CTF Skinnerbox

Discussion in 'Map Factory' started by Robot3x, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    Skinnerbox
    Alpha 1
    ctf_skinnerbox


    The Story:

    Mann Co. has given a $600 million grant to the Medic to carry out his experiments. This operant conditioning chamber is one of his designs and is used to analyze the behavior of the Blu and Red teams in combat situations. One must be careful in this box of death. It has been designed with little respect for the intelligence of the test subjects and there is a complete disregard for their safety. There will be horrific deaths and disfigurements, but it will be worth it for the wealth of scientific data collected in these experiments!

    Features include:

    - Intel rooms, with small windows, upfront and center. No more boring babysitting jobs for the engineers at the back of the base. The intel room is now in the middle of the action.

    - A small maze with an electrified floor in each base that is one possible route to the flag room. Players can painfully "condition" other players not to take this route via a button above the maze.

    - A large electrified floor in no man's land which is also used for conditioning fellow players... to death.

    - Conditioning ray guns that can either kill or heal the player after pushing their buttons. These conditioners test how well players are at remembering and learning things. Should also be fun for pyros to air blast enemy players into buttons for explosive conditioning.

    - Spy-resistant battlements. Snipers, tired of constantly having to watch your back while you hunt? With specially designed cozy spots in the battlements you will have to squirm your way into, a spy will have to come at you face-to-face to take you out. (Downside, you're a bit of a sitting duck to anyone else who wants to kill you)

    - Ample hiding spots for spies.

    - Several good spots for engineers to build teleports and camps deep inside enemy territory.

    - Protective walls for teleports outside of spawn rooms to help shield them from skirmishes there or being accidentally spotted by a passing enemy player.

    - Spawn rooms with four exits. One exit is designed to be a spawn camper's dream and the players' behavior will be thoroughly analyzed by the Medic regarding this area. How long will players be territorial and insist on fighting to the death over leaving through that one particular door?

    - Multiple routes to the intel room with variable pros and cons to consider when formulating your strategy. In general, the shorter the route, the deadlier it probably will be.

    - A vast foyer in each base overlooked by battlements. If snipers are on duty, it is probably best to stay out of the foyer. If you are a sniper on duty, have fun taking the heads off of anyone brave enough to enter this killing floor.

    - Clean, anti-septic feel

    This is my first map released to the public. I'm excited to see how well my design theories work in practice and I hope people will have fun playing this map.

    Also, Skinnerbox is a working title. I like it now because its compact and easy to type for testing purposes, but Operant Conditioning Chamber or Conditioning Chamber sounds sexier to me and I'd really like to name it one of those. So I'm not sure which name will stick in the end.

    Many thanks to everyone here for answering my countless questions, with out your help I wouldn't have been able to make this map: Grazr, A Boojum Snark (of course not just for the posts but also the libraries), Froz3n, AgeNt_, yyler, loc_n_lol, Ravidge, Sergis, Kerch, LeSwordfish, YM, Shanghai, Muffin Man, Wander, Grossfuerst G, Psy, Kill_the_Bug, Nerdboy, Empyre, terwonick, English Mobster, Blade (Forgive me if I forget anyone)

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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  2. Wilson

    aa Wilson Burial by Sleep

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    Screenshots?
     
  3. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    I can't get them to work, so I'm posting them on imgur right now.

    Edit:

    I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I browse for image and select it. When I save they don't show up. Is there a button I'm supposed to press to upload it before saving that I'm overlooking?
     
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  4. Terwonick

    Terwonick L6: Sharp Member

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    ah, what?

    on a sidenote this is my first (positive) mention in a "thanks for putting up with me" post, makes me happy!
     
  5. The Asylum

    aa The Asylum

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    My only complaint is that it doesn't look very tf2-y
     
  6. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    I might be able to fix that by making the arrows and basic shapes more "cartoony" like some of the TF2 signs.
     
  7. Wilson

    aa Wilson Burial by Sleep

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    It doesn't look tf2-y because it has no proper team color, it is all white colors, it looks more like bit cartoony portal than TF2.

    Also spiral stairs are terrible gameplay element.
     
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    Campable spawn exits = bad idea.
     
  9. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    The spiral stairs lead to the kill button up top the "kill cage". I'm hoping they will make it more challenging to get to since it's such a powerful thing.

    The campable exit is a satire on human psychology. I've noticed that in Doublecross that players, including myself, will get into slug matches over the exit they are facing despite there being two other exits. With three other exits, I'm hoping that one campable spot won't be a game killer. If it is, I can fix it.
     
  10. Terwonick

    Terwonick L6: Sharp Member

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    I like this guy, people yelled at me for having a HUGE sightline across both points on koth_saltmine (still in production). I have yet to see a sniper or any class use that sightline to lock-down the point. I suggest only changing something if it becomes problematic.
     
  11. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    looks crazy
     
  12. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    This map is
    • Too open
    • Too huge
    • Too gimmicky
    • Too Portal-y
    Spiral stairs aren't a good gameplay element because they require the player to move their mouse a lot. It isn't enjoyable in multiplayer to worry about aiming and controlling movement that precisely. That's why you only see spirals in one place (Badlands) and it's very easy to climb it (jumping).

    The map looks huge and open which is a big problem. Snipers will dominate the long stretches and scouts will be hugely abundant. No one will play other classes and if they do they will do terribly.

    There's a reason none of the thing you did (electrified mazes, ray guns, etc) are in the TF2 maps you see all the time.

    This would make a fine screwing around map, and it's a great use of practice to learn Hammer and how things work, but I hope you don't expect it to be the next great custom.

    This is a terrible attitude to take. Just because someone here doesn't use it doesn't mean no one will.
     
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  13. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    The map is alpha, so the cosmetics have a lot of filling in ahead. I've never played the Portal games. Since TF2 is set in the 60s, I based it on that futuristic look from that time period. I wanted it to have 60s hospital feel. I guess Portal is the same setting.

    The spiral stairs are meant to be difficult to climb since their is a kill button at the top.


    The map is still in alpha and I hope to fill in spots where snipers will be problematic. Except the foyers. The size of the map is some concern for me as well. If it is problematic in testing, I will trim it down. The size is 8000x7700. I based its size on Turbine but miscalculated the width (I think).

    I don't see them as much different than the trains except you can control them and they don't move.

    Ouch. :( No, I'm hoping people will have fun playing it.
     
  14. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    I would take a long hard look at traditional gameplay elements and style in TF2 stock maps and then return to your initial, basic idea for CTF and try to apply a twist to your map. Look at Doublecross, which takes the basic CTF formula and literally turns it into a map with two major pathways intersecting each other. Look at Turbine, which effectively cuts out about 3/4 of 2fort. Look at Sawmill, which turns CTF into a circular arena that is slightly asymmetrical. Look at Well, which modifies the regular mid area in favor of something somehow more boring.

    Even if you look at Payload, Badwater turns the Gold Rush formula into a straight shot and Barnblitz upends the very design documents of payload in favor of gameplay on a huge vertical scale. Upward reverses the traditional attack direction and manages an open playfield balanced with enclosed spaces, or else is open in areas that don't particularly matter, ie the wooden turnaround bridge over the death pit.

    These are minor variations on a running theme and yet they are enough to make players split entirely over whether a map is good or not. How do you think such major changes as what you've done will go over?

    I don't mean to be discouraging, but huge empty lobbies aren't conducive to fun play. Though you may be able to discover a niche audience (like cp_orange_x, a similarly large and open map) many players will scorn it. Similarly, ideas like kill switches that are semi difficult to reach aren't really going to fare well. This is not meant to be an "I don't think this will work!" post so much as an "I know this won't work" post. We have all played maps like this. We all know.

    You clearly have come to understand Hammer and the tools, but now you need to understand the design process. This is not the kind of post I make for every map like this, and it's only because you show such a desire to learn and get better that I am bothering to type this out. Not to say I am the final gospel, but I want you to understand that I see potential here. It's just that I (and probably others) think you are wasting it on what will never amount to anything.
     
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  15. Robot3x

    Robot3x L2: Junior Member

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    I don't think my map is much different in design theory than Turbine which has a lot of wide open corridors. My no man's land has more obstacles than Turbine's. You seem fixated on that wide open foyer, but there are several other routes to take all of which have obstacles and things to hide behind and if they are not enough, then more can be added later. Even the wide open foyer has several lamps, stairs, and a huge platform so it's not even that barren.

    This just seems extremely brutal for an alpha map you haven't even tried. You're basically saying the whole design is completely unsalvageable for things that seem to me can be easily fixed if they don't work.
     
  16. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    It doesn't matter that the map is in alpha. It should still be playable. You can't say "Don't worry about those sightlines, it's in alpha" because the whole point of a map in alpha is to refine and improve gameplay - and sightlines are one of the most obvious aspects of gameplay. It's fine if you don't realise there's a sightline there, but the description makes it seem like you're perfectly aware of them and believe they'll improve gameplay (they won't).

    Turbine has wide open corridors, but they are not so wide they are basically extremely large rooms. Turbine is not a map made up entirely of corridors. Your map is massive room upon massive room with little to no cover.

    Electrified floors? Buttons? Spiralling stairs? There are very good reasons why official and otherwise successful maps don't have any of these features (with the exception of the Badlands spire, but it's sparsely used and easy to climb). Electrified floors are a feature that just messes with gameplay, and will confuse and annoy people who won't understand what killed them when they walk on them. Buttons are bad because TF2 wasn't designed with the usage of buttons in mind, and will, again, mess with the gameplay. Spiralling stairs are bad because, as was mentioned before, people hate negotiating with them. It doesn't matter that 'there's a button that kills stuff' at the top of the stairs; a button that kills people doesn't help anything in the slightest.

    The point I'm making is you haven't properly considered the things that make official maps work (variation in room sizes and shapes, lack of sightlines, cover, particularly the psychological aspect of gameplay). While it's good to make a unique map, you should also consider what the player should expect and what makes a good map, well, good.

    I suggest you spend some more time studying other maps (particularly Turbine) and note what it is that makes them so good. This map is good, but it just won't work for TF2. It feels more like something designed for Garry's Mod in my opinion.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  17. English Mobster

    English Mobster L6: Sharp Member

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    Everyone else has taken my main points, but I'm going to warn you: players that are any good (and by that, I mean the majority of the people here who will be the ones testing your map should you submit it to a gameday) HATE CTF. It is the one gametype that guarantees a quick map change (most CTF games get their playtime cut short due to popular vote).
    The reason for that is stalemates. CTF was not supposed to be in TF2; it was a remnant of TFC and was not designed with TF2's gameplay in mind. TF2 is much more defensively-oriented than TFC, if you look at the classes:
    Scout: One of the few offensive classes.
    Heavy: Can cut anyone entering a room (an intel room, for example) to shreds in moments.
    Demoman: Can lay sticky traps at the entrances to rooms (intel room, again).
    Soldier: Can use splash damage from rockets to injure attackers entering a room before they have a chance to get at him.
    Medic: Can give a defending team the staying power to shrug off any attacks.
    Pyro: Is designed to ambush, meaning he would be defending already secure territory.
    Spy: Is the other one of the few classes that takes on an offensive role in CTF (things like Payload, not so much).
    Sniper: How often do you see Snipers on the offensive? Seriously. While they aren't in the intel room, you aren't going to see a Sniper go in for the flag very often.
    Engineer: The most defensive of all classes, can deny access to entire rooms (lookin' at you, intel room), keep defenders well-armed, and keep a steady steam of backup coming.

    People join CTF servers to deathmatch with 32 man insta-spawn rtd madness. The flag isn't really a main objective as much as trying to camp the enemy base.
    I don't want to come off as rude or anything, but you literally chose the worst gametype you possibly could when it comes to the quality of gameplay. And besides that, you did it in a way that feels completely gimmicky, which doesn't help your case any.
    This feels like a first map, because it is. My first map was a train wreck (literally, it was: it was Payload with trains, and if the train hit the bomb, the bomb would detonate and it would be a stalemate). I defended it to the bitter end, but now that I have some experience, I've played some competitive matches, I've seen what others have done, I've made a few other maps of my own, I agree that it was, indeed, terrible.

    Don't let all this negative feedback get you down. Open sightlines are common mistakes for first-time mappers (a rule of thumb: There is only 1 place with a sightline longer than 3000 units in all of TF2. Keep it to 2500 AT MAX, ~2000 is probably your safest bet). You'll learn with time, but some lessons to take away:
    - Keep sightlines to a minimum.
    - CTF maps are the absolute hardest maps to make any good because they weren't designed for TF2. Arena comes in second.
    - Use textures consistent with Team Fortress' theme and color palette. Filter by "tf" in the material browser to find most (but not all) of these.
    - New themes are risky territory for newbie mappers, especially if you're (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) free to play. While I have nothing against f2pers (and I only think you are because you say you've never played Portal, which means you don't have the Orange Box), they simply haven't had the same amount of time playing and exposure to TF2's style as some of the older folk. Stick to tried and true stock textures until you get a feel for what goes and what doesn't.

    In summary:
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  18. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    tf2m hates ctf, keep that in mind :D
     
  19. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Not true.

    We don't like how it can lead to easy stalemates. Do it right, and we're okay.
     
  20. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    I quite like CTF, personally.

    Except for when each team has about five engies. That happens a lot.