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CP Snowbase b11 s2

Two Stage 2CP A/D set in a spytech base on a mountain island.

  1. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    b7 s1

    STAGE 1 ONLY VERSION

    OVERALL:
    -raised max round time from 6 mins to 7 mins

    A:
    -optimization pass
    -adjusted rock to block sightline
    -moved a bush

    B:
    -adjusted rocks under bridge to block sightline
    -changed red respawn wave time from 9s to 10s

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  2. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    Whenever I'm developing a map and confidently identify a major issue, I tend to halt development until I can properly solve that issue. Since I have a lot of projects going on simultaneously, I tend to switch projects whenever this happens, letting the problem simmer in the back of my mind until a solution starts to form. I've been in this spot with this project for the last month-ish.

    Snowbase Stage 1 has been living in the shadow of this particular specter:

    upload_2021-1-30_7-43-50.png

    Spawncamping to win is more or less a valid strategy on any map, so this isn't the most directly helpful feedback. In addition, spawncamping isn't really required to win on this map, as the red spawn is quite some distance from the point. However, playing the map and watching demos reveals the actual issue - Blue players who are playing to win can use the sewer route at B not for high-risk flank plays towards the point, but instead to just spawncamp.

    upload_2021-1-30_7-49-9.png

    I was aware of this possibility when I had originally designed the point, but didn't consider it a big issue, as blue players going this way are quite vulnerable to attacks from behind. However, I failed to consider a few things:

    1) Long respawn times for red mean that blue players managing to get even just a few kills this way will have a significant impact on the round.
    2) Even if this is somehow balanced, it isn't fun for red.
    3) If we assume that red's possible counterplay (attacking the spawncampers from behind) makes this balanced, red's counterplay requires good team coordination to pull off, with players getting spawncamped alerting their teammates on the point of the threat, and alerting them quickly, and the teammates on the point coordinating a proper response, splitting enough resources off to deal with the threat without completely abandoning the point. You can't expect that from a pub team. On the other hand, all the blue team needs to do this is a power class with a medic who both want to spawncamp. Worst case scenario, this strategy becomes the meta for blue and they don't even need to coordinate at all.

    So, what to do about it? My first thought was based on the history of the map - this sewer route has always been here, but spawncamping only started being an issue once I had changed the sewer route from a dropdown to a stair, so surely these things must be related. What if we made the route a bit harder to use as a retreat? This would make it easier for red players to catch blue players out while they are retreating.

    upload_2021-1-30_8-1-27.png

    On reflection, this probably doesn't solve the issue. Which is more likely: Making this a two-way route enables spawncamping, or making this a two-way route lead blue players to discover spawncamping was a viable strategy? Maps are not black boxes where you put players in one end and always get the same results out the other end. The strategies that players use will develop over time, and map changes may help unearth strategies that were always there, just undiscovered. We need bigger changes.

    Ok, so what if we redesign spawn to make it less campable? Let's give the spawn some high ground, maybe adjust some cover.

    upload_2021-1-30_8-6-59.png

    This also doesn't work. It will be easier for red players to flush blue players out of here, but the worst-case spawncamping scenario is a demo lobbing stickies to the spawn door and just waiting for red to respawn (which they can track by just watching the scoreboard). This change doesn't really do anything to fix that. We could also consider moving red spawn entirely to a different side of this area, but the same demoman can still do the same thing. (I didn't even bother mocking this up.)

    The conclusion that I've come to is that, because of the wide variety of classes and weapons in TF2, there is simply no way to give blue a shortcut route directly to red spawn and make it not abusable by at least one class. That sounds really obvious in plain text, but sometimes you need to do a lot of thinking to make sure your simple answer is correct.

    So, the solution is to just block off this route. Let blue use the sewer route to get under the point and flank behind a red forward hold, but don't let them walk directly to spawn. A transparent barrier like metal bars or grating will help keep some element of risk that I want for this route. Blue is in a lot less immediate danger with this route, and it also removes options for red... on the other hand, it will make a red hold in this back area significantly safer. This change will probably require some balance changes elsewhere to make it all work, but removing a match-ruining strategy should be worth it.

    upload_2021-1-30_8-13-29.png
     
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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  3. pont

    aa pont look at my fursona

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    good read! thank you for sharing the thought behind this.
     
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  4. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    b8 s1

    STAGE 1 ONLY VERSION

    OVERALL:
    -minor detailing adds

    A:
    -no changes

    B:
    -added grate to lower sewer route to help prevent blue team from getting to red spawn too easily / quickly
    -to compensate for red losing a route to the area behind B, added new route from spawn to behind B (opened previously out of bounds area)

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  5. nesman

    Server Staff nesman master of fast travel

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    this is called seaside now
     
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  6. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    b9 s1

    STAGE 1 ONLY VERSION

    OVERALL:
    -clipping and optimization pass

    B:
    -changed big rock to big silo to simplify geometry / collisions and improve aesthetics
    -added grate to main bridge to give red an additional "early warning" opportunity against blue flankers
    -increased door height at far flank
    -decreased red respawn time from 10s to 8s
    -optimization pass includes adjustments to geometry for better visleaf structure

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  7. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    It's been a few versions since I originally set out to tweak stage 1. When I started, my goal was to hit a 66% - 75% win rate for blue. How close have I gotten?

    upload_2021-3-10_12-31-54.png

    As you can see, previous versions had pretty bad win rates for blue. Since beta 7, the blue win rate has rocketed up and has not gone back down since. I want to attribute this mostly to the change of the sewer dropdown to stairs, making a flank route for blue much more effective - however, this change was made in beta 6, not 7. I'm still guessing it is because of this change, but it took another version for players to notice.

    There have been 31 matches total since beta 6. In the 31 times that A has been contested, red has defended it 6 times, for a blue win rate of about 81%. In the 25 times that B has been contested, red has defended it only 2 times, for a blue win rate of about 92%. Overall, blue has won 23 times, for a win rate of about 75%. This is exactly what we were aiming for!

    However, given the above theory that the sewer route change is the major cause of change in win rates, and that it took a version for players to take advantage of the flank, we should take the average win rate since beta 7, not beta 6. This blue win rate is 21 / 26, or about 80%.

    I think this is good enough, because red is able to defend some of the time, and despite whether or not red is able to defend, people seem to be having fun. I also have a hunch that red will slowly get better at the map, as it seems that the back balcony area is an effective hold position, but it is not an obvious one. As far as I'm concerned, I've achieved roughly what I set out to do with regards to win rates, but I am going to continue to tweak B on stage 1 to make sure it is fun to play as red.
     
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  8. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    b10 (includes both stages!)

    (changes since b4)
    -major changes to layout of stage 1 B
    -detail and optimization pass
    -redo of several "propper" models necessary to get full map under engine limits, improved lighting and collisions as a result

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  9. Gravidea

    Gravidea L2: Junior Member

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    Hey there! B10's looking pretty good so far, and I'm liking the visual changes so far as well! Just one thing I've noticed is that these two doors on Stage 2's A (shown below) open, and then do not close afterward no matter how far away you move from them. Not sure if this was intentional, but I assumed it wasn't. Good luck with the map! I'll be keeping an eye on it.
    upload_2021-3-17_22-26-41.png
     
  10. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    This is intentional, the idea being that it helps teach players what doors will open. Gorge also has doors like this.
     
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  11. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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  12. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    I published b10a and forgot to actually read feedback for bugfixes, so b10b is a follow up patch for some other little things. I also spent ages trying to optimize the water and got nowhere.
    -fix cringe peek at 2A helipad
    -fix stuck spot in stage 1 blue spawn

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  13. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    upload_2021-5-1_12-13-35.png

    The stairs in this lobby got revised several times in alpha, and they're due for another look. (Thanks to Bec and abp to bringing this room back to my attention.) They're currently in a spot that's a compromise - designed to be used by red for defending A, and also designed to be used by blue for attacking B. They work well for red, but blue tends not to use them because they're out of the way and run backwards. This is intentional, as I want the rotation to the high ground to be slower. I'm also fine with having routes that aren't immediately obvious or intuitive, because I know that players will learn a layout over repeated plays, and some layouts are simply not possible if everything must always be perfectly intuitive.

    However, what I'm finding is that the high ground in this lobby is too important to leave this obscure. This isn't a flank for sneaky players, but instead one of only two routes that aid in pushing the tightest choke in the map, and arguably the more important of the two, since having high ground presence in the next lobby is essential for holding forward as either team. The way up needs to be more intuitive to help guarantee that more players use it, because otherwise the offense falls apart, and the blue team can't even tell why.

    (Side note: This is a good example of how playing your own map can skew your testing data, as I often use this route for pushing B. By playing my own map the way I think it should be played, I don't get to see what happens when players are left to their intuition.)

    So, what to do about this?

    upload_2021-5-1_12-49-47.png

    I can slide this stair side to side like this to make it more obvious to blue, but this doesn't solve the awkward flow, it gets in the way of the main path for blue on the low ground, it creates a very tight u-turn to the path into the next lobby (where fights will happen), and also hides it away from red when defending A. If we're keeping the stair in this rough area, its current position seems to be pretty much ideal.

    upload_2021-5-1_12-52-6.png

    I could try moving the high ground entirely to make it way more obvious to blue. However, this makes it way more effective for red holding forward here, causes sightline issues when flowing into the next lobby, and is awkward flow for red defending A. It also looks bad, and would interrupt the main open space of this lobby, making everything feel more cramped.

    upload_2021-5-1_12-54-27.png

    There's the entry room for this lobby, as well as the raised area in the back. Any stair here would be a fast rotation time and have an awkward fighting angle into the doorway to the next lobby, so I don't think anything here works.

    We have one last area to use, and I think this makes the most sense:

    upload_2021-5-1_13-2-44.png

    I think part of why this change wasn't obvious to me up front is because I had framed the issue as, "How do I design a stair that works for both teams?" This ignores the possibility of simply having two stairs, one that works for each team. This change may upset balance for any number of reasons, but giving blue a more intuitive route upstairs is my priority.

    ---

    An unrelated change I'm considering:

    upload_2021-5-1_13-41-53.png

    Not sure what will come of this. It would solve an awkward fighting angle, and it would also make this route a more valuable forward hold for either team, which seems like a good idea for making this point more intuitive and dynamic. It just also upsets the existing flow and balance in a way that I'm unsure how to predict, so it feels pretty risky. I'll probably try it regardless.
     
  14. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

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    STAGE 2 ONLY VERSION

    STAGE 1 (not compiled):
    -changed forward spawn door to use no entry skin before A is capped

    STAGE 2:
    -added new route to high ground from lobby to pyramid room so blue can more recognize that the high ground exists
    -removed boiler from B flank
    -widened blue-side doors into B flank
    -addded small ammo to cliff route near blue spawn
    -added pallet in front of a door to better indicate it cannot open
    -changed texture of underside of pyramid room bridge for better visibility

    OTHER:
    -misc. clipping fixes

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