Microcontest #9: Buddy System

Discussion in 'Contests' started by 14bit, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. 14bit

    aa 14bit L14: Bit Member

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    Welcome to Microcontest 9: Buddy System
    buddy_system.png
    Grab a buddy and get ready for one of the most experimental Microcontests yet! Today we're taking taking a peek at parallel universes; starting from the same point, how does an idea evolve when built by two different people? There's a lot going on here, so I'll break it down:
    1. Find a friend, and buddy up!
    2. During the planning phase, work with your buddy to plan a map
    3. During the mapping phase, split up and make a map from that shared plan without showing your buddy what you are doing
    4. At the end, both versions will get played back-to-back so you can see what's different!
    To help you find a buddy, I've created a handy spreadsheet:

    ----> CLICK HERE! <----

    I highly recommend being in the Discord server to help with finding a buddy! If you don't have a buddy after the first half-hour, I'll be assigning buddies from those that have signed up on the spreadsheet.

    To enter, reply to this thread claiming a spot, and sign up in the spreadsheet above. After the deadline, edit your map, your buddy's name, and your planning documentation into your post to finalize your submission. You should only ever have one post in this thread until after submissions close!

    For full Microcontest rules and submission procedure, check out the Microcontest Megathread.


    FAQ:
    Use forum DMs, discuss on Discord, make a Google Doc, or communicate via carrier pigeon; It's entirely up to you! As long as you can share some kind of documentation of your planning by the end, you're good to go.

    Enough that we can see that plan in the final map in some way. It could be as much as a sketch of the whole layout of the map, or as little as a one-line description, like "it's a koth map with the point on an elevator."

    Any gamemode is allowed. MvM maps will be tested separately if we get any, and non-standard modes (Trade, Deathrun, VSH, etc.) will be looked at but not played. You don't have to do the same mode that your buddy does. Make sure you pick something both you and your teammate are capable of doing in the time limit.

    Yes! You can talk to your buddy as much as you want while mapping, but at no point can you visually show them any part of your map before time is up. If you're having layout trouble, your buddy working off the same plan will be a great resource! I recommend spoilering image in the Microcontest channel if you want to share progress pics so that your buddy doesn't see.

    If you drop out, your buddy will be sad and we won't get to compare their map with yours at the end. If you can't contact your assigned buddy (in the case you get assigned one), let me know and I can match you into an existing group to make a group of three.

    Don't be afraid to sit this one out if working with someone you don't know makes you uncomfortable! If you still want to participate, but aren't comfortable with being automatically assigned a random buddy after the half-hour mark, remove yourself from the spreadsheet and contact me at that time; we'll work something out.

    When editing your map into your submission post, make sure you say who your buddy is and include whatever planning you did somewhere in the post.

    Quick Info:


    Time commitment: 3.5-4.5 Hours
    Difficulty: 2/5

    Date: November 14th, 2020
    Planning starts: 11:00 AM EST (15:00 UTC)
    Buddy Lock: 11:30 AM EST (15:30 UTC)
    Clock starts: 12:30 PM EST (16:30 UTC)
    Clock ends: 3:30 PM EST (19:30 UTC)
    Maps must be submitted by: 4:30 PM EST (20:30 UTC)

    Countdown to the deadline here!

    Notes:

    Name your .vmf:
    <gamemode>_<yourname>_mc9_a1

    Any gamemode is allowed this time, including non-standard ones. MvM and MvM-based modes will be tested seprately if we get any, and any non-standard modes will be looked at but not played. Sorry, I don't know how to surf or set up a deathrun server!

    You do not have to compile within the time limit, but I will only wait one hour past the deadline to collect maps at a maximum. After that your map will no longer be considered a valid entry, unless you contact me ahead of time.

    Good luck!
     
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  2. Skylark

    aa Skylark Super Gay Developer

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    Claimed, will finish another day
     
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  3. Maid

    aa Maid Moocow

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  4. Funnystuf

    Funnystuf L2: Junior Member

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  5. SnickerPuffs

    aa SnickerPuffs (*single chuckle*)

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    Claimed as well

    Buddy: n2b

    EDIT:
    Dropped out.
     
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  6. leeztoi

    leeztoi L1: Registered

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  7. Sarexicus

    aa Sarexicus

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  8. BigfootBeto

    aa BigfootBeto Too obsessed with perfection

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  9. FloofCollie

    aa FloofCollie I really suck!

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    Claimed, partnering with Skylark :)
    edit: :(
     
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  10. TFD

    TFD L1: Registered

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  11. QualityC

    QualityC L1: Registered

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  12. lucky

    aa lucky ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  13. NoT2BaD

    aa NoT2BaD Mom, I accidentally carved a hollow sphere again!

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  14. DrSquishy

    aa DrSquishy ???

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  15. 14bit

    aa 14bit L14: Bit Member

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  16. pont

    aa pont look at my fursona

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  17. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    participating with maid and pont

    EDIT: I gave up on my map after mapping for like 15 minutes because I just didn't care enough about what I was making to ignore the horrible mistakes I was making in the layout. All I have to show is a page of planning sketches:

    Untitled.png
     
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  18. Mega Typhlosion

    Mega Typhlosion L2: Junior Member

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  19. Emil_Rusboi

    Emil_Rusboi L5: Dapper Member

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  20. 14bit

    aa 14bit L14: Bit Member

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    Time for feedback! This one was an odd one, since many of the entries have similar, but different counterparts. I'll mostly be discussing them individually, but I will be comparing the pairs when I feel it's necessary.

    PAIR 1:
    This one's mine! A works better than I expected; I really like how it turned out, even if it's a bit small. I'd probably add a buffer between the outside and the point room if I kept working, since Blu's spawn and A are quite close. Final sucks, mostly due to Red's spawn and the right (for Blu) flank. If I were to continue, I'd get rid of the Red's lower spawn door, pull red's spawn back, and rework that flank into a bigger area.
    Compared to mine I feel the scale is better on a macro level, but a bit large on the micro level. Individual fights take place at a distance slightly further than comfortable in my eyes. There were some really unbalanced rounds, and I'm not sure if it was teams or not since it got RTV'd after the second round. Blu spawn felt hard to push out of when I was on attack, and I think it's because of all the sightlines. The way the shortcut and connector between A and B is set up is very chaotic with no clear main route for defense. I'd cut the number of paths for Red entering A significantly and rework it into a choke; there's too many options and it seemed to cause issues for both teams.

    PAIR 2:
    A and B are way too close, but I'm sure you know that already. The open windows are terrifying and make everywhere feel unsafe (particularly around health and ammo packs), but I also think you know that. More signage or texture variety around final would be nice; I got very lost at the start of the first round as Red since it all looks the same. The closed setup gate between A and B isn't clear what it's for; multiple times I would go up there to try and get to A to defend and be stopped. I'm pretty sure I saw other people do it too. As a player, going to that upper floor to get to A is the path I naturally want to take, but then it turns out to be a surprisingly long dead-end since you can't jump out the windows. I think the multi-layered point on final is really neat! I've never seen anything like it, but it seems to work? I'd have to play it more to really give more solid feedback on it, since it's so novel. I'm excited to see if it holds up with more testing!
    You've got a thing for accidentally recreating Brazil in these Microcontests, huh? I'm joking, but I do think it's interesting how similar Blu -> A looks like Brazil here. Blu's spawn is too close to A, but I'm sure you're well aware. Pushing attackers further around the outside might be a good move. B is really hard to push into, and I'm not a fan of the shutter door. Expanding that building and turning it into a proper buffer zone would work well I think. Currently the sightlines on the choke are really bad, and making it into a staging area would help Red hold A and Blu attack B. Maybe also look into adding a route from that building down under the point? That might be neat.

    PAIR 3:
    Technically impressive, but I didn't feel like I was having fun. It's not clear what you need to be doings, though after a while you do get it. Saying still is almost better than moving the carts, since the points respawn pretty fast and entering the main track puts you at risk of dying. The carts killing each other isn't fun; it's very hard to tell what will and won't kill you, and while it's fun to kill teammates, it doesn't feel great to get killed by them. Having each team on separate tracks (and not being able to kill your own team) I think would work better.
    I prefer this one over its companion, but it also has a lot of the same mechanical issues. I think the more interesting track and spawn system is what makes this more fun. For this layout I like the teams being on the same tracks, though I wish there was a way to send enemy carts back. Maybe find a way to give them health let players destroy enemy carts? Getting stuck inside an enemy's cart is silly, but it's difficult to get them back apart sometimes. Being able to reset enemy carts might also fix the staying-in-one-place-to-farm-points problem, since then you can hunt down and reset carts that are farming points? Also, if you've got spare entities, I think making a little dynamic minimap in spawn using logic_measure_movement with little numbered carts that match the doorways would be neat, and help players know where they are needed.

    PAIR 4:
    This one is alone, since their buddy did not finish.
    I'm not sure this theme works currently; both sides just look the same. I thought Blu was the future until I reached mid, then became very confused since they're basically the same. It's also very flat, and the jump pad being broken on Blu's side just makes it even more boring. All the broken jump pad does is make Red's non-jumping classes have two ways into mid, but Blu's only have one. I was excited by the idea of one side being old and falling apart going in, but I was picturing collapsed structures resulting in very different layouts for each side. Not, well, both teams being the same except for the fact that one team just doesn't get to use the main route with no other meaningful changes. Final spawn also feels too close to the point; I've not really played many 3cp maps but I'm not sure if using a 5cp-style spawn and final works for them.

    PAIR 5:
    Simple, but works pretty alright! I wish there were more options for teams to pushing out of final. That one-way underground route probably should be more clearly communicated, and opened up to let both sides though. Players got confused with the forward spawn door a decent amount; I'd make it clear when it's closed with some kind of additional blocking door or sign. I also feel like there's got to be a better way to design the bridge at mid to allow multiple ways across. There's this bridge in Fortnite (I think it's the Green Steel Bridge) that has a second walkway underneath that you can access from stairs at the sides; something like that might work here to open up some more options while keeping it as a bridge. Maintenance scaffolding or something, for working on the underside of the walkway?
    I like this, a lot. It's quite small, but fun when it's not a total steamroll. I feel like there needs to be more space on each tower, but it's so tightly designed that just scaling it up or shifting things around will probably break what works about the layout. Pulling the spawns back somehow, and adding another spawn exit might work, though how and where you'd do that I don't know. Maybe expand the playable area on the lower floor, and find a way to have an alternate exit there? You'll have to be careful to keep it away from the track though. Slowing the cart might help too, but that feels like a short-term solution to a larger issue.

    PAIR 6:
    This one is alone, since their buddy did not finish.
    Some signage in spawns would be nice, it's hard to tell which point is which at first. The spawns aren't great, for either team really; Red's is worse. B feels like the strongest part of the map right now, if a bit small. Expanding the area just outside Blu's spawn and giving red a bit more of a place to hold wouldn't be unwelcome. A needs some love, it's not fun for either team. Blu has no clear routes to attack with, and Red enters so far away that it's hard to counter push once attackers make it to the point. Final is a bit big, I like the idea here but it's massive. I'd honestly gut it and try the same idea again, but differently. It feels like Red's spawn and the tree house want to be at a 45 degree angle to the rest of the map to me, and them being locked to the grid isn't doing them any favors. TREE

    PAIR 7:
    Well, it's Mannpower. Seems to work alright; unfortunately I'm not a fan of Mannpower and don't know much about how to design a map for it. I'll try though! For context, I seem to remember Hellfire and Thundermountain as my favorites of the official Mannpower maps, so I'll be using those as a baseline for "okay at minimum, I guess." This map is significantly smaller than what I would expect from Mannpower, and the lack of flanks makes it a fight over the center room. Yes, there's the outside bits, but they both end at mid instead of passing it. I'd look to Thundermountain and how it handles mid with two flanks. It's also a bit hard to move around mid right now; it's hard to tell where you should grapple to get to places safely.
    Same disclaimer as the other Mannpower map; I'm not very familiar, but thing Thundermountain and Hellfire are probably the better ones of the official maps. This one's a bit large, and hard to navigate. Mid is very confusing with four different layers, and I'm only just understanding it now after noclipping around to write this. I like the asteroids, but I wish you didn't have to go under the main buildings to get across mid; some openings in the walls would have been nice. I like the alternate path into the flag room outside; it's a nice us of the grappling hooks and helps give attackers an easier way in or out instead of having to fight past spawn. Basically I think the overall structure of the layout is pretty good, but the interiors are overly-complicated and it's overscaled. Cut the whole top floor at mid and simplify things and it could be fun! This one feels more like a Mannpower map to me, but the other felt like the moment-to-moment gameplay played better.

    PAIR 8:
    This one is alone, since their buddy did not finish.
    Respawnroomvisualizers for Red were broken, and the lighting is very drab. A is very, very chokey; there needs to be another route, probably underground and coming out where that pipe is under the point. Final is just not fun at all. It's difficult for attackers to enter the area without instantly dying; all the entrances are low ground or blind corners. Combine that with the truly terrible clipping choices on the roof, and it's a nightmare; teams tried pushing over the roof multiple times, not realizing it's clipped off. The slope of the roof ends lower than the platform you enter the area is, so players naturally assume you can walk on it. Attackers tried multiple pushes before realizing that you can't walk there. Making teams push across narrow walkways close to the enemy spawn before doubling back to reach the point is not interesting or fun. Attacking on final was the single most frustrating thing I think I've ever tested on the TF2maps servers because of that clip on the roof and the lengths you have to go to to get around it to get on the point.

    PAIR 9:
    Having the whole map step downwards for attackers is interesting. Overall, it feels a bit too small; there needs to be more space between Blu spawn and A, and a buffer between A and B. Having them so close makes it feel almost like one control point that Blu needs to capture twice at times. Forward spawn is in a bit of a bad spot; I'd look into shoving it off to the side, maybe where those red and yellow barrels are? At final, Red's only option is to defend from on the point. Opening up some of those back areas into platforms looking over the point instead of blocked-off hallways might make it more fun. I'd take a look at this map's companion for ideas about final.
    A bit small, but not bad! I like final; it's chaotic, but in a good way. Feels like a proper final. My biggest issues is how the Blu spawn -> A area is set up. It's much too small, and it's difficult for Red to get to somewhere where they have a chance at setting up a defense. It isn't attractive to hold behind A, so players try and hold forward, but that means they have to deal with some really awkward routes. A is in a bit of a hole; you have to crouch jump at a minimum to get out of it and defenders have to do 180 degree turns to get past A in a lot of cases. Expand the area out and give both teams better options.

    And with that, we're down to just one more Microcontest for this set. See you all in December for the grand finale, Microcontest 10!
     
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