KotH skyward b2

by Earkham

  1. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    Hey played this again. Really liking the beta version. I don't have a whole lot of visual feedback, but I'll split it up regardless.

    Sorry, no demo. Server doesn't record them and I forgot to record one.

    Visual

    1) Okay, the biggest issue that I have right now is that you are a bit all over the place with your textures. Lots of mixtures of brick/wood/concrete/metal in places that might now need it. You even seem to have some really weird splits of spytech and brick in odd areas that don't match up across the map. You really just need to focus on one style and keep it consistent across the whole map. I'll go through some examples.

    - The building at mid is both red brick and blue brick. I don't think I agree with this choice. I hate to be "that guy", but It seems unlikely that someone would build a building with half one color of brick and then go to the other side and make it out of another color. I think you should take a look at well and freight, see how they make the center structures out of white bricks that appear fairly neutral. You could keep the side buildings team colored, but I think the central structure should be consistent across both sides of the map.
    - The garage entrance on one side is yellowish metal, on the other side its blue concrete bricks. Pick one style, conrete or metal. I think metal would be a better option in my opinion, as it fits the size of the walls. Maybe try the red and blue metal textures from foundry, instead of that yellowish metal. It might seem like your spamming it a bit, but I think it will really bring those areas together. If you feel like you need to get some diversity, take a look at the building between mid and second in foundry, how they split up the walls with different textures (work in progress, random patches of wood on metal, etc).
    - The spytech area near the point is cool looking, but should be consistent on both sides. I think you should take the red side as an example of how to do things on the blue side, BUT I would put the recessed computer section from the blue side on both sides.
    - Take a look at the really huge circular lamps from hydro. They don't get used like anywhere, but I feel like the ceiling you have going on here would be perfect for them. Would provide a really soft shape to offset the very straight edges.

    2) Okay, this is a big one. I don't like the way the middle area looks. :( I know thats rough, but compared to the rest of the map it feels absolutely spartan and boring. If you went back and put the dev textures back up, I don't think I'd be able to tell the difference really. It seems harsh, but given how good the rest of the map looks, and given that this is the center point where you have a massive rocket as a centerpiece, I think you really need to step up your visuals to sell the concept. There are a couple of ways to do this.

    - First, you need to change textures. The dark grey concrete your using, even with the custom brightness of the bottom trim isn't cutting it. I think you should use the coldfront/gorge texture instead, the one your using in the blue spytech stairs area. The tile trim on the bottom is really bright and colorful, and the white concrete above it absolutely POPS, which will do a lot to make that area sparkle.
    - Next, you need to really add a lot more brushwork to the sides. An area like this needs a lot more to catch the eye, and the walls seem very barren, even with better textures. One example, the area underneath the handrail ledge that surrounds the middle, could really use some pillars/columns, something like 4 units thick and 8 or 16 units wide that reaches up to the ledge above it, with like 2 unit 45 degree cuts on the corners. Having something like that will really cut up that long stretch of walls and add a much needed visual catch. Maybe some nonsolid, nonshadow vents between each set of columns.
    - The sides of the garage wall, you need to really make those columns a lot taller, wider and more interesting. The should roar upward, to draw the eye to the rocket stuff you've got going on up top. Some of the gorge pipes as well, spiderwebbing all over the place. Maybe 2fort style vents much higher up?
    - The floor is pretty bland too. You should use that edging shiny tile from 2fort, to cut up the edge of the floor texture. If you positioned it right it could have this neat edge that divides the inner floor up in an interesting way.

    Comp play:

    1) Heavy seems really strong. Like, really really strong. In our second playtest we had a scout switch to heavy and it really shut down a lot of strategies. The upper catwalk area really helps heavies a lot. If the enemy team wants to get on the point, they have to run face first into minigun fire. If they want to jump the heavy, the heavies team juggles them and the heavy kills them. Its not unbeatable, but as someone on our team pointed out, if this was in league play both teams would probably run heavy to middle every round for a long time. Thats not necessarily a fundamental problem (lots of teams about 3 seasons ago had a dedicated heavy strat for Viaduct) but it certainly is the sort of thing that worries 6v6 players.

    One way of solving this problem is to stack another box on catwalk. As it is right now, a heavy can jump on the small crates and get on the very top, sitting up there and seeing every single entrance without any penalty. If you put another tall box ontop of the middle one, you'd have a set up where the heavy can get on the small crates, but not onto the other taller ones. This isn't a permanent solution, heavies can still get on the catwalk and wreck people, but its a good first attempt at it. We'll keep an eye on heavies and report back to you.

    Before anyone else says it: this is still a problem for highlander play as well. Having such a dominant spot for heavy (and I imagine engie as well) can really push the play in favor of those two classes, weakening everything else.

    2) Some players mentioned the medium health packs as an issue. The one in yard is fine, but the one under the stairs and near the far left side of the map were called up. The far left one seems like it really plays into the hands of the defenders at mid a bit too much. It is already pretty hard to push into mid without uber or significant advantage and that health pack almost always seems to support the defenders more than the attackers (not optimal really). Even if you manage to snag the healthpack as you push in, the defenders can juggle you in that corner and kill you. I think you should make that a small pack instead, so that defenders can't quite get as much health on a forward hold. The healthpack under the stairs seems like the sort of thing that roamers and scouts can really abuse, especially at the end of a push. If a fight goes for long enough, and both the meds die, the scout can zip down snag that health and run back up and kill anyone trying to cap the point with really low health. I think its fine to keep it, but keep that in mind.

    3) Someone mentioned that they thought sewers were pretty hard to use effectively. I've said that before, but he had a pretty good reason for it. If you are holding the middle area, its very easy to hold the upper left and have your flank on the garage. What this means is that both of those groups can effectively watch that door, making it very hard to sneak in through there. He had a pretty radical recommendation that I don't think would work (and that I can't remember), but you should keep it in mind.

    4) Cap time? It seemed a bit long to some players. Would recommend you stick to viaduct if possible.

    5) I think you should move the crates and pallets off the point itself, maybe have them flank it on either side. Clip the ramps flanking the point in half and nestle it into them. This makes the point a bit more clear, makes it hard to run circles around the crates and avoid fire, and also makes it so you can't cap from on top of the crates (which is the sort of thing that could really ruin someones night).

    6) Maybe raise the rocket a bit. We had one team pop uber through the garage door, jump there soldier across the point... and straight into the rocket. Pretty much ruined their push. Its obvious that the rocket is there and that you should watch out for it, but if it was a bit higher I think it would help make jumps a bit more clear.

    Okay, that's it for now. Very fun map, but you should be aware that it plays out VERY differently from what comp players are used to in terms of KOTH. I could see many 6v6 players looking at it and being very immediately dismissive of it because it differs so much from what they are used to. I enjoy holding the chokes and fighting players as they come in, but its possible other players won't feel the same. 9v9 players may have a very different take on it, but I do worry that its chokeyness may get to them as well, given how strong demoman, heavy and engineer could be.
     
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  2. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Good stuff, thanks. What do you mean by "left most health pack"?
     
  3. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    If your defending the point, its the one on the left side up in the warehouse connector pathway (on the ledge near the monkey/rocket window). Its pretty risky to take as a defender, but its one of those things where if you win a fight, you can easily take it before pushing out or going back to hold. Further, you can really screw over the enemy by either predicting when they are going to go for it, or by holding back and not damaging them before they enter the doorway, thus making the health pack useless for them, but very useful for you if you push out again.
     
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  4. McNuggetFiend

    McNuggetFiend L3: Member

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    No gameplay feedback, however, visually I'm in love. Looking forward to trying this one out. :wow:
     
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  5. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I'm trying to get version B2, but I'm having some problems with huge shadows appearing that weren't there in previous compiles. As in, huge pitch black shadows. Every time I fix the ones I see, a new group will appear in the next compile. :\

    Getting kind of annoyed.
     
  6. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    Have any screenshots?
     
  7. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Yeah, basically doing stuff like this:

    http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a180/EArkham/TF2Maps/koth_skyward/2012-10-04_00008.jpg

    I didn't change ANYTHING in that particular area, nor did I mess with the lighting there. Also some props are showing up as fullbright, even though they're vector-lit and were fine in previous versions. And for every fix I make that corrects something like this, a new set of shadow/lighting issues appears in the new compile.

    I gave up on the update for now, will mess with it over the weekend maybe.
     
  8. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    Wow, thats really strange. I wonder whats going on. Might try having someone else compile the map as a quick check.
     
  9. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Yeah, I'm an idiot. I was using the wrong lighting profile.

    Updated version later today.
     
  10. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I lied. No updated version today.

    Can't build cubemaps. It acts like it builds them, then gives me "Can't load bsppack.dll" in the console. Google was pretty unhelpful -- I deleted bsppack.dll, defragged & verified, reinstalled steam, compiled without displacements, still doesn't work. I can't even get Packrat or PackBSP to pack them in (the cubemap vtfs are in materials/maps/koth_skyward_b2, nor can I even get the purple checks to appear.

    Just saying the hell with it for now.
     
  11. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Triple post. C'mon, someone else say something so I don't feel like I'm doing this for nothing. :p

    I ended up trying to fix the cubemap issue over the weekend, but never could resolve the problem. If not for that, B2 would be ready to go.

    It's proving very difficult to resolve because it doesn't seem to be consistent.

    Once I get the "Can't load bsppack.dll" error, I can't build cubemaps for ANY map until I restart TF2 and steam. This obviously slows down the problem solving process and makes it pretty frustrating.

    For the record, none of this fixed it, but since it's the map causing the problem I didn't expect it to:

    * Refreshing SDK content
    * Deleting bsppack.dll
    * Deleting client.blob
    * Reinstalling steam
    * Compiled map in SDK 2009 instead of MP

    The following also did not work:

    * Having only one cubemap in the middle of the map
    * All displacements hidden
    * No lightmap scales less than 16

    By using the cordon tool, I narrowed the problem down to something on the BLU side of the map (everything but world and sky brushes turned OFF -- no props, no displacements, etc). I'd start the cordon at the center of the map, expand out, add a func_detail brush to mark the edge of the cordon, compile, test, move the cordon, make a new func_detail brush, recompile, retest, etc. So on and so forth until I extended the cordon out to a point where "Can't load bsppack.dll" occured. Then I restarted everything, moved the cordon back to the last known spot where it worked and... still got "Can't load bsppack.dll." Even though this had worked minutes before.

    I also tried it by using the B1 blu instance instead of the B2 blu instance, which I knew worked because B1 didn't have this problem. That also failed to load bsppack.dll.

    That was when I quit.

    Anyway, I may just release B2 without cubemaps. I don't see any purple & black anywhere; maybe that's my settings and it'd go purple & black for others. I dunno.

    So I'm open to ideas on how to find this problem. Or maybe even having someone else try to buildcubemaps and make sure it's not specific to my system (still fairly sure it's the map though).
     
  12. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    Sorry man, I'm stumped. Sounds like you have some weird geometry screwing with your compile :<
     
  13. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    If you want someone to try and build cube maps, shoot me the .bsp
     
  14. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I'll take you up on that offer. I want to try a few more things first. At the very least, it should let me rule out anything specific to my cfg files screwing things up.

    Think it's more likely a texture reflection issue, since it's only affecting building cubemaps. That's certainly one thing that annoys me heavily about source -- the lack of true debugging ability for problems like this. I wish it'd give me at least a reason why the bsppack.dll fails.
     
  15. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Had to use PackBSP to put the cubemaps in manually from the temp folder. Strangely I couldn't use Pakrat; it only worked with PackBSP. Hopefully this doesn't cause any crash problems, but I never could find the reason it was failing to build cubemaps to begin with.

    B2 - Various issues fixed as reported by ScorpioRising and LeSwordfish.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    That middle looks much nicer for sure.
     
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  17. 3Dnj

    aa 3Dnj Ducks

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    Wow that's really nice ! Another map from you I love :)
     
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  18. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Personally I'd have gone for a neutral-colored middle area instead of a mix of both red and blue. It just seems kind of silly.
     
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  19. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    I had all neutral in the earlier versions. At least a few people got confused and turned around, thus the colour.

    Maybe I'll try colour only on the large exit walls later, with neutral on the sides and ledge.
     
  20. ScorpioUprising

    aa ScorpioUprising

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    I wouldn't worry about it. With how it played out in our versions, being able to quickly and easily tell the difference between your balcony and the enemy team's balcony is very important, and the team textures help with that.
     
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