KotH Seadog A7

A KoTH map set in a harbor

  1. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    Seadog - A KoTH map set in a harbor

    Most players are aware what goes wrong when a map has too many chokes, but less so of maps which have too many flanks. Too many gives you maps with no flow and the lack of structure hurts classes like Medic, Demo, Heavy, and Engineer which rely on it.

    My goal in making Seadog is to make it playable more like Viaduct, while keeping it DM-friendly like Harvest.

    Credits:

    Gadget's Railroad Tracks
    The Frontline Pack
     
  2. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    The site's demo feature is broken, so unfortunately, this version has almost no feedback! I did get to play it, but what is one player's perspective compared to 24? I gathered the feedback was mostly positive, and I'd like to think it's not just my own biases saying so. Hearing, "This is what Harvest should have been" on a KoTH A1 is really encouraging!

    Despite my expressed intention, engineers and Medics complained of feeling exposed. The rooms adjacent to the point and the area left of the shutter are meant to be relatively safe, but that didn't seem to pan out.

    - Lowered the big door to the point to cut sight lines from the roof
    - Opened up the depression the long side tunnel opens into to put players coming out at a more immediate disadvantage
    - Added a barrier between the spawn shutters. A sniper standing in the shack can't see both, so the slanted door and the boxcar route get a reason to exist

    The biggest piece of feedback was that the height over the point was a little too punishing to classes which don't have easy access to it. I don't think the height itself is a problem, it made sure the point changed hands, it's very difficult to get a foothold in a room it's impossible to be safe in.

    Spamming from the height would ideally be a way of drawing the other team off of the point to come deal with you. But because you can only get to the roof from the stairs by the death pit or in the house without a rocket launcher, it's basically incontestable.

    - Removed the elbow from the house. This was also to better focus combat on the point.
    - Added a short staircase and crouch jump to get to the roof that's hopefully separated enough from the point?
    - Added beams above the left door to the courtyard to protect players coming out of the leftmost door to the courtyard
    - Moved the health pack to the cubby left of the big door

    Bug Fixes

    - In A1, the secret train made its way to the origin and caused the point to make train sounds. The point should no longer do that.
    - Fixed some soundscapes which were missing from the windows of the Blu sniper room

    Decorative fixes

    - Removed a skybox texture in one of the subway tunnels, which let sunlight into what should be a black void
    - Moved the black brush that covers where the trains despawn forward, to prevent the train from being seen while it's stationary
    - Parented the dynamic props to the secret train to prevent the map from being haunted by a ghost train
    - Fixed a visible displacement seam outside the shack beside the death pit
    - Fixed a visible displacement seam near Red's warehouse
    - Added ground to the other side of the subway trench
    - Added a control point sign above the big doors to the point
    - Added a Blu Freight & Shipping sign in place of Red's Redstone Cargo sign
    - Extended the stilts that hold up Red's shack deeper into the water

    Quality-of-life changes

    - Removed clipping from the top of the shutter frame to make it easier to jump onto the consoles
    - Sticky bombs now bounce off of the top of the shutter, so demos can no longer place invisible traps
    - Enabled collisions on the tugboats and added a kill trigger
    - Clipped the clutter in the yard to make it easier to jump on them and place buildings nearby
    - Marked the edges of the door shutter triggers on the point with hazard tape. If this conflicts with the hazard tape on the point, I can find a new texture.
    - You can now step up onto the window sills in the sniper deck by walking into them, so you don't have to stop to jump through the window
    - Lowered the ground in Blu's train trench and added "Watch your step" signs to make it clearer it's a death pit. The ocean seems like a more obvious death pit, so I don't think I'll put those signs up on Red's side.

    And now, for a few known unknowns.

    People seem to be split on the shutters. Whenever somebody would complain, "shutters bad," someone else seemed to contend otherwise, and nobody on either side said why. Do they enable attackers to contest the point too passively? Do they let defenders defend in the same way? Would the map be better with a wall in their place, or a big hole? Should I have asked these questions during the Imp?

    Nobody mentioned the eight-second cap time, that's as low as the lowest KoTH capture time in the game. Is this a problem? Would Mid play better if it had a 12 or 16-second cap time? Is it better, given the nature of the rest of the point, that a team only needs a weak hold of the point to capture it?

    Like I said, I have no demo to review. Sorry about the lack of sweeping changes, the goal of A2 is going to be to address these lingering questions.

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  3. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    A2 definitely played different to A1. Forget what I said about no sweeping changes! A2 arguably played worse, but I don't know if I have the sample size of map tests to say for sure. Someone discovered a really cool trimp up the hill in the courtyard, through the air to the roof, and to the other team's courtyard. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one!

    The new route to the roof was successful in connecting the ground to the roof for attackers, but the barrel jump, which was included to save space, was not effective in supporting that. Players contesting the point are naturally already at a height disadvantage to the roof, and that made the barrel jump needlessly difficult.

    - Moved the depression in the floor farther back into the wall, to accommodate a bigger staircase
    - Removed the barrel jump and extended the stairs
    - Shortened the low hallway into the warehouse

    I put the elbow from A1 back in because players attacking the point from the left weren't given a fast option to bypass the shutter without going all the way to the other end of the map, at a disadvantage to the roof.

    - Put the shithouse back in, left of the shutter. It's slightly smaller now, because of the roof route, but it's still pretty easy to rotate through.


    I don't know if this is a problem of stacked teams or of my map, but there were a number of times where a team only seemed to push from the house, rather than the outdoor route to the right. In all but one game, they were pushed back, but I want to do more to help balance stacked teams.

    - Put the elbow back in
    - Moved the pack in the right room to a different wall, in a better position for teams pushing out of spawn.
    - Added a small pack to the left side of the house
    - Shortened the long, leftmost corridor.

    Bug Fixes

    - The ghost train returned to haunt the control point! No idea what's causing it to play train sounds at the origin. It doesn't do it anymore when I'm playing alone, so it's fine as far as I know.

    General changes

    - Added patches which were missing from the small packs in the right of the house.
    - Added some func_details above the shutters to hide a place the frame clips through the roof.
    - Did some super general detailing to Red's shack, I couldn't help myself.

    I forgot to include the pack process in CompilePal. Didn't affect gameplay, but there were plenty of error models nevertheless.

    - Packed the map this time lol

    Coming straight off of Coyote, a map which was never free of feedback, I feel like I might not be getting as much feedback as I should be. I don't want to move to Beta too early by dismissing too much feedback. As long as I have changes to make, however small, I'll keep pushing new versions.

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  4. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    I was basically half-asleep for the last imp, so I'm really glad the demo bot is back up. This time, I think I actually understand what I've been doing wrong. Ironically, I did the same thing I hate so much about the map Seadog was inspired by. The house connecting the spawn to the point is boring, restrictive, and doesn't offer much other than a path between parts of the map. They're too basic to create any dynamic between different positions players can take within the play space.

    The goal of A4 is to fix that. Now, the house forms a lobby. Initially, the idea was for the courtyard between the point and the house to fill that role, with the house acting as more of a connector between it and the spawn. In practice, the roof makes that impossible, so the roles are now reversed. Further, the new goal is for the entire right side of your half of the map to be devoted to your flank, and the left, your combo.

    In A3, if your team pushes into the other team's house, it's not hard to lock the other team out and hold the entire house. So I've changed the middle of the house which you enter from spawn to prevent that happening.

    - Added walls and a second doorway to separate the right side of the house from the left side.
    - Raised the floor across the entire house to give the team is belongs to a height advantage over the other team, pushing in.
    - Widened the hallway to make it less cramped

    The left house now forms the main lobby. It contains both health and ammo, with three exits to the point. The team's combo can hold and push from here to apply pressure to the more dictative routes into the point.

    - Added a staircase up to the sniper room to give players pushing out a faster route to their other entrance to the point
    - Widened the left hallway into a room
    - Removed most of the wall separating the left hall from the long hall to the other team's side of the point
    - Removed the cubby the health pack was in
    - Added a crate as cover
    - Added a pit to put players pushing into the lobby at a disadvantage

    The right house now forms an open flank, akin to Saw from Snakewater. It just contains health and places players coming in at a significant disadvantage to those entering the room from the rest of the house. Non-combo classes can use this room to rotate through the house as well as attain cover and health.

    - Raised the ceiling to meet the roof, visible from outside
    - Added a platform extending from the door
    - Lowered the wall blocking the sightline through both of the doors
    - Moved the pack between the two doors
    - Added a railing to the new ledge, to make it more difficult to access from the ground.
    - Added some geometry separating the door to the house to the left door outside. I don't know why I did this, but I've seen that doors on the same wall are separated like this on competitive maps, so I'm sure there's a reason.
    - Added a patch which was missing from Blu's pack in the right house

    Miscellaneous changes

    - Moved the closet with the health and ammo on the upper floor to a different wall. The raised lower floor interfered with its old position.
    - Removed the landing at the top of the stairs to the sniper room
    - Changed the outdoor soundscape to feature louder city sounds
    - Added more textures to the top of Red's shack
    - Added buoys to the ocean
    - Slightly moved one of the tugboats out from behind a building
    - Textured the ground outside Blu's spawn
    - Added a number of gameplay signs for clarity
    - Added more signs to the subway trench
    - Added hazard tape to the edge of the subway trench
    - Decided that any greater number of warnings against jumping into the death pit would be comically unnecessary
    - Fixed a number of random holes in walls, floors, and ceilings
    - Fixed some soundscapes near the doors of some rooms which did not match other doors in said rooms
    - Removed the railing from the sniper room and extended the wall in its place

    Finally, some real changes! I have a good feeling about A4 and look forward to hearing your feedback! I don't personally have any problems with the way the point itself plays. But every playtest has had some general negative feedback, yet as intended, it's easy to capture and hard to defend. Whatever the feedback is about, it can't be too consequential. Maybe it's just down to preference? Either way, A5 is probably going to focus on refining my changes from A4 and figuring out what's the deal with the point.

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  5. chandlerj333

    chandlerj333 L1: Registered

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    There is a spot where you can shoot stickies from spawn onto the point. link to a demo. I played with bots on a nav mesh I edited so idk if the demo will work without it

    There is also a window by the train pit that isn't on the sea pit side, but it overlooks the pit so it isn't of much use; although people respawning could get a view of an enemy going for the healthpack in that room.

    you could put some live wires in the train pit to emphasize the instant death
     
  6. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    After I released A4 my computer stopped booting! I've had a long time to think about what's wrong with Seadog. The major issue is the point.

    The average round length is over five minutes (with a three minute win time) so we know it's balanced on paper, but in practice, the reason is because the point is a meat grinder. The cap zone forces attacking players into the pit, in the perfect position for players on the roof to kill them. You aren't required to hold the roof to cap the point, the disadvantage on the point is so great that anybody on the other team on the roof can deny it.

    While this makes for a back-and-forth, it can be very frustrating. The goal of these changes is to make capping the point less reliant on control over the roof, as well as allow teams to push the point with a little less commitment.
    • Expanded the cap zone to include the entire room. Now, players capping the point have more options where to cap from, away from the roof
    • Added shelves above the big doors. This gives cover to players approaching and standing on the point from the roof
    • Made the hole in the roof much smaller. This is to restrict the angles players on the roof can spam from.
    • Moved the wall right of the shutters back to create another cubby on the point
    • Added some drums and crates to add cover/height on the point
    Made some changes to the left house, for the same reasons described in A4
    • Changed the small health kit in the left house to a medium health kit
    I went back to some of my brushwork along the left side of the map and started remaking a lot of the messier parts. But along with that, I started filling in the roofs.
    • Red's base is now a fishery, and Blu's base is a fishpacking plant
    • Cleaned up a bunch of messy brushes
    Miscellaneous changes
    • Fixed an out-of-map exploit in Blu's death pit
    • Added clipping to prevent players from getting caught on the lip of the roof above the shutters
    • Added clipping to the top of the consoles beside the point to make them easier to jump on
    • Added some AreaPortals to the inside of the house
    • Fixed an asymmetric brush in Blu's left house
    • Changed the markings for the shutter's trigger from hazard tape to white stencils, because you CAN have too much hazard tape.
    • Replaced a BlockBullets brush with a Playerclip brush over the container stack by Blu's spawn
    • Fixed some func_detail faces which should have been NoDraw'd
    • Miscellaneous visleaf optimization

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  7. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    I did what I set out to with A5, nobody really complained about the height advantage of the roof being too much. The same can't be said about literally everything else. The less substantial changes in A5 also had their intended effect, "there's a death pit in spawn, I'm gonna jump in."

    The first issue is that there are too many blind corners on the point. The elbows, rooms on either side, and the roof restrict your vision of the point until you're through them, in the same way a shutter does. Players attempting to contest the point don't have the option to push more passively. This is the same issue most of Dustbowl has, in that when you're pushing in, you don't have the option to peek and see whether it's safe to make an attempt on the point. If you're going in at all, you're going all the way in.
    • Added a big tank to both sides of the point
    • Changed the doors into the side rooms from single large doors to two small doors to manage sight lines on the shutter and on players rolling out to their side room
    • Changed the side room to be slightly longer to accommodate the bigger doorway
    • Removed several walls forming the main entrance to the point
    • Removed the drums and crates on the point
    • Removed the cubbies with health/ammo on both sides of the point
    • Removed the cubbies on the point
    • Extended the pit where the other team's lobby connects to the side room
    Watching the teams roll out, it seemed the preferred route to the point is through the upper floor to the roof. Initially, this was a sniper deck, giving coverage of one side of the roof as well as the other team's sniper. This was only allowed to be the case because the roof hole was wide enough that the angle the snipers were positioned wasn't interfered with by the roof. With the roof hole smaller, there isn't really a sightline between the two sniper decks anymore. There is enough cover on the opposite side of the roof that it no longer really serves that purpose.

    Because in my mind, it was just a place to snipe from, it was okay for transit times to be a little longer. This is what made for the mazy feeling players experienced around the lobby. The increased connectivity now offers a faster, more covered, and less complicated route to the roof. Covered both by the walls of the building and by the smaller roof hole.
    • Added an awning allowing players to jump into the remaining windows, in place of the board which was used to get to the roof previously
    • Added a big ramp to the lobby
    • Added a fence to the top edge
    • Moved the exterior wall of the lobby farther out
    • Removed the stairwell
    • Removed most of the upper floor
    • Removed all the walls upstairs
    • Removed two windows from the wall, replacing them with a big hole
    • Removed the health pack closet
    • Removed the wall separating the route to the other team's side room
    • Removed the crate providing cover to the health pack from the doorway outside

    The final issue the last imp brought to light was that there are a number of weird little things that could be changed to streamline the map. Clutter, aesthetics, and redundancies.
    • Added a small ammo pack to the hallway connecting the lobby to the other team's side room
    • Added a medium ammo pack to the transition room between the courtyard and the spawn
    • Simplified the shape of the cap zone.
      • The cap zone initially excluded the areas the shutter triggers covered, but this made for an I-shaped control point which many players found to be too confusing.
      • This was done to stop players from edging the point through the shutters, but they can already do that on every other doorway.
    • Removed the pickups from the room beside the point
    • Removed a misleading awning (intended to provide cover to the leftmost door to the courtyard) which appears climbable but is not
    • Removed the hazard tape from the wood marking where the shutter opens outside Mid.
      • It was too close to other hazard tape which marks the edge of the cap zone
    • Removed the pillar from outside the main door out of the lobby which needlessly cluttered the area
    • Removed part of the railing in Red's spawn to allow players to more easily throw themselves into the death pit for no fucking reason more easily
      • Why are you like this
    Other changes
    • Fixed a place in the Red death pit you could stand
    • Fixed some hint brushes which hadn't been replicated on Blu's side of the map
    • Fixed misaligned dev textures
    • Fixed a navmesh issue where bots would jump in the train pit thinking they could walk there
    • Added a bunch of custom logos to the walls.
      • References to Fishing for Fishies, an album by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (My favorite band)
      • TF2 community members (B4nny and VNN)
      • Companies which don't have stock signs (Northern Express)
      • Content pack coming eventually
    • Added three new spectator cameras
    • Added more containers stacked outside of Blu's spawn
    • Added horns to the trains that sometimes play as they enter the map, or when they hit a player
    • Added another ship to the harbor
    • Changed the dev texture of walkable surfaces to the smaller grid
    • Changed the soundscape of the interior of Blu's base
    • Changed one of the floors in Blu's base to concrete
    • Removed a spectator cam which was kinda just looking at the floor
    Known issues:
    • Bots still jump in the pit
    • There is a spare spectator cam under the map
    There's my update, see you all in three months. To the approximately none of you who are wondering where I've been, I've been quitting TF2 mapping! I've been drawing and putting my work up on Twitter instead. Depression and map feedback don't mix well. Having your work ripped into while you feel like your work is just as worthless as you are has a way of pushing you away from trying to improve anything. But in the same way, putting different work out there and getting nothing but compliments and commission requests has the opposite effect!

    Turns out that while I don't know how to make TF2 maps, I can draw furries really fucking well. And I will let the latter part of that sentence distract myself from the former.

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  8. Neketo

    Neketo L1: Registered

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    Initially, the feedback that the point was unsafe confused me. On other KoTH maps, the point is the least safe part of the map (see: Viaduct, Harvest, and Brazil) and where they're most vulnerable. Seadog definitely creates that dynamic, but it does it to the degree that it advantages defenders on account of how many ways they have to contest the point without being seen by attackers. Capturing the point becomes about managing corners like a CS:GO map, and seven entrances are too many to juggle.

    My philosophy is that you can put basically anything in a map if the rest of the map is balanced around it thoughtfully. It's for this reason I'm not convinced the issue is the shutter itself, it's the way the area around it is balanced. Shutters aren't an issue on maps like Coalplant, Granary and Coldfront which all feature a shutter as an integral part of their control points.
    • Removed the elbow from beside the shutters
    • Removed the consoles from in front of the shutters
    • Removed the route connecting the side room to the other team's lobby. This makes it safer to push in and hold from your own side room.
    The point, as intended, pushes defenders off of it on account of how vulnerable they are standing on it directly. However, the design of the rest of the map pushes them toward the other team rather than back into their own base. This is mostly because the lobby offers plenty to both teams to hold. Defenders can shut down attackers as they roll out, locking down their safest route to the roof.
    • Moved the health and ammo toward the door out of spawn
    • Changed the zig zag wall blocking sights from the lobby into the house to give players pushing more cover
    • Raised the ground outside the spawn to make it easier to push into the lobby
    • Made the stairs to the upper lobby smaller
    • Added a fence to the stairs to close off angles on the door to the courtyard
    • Added a doorway to the entrance to the upper lobby through the right stairs to give more cover to players going for health from the windows, as well as push into the upper lobby more passively
    • Widened the right stairs to the upper lobby
    • Moved the pickups at the top of the right stairs to allow retreating players to get them from behind cover, as well as make them more difficult for attacking players to get them.
    • Added a second entrance to the lower lobby through the garage
    • Removed the route connecting the lobby to the other team's side room
    • Changed the health in the upper lobby to a small pack
    Players in the last imp complained that the other team was spawncamping. It was, in fact, a single pyro. This is for you, that one pyro...
    • Removed the route connecting the lobby to the other team's side room
    • Moved the fence behind the left shutter out of spawn to mitigate the blind spot for players pushing out
    Miscellaneous
    • Fixed a hole in the ceiling of Red's lobby
    • Fixed some overlapping brushes around the map
    • Fixed a place you could get "stuck" against the wall beside the barrel stack in the upper lobby
    • Fixed missing patches under Blu's pickups in their upper lobby
    • Fixed some clipping above the boxcars which allowed players to stand on the edge in the garage
    Honestly, I'm really itching to detail a map. Taking a break from stressing about commissions and your clients isn't as fun when that break involves more stressing about how to design a map. A new King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard song came out, its music video inspired me to detail my Alpha map. Restraining myself to only the areas I know are balanced. I know I'm not supposed to, I know the difficulties that can arise, I accept that. A couple notes:
    • Honey by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is a great song
    • I took care to separate walkable roofs from ones which are not. Brown is walkable, black is not
    • My texture selection in Blu's spawn is fucking perfect, don't try and tell me otherwise
    • By popular demand, seagulls!
    Known issues
    • The Lufthunde logo is broken
    • The pickups in Blu's lobby are missing patches

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