Current state of mind: I can make satisfactory maps in my opinion, but I feel like a guy who's trying to be more than what he is. Whenever I start a project or have an idea, converting that vison into something tangible is nearly impossible. I understand what I want, but I can't see it. After seeing the new maps in the inferno update, especially merc park, I want to get to that 'next level of mapping.' For instance, the first blue spawn of merc park has amazing 3D lightbeams and has super cool custom textures, which both match eachother and emphasize other assets such as the foliage. Questions: 1. How do you make textures/ where do I start? Like when I look at a wall in my house, I can't imagine drawing it's appearance and looping it in some unknown program. 2. Where should I start with model making? I want to get into the world of modeling props, but I don't have an extra thousand dollars (you get the point) a month to buy software that a university professor has to explain. 3. How do you get yourself to think about How your non-existent assets/textures will interact with eachother and incorporate into the theme. How do you process all of this detail without having something to go off of? 4. How in the hell do you get the early geometry to recognize detail. For [a simple] example, how did valve know that a train bridge was going to cut badlands mid in half and its train flatbeds were going to play a vital role in the layout? Thanks in advance!