TF2M Map pack

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by LeSwordfish, May 19, 2013.

  1. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    So in the chat a few of us got talking about how to make everything perfect in the world of mapping, and we got around to the idea of making another map pack, like those we've done for halloween in the past. I like this idea. I think we should do it.

    Ideas that were bounced around:
    • Make it a "holiday" themed pack, including mostly exotic and unusual map settings, like borneo, ankor, maritime and egypt themed maps, etc etc.
    • Doing it in summer, either this one or next one. I also suggested "Australian summer holiday-November/January."
     
  2. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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  3. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    alternatively, construction pack could use a slight expansion and a dozen or so maps
     
  4. fubarFX

    aa fubarFX The "raw" in "nodraw"

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    one idea I had was to make a summer vacation map pack where you get to travel to different custom maps and take a break from old maps. featuring semi-new to new maps using different themes and locals. this would be scheduled for this summer so that doesn't leave a lot of time for polishing new maps. so the update would rely mostly on newly finished maps and older hidden gems.

    some people think that we should be waiting for new maps and do it next summer but I think that this would be too far off. anyways, there's a lot of places we can go...
     
  5. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    ♫ I could show you the world... ♫

    On a serious note i like the "Summer vacation" idea as it gives us a chance to show off some of the maps more heavy with cool custom content. We've got plenty of those on the books and a few more coming up soon.
     
  6. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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    I really like the vacation theme too. It's broad and invites to try making something exotic and new.
     
  7. phi

    aa phi For Whom The Sorrows Sing

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    I'm in, totally. Seems like a nice idea, and if we're going with unusual themes, I've been detailing Torque lately a lot in the same sense as Borneo, jungle theme. I'd love it if we could all get together and seriously put out something like this.
     
  8. Turbo Lover

    aa Turbo Lover Fight me under Glasgow Central Station

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    So let me preface this by saying, I like the idea. A NotLU/Robotic Boogaloo-like community update but for maps, sounds exactly like what we need for a lot of reasons, however from the discussion in the Steam chat, there are some ideas that I personally feel we should think very carefully about before jumping in.

    Content

    So the first point I'd like to bring up is what we are putting into this community map update. An opinion shared by a few others and myself is that we should make it consist entirely or mostly of totally new maps. And some others would prefer that it consist of quality maps from recent or semi-recent times, that perhaps didn't get the recognition they deserved. I think that pulling out all of our older maps and trying to thrust them back into the limelight, isn't a good idea, at least in comparison to all new maps. Like taking an old tired horse to a horse show, it may have been great in its heyday, but most of the people attending didn't come to see it, they came to see the strong and promising stallion that is in its prime or the rookie underdog that's a complete mystery. From an outside perspective, you come across this map update and you look at the dates these maps were last updated, you wonder "Wait, where are all the maps from this year?" Trotting out all the golden oldies might be a nice sentiment, to finally see your favourite map that played really well but never rose to prominence get some recognition, but it just seems rather desperate on our part, when we know we can produce top quality maps, to be pushing forward something old. Someone said why not both, I'll address this in the following section.

    Time

    A major sticking point in the discussion was the timeframe, some people wanted to do it right here, right now, some wanted to wait for winter, and some wanted to wait for summer next year. I'm putting my eggs in the Summer 2014 basket, mainly due to time constraints. Trying to get it out by the tail end of this summer would mean we have about 3~4 months to complete, while it's quite possible for some quality maps to be finished in that time, it worries me that we could produce enough of those to warrant a community update page. What I feel this idea is about, at its heart, is showing that TF2M as a whole, can produce a substantial amount of fun and balanced maps, surely in order to make sure we have the best chances of showing that, we should give ourselves time to do so comfortably, without any kind of rush, and 3~4 months would definitely produce a rush. So why not Winter 2013, my worries about rushing to finish and producing enough content is lessened, but not gone, from now until winter seems borderline for both of those factors, but two other problems arise around this time: Night of the Living Update and Australian Christmas. From November through to Decemeber is when the item-making community is at its busiest, they have their own community update one month, where more than a fair share of their items are accepted into the game from, and then another boom of items going into the game another month. Last year TF2M tagged along with NotLU 2 and included something like eight Hallow'een themed maps, and we were totally dwarfed by everything else. Quite simply, trying to do this during winter means we run the risk of being squished between the two giants of item-making, and making all our effort worthless because the TF2 community is busy fawning over their skull hat that has other smaller skulls floating around it.

    Now going back to what was said in the previous section, why not both? Again, time constraints. Basically copy all of what I said in the above paragraph, and then trying to produce a gaggle of new, quality maps after that, the strain on time, effort and willpower would cripple our efforts and, I feel, make the second part inevitably fail. This is not the kind of thing we want to rush, we'd need to rush now to get this old map community update out and then rush again to output all of those new maps for part 2.

    Themes

    This is quite a simple one, some people are asking "Well what's the theme of this community update?" and so far we have a resounding shrug for an answer, well I ask "Do we need a theme?" LeSwordfish mentioned having a load of exoticly themed maps and suggested some maps for them, including Angkor. Nothing personal against Angkor (Or LeSwordfish), but it's not great, even LeSwordfish agreed with me, but when I asked why we'd include it, he basically said "Because it looks nice and fits the theme." The problem with a set theme of maps is that it sets a limit on what we can do, and as in the case above, means we may need to sacrifice quality maps for fitting maps. Most mappers here learn that gameplay comes before detailing, it's why we use dev textures so much, I don't think we should abandon that principle, and furthermore, I don't think we should limit the possibilities of what we can produce. Actually here's a theme suggestion, "Good Maps"

    Exposure

    I'd like to make a quick note that all of this is for nought if we don't get it out there, and I'm sure we can all agree that for this to work, it can't just be something that happens on TF2Maps.net. This is something we need to spread as far and as wide as we can: contact server admins, TF2 blogs, podcasts, forums, even Valve themselves. Ask the server admins if they would like to host some custom maps we produce, see if the blogs would link to the update, have someone (Probably theharribokid) go on podcasts (Probably KritzKast) to talk about it, make a Facepunch thread and tell Valve that we'd really, really, really like to talk about these wonderful maps of ours.

    Finally, good job for reading all of that, and remember, we should discuss this as fully as possible before we act: This is not the kind of thing we want to rush.



    This is not the kind of thing we want to rush.
     
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    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  9. SyntheticSauce

    SyntheticSauce L1: Registered

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    Iv'e been working on making props for tf2, and i've been wanting for a pack to be created. Summer Vacations or the Winter Holidays sounds cool. I definitely want to help make a pack and get better at low poly modeling, texturing and exporting and this seems like a great opportunity.
     
  10. Blade x64

    aa Blade x64 Logical insanity

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    If the summer/vacation theme idea pulls through, I have a map of my own to put forward. Pier would fit in quite nicely and I should be getting around to releasing an update for it soon anyway.
     
  11. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    I like the idea of just setting a decently-long timeline to make complete, finished maps as a group. No specific theme except "good maps" like Behind You said.

    Anyone can make one for it, but the final selection would have to be voted on, perhaps? Try to showcase the best-of-the-best and release it as a big pack with it's own update page. You'd get a lot of exposure for those maps, their mappers, and the community as a whole.

    I think it would help motivate a lot of people on here to make good, polished maps, because their would be an end-goal to reach, but not a shorter(ish) time-frame like a lot of the contests we have.

    I know I'd be up for something like that.
     
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  12. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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    Now, another hypothetical question: Should the package maps be open for public testing, or should we hide them and test them internally untill we release them?
     
  13. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    I think good maps are made via proper testing with as many groups/ people as possible, so I'd vote for public testing.
     
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  14. fubarFX

    aa fubarFX The "raw" in "nodraw"

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    tf2m needs a shot in the arm yesterday. waiting 7 full months to a full year makes my brain hurt

    everyone knows people wont do shit during that time until they reach the last two months or so before the deadline.
    I'm just saying. and maps done under deadlines are always worst anyways so I feel we should look at what has been done recently. that's just me tho.
     
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  15. Sergis

    aa Sergis L666: ])oo]v[

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    well we dont have all that many testers so public testing will be fine i guess though the better maps could accidentally spread :p

    also if we aim for a quality gameplay keeping the maps tested only by our little circlejerk isnt the best of ideas
     
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  16. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    Well yeah, the people not serious about the project won't do anything until the last few months. The people that are will, you know, take it seriously.

    Could we use something else during that time to boost us a bit, too? Yeah. This is something else.
     
  17. Faux Rhinoceros

    aa Faux Rhinoceros Also known as Dr. Element

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    Thing is that some of us have plans for the summer.
     
  18. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Behind you actually did a really good job of explaining a lot about what you all need to think about for this. I have organized map packs before and I highly suggest you re-read what he has said twice.... then read the rest of this post.

    Stop thinking about using old maps and "touching them up." It isn't what you want. It's "easy," but it will really only make for a not-so-great map pack. Throw that idea out the window right now.

    If you are truely serious about making a themed map update, you need to start from scratch from that single theme, and build the maps up from that. Taking old maps and trying to put them into single theme or trying to make a theme around those maps, does not work. This is what happened with the first Haunted Halloween Map pack featured in Night of the Living update 1, it was cool that there was maps, but really, it wasn't great. Actually, the map pack as a whole was kind of crappy. The next year, we had 2 maps that were built, from scratch, around the H'ween theme specifically. Those 2 maps alone, I felt, made a better H'ween theme pack than the previous year, ten fold.

    If you want to make a quality update, then you have to put the "quality level" time and effort into it; not half-assing it by pulling out some old maps and giving them some spitshine. To do a quality update for maps, you will need to put in the time to do it right. Yes, that could be a year of effort. But if you really, REALLY want to do a quality update, you have to put in that time.

    Now re-read that all in Daffy Ducks voice so I don't sound so mean and cynical.
     
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    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  19. Dïcecübe

    Dïcecübe L3: Member

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    So I think we can make it if have a planned and working process. Ironed by the members of TF2Maps.net.

    My suggestion is:

    First Stage:
    An amount of mappers plan and design some layouts that are going to be tested many times. And then after an amount of weeks/months, the layouts will be voted by the members of tf2maps.net. Some will be approved and some will not make it. Talk to Valve about the layouts and see what they think about them.

    Second Stage:
    Approved maps will be polished and then detailed with the said content/environment of the project. And tested and showcased to the members of tf2maps.net. Show them to Valve too.

    Third Stage:
    When the "selected" maps gets into the final version. Now "we" only have to make a webpage for the maps and the said content/environment downloadable by everyone. And then send it to the Valve to see what they think of the final versions.

    I was thinking about this process when I was reading and browsering this thread. It's my opinion though.
     
  20. Leminnes

    aa Leminnes

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    EXCEPT FOR CRAG. CRAG IS AWESOME.

    As someone who has just all around tried to organize people to make free things you come to one single obstacle:

    Time is money and people need money.

    More often than not you get a bunch of enthusiastic people but you can only motivate them so much. The modelers who got their items into the latest TF2 update had the incentive that Valve will look at their models and actually consider adding them. They've proven that consistently.

    As mappers, we do not have that comfort. We don't have any promise or guarantee that Valve will look at our maps. They've added a few in the past, but the process of which they did it is not particularly well known and is patchy at best. Another good example of mappers getting intensive was the artpass content. Just take a look at how many entrees there were (53, I believe. Compare that to the Star or MvM contest) and how many random, talented people came from no where.

    In order to make a themed TF2 map pack, mappers need intensive. I don't believe we have it.

    Perhaps our incentive should be to prove ourselves, to show that TF2M can put together something of high quality that can impress Valve. Are we capable of that?