

    Why do you make make maps?
    I make maps because I love to. I'm trying to get a job as a level designer, and I'm very familiar with TF2, so I decided to start making maps for it - both for fun and to help me get a job as a level designer one day.

    Why TF2? Why not another game?
    I'm really familiar with TF2 - the wide selection of classes and gameplay modes gives for a huge range of possible maps, allowing level designers to go nuts. Also, TF2 is very easy for potential mappers to get started with - Hammer is relatively easy to learn, and it's free! Really, it's mostly because I love playing TF2, and I'd play some maps and think "yeah, I could make something this good - maybe even better!"

    What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?
    It really depends on the map. The point of a game is to create an experience for the player, and a level is essentially the same thing - just on a smaller scale. The mapper needs to think about what experience they want their map to create, and how to achieve it. There are various ways to achieve a desired experience: chosen textures, skybox, weather effects, soundscapes, etc.

    If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?
    I am definitely drawn to its art style, but it's not the sole reason I map for it. I really enjoy the art style because it's cartoony but still realistic.

    What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?
    Like I said earlier: probably my favorite part of the aesthetics is the fact that they obviously look like a cartoon, but are still realistic: things are gritty and dirty, the buildings appear lived-in, etc.

    Why did you join this community?
    I joined the community to get advice and help with my maps and my mapping skills, and to help others where I can.

    How close are you to this community?
    Not too terribly close. I don't post incredibly often, so I don't think anyone really knows me. However, I still get a ton of useful advice and constructive criticism, one of the reasons why this is such a great community.

    Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?
    If this place (and others similar to it) didn't exist, I'd definitely be a significantly less skilled mapper (and I'm already pretty poor at it, so that's really saying something!). I doubt I'd create my own site, since I don't know too much about web design or anything along those lines. I'd probably just jimmy-rig some really bad maps to mess around with friends on.

    Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?
    Scout, I play almost exclusively. I enjoy other classes, but Scout is my favorite by far.

    Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?
    I would say no, but I suppose there's some connection. I'm small and skinny, so I guess subconsciously I was attracted to the Scout as a class since I could relate physically to him. Not only that, but I generally enjoy the faster, weaker classes/play styles when I play games, so I was also drawn to his gameplay style. I actually played Spy for my first 40-50 hours of gameplay, since I loved the disguising and cloaking aspects. I dunno what made me switch over to Scout, but once I did I never really looked back.

    Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)
    It's mostly the community. I made a lot of friends while playing, and I doubt I'd have played as long if it weren't for them. Of course, the game does have strong lasting appeal, and Valve continuously is releasing updates with tons of new content - it feels like the game will never really end. As for other games, Lead and Gold recently released - it plays similarly to TF2, and I've been playing it a lot lately. I don't see it taking over TF2 though - TF2 just has such strong lasting appeal. Many games try to keep their players playing via rank grinding and such things, but TF2 keeps players just as involved without needing to resort to such tedious gameplay mechanics. The game is also really fun, which helps.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?
    Yeah, quite a few actually. Off the top of my head: cp_steel, cp_fastlane, ctf_turbine, cp_junction, cp_egypt, cp_yukon, pl_hoodoo, arena_watchtower.... I know there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?
    They're all very well made and designed. Some have some design flaws, but for the most part they're all very fun. But really, you gotta remember that Valve maps are made by normal people just like you and me. Yes, they have more easy access to testing and tools, and they most likely have more professional experience than us, but they're still just people. I've played plenty of community maps that were Valve quality. I guess this is why some were chosen by Valve to officially be part of the game!
     
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  6. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    I only have time for short answers, I hope that's all right.

    The Mapping Process
    - Several months, but in fact, my most successful map has been in development for over half a year. I'm a bit slow and lazy.
    - With Hammer :D (I dunno how I can go any more in-depth since I'm sticking to short answers)
    - First of all mapping is fun, but I also want to work on video games when I have finished my education. Mapping is a good starting point for me.
    - TF2 was the first FPS game I really got into. It's so fun and well designed, so I've been playing it since release and that means I wanted more (which lead to mapping).
    - In short; I just want people to have fun in a well designed and good looking map, in fact more so than to try to make them use effective strategies. After all, I mostly map for fun!

    The Art Style
    - I am drawn to it because of its excellent style, but I also play it and map for it because regardless of how it looks, it plays better than any other FPS game I have experienced.
    - I enjoy details the most because they allow me to design a cool looking environment with quick results. I don't like to optimize my maps beyond generally structuring it well, it just feels like a chore.

    The Community
    - I found it through the Control Point podcast, and I joined to have a starting point for my mapping, since there were (and are) a lot of helpful people here.
    - Very close! It's the only community I frequently visit at the moment, and I have gooten to know many of the members very well from Steam chats.
    - I would not have started mapping.

    Yourself and Your Class
    - The Heavy, the Pyro and the Spy are my favorites.
    - I find the Heavy to be a very funny and iconic character. His voice lines are always amusing and his simple, violent yet happy nature is something I enjoy. The Pyro and Spy? Not so much, they're still just as well designed as the other TF2 characters though.
    Oh, and me and the Heavy are both fat. :p
    (Although he's bigger than me!)
    - I keep coming back because of how Valve treats their customers with free updates, as well as a somewhat... decent community. Some TF2 communities are horrible and many TF2 players are idiots, but TF2Maps is an example of what keeps me playing. I would probably not change from this game to a similar one. For example, I tried Battlefield Heroes, which completely missed the point of what a cartoon game (for lack of better words) is (it felt like a badly written and produced children's cartoon). No one can do it better than Valve, it seems.
    - Yup.
    - I don't think they'd nailed the design at the time, at least not with Hydro, 2fort and Dustbowl. While those maps are all fun, they (especially the former two) are extremely spammy in nature. They did better on Granary, Well and Gravel Pit, but not even those maps are necessarily the best of the bunch.
     
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    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  7. Fraz

    aa Fraz Blu Hatte, Greyscale Backdrop.

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    The Mapping Process
    How long does it take?
    This, I cannot be sure of. I would say a lot of blood sweat and tears go into each map though. Depending on the map, the author, how new the author is to mapping can all lead up to different times. I've not yet finished a map, but I do plan on it. I spend more time mapping than playing TF2 if that puts it into perspective.

    Why do you make make maps?
    Why? It's a very broad question. I make it because I enjoy doing it. I don't do it for any other crap, make it for the community blah de blah. I make a map so I can enjoy the process, be pleased with the final outcome and be proud of myself when I do see the end product. I've always been a creative person, good at Art and Graphic Communication in school. We don't do much in the ways of 3D modelling or anything close to mapping, but I suppose my love of games, my love of Art & Design all merged and this is where I am.

    Why TF2? Why not another game?
    I simply have not really ventured. TF2 was my first ever proper gaming experience, the only game I've stuck by for 2+ Years. I'm a big console gamer, and my brother bought the Orange Box for the PC. He had a shot of TF2 and said it sucked, my competitive nature spurred me on and that he must "suck" and from then on I fell in love. If my brother had never mentioned how bad he thought TF2 was, I never would've looked at it, I'd be a much different person than I am today.

    What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?
    All I want from the gamer playing my map is for them to have fun. That's the way it should be. A map can be the most balanced map in the world and not get played, if it isn't fun. After all, we play games for fun, don't we? That's why I believe 32 Man Instant Respawn 2fort is so popular, people think it's fun. I love it if I'm honest. It's the same reason why people like cp_orange_x3. FUN.


    The Art Style
    If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?
    No, the art style is different than most "brown" FPS games. It certainly caught my eye, but it is not the sole reason I map for TF2.

    What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?
    Design aesthetics? As in, what do I enjoy creating? What do I enjoy Looking at? Since I don't really understand the question I'll go through both. I seem to be drawn to the deserty themes in TF2, when mapping. Hydro, Dustbowl and Badwater are the kind of things I enjoy mapping. I like the mix of browns, the wood, the whole rustic feel. I think it's nice. I enjoy playing in the Alpine themes more though. Lumberyard feels "fresh" and Viaduct does as well. Sawmill is one of the most beautiful maps Valve have released. Now, what do I like doing Least? I dislike mapping Alpine, don't know why, I just haven't really enjoyed doing it. I dislike "Industrial" maps, such as Granary. Again, I've never really enjoyed looking at it, there's nothing I can pin it on specifically.


    The Community

    Why did you join this community?
    They seemed like a friendly bunch, and the best "group" to get into to develop my skills. I wouldn't be half as good (bad? :p) as I am now if it weren't for people like A Boojum Snark, for his entity help, prefabs, and everything else he has done. zpqrei also helped me a lot, he helped me feel at home, I can have a laugh with him, talk to him and he'll give me advice on screenshots and stuff, he's a generally nice guy. Then there's the TF2Maps.net Steam Chat - the most valuable resource this community has. Without everybody who frequents in there I doubt a lot of us would be where we are now.

    How close are you to this community?
    I feel very close to it, I may not be one of the best mappers, or players, or anything like that. This community has given me a home, like it has to a lot of people I guess. People come and go, but this community, I guess, will stay strong as long as TF2 does.

    Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?
    Uhh, I wouldn't be mapping. Simple as. I followed Ph4t3's youtube tutorials, and I believe I found a link either in a description of his, or in one of the comments leading me here. It was here that sparked my true interest in mapping.

    Yourself and Your Class
    Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?
    Demoman, and more recently Pyro. Since I have about 200 hours as demoman I think he'd win.

    Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?
    Again, my smugness and competitive nature brought me to him. My brother said he could only go "this wee crap guy who can only shoot grenades" I asked him what class it was, and I had a go. I practised with him and he's now my favourite. He's Scottish and I'm Scottish. I dunno if that has anything to do with it!

    Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)
    I can't say with certain confidence what I'd do. I want to get a career in game design so... I probably will move eventually to single player, and jot about a little, I think I'd stick to Valve games at first. Maybe L4D/L4D2, or Portal 2 when it comes out, since I know the editor and all. If/When Episode 3 comes out, I might make a map or two for it, eventually broadening my horizons, maybe move to Unreal, or whatever. Man, I dunno. I don't really look ahead that much.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?
    Yes, members from this very site have had their map bought by Valve, YM is the first one that springs to mind, when Valve bought pl_hoodoo. That and cp_yukon by MangyCarFace.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?
    They're great. I love 2fort, Hydro and the likes. They are some of the nicest looking maps, not the best balanced or anything. I do suppose though, the variety they've added over the years. Adding more and more maps has only developed the game into the thing it is now, an even better game.

    Hope this helps
    </wall of text>
     
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  8. zpqrei

    aa zpqrei Theme Changer Extraordinaire

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    • It took me a long time to make Blackwood Valley, a total of 5 or so months. but of actual building it was more like 1 month.
    • It is a great creative outlet, and I generally find it calming and interesting.
    • TF2 is a great game with a great creative community, very few other games can offer that.
    • I would like to feel that the player would enjoy the map. That'd make my effort worth while.

    • No. I am drawn to TF2 due to it's ease of access to new mappers, and it's great gameplay. The art style is a bonus though.
    • I really enjoy detailing large areas, but I do have a little trouble making large bland areas interesting.

    • I joined this community because I wanted to learn about Team Fortress 2 level design.
    • I have been staff, I have done the swamp theme, and more. I'd say I'm pretty close to the community.
    • I wouldn't have been drawn to TF2 as much as I am if it were not for custom maps, I'd have to say that :)

    • Pyro :3
    • I do, because of my shiny flamethrower. We're very attached.
    • I'm not sure I would, unless the content we're getting now stops. I might play it as well.
    • Yes, they were.
    • I think they're of the highest quality. A real benchmark for us all.


    No problem :)
     
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  9. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    The mapping process.

    How long does it take?

    It takes several months, but there are several factors that change a maps production time. Formost, what ever it is that you do in your life, as this is essentially a hobby for most of us (we don't usually get paid for this stuff unless the game's company in question likes our work and decides to buy it, which is rare and an honour). Life comes first and Level Design comes somewhere after that. But more specifically, gamemode choice can determine the extent of the project and vicariously it's time in production. A KoTH map will take significantly less time to build than a 3 stage payload map as KoTH's are smaller in size and has a simpler game entity setup (it's less complicated to dictate the game rules and less oppotunities to break the maps functionality and delay its final release).

    You create the layout using simple geometry, this can be done in an afternoon. But then you have to test it to make sure the gameplay is enjoyable, make modifications if it isn't until it is. Then the fun part, make an art pass so that it's aesthetically pleasing, then continue with the process making modifications if it isn't. At the same time we test it for optimisation and elements that intrude on gameplay, make modifications if the aesthetics are negatively impacting on other aspects of your map until its form eventually compliments TF2's game mechanics and art theme.

    Why do you make make maps?

    Why does anyone do what they do? Some things just click with people. Some people want to be social workers... but i personally see no attraction in that career path. I've been educated as a problem solver having taken design courses in school, college, and now finishing university with a BA (hons) Graphic Design this summer. I enjoy the process of making virtual environments and i enjoy people enjoying themselves in them (usually killing each other). But just the idea of creating experiences is appealing, especially interactive ones.

    Why TF2? Why not another game?

    The same reasoning. I enjoy playing TF2 so it only stands to reason that i would support and involve myself more with TF2. I've gone from game to game, playing but also creating content for them. First it was the Age of Empires editor, then it was Ground Control 2, then it was Half-Life's World Craft editor (now Hammer). I've also used Dawn of War's editor and C&C map editors. If i love a game i want to add to its "awesome".

    What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?

    Pretty much hearing/reading "That's fucking awesome" lets me know i've done a good job. People play games because they offer experiences otherwise out of reach or ones that don't occur nearly enough as we'd like them too, game designers know this so they create a platform for this, but someone needs to build the scene for what ever narrative that is immersing our suspended disbelief. As Level Designers we set up the physical cue's for players to experience these moments. Creating a scenario where X experience can be had.

    Creating multiplayer maps is a little more restricting in terms of what emotions we can evoke from players, depending of the game of course. It basicaly boils down to what you let players achieve, but this is largely dictated by game design, so you work within the parameters of the game (which has already attracted X demographic that wants to experience what you're offering).

    The Art Style
    If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?

    I wasn't drawn in by the art style, i played the predecessor Team Fortress Classic religously for 7 years and that looked nothing like this game (which i also play religously when i can). TFC gameplay was truly satisfactory, i think it was the 9 class system and team work aspect that was such a big hit with me so TF2 kinda wins over other games i am interested in as it fits these same criteria.

    What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?

    TF2 has a great sense of humour. I'm really not all that biased about visual themes, i'll play anything that has the right ingredients for a good game. Story telling and gameplay, i trust that a game that has been publicly published and on sale is to a high quality standard what ever aesthetics they happen to include.

    The Community
    Why did you join this community?

    It offered the oppotunity to socialise with other people like me, share knowledge and better mine and others productivity.

    How close are you to this community?

    I like to think i'm pretty close to this community. I am placed in the top 5 posters and top 5 thanked users on the forum so i'd like to think i've had an impact here at TF2maps and its members. I also hang out in the group chat and talk crap with the other 30-40 most active regulars.

    Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?

    I would just be in another community. I kinda bounced off of interlopers after working on a Zombie mod for HL2. When that later liquidated into Zombie Panic i took a break from computer games (or more precisely my computer took a break because it broke). When i finally upgraded my computer TF2 came out and i ricocheted from interlopers to here as interlopers.net is more of a HL2 mapping resource in general, including games like TF2 but not specifically dealing with it like here.

    Yourself and Your Class
    Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?
    I like to play the class that everybody under appreciates just to surprise people by becoming skilled at its abilities and to see the reaction of people when i win over them. In day of Defeat, which also happens to be a class based game, i noticed that nobody used the grease gun, it was equal to the thompson in damage dealt per hit but had a slower rate of fire and even less accuracy. Its only benefit was more controllable recoil and perhaps better ammo conserving capacity. So i would use it just to humiliate other players. In TFC it was the pyro who was like a weaker version of the soldier but with fire perks like afterburn. When it comes to TF2 i just use what ever class is needed the most at that time so i don't have a favourite class, i'm equally proficiant at any roll but my most played class is engineer as a good engineer can make or break a team and there are not many good engineers.


    Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?

    N/A

    Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)

    See: Why TF2? Why not another game?

    I would not shift to a similar game because there's no need or reason to divide my attention between 2 clones when i was using this one first and this one is probably better anyway as it's produced by one of the top game development companies and has been tried and tested to work and be awesome. If i did change it would be finance related IE if they introduced paid subscriptions to TF2.


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?

    Yes. Quality community made maps have been purchased and included as official TF2 content.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?

    TF2 is an evolved form of another game (TFC), similar but disimilar at the same time. A lot of the maps are ports from the old game that suffer from some game mechanic changes that cause certain map designs to play poorly. These include 2fort, badlands and dustbowl to name but a few. The maps are visually pleasing but the layouts tend not to compliment the new game mechanics of TF2. Some layout changes have been made to the ports to rectify the most extreme of problems but at the end of the day maps designed specifically for TF2 offer better gameplay. Valve also have the advantage of being able to modify and invent new entities and awesome new modes with that, so valve maps tend to be more original whilst community maps clone the art style (usually badly) with the existing content; creating new experiences by fresh layouts and sometimes reworked mode parameters with what little freedom is available for X game mode's entity options.
     
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  10. Tehrasha

    Tehrasha L3: Member

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    The Mapping Process
    • How long does it take?
    • Why do you make make maps?
    • Why TF2? Why not another game?
    • What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?


    Still working at it. I have not yet released a map that I would consider 'complete'.
    My first experiment in mapping, just to become accustomed to the tools involved, took 3 months and is essentially an _idle map, so I will probably never release it into the wild.

    Unfotunately (for my current map) my foray into 3D mapping has detoured into an exercise in 3D-modeling. I am learning far more about how models are constructed than I ever though I would. It is not something that every mapper would be required to learn, as there is more than enough existing content out there to create maps with. My path got diverted when something in my brain said 'Wouldnt it be cool if...' and off I went trying to figure out how to make that happen.

    TF2 was the first FPS game that I had played since the Q3/UT era. I was attracted to the style, humor, and the balance of team play. I noticed the large number of community maps being made so I thought I would take a crack at it. I had not touched any mapping tools since the days of GtkRadiant and Quake2. (showing my age there) Anyone who complains about Hammer should be made to use GtkRad for couple hours. The tools Valve supplies are a dream to work with by comparison.

    Overall, I am tring to make the game more enjoyable and light-hearted. Not just hard-core kills and points, but sprinkle in some humor and suprises along the way. Usually I would concentrate on function over form, but TF2's style almost begs for the map to be entertaining and even distracting all by itself.​


    The Art Style
    • If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?
    • What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?


    I do love the art style and the humor. I have a hard time describing what the 'style' is. It is not steampunk, though there is a certain amount of mechanical excentricity. In a recent discussion of the types of 'destruction' that should exist within a map, while keeping with the TF2 style, I thought Terr absolutely nailed it with this description....

    When/If my map is completed, I hope to convey this kind of mentality. It is exactly the kind of theme I am tring to project. ​

    The Community
    • Why did you join this community?
    • How close are you to this community?
    • Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?


    I joined this community because it was the obvious choice for those focusing on TF2 mapping. There are several other sites that have forums for TF2, but usually as a subset, sharing space with other Valve games. I am a member of many of those communities as well, because many of the issues I have had during this learning process are shared across multiple games.

    I dont know how 'close' one can be to a community like this or any other. To call people 'friends' based entirely on forum interaction is akin to saying the guy at the McDonalds drive-up window is my 'friend' because I see/talk/interact with him every time I go to lunch. There are people in the community that I respect for their experience, knowledge and artistic skills, but I dont think I would classify that as 'close'.

    I am not tech savvy enough to start/host my own forum like this. Maybe a chatroom (remember those?). If this didnt exist, I would have to settle for the other sub-forums previously mentioned, or the steampowered forums.​

    Yourself and Your Class
    • Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?
    • Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?
    • Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?
    • Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?


    I have around 350 hours as Pyro, and 200 as Demoman. Everything else is below 25 with Heavy and Soldier at the bottom with around 3 hours. (I never could get the timing right for rocket jumps)

    I think I do identify with the pyro as the mysterious slightly insane ambush class. I have no qualms about dying, provided I have created enough chaos for everyone else before I do. I -am- the random element. KTD ratios mean nothing to me. I dive into a situation fully expecting not to survive. In my mind, nothing beats catching an organized group of players off guard and throwing a monkey-wrench into thier carefully planned attack strategy. Hearing or seeing "F'ing Pyro!" in teamchat makes my heart sing.

    Shifting to another 'similar' game.... would greatly depend on 'how similar'. There would have to be -something- different/better about it that would make me want to switch, and at this point, I do not know what that thing would be.

    Yes on the community maps.

    I like the original maps. They are well thought out, and well balanced. I think the key has been that Valve has been very responcive to the community. When problems are found, they fix them. Valve has taken notes and learned from how the CounterStrike-Mod team kept that game viable for over a decade by catering to its community base.​
     
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  11. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

    Messages:
    3,076
    Positive Ratings:
    1,314
    The Mapping Process
    How long does it take?

    It typically varies from map to map. For me, I can get a first alpha out in a few days to a couple of weeks, if I don't run out of inspiration. Most of the work actually comes in with trying to think of new ideas.

    Why do you make make maps?
    TF2 can become quite boring after a while, despite the extreme fun that comes out of it. New maps mean new means of gameplay, and a new setting. Imagine what Halo or Gears of War would be like with all kinds of new maps.

    Why TF2? Why not another game?
    TF2 presents a very fun approach to gameplay and style. It balances the game over the graphics, and the graphics over reality (only somewhat however.) It provides a small suspension of disbelief, letting you create immense bases and cooky locations that would feel out of place in other games.

    What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?
    The player should always have fun. That means fair sections and interesting environments. Every time someone has a blast with their friends or total strangers, every time they win a round and feel like they should have, or every time they say, "That looks cool!", that's the player having fun. It's a tough skill to master, so there's no defined way to do this, but typically you should start on making the gameplay fun, then the cool bits.

    The Art Style
    If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?

    Nope. Team Fortress 2 presents hugely game oriented bits. Even the artwork contributes to play. Everything is put in place to be fun, and even when you lose, it's still fun.

    What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?
    The visual humor is my favorite aesthetic, because despite a massive battle going on, you can still fit in a large amount of humor. The least would be... well... not much. Pretty much all art is enjoyable.

    The Community
    Why did you join this community?

    I joined because I had some ideas for maps and wanted to get them down. With a community devoted to mapping, I would surely be able to work on them and complete them quickly. I soon realized they were crappy ideas, but I still enjoy the community.

    How close are you to this community?
    Very. Even after several bans I've still returned.

    Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?
    I suppose. I'm not that great at advertising, however, and it'd probably be dead in a few weeks.

    Yourself and Your Class
    Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?

    Favorite would be scout because he's just annoying. He's too fast to hit, has the ability to not get hit at all, and has a bat that stops people from hitting him.

    Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?
    Hell yeah, we're both relatively the same people.

    Sarcastic. Not annoying.

    Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)
    No, Valve has found a niche for gameplay systems. It's difficult to create a system similar to it where you aren't bloated down with so many features but still have such fun playing.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?
    Yeah, but that doesn't mean they're perfect. For example, Turbine is awful.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?
    The original pack of maps was nearly perfect. Dustbowl was a bit buggy during shipment, but that's been... refined. Keep in mind that Valve tested them for about five years before bringing them out. Still, they make changes frequently to improve on the gameplay. 2fort, however, suffers from choking teams way too much and hasn't seen much correction.
     
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  12. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

    Messages:
    1,544
    Positive Ratings:
    2,494

    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?​

      It really depends. I would say between 100-200 hours in active hammer editing.
      Time varies on the size of the map of course.
      Why do you make make maps?​

      For fun. I've always had a creative mind and if a game has a level editor, I will poke around in it. The more I like the game, the more time I will spend in the editor.
      Why TF2? Why not another game?​

      I'm a longtime fan of the "Team Fortress" series. I made simple box maps for QWTF (quakeworld) a long time ago, stepped up a notch with something actually playable in TFC, and now where here in TF2 :)
      I don't map much for other games since I don't play them, mapping takes a lot of time, and if I can't enjoy my own work I don't really see the point.
      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?​

      For TF2 in particular I really want to focus players on teamwork. Most of my maps have some kind of twist to make teamwork important... It might be a little silly since such things never happen as intended in casual play.

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?​

      I'm drawn to it because of the gameplay. The art style definitely helps though, I absolutely love the look of TF2 maps, it's feels so simple but still not silly enough to be childish. Because it's a game that does not take itself too seriously (rocketjumping!) you get a whole ton of freedom as a mapmaker. You can add ridiculous missiles, radar dishes, rock arches, hidden bases and so on. Things like these would look out of place and stupid in many other games, but in TF2 it's just part of another day, and that little unrealistic realism is just brilliant.
      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?​

      I enjoy simple scenery where I can fill in the blanks with my imagination. It shouldn't make too much sense, really. Because this is TF2, it's already absurd that two teams of mercs are fighting each other. Something that really impresses me is lights and lighting. It's amazing what difference it makes to a map. Take any room, on any map. Change just the lighting settings and placements and you change the entire feel of the place.
      As for dislike, not sure.. I sometimes get a little crooked over how different red and blu have to be. One is bricks and metal, other is wood and string. Sometimes it's very hard to make it look sensible to have a wooden building on one side of a bridge, and a concrete one on the other.
      I think it might just be me though, since I can't really make it work in my own maps, it boggles my mind until I give up and just do something.

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?​

      I had been working in hammer on and off for a couple of months before I finally found a compile error I could not google the answer for. So I decided to sign up on the forum who had answered most of my other questions (through google search :)).
      How close are you to this community?​

      When I first joined I was very quiet, I had an average of like 2 post/month.
      But after lurking and seeing how things worked, I stared my own development threads and things just picked up from there.
      My position in the community is exactly the same as any mapper who likes to hang around in the chat, cause that mapper is me.
      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?​

      I would probably still create maps, but without the tf2 specific tutorials, and content on this forum, the quality of my creations would probably be.. really shitty.
      You learn a lot by just playing custom maps with other mappers. Seeing how things are laid out, what size rooms should be, new uses of textures. If I didn't have access to other peoples maps (to play) I would probably still be making underscaled tiny maps.
      I would not start a website of my own. I'm not that resourceful.

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?​

      Sniper
      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?​

      I think he is a funny character and fits my playstyle. I don't particulary identify myself with him, but I wouldn't mind hanging out with him for a beer, he sounds like a pretty normal guy with a interesting vocabulary.
      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)​

      Difficult question. I find TF2 worthy of my time and attention because after a session I feel like it was time well spent for the money. It's the game I have the most fun with, nothing else have even come close. And it has a great support for custom content which just adds to my fun.
      It would take a lot to shift me from this game, today. But I'm not stubborn, I like checking out new games, reading reviews and watching videos, maybe a play demo (though these are getting rare), but nothing really compares so far.
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?​

      You are correct.
      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?​

      I think they are great representatives for the TF2 theme. Valve maps (new and old) are still the standard on which I judge my own and others maps against.
      The originals were great maps and set a important cornerstone for how the rest of the game would look like. People liked it and so the game community grew. Custom maps try to follow in their footsteps but very few compare.
     
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  13. LornMind

    LornMind L1: Registered

    Messages:
    2
    Positive Ratings:
    0
    To everyone who has thus far provided a response, you have my sincerest thanks. The information provided is extremely helpful, insightful and came with a few surprises I hadn't thought of (which is most definitely a good thing).
     
  14. ParanoidDrone

    ParanoidDrone L3: Member

    Messages:
    147
    Positive Ratings:
    10

    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?​

      Far too long. I'm not a fast mapper to begin with, and I have a horrible tendency to second-guess the most basic of layouts as I block them out.
      Why do you make make maps?​

      For fun, really. I enjoy the process of designing spaces to play in, and creating an actual map is the logical extension of that idea.
      Why TF2? Why not another game?​

      Because I have access to Hammer. :p
      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?​

      Not terribly sure what you're asking here, but I generally brainstorm an idea at some point and try to build a map around it. For example, Quarry arose out of an idea that I wanted an elevated control point close to spawn, which evolved into the plateau that's there now. </shameless plug>

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?​

      Not really. I do it because I enjoy it.
      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?​

      I'm a huge fan of the "We're a totally innocuous company, we swear." aesthetic being a simple veneer to cover up the spytech. Maybe it's just me, but RED and BLU both strike me as being incredibly incompetent in this regard, which makes it all the funnier that they think they're fooling anyone.

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?​

      Mostly because it's a good resource for general mapping advice, and if you're looking for criticism, it's best to go to the people who are familiar with what you're doing. You can't ask a random pubber "What do you think of this brushwork?" but you can ask someone here.
      How close are you to this community?​

      Not really, to be honest.
      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?​

      I don't have the resources necessary to create a site like this. I'd probably be doing the same thing, only waiting longer before making any of my maps public. Here I feel comfortable releasing an a1 that only has 1 of 3 stages done, other places not so much.

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?​

      Spy. Also Medic when we have too many Spies or on a lark.
      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?​

      To quote a friend, "Spy is all about dick moves." It's supremely satisfying to play Spy well and see the other team flipping out about you.
      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)​

      Possible. However, I'm already a regular and admin of another community, so I probably won't switch anytime soon.
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?​

      Yes. Steel, Turbine, Junction, Watchtower, Yukon, Hoodoo, Freight, and I think I'm missing a few are all customs made official by Valve.
      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?​

      Gameplay's a mixed bag depending on the moon phases, divine will, whether Venus is in the fifth house, etc., but visually they're invariably high quality and superbly detailed. They do have a lot more resources than your average custom mapper, you know. :p
     
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  15. jpr

    aa jpr

    Messages:
    1,095
    Positive Ratings:
    507

    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?
      Planning the map can take from a day to multiple weeks. If you've planned the map thoroughly before the blocking phase, the blocking can be done in a few hours, otherwise it could take longer, of course it depends on your mapping skill as well. Testing is the longest phase which usually takes and should take multiple months. Detailing... Again, depends on your skill and the size of the map but maybe... around 20 hours?
      Why do you make make maps?
      I'm a creative person, I like to create things. I also like video games, and mapping combines these two.
      Why TF2? Why not another game?
      I dunno, I like TF2.
      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?
      I put effort in making my maps stick to the TF2 artstyle and be of official quality. I want the players to feel that the map is a part of the TF2 canon, so to speak. But I also want to try new things, and like Icarus said it, offer something fresh to the players.

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?
      I don't think so, but it most likely is one of the reasons. The simple art style allows me to concentrate more on the gameplay and less on the detailing.
      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?
      Yeah I'm not completely sure what this question is about, so I'm skipping this.

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?
      I wanted to show off my maps. But later I discovered that it was about a lot more than just that, tutorials, gamedays, ridiculous chat discussions and awesome people...
      How close are you to this community?
      Uh, I dunno. I do visit the site and steam chatroom every day If I'm not busy and most people here know me I think.
      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?
      Lack of feedback and support would've killed my interest in mapping at a very early stage.

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?
      It used to be the sniper. But nowadays I mostly play as the soldier, because I like blasting my enemies to bits, even though I'm not that good at it.
      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?
      See above.
      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)
      Maybe not shift but perhaps play along with TF2. But of course, TF2 isn't just a game, it's a community too and the support from valve is awesome.
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?
      Yep. ctf_turbine, cp_steel, arena_watchtower, cp_fastlane, cp_yukon, koth_harvest, pl_hoodoo and many others.
      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?
      I've always though the old maps are of better quality detailing-wise than the new maps, which might be because the mappers don't have as much time to work on their maps nowadays, but I think the newer maps are definately superior gameplay-wise.
     
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  16. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

    Messages:
    4,468
    Positive Ratings:
    1,682

    • The Mapping Process
      How long does it take?​
      Anywhere from 3 month to years.
      Why do you make make maps?​
      Its fun!
      Why TF2? Why not another game?​
      I love the distinct game-play and art style of TF2.
      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?​
      I want them to have a fun and balanced experience by designing the map correctly.

    • The Art Style
      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?​
      Its not the sole reason but it plays a big role.
      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?​
      I like planning out the map because I can make whatever I want

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?​
      It was the only mapping community around.
      How close are you to this community?​
      It was the only mapping community around.
      Assume this place did not exist. How would that affect? Would you create a site like this yourself?​
      I don't think I would have taken up mapping at all.

    • Yourself and Your Class
      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favorite class?​
      Soldier and Engineer.
      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?​
      No I just love his versatility.
      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)​
      I might if everything lined up.
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?​
      Yes but I think they have already been mentioned.
      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?​
      They were ok but I think now they are way overplayed. (Mainly 2fort)
     
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  17. x6herbius

    aa x6herbius

    Messages:
    377
    Positive Ratings:
    271
    • The Mapping Process

      How long does it take?


      For me it's very very different, depending on what map I'm making. Firstly there's the job of getting over the first "hurdle" which is, as I'm starting out on a map: does it feel like fun? I really don't know how I measure this but if I'm not properly psychologically geared up towards a map, it usually gets pulled down the drain before I even get a chance to test it. If I do go about making a map "in the right way", whatever that is (maintaining inspiration and momentum?), it can take months. I have a 3-round CP map that's still in development which I've been working on on-and-off since Christmas.

      Why do you make make maps?

      I love being able to bring my own creativity and flair (if you want to call it that :p) into a game so that myself and others can have more fun. There's a certain point I get to where I've played a game long enough to know the way it works and what you have to do, etc. At this point I think "What's next?" In games like Team Fortress 2 there's full support for custom maps and user-made content, and this is the biggest selling point to me that a game can have (apart from face-value fun), which other game companies (*ahem*Activision*ahem*) don't seem to realise. The Quantum of Solace game could have been so much better if there had been at least a couple of developer options.

      Why TF2? Why not another game?

      TF2 is great because it's unique, funny, well-supported, extremely well-made and a heck of a lot of fun. As Valve stated in their developer commentary, "Everyone can find a niche", and the class system really accomplishes this well. TF2 maps are always centred around gameplay (if they're not they rarely succeed as being good maps), which ensures that, if you make a map well, it's going to be really good fun to play. I'm finding that, in my cycle of playing games where I play one for a while, move on, play something else, move on again, TF2 is the one game that I always come back to. The communities are great too - I'm a member of the No Heroes group and, even when I'm not playing TF2 regularly, I never feel that my $4/£2.50 donation towards the servers and community is ever wasted. TF2's dedicated servers (*ahem*MW2*ahem*) allow people to find servers they can call home and visit regularly, and in TF2 if I'm on a good server with great people it's miles above any other fun you could possibly have online.

      What do you try to evoke from the gamer with your map? How do you do this?

      The most valuable piece of mapmaking information I've had for TF2 (and other games, for that matter) is that maps should be made to be played, not looked at. I've had just over 3 years mapping experience and I used to make maps dependant on the type of environment I wanted to create. Nowadays, the gameplay aspects of my maps come before all else and, while this does lead to me making less maps and a lot more going down the drain pre-alpha, it does mean that when I finish something it's really good fun (as far as I've playtested :)).

    • The Art Style

      If you are drawn to TF2 because of it's art style, is that the sole reason you are mapping for this game?


      While I like the TF2 art, I don't like your unnecessary use of apostrophes in that sentence. ;)

      The art in TF2 is certainly unique and gives it a style no other game has. While I do love it, it's really the play that draws me to the game.

      What design aesthetics do you enjoy most? Least? Why?

      My favourite maps aesthetically are Sawmill, Lumberyard (yes, I like the alpine :)) and probably Badlands. They all have nice environments, taking gameplay out of the equation, although my main gripe with Sawmill is the awkwardness of using particular-based rain through info_particle_systems, when L4D2 uses a much easier func_precipitation and func_precipitation_blockers. When designing my maps, I usually choose an environment that goes along well with the gameplay aspects I want to create; my most recently finished map Waterway has an environment that's a mixture between Badlands and soft-industrial backways (softer than the stone and mechanical themes of Well, for instance) which goes well with the choke point design I was focussing on.

    • The Community
      Why did you join this community?


      I found TF2Maps when searching around for other mapping references and resources that weren't on the VDC Wiki. The most useful thing I've found here is, by a mile and a half, ABS' Libraries. I can't remember the last time I pieced together a spawn door by hand. :p

      How close are you to this community?

      For me, useful though the site is, it's not somewhere I frequent extremely regularly. I pop in from time to time to see what's going on with the mapping discussions and to see if ABS has updated anything. I visit the VDC and No Heroes forums regularly, for general development resources and chat/community respectively.

      Assume this place did not exist, how would that affect (you) ? Would you create a site like this yourself?

      No chance. A site as big and useful as this would take up all my free time. :)

    • Yourself and Your Class

      Beyond mapping, you play a class. What is your favourite class?


      Pyro, by many miles. I never really played him that much before the WAR! update (just to get the backburner because it was shiny and new ;)), but after that update I decided that, since my Demo skills (or lack thereof) were failing me, and I never played Soldier anyway, I should practice my deflection skills on all these new projectiles. Thus, my addiction and affinity with the Pyro was born and I've clocked up over 120 hours in total. That might not be much compared to other hardcore Pyro peeps but it's something I'm proud of myself. :)

      Do you identify emotionally with the class you play? Is there another reason, if you do not?

      You can't deny that there is something about the Pyro's expressionless mask that is, in an odd convoluted way, slightly cute. That's not the main reason I play him but it counts towards it. I also don't really take part in the man-woman debate, since in-game all he is is a flame-loving little animal.

      I will admit to having written fanfiction. :facepalm:

      Why do you find this game so worthy of your attention? If a game with similar aesthetics and gameplay was released, would you shift to it? (Team Fortress 3 does not count here.)

      I don't think I would switch to a similar game. This "Battlefield Heroes" thing that EA brought out, while I've thought about playing it, I never really have. It's supposed to be similar to TF2 but for many reasons (map making, communities, fun factor etc.) I'd never choose it over TF2.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the maps shipped in updates were community made, yes?

      Yes. I'd love to have one of mine added to that list. One day.

      Lastly, what are your thoughts on the original (Valve created) shipped maps?

      Valve work on their maps more than anyone else (obviously); they make the models and textures, come up with the ideas and really make sure everything is done properly. The best thing that's ever happened to my mapping technique is looking through Valve sources: just to see the way they do things has helped me out tremendously. I worked on a HL2 port/modification to L4D a while back and that kick-started my love affair with how Valve make their maps, so I've found the official TF2 source files extremely useful.
     
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