KotH Sanitarium a8

Made by Deodorant

  1. Wilson

    aa Wilson Boomer by Sleep

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    No offense, but it is not very good map.
    It is overscaled height wise, the layout is made out of 2 boxes, house (That is really boring to fight in, it is just flat room with soldiers shooting everything from roof) and few cramped corridors and stairs between the two boxes.

    You probably should try making new layout from scratch and go from there. Look at official KOTH maps and see how they do their layouts, doesn't hurt to look at few cp maps too
     
  2. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Thanks for the reply.
    You're a veteran and I'm a noob, and what I'm about to write should not be interpreted as me saying that you're wrong or that I know better than you do, because we both know that's not the case.

    The thing is, I have looked at official maps and planned and revised my design both on paper and in hammer. A lot. The central area is in my mind a vulnerable hill area broken up by two barricades (that serves the dual purpose of giving cover and breaking up the sightlines from outdoor area to outdoor area which would otherwise cross the room) and surrounded by four platforms with a slight height advantages, close access to health/ammo and open fields of vision as well as a roof with a powerful height advantage but less access to health/ammo, a more limited field of vision and more vulnerability to enemy Snipers/Soldiers. This central area is accessible to each side by one direct route to the low ground, one slightly longer route to the high ground and two longer indoor routes for flanking and bypassing spawn/mid area camping, one of which can be used to access water and some health/ammo.

    The outdoor area on each side consists of - again, in my mind - a small but vulnerable area that must be crossed when taking the shortest route to the hill, the central roof which is the highest ground in the map (lest there should be Sniper sightlines crossing the whole map) but starved on health and ammo and somewhat inconvenient to access. The roof has some cover to prevent a complete snipefest, but players focusing on the hole are still vulnerable to rlong range attacks from the outside. The cover is also meant to be useful for ambush classes sneaking up on players on the roof as well as reload/redisguise after attacking.
    Outdoor areas are framed by a series of building that provide protected indoor routes to the hill and well-supplied battlements for attacking enemies on the central roof or enemies moving towards the friendly spawn after having captured the hill. Those buildings also contain plenty of stairs between the two height levels and a fair amount of cover and hiding places, encouraging enemy ambush classes to use them to pick off players on the battlements or on their way to the hill.

    In comparison to other maps.. The central area is slightly more complex than that of Sawmill, albeit without death traps. The vertical distance from the highest playable area to the lowest used to be about the same as Nucleus, but that was before I moved the ground up a level. There is still a tunnel, but it's placed higher up than the lowest parts of the earlier version of the map, and in any case not visible from the areas above. The time it takes to reach the central point from the spawn using the shortest route is around the same as on most official koth maps. I'm also pretty sure the map has fewer cross-map sightlines than Nucleus and Lakeside, but good or bad sightlines are slightly harder to recognize on paper.

    Again, I'm not trying to say that the map is good. If you say it's shit, I believe you. All I'm saying is that I got to where I am by reasoning, improving and studying, and scrapping it all and starting over - as tempting as that sounds - would only result in a sense of futility and another shitty map. How can I reason and plan in a good way and how should I study official maps in order to learn properly?
     
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  3. tyler

    aa tyler

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    So you may have done all that and studied it and really learned something before making your map--I'm not saying you didn't, and you probably did--but you still ended up with a rectangular map with only boxy buildings with little or nothing interesting about them.

    I haven't played it, and that's just from the screenshots, but it's what I see.

    You're in a similar position to some people who have had over-scaled maps and said "But the walk times/units are the same as [official map]!" when in reality the problem isn't walk times or units but the fact that each area is way over-scaled. Does the analogy make sense? You did your homework, but the answers provided are getting you a just-barely-passing grade.

    Everyone works differently so I won't offer you workflow advice, but you're almost there and I think you could make something good if you tried just a bit harder.

    If anything, you might be overthinking it?
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2012
  4. ForbiddenDonut

    aa ForbiddenDonut

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    It's such a curse. Quiet, brain! I'm trying to map!

    Anyways, I would continue with the map just to find out what else is wrong with it. Then, I would compile everything that people have said (it's too blocky, it's too over-scaled, ect.) and then, when designing your next map, take those things into account. As I noted, your first map is really a learning experience and should be treated as so.

    As the saying goes, "your next map will be better."
     
  5. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    So, I decided to keep working on Sanitarium after all. Well, I scrapped practically everything, redesigned it and rebuilt it from scratch (for the third time), so I guess I basically made a new map except without the sweet satisfaction of being done with Sanitarium for good. Still, here it is.

    I've studied official maps, played a bunch of matches against bots, and spent some time just walking around in it while analyzing my feelings about layout choices and proportions. It feels much better than all previous incarnations, but then again, so did all the previous incarnations too.

    If you have the time, please look at the screenshots or download it and take a tour, then tell me whether this version is ok enough to keep working on.
    Oh, and I apologize for the completely square displacements. I don't really feel like prettyfying them until I know whether or not this version is bound for deletion.
     
  6. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    Okay. Firstly this looks like a massive improvement, though I'm only going by the screenshots. I have a few thoughts though.
    • Those roofs are cool, but no-one will use them. A height advantage over what should be, by all means, your own territory, is near useless. How about connecting them to the roof of the central building, making them a high but long and cover-less route to mid, ala Sawmill. That directly contrasts with my next point, though:
    • There looks to be way too many entrances to the point, far too many to properly cover. The point room itself looks way uninteresting, like you just connected all the entrances to one room and dropped the point in the centre. I'd cut out some of the routes in, and, I dunno, put the point on a platform or something? Like I said, I suggest adding an upper route in, so bear that in mind.
     
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  7. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    You're right in that the roofs aren't very useful as high ground, but when I played they felt like they fulfilled two other purposes; The lower roof is a pretty useful vantage point for sniping into the hill room. The higher roof makes it possible for Scouts and occasionally slightly easier for other advanced mobility classes to reach the central roof. Considering how the central roof in the previous versions played, I think it's best to leave it unconnected by ramps.

    About the entrances... I'm ambivalent. On one hand, I see what you mean. On the other hand, they fill specific purposes and I don't know which one I'd be able to close up without messing stuff up. One entrance is quick to reach but slightly disadvantageous. One takes slightly longer to reach, but leads to higher ground. One goes to the bottom floor and by extension the lower level ground, and is useful for Spies, people who need to reach the water, or people who need to get to the point quickly from the lower ground level. One is really big and leads to the balcony, which gives the room a more interesting shape and a more gradual transition to the outdoor areas. There are also the two windows, that work more like Gravelpit-style loopholes than entrances.
    I'm also afraid that closing up entrances would make the central room too sealed off and easy to defend.

    About the point.. You may be right. I figured the balconies, windows and platforms surrounding it would make the room interesting enough, but on-point combat is actually sort of boring. How do I make it more interesting without making it feel cluttered, though? And why does the hill in Sawmill play so well despite basically being placed in a big box with just some planks, saws and stairs surrounding it?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  8. tyler

    aa tyler

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    Overhead makes it look tiny, though it does at least seem better than what you had before, which means you are learning.

    Stop playing with bots. They make you make bad decisions. That's a rhetorical "you", so what I really mean is that other than to test entity setups they are completely useless.

    Put it in a gameday.
     
  9. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Hm. Tiny as in 'Slightly tinier than the average koth map but may still work' or 'Better, but too tiny to be functional. You're getting closer, but start over again.'?
    I think it's difficult - when looking at official maps - to see which conventions are vital and which ones can be broken. If I'd designed a spawnroom where the quickest exit was a window that gave you fall damage if you went too fast, the second exit took you through a weird and squiggly route to the point and the third exit led to a gigantic open path that's barely ever used, I'd question my own sanity. And yet, the spawns in Badlands work perfectly well. Similarly, a koth map that mostly consist of a giant circular room, where the hill is placed on a platform reachable only by unprotected catwalks over a deathpit seems like a destined-to-fail vision of a first time mapper, but Nucleus is a totally enjoyable map as well.

    And yeah, I know that bot matches play completely different than matches with human players and should not be used as substitute for gamedays, and I enter every gameday I have the opportunity to. Still, I think bot game can be useful for getting a vague idea of various things.
     
  10. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    The gameday was once again too late for me to attend in my timezone, but judging from the feedback, this version got pretty torn apart as well. Some of it is straightforward and easy to understand; The hill room clearly needs fewer entrances and the areas between hill room and spawn are too open. The doorways that require crouch are an obvious mistake, though I can't understand how I managed to make it and then failed to notice it in all the times I tested the map. Still, easy enough to fix.
    The water is apparently still missing a cubemap, which frankly baffles me. I know there's a cubemap entity assigned to the water face, and every time I've submitted a sanitarium version to the gameday, I've made sure to - after the final compile - enter the console command string 'mat_specular 0, buildcubemaps, mat_specular 1, disconnect, sv_reloadallmaterials'. When I play the map in a local game, the surface is completely checkerboard-free. What am I doing wrong?

    Then there's the more abstract stuff that leaves me feeling confused and helpless, all of it posted by Wilson for some reason.
    The hill room already contains four raised section with different height levels and two ramps down into the floor? How can I add more height differences without making it too busy and cramped?
    Huh, I thought I managed to create fairly curved and zigzaggy areas this time. What do I have to do to make them not be boxes?
    Still? There are some really tall dev brushes surrounding the map and on the roof of the mid house that are placeholders for lower geometry and clip brushes, but I assume you understood that and are referring to the playable geometry. If that's the case.. Damn. I walked around the map while trying to imagine stuff as TF2 architecture, and it felt pretty right to me.

    Specific issues aside, my bigger question is: What can I do to learn? I've listened to feedback, I've studied official maps, I've thought and planned an paper, I've tried to feel and use intuition, I've remade the map practically from scratch three times and it's apparently still horrible. How can I get decent at mapping before people start boycotting Sanitarium maps?

    Also, I can see how this post could be interpreted as an angry rant, but it really is not. I'm writing it with hunched shoulders and puppy dog eyes, so please read it in such a tone.
     
  11. Wilson

    aa Wilson Boomer by Sleep

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    The height difference in the room barley has in impact on the gameplay and it is still just a room with a point inside, it seems like you are making up for lack of any useful height difference with tons of windows from roofs for people to shoot from, turning whole point into bowl of spam.

    I don't know what to tell you, i look at your mid and it is gigantic box with some cliffs and a house.

    Yes, look at your spawn yard for example, everything but the actual building where point is, were really big, tall and wide.


    Truth to be told, i don't know if anyone can ever answer fully to the question "How can i get decent at mapping" TF2 is tricky game to map to, there is so many different things to take in account and plan for. Is that sightline too strong? Are scouts going to get behind enemy team too easily? How well are heavies going to roll on this map?

    Only real advice i can give you is not to think tf2 maps as "Large area ---> Connector --> Large area. All versions of this maps been huge boxes connected to more huge boxes.
     
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  12. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Hm. Yeah, I see your points.

    Another question. When I spend months planning and building something that is subsequently dismissed with criticisms that seem glaringly obvious in hindsight, I find it pretty easy to assume that I'm just destined to stay bad at the whole mapping thing forever. Still, I'm pretty sure I'm at least making some progress from version to version. Do you guys think I'm learning at a more or less normal rate? Are the mistakes I make stuff that most first time mappers have to learn through trial and error?
     
  13. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    I suspect you're doing the same thing most people do, but a) publicly and b) right. Everyone spends time floundering a bit, but most do it away from a community, and thus take longer to get through that.

    And I think you are over thinking this. Try just scaling up and cleaning up this version.
     
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  14. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Welp, that's encouraging at least.

    Wait, scaling up? On of the main problems is that stuff is too overscaled and open, isn't it?

    EDIT: Here's a plan. I could keep most of the hill room intact but close up one window on each side as well as the side entrances (the ones placed in small rooms on the balconies). I'll turn the trigger area of the hill into a 32-unit platform and give it some cover. I'll then scale down the spawns and figure out something to do with the mids. Does this sound like a viable way to keep going with the current version?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  15. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    You are learning fine. Don't take any of it personally. I know some of the feedback I left yesterday (not necessarily on your map) might have been typed in a rush because I was going to get killed if I stood around to long, rendering the feedback not nearly as useful. That might be why some of it sounds a bit off or poorly worded.

    But everyone has to start somewhere mapping, and everyone learns different things at different speeds. Layouts are probably one of the hardest things to learn because it's very difficult to explain how to do it without just hand holding someone the whole way. It's all a process you have to go through. You will most likely have many failed maps before you get one right, but when you sit back and see people having fun on your map, it's all worth it.

    The big thing I noticed, was some of the huge sight lines in your map. A competent Sniper could absolutely wreck the opposing team from quite a few different locations around the map.

    Also the small doorway on the bottom level across from the health and ammo packs didn't seem like it was able to be walked through without crouching or jumping or something. It got me killed at least once trying to back track into it while being chased.

    And speaking of health packs, I think your map could benefit from a few more, spaced different. If you look at Viaduct (which is an excellent map to study for KoTH game design) you'll see that their health packs are stuck back on either side a bit so you are "falling back" towards your base to top back off, or healing up as you are pushing towards theirs. When you have them in the middle like your map does, you more often than not have to actually push into more dangerous territory when you are already vulnerable.
     
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  16. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  17. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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    You WILL learn. Trust me.

    I have personally made two entire maps. They sucked monkey balls, but i enjoyed making them, and i learned a ton from it. The best thing you can do to learn, is to make mistakes.
     
  18. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Kaboom. A5.

    As you're probably aware I'm still in the 'build map, include bunch of fatal flaws, learn about flaws, scrap most or all of the map, rebuild from scratch' stage of my learning curve. I also feel sort of bad about taking up a precious gameday spot and giving two dozen people a miserable time just to find out stuff that one person could have told me after taking a walk through the map. If you have the time to take such a walk and subsequently enlighten me about any game-breaking layout problems I'd be really happy!

    Ah, and I know that the optimization is pretty fecal. I think I have all the theoretical knowledge required about the topic, but I'm still struggling with putting it to practical use. Give it time.

    Oh, and here's a bonus challenge: It's possible to, in two detonator jumps, get up on the roof of the central part of the hill building without touching the roofs of the lower extensions of it. Find out how and win a secret prize.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  19. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Hm. Anyone?

    As not to make this post completely pointless, here's some of the reasoning behind the current design.

    The high outdoor zones and the outer parts of the central building are meant to be the main routes from the courtyard to the hill. Going via an outdoor zone and balcony gets you there as quickly as possible, but with a slight height disadvantage. Going via a building takes slightly longer but gives you a slight height advantage. All ammo (two medium packs per side) and most of the health (two medium packs per side) can be found in those zones, to create a flow in and out of the hill room. I'm hoping for push-and-retreat gameplay rather than hold-and-attack. I also figured that a closed room could easily become too easy to defend if it contained a bunch of pickups.
    There are however two small health pickups near the hill, both placed 1/3rd of the way down the stairs to the pool room. Their purpose, besides making the hill room completely devoid of health, is partly to alert people about the existence of the pool room and partly to make disguised spies entering the hill room from those stairs appear less suspicious.
    The pool in the pool room can technically be used to get rid of afterburn, milk or jarate, but it's primarily there for aesthetic purposes. Sue me.
    The pool room in general, as well as the low outdoor zones, are meant mostly for Spies, roamers, flankers and other antisocial people who want a way to traverse the map without crossing the hill room.
    The roofs are meant to offer yet another route around the hill room, an opportunity for Harvest-style attacks from above (though I closed up two of the four windows, so hopefully it's not as spammy as in the a4), and an outlet for my bizarre running-on-roofs fetish.
     
  20. Deodorant

    Deodorant L6: Sharp Member

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    Here's your last chance. Tell me what the fatal flaws of this version is or I'm gonna Gameday this mofo.