My First Map

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Poison {TF2}, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Poison {TF2}

    Poison {TF2} L1: Registered

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    Hello TF2maps! I just made my account today after reading through the tutorials and have started on my first TF2 map. I have made one CS:S map but it just a huge cube with 3 floors lol. So does anyone have any tips that could me? I couldn't find the WIP page so I just posted it here. If this is the wrong forum for now please delete or move it.
     
  2. nik

    nik L12: Fabulous Member

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    First off, look at this thread.

    I can't really give you any tips if all I know is that you've started your first map! Post some pictures, or at least your ideas, and we'll try to give you some feedback. As for posting your actual map thread, you have to make the thread here.
     
  3. Poison {TF2}

    Poison {TF2} L1: Registered

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    OK I will start my thread in there for pictures and more info.
     
  4. Wilson

    aa Wilson Burial by Sleep

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  5. Poison {TF2}

    Poison {TF2} L1: Registered

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  6. Scotland Tom

    Scotland Tom L6: Sharp Member

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    KOTH, Arena and CTF are probably the smallest map types and require the least amount of effort to get working properly as far as entities go. I would probably pick whichever one of those three you're most interested in and do that one.

    Here are my basic tips for you as you get started mapping:

    1. Read as many tutorials and tips and what-have-yous on this site as you can. They are valuable resources and you can learn a LOT from what's been posted here before you even open Hammer.

    2. Do some practice work first. Instead of creating an entire map try just creating some interesting looking rooms or buildings. Experiment with lighting and geometry. Just come up with some simple practice projects first that'll help you put the tutorials to use.

    3. Once you're comfortable with hammer and have some decent looking practice works done, then go ahead and start a proper map.

    4. Plan your map first. Don't even open hammer. Draw the layout on paper, doodle it in Paint or Photoshop or something. Get what seems like a decent layout on paper first, THEN open up hammer.

    5. Don't worry about placing props or getting your textures right or creating complicated geometry right off the bat. Block out your map design with simple box geometry, dev textures, and only the bare minimum of props you need to get the gameplay right. Once you've done so and gotten your map in working order this will be your Alpha that you'll playtest and iterate until the gameplay is solid.

    6. Once the gameplay feels really good then you can go to town on your artpass. This will be your Beta and your goal here will be to maintain gameplay while actually making your map nice to look at (lighting, textures, props, more complex brushwork, etc.). This, for me is the fun part.

    7. When everything plays well and looks super awesome. Release your map and (hopefully) profit!
     
  7. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Scale scale scale! I've been mapping for nearly a year and only now just started getting it right. If you don't get the scale right the map is just not going to work and you've completely wasted your time. Keep in mind theres a difference between what it looks like from your viewpoint in game and what it'll end up looking like with people in it. Took a while before I stopped making maps for Ant Fortress 2. :p Read grazr's scale tutorial, use prop_dynamics with the heavy model to gauge size, the door frame models are another good one. Make corridors 192units tall, etc. :)

    Other than that, try and plan it all out before hand. Don't make completely flat maps with a few props / walls, no-one wants to play that. Watch for open spaces where a sniper /sentry might become too powerful and plan out where your choke points are going to be and make sure there are alternate routes available.

    Good luck. :)


    Oh, and never ever ever go off grid. Someone put a tonne of effort into their map and was ready to compile it all up to be tested but nearly every brush leaked because they were all off grid slightly. Made fixing the map impossible. So stick to a grid size of 8-16 to begin with, once the layout is all good you can go down to 2-4 for small detailing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  8. Snoodleking

    Snoodleking L1: Registered

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    Also, I'm not sure if this is relevant for everyone...

    You should be comfortable with the idea that your first map will be a throwaway. That's how it worked for me anyway. I learned ALOT from completely F ing up my first map.

    The second one comes much quicker!
     
  9. Moose

    Moose L6: Sharp Member

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    valuable lesson here, first maps you make are almost guaranteed to suck and not go anywhere. Use them as a learning experience.

    I learned how to map by doing it often and practicing things I was uncomfortable with. It is true that it helps to create detail rooms and such, but that doesn't give you much help when you're just trying to make a good layout at the right scale.

    The most valuable advice I can give you is to look at official maps often. If you aren't sure how something is done, look at an official map. If you still aren't comfortable, find a tutorial on it. Same thing goes for your layouts, try to do things official maps do. (while still being original, of course)

    Don't do things on a whim when designing a map, think about how every change and addition you make will effect gameplay. I usually spend about 5 hours sketching and thinking through a map before blocking it out in hammer.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  10. Dense_Electric

    Dense_Electric L1: Registered

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    A good map for me usually starts with an idea - either an aesthetic theme, unique map feature, or setting - and goes from there. I start by roughly sketching in a layout on piece of lined paper (and usually do about a dozen or so before I'm happy) and then do my final layout on a piece of graph paper (I use 5 squares per inch) with one square representing 256 units. Then I start in Hammer and layout the most major features first using dev textures, slowly going into lighting and gameplay-relevant props until I get it ready for playtesting. Once I'm happy that the layout is good, I start with final textures and finer aesthetic detailing. I haven't done any maps with a 3D skybox yet, but I'd probably save that for after playtesting since they have no impact whatsoever on gameplay.

    You'll find a ton of tutorials and articles on what makes a map fun to play, which is the most important aspect, but very few guides on finer detailing. For this I recomend studying offical Valve maps very closely, looking at how everything is put together (cp_gorge and ctf_2fort are my personal favorites for pure aesthetic). You'll probably find there are a ton of things about every map you never noticed before. Also pay attention to the number of non-playable areas - control rooms behind windows, spaces behind fances, under grates, big outdoor areas, etc. These are (usually) vital to good maps, as they help to reduce the feeling that you're just running around inside a multiplayer map and giving the impression of life and size to the game world.