Some questions about Hammer/map design.

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Belli, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    hello there, I'm pretty new to this (I know how to construct stuff in Hammer, but that's pretty much it), so it'd be really nice if some of you guys could help me out.

    First, some basic level design questions:

    1. Water.
    I never understood why water seems to be so unpopular in terms of level design (e.g., completely removed in Gullywash). Yes, it nullifies afterburn, but afterburn is quite unlikely to kill someone anyway.
    So, what should I keep in mind when making a map that's approx. one third water based?

    2. Map hazards. I intended to set up stationary sawblades in a diameter around the control point (KOTH map), to make airblast a bit better and more effective against übercharge, but also for taking cover, setting up sticky traps, and making it a bit easier for spies to decloak, due to the loud noise.
    But how many sawblades is too many?


    Second, anbout using hammer:

    Now I know you can copy/paste elements you created in SDK/hammer, but are there any resources to copy larger chunks from official maps?

    E.g., I absolutely love the graphics of Hydro, and I'd really like to use them in a map that's actually playable, 'cause besides the graphics, it just isn't a very good map.

    I'd like to use the dam to create a large structure with tunnels and pathways inside, but I'm fairly certain my skills aren't sufficient to recreate the damn from scratch...

    Staircases would be another point, I'd like to use some similar to those on egypt, with rails on both sides, but how can you make those a bit steeper without making them look skewed?

    And at last, the sawblades again. The don't really seem to fit thematically into a hydro-related map, but based on the sawblade tutorial up here, I assume it'd be possible to make other props do the same "nerve-gas" kill, using cogwheels or something similar?
     
  2. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    I can tell you one thing right away: don't put in gimmicks for no reason. Sure you can use them in "fun" gimmicky maps or to fulfill some obscure need but a normal map will most of the time not need (let alone improve by having) water or sawblades or anything of the sort.

    Why would you make a map that's 1/3 water? That's not going to be fun, because players aren't used to water apart from in side routes with next to no combat. That's because the movement and combat in water suck in TF2. Basically you can have little puddles to extinguish afterburn (Ravine), slightly larger areas that still don't obscure much (Sawmill) or a long tunnel of water (Well, Freight). Anything else is unlikely to work out. Also keep in mind when the game was released afterburn was a way bigger deal so Well and 2fort had more of a reason to have water than most maps would now. Shallow water that actually does not extinguish is also really annoying so make it obvious where "deep" water starts.

    Map hazards and death pits can be fine if used sparingly or when the layout is built around them. It arguably works fine in Sawmill. However, making airblast even better against ubers is the very last thing I'd ever do. Moving cover can be interesting, Spies nowadays don't even have a decloak noise anymore either... but that's not the map's fault, it's the game's unlocks being shit. Sticky trap spots will occur pretty naturally and obscured sticky traps are annoying so adding parts to facilitate for some is not really a priority either.

    Just keep it simple. Adding gimmicks for no reason doesn't work, there's a reason other maps have very little water and very few map hazards. If you do want sawblades it depends on your layout so I'd say 1-2 so it's symmetrical, not more ever. Yes you can make it look different, the kill trigger is just an invisible (moving) box.

    Pretty sure the dam is a model, dunno what exactly you're asking anyway. There's a good stairs tutorial around here somewhere.

    Again though. Making gimmicky maps is fine and all but even then keeping it simple is important, and everything should be there for a reason. Most importantly you need some sort of alpha layout first so all these specific questions aren't things you should be worrying about anyway.
     
  3. Urban

    aa Urban

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    1. Water severely hinders the ability of pyro's to fight, hardly any of their weapons work underwater in addition to nullifying their afterburn. Certain weapons like the huntsman are also disabled under water. Water is disorientating and awkward to fight in and I do not think a map being 1/3 water would be a good idea. Too many people have made water based maps and they were all awful in one way or another.

    2. Map hazards are just irritating imo, one or instakill hazards are OK I guess but any more than that and they really get on my nerves. I'd rather not die instantly from something out of my control, i'd much prefer to fight other players instead of the environment.
     
  4. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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  5. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    First of all, thanks, that were some really helpful replies.

    That's kind of the point, the water is supposed to be a defensive factor at the capture point, giving the advantage to denfense (the attacking team will get other advantages to even it out, but the capture point is supposed to be particularly difficult to capture). The attackers will have the choice between the water, slowing them down, or a bridge that'll leave them wide open to attacks from a superior position.

    Same goes for the sawblades, making rocket/sticky jumping on the point rewarding (small capture point, thus vulnerable to spam), but risky, as one pyro might just instant-kill any jumpers by pushing them in the blades.

    I intended a few other spots with "slow, but covered" water pathways, and side routes which would allow getting behind the enemy lines but again, having to dive for that purpose.

    Well, Pyro tends to be pretty underpowered anyway, I think water in a map is going to be the classes least problem. And again, the main reason I intended to add map hazards was actually giving a Pyro the upper hand in the fight for the control point.
     
  6. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    You should note that spy's make a big impact in breaking a solid defence. A well timed zapper + assault is often the end all move at a bulwarked position. Water makes spy's very vulnerable as they cannot cloak in or out of position due to drips and bubble particle effects.

    Some water in a map is OK, but using lots of it unbalances classes and is a larger detriment to attackers than defenders so it is avoided except under the rarest of circumstances.

    You should save death pits for final points in the majority of circumstances to up the steaks. Having death pits at earlier control points unbalances "progressive difficulty" in A/D maps.
     
  7. Belli

    Belli L69: Deviant Member

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    thanks, will keep that in mind...