PSA: trend in health/ammo patches

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by YM, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Last year I noticed a trend in recent Valve maps in their patch overlays underneath pickups.

    The convention is:
    Red OR Team coloured for ammo
    White for health


    Here are the last 20 maps added to TF2 and how they do it:
    • Powerhouse - single red for both
    • Snowplow - red for ammo, white for health
    • Borneo - single red for both (sometimes omitted)
    • Suijin* - red for ammo, blue for health
    • Cactus Canyon - red for ammo, white for health
    • Asteroid - single white for both (but most have nothing)
    • Snakewater - single team coloured
    • Manhattan - blue for ammo, white for health
    • Rottenburg - red for ammo, white for health
    • Process - single team coloured
    • Standin - single team coloured
    • Bigrock - red for ammo, white for health
    • Coaltown - red for ammo, white for health
    • Decoy - red for ammo, white for health
    • Mannworks - red for ammo, white for health
    • Kong King - individual white patches for each
    • Doomsday - team coloured for ammo, white for health
    • Foundry - individual white patches for each
    • Gullywash - single team coloured
    • BarnBlitz - red for ammo, white for health

    11 of the 20 or 55% most recent maps follow this convention.
    9 of the 13 or 69% most recent Valve maps follow this convention

    Either we recognise this trend and continue it, or we stubbornly decide to ignore it and continue with messy patches and unnecessary confusion
     
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  2. TyeZenneth

    TyeZenneth L6: Sharp Member

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    Lemme just put this over right here.
     
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  3. Berry

    aa Berry Sharing is caring, and I don't care

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    To be honest I've always used team-coloured for ammo, white for health (save for my period using the cream spirit patches) as I feel like white makes perfect sense for health (not sure why, it just feels right).
     
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  4. TyeZenneth

    TyeZenneth L6: Sharp Member

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    I mean, since everyone else is doing it, I might as well.
    But that doesn't mean I like it.
     
  5. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    I'd have chosen red for health, but I didn't start the convention.
     
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  6. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    I think as long as your map is internally consistent, that's all that matters. 55% is not a standard and we don't need to follow it.
     
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  7. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    What about the 69% of those made by Valve since 2011?

    We can make this a clear standard by choosing to follow it and everyone will benefit. Ignoring it makes things harder for everyone.

    If there is a clearly better alternative to using your own standards, then by all means make the case, but "this isn't a convention at 55%" isn't a valid argument for using something different.

    We're striving for clarity and readability. If all maps use the same, players will be able to instantly know what kind of pickup is about to respawn, if everybody uses their own method, we're all guessing, always and forever.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  8. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Either way, this is not something anyone should worry about until reaching a final detailing pass. It's firmly in the realm of map polish, not necessity.

    I'll probably start doing it by release candidate though simply cause I liked the way it looked in barnblitz. Never really gave it any thought before beyond "pickups need a patch under."
     
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  9. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    I would guess that a large chunk of those maps were made by the same person. Like all the MVM maps are probably made by one person and therefore reflective of their tendencies.

    I don't think many players notice this stuff. I don't notice this stuff. I keep my overlays consistent, but I'm not going to make concessions to this "standard" if I think a single stretched overlay for 2 pickups would look better or something. I also resize overlays based on pickup size, but you've not even looked into that.

    I think it's great to be concerned about being internally consistent. I don't think it needs to be this dogmatic. If you're really worried about communicating what overlays signify in terms of pickups, use these. Otherwise, I don't think any player is going to go into a map immediately hoping all the red overlays denote ammo packs.
     
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  10. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    I'm with Tyler on this.

    Just be internally consistent and thats all you'll need. You're trying to throw down a standard where one doesn't really need to be.
     
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  11. TyeZenneth

    TyeZenneth L6: Sharp Member

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    The one thing we're always worried about is how idiots will play our maps.
    Idiots aren't ever going to notice that the colours of pickup patches mean anything. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of players barely ever noticed the existence of patches.
    Now, on the other hand, if Valve did become more consistent and made ALL of their maps like this, or if they added like, a loading screen hint about it, then fine, sure. Colour-coding it is.
     
  12. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    It's incredibly frustrating to have everyone either say they don't fancy changing their system because they don't like this one or because this isn't a significant trend.

    This is an opportunity for everyone to increase the readability in their map design. This isn't a suggestion because I think it looks nice. This is a suggestion that will aid players on your maps. Choosing to continue placing patches using your own styles is a willful choice to obfuscate information that a player might need. And that doesn't make any sense. Why would you chose to do that?

    It isn't just a polish thing. How often did I get feedback about not having any pickup overlays in early alphas? All the damn time before I started addig them from first alphas. All the time. Players care about this stuff.
    If you can run past a single patch when you're looking for health or ammo and know instantly what it is, isn't that helpful to you as a player? You're damn right it's helpful!

    But we can only establish that kind of assumption in players if we all use the same convention. Map-specific conventions are useless because by the time the player figures it out, they'll have learnt all the pickup locations anyway.

    Using a game-wide convention allows players to know, even on a map they've never played, what kind of pickup is about to respawn there.

    Please don't be needlessly stubborn, please switch to using this style.
    Or at very least, present an alternative style to use as the new standard
     
  13. TyeZenneth

    TyeZenneth L6: Sharp Member

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    But it's not a game-wide convention. Not yet at least.
    I wouldn't be surprised if one of the updates Valve pushes out down the line updates all of their old maps to fix little things and add polish like this, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they didn't do that. It's not really that big a deal.
     
  14. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    Players care about overlays for pickups because it denotes where the pickups are, but that's it. And I bet if you're testing on TF2M you're getting an abnormally high amount of feedback on overlay placement because it's been drilled into our heads.

    I get what you're saying: we can make it a standard, we can make TF2 more consistent on a game-wide scale, we can make this a useful distinction. What I'm saying is it won't work. Not every TF2 map comes from TF2maps.net, and not everyone cares about doing this. Some people want to use overlays in a way that meets their artistic vision for the map, and honestly, I don't want even more shit for people to learn or get yelled at about. It's already very hard to keep up with all the design principles and theory on top of understanding how to use Hammer. I don't see the point in adding another straw to the camel's back.

    It's not worth trying to force this on people as a convention we should adopt because the payoff just isn't great enough. If there was an established way to set overlays from the start--if 2fort, Well, Gpit, etc were all consistent--then I'd say yes, we should be too. But Valve didn't do that and I would assume it's because it doesn't really matter. The art direction, lighting, and general design of all the early TF2 levels are so micromanaged, and yet the overlays are not consistent from one map to another. Therefore I don't think it's a really big deal.

    I could see there being a standard for comp maps--if they didn't disable overlays. That's about it.

    Pick your battles imo.
     
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  15. Fantasma

    aa Fantasma

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    I'm all for internal consistency not wide-spread, other maps have differing color schemes which could make the patches being different fit better (Egypt maps benefit from the patches being team-colored to make teams distinct)
     
  16. KubeKing

    aa KubeKing Back home in Jupiter, things are getting harder

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    For the first alpha, I use patch007 for most supply pickups. It's nice, neutral, and I don't have to worry about changing between team-colored overlays when I inevitably change pickup locations. For some concrete/metal surfaces, I may even use 'stain' overlays, especially when it makes thematic sense.

    Sometimes, the location of a pickup patch may be able to tell you more about what supply will spawn there than the particular type of patch will. Concealed/far-off locations and stairways often have large supplies, sniper balconies and engie spots are prime locations for ammo, and expect small health packs a small distance from objectives. Focal lighting can also help designate large supply pickups (I'm thinking Frontier, but even unofficial maps like Glassworks do a good job at this).

    In short, communicate as much as you can about an unspawned supply to the player without overdoing it. Still, it's interesting and informative to see the ways that official maps go about doing this.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  17. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    Ultimately it's about what you want out of a map, right? As long as you have a justification for why you used the patch method that you want to use, I don't see the issue. I'll agree that color coding your patches is the better option from a gameplay perspective, but I also think it looks worse. There's enough to disagree on that I don't think it's worth enforcing as a standard.
     
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  18. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    What do I think about standardized patch colors? To steal a line from Gandhi, I think it would be a good idea.
     
  19. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Based on how this isn't really a PSA, moreso an observation moved into a discussion, I've moved this to Mapping Questions and Discussions.

    Personally, I'm not being stubborn to change, I just don't care. Do what you want as long as it's consistent within the map.
     
  20. Kill_the_Bug

    Kill_the_Bug L14: Epic Member

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    Just make ammo bullet models sma med large and the health purple and pink lolipops with sparkly bits all over them - small med large = guess you can tell I play pyro!