Our servers are now running a Steam Workshop rotation, if you'd like your map to be considered for inclusion on our rotation, post in the rotation discussion thread

Or, if you just want to play some of the best community maps the Workshop has to offer, you can join our servers by clicking these links:

TF2Maps.net Major Contest #13: Asymmetry 2 - Results!

Discussion in 'Contests' started by LeSwordfish, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

    Messages:
    3,883
    Positive Ratings:
    4,865
    TF2Maps.net Major Mapping Contest #13
    Asymmetry №2: Asymmetric Boogaloo contest
    The Results!

    [​IMG]
    This is the bit you've all been waiting for! For, like three weeks.

    Firstly, all credit for this has to go to @Freyja and @phi. They did all the work for this contest: don't forget that, just because I took over at the last minute to type this up thanks to illness. Secondly, credit to the other judges @Idolon and @Muddy for the hard work they've done, @Void for running a ton of tests, and @killohurtz for helping us sort and count up the results. And thanks to all those of you who voted, too.

    But that's all the boring bit! You want to know who won! Well here's the answer: you're all winners! Because the real winning... is participation! In a more important sense, the winners that get the prizes are below:

    Best In Fun
    Fieldworks, by Auwi

    Best In Aesthetics
    Extol, by Yrr & Idolon

    Public Choice

    Enclosure, by AsG_Alligator

    Overall - Top Three
    3rd place: Extol, by Yrr & Idolon
    2nd place: Divide, by Ibex
    1st Place: Enclosure, by AsG_Alligator

    Prizes might be delayed a few days - Phi will get in touch with you winners as soon as she's able to.

    That's all for this contest. As always, let us know if you've had fun, and anything you think we should change. Coming up next is, of course, the 72hrJam - but we've got plans for other things soon afterwards too - don't hold us to any of this right now since it's early days, but there are plans underway for two minor contests, and another major contest in summer! You're going to love it.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 18
  2. Idolon

    aa Idolon tup

    Messages:
    1,222
    Positive Ratings:
    3,226
    Below are all of the judge reviews of each map. It's a very large bit of text. Sword wrote his reviews as separate gameplay and aesthetics sections, which I've indicated the break between with a -.

    Boondoggle
    Idolon said:

    Very obviously influenced by Alloy to the point where I think I’d rather just play Alloy (and honestly I don’t like it very much). This doesn’t mean the layout doesn’t work, but it’s a problem I think you need to tackle.

    Both of the preliminary points need to be more tightly designed. A is easy to defend, with blue having limited access (the central pond limits pretty much all gameplay to the two linear flanks on either side) and red having lots of cover. B is really strangely located, and I don’t think I ever actually ended up playing on it, as there’s a lot of blank space between it and both blue and red.

    Something about the final area isn’t quite right either. On Red, you pretty much pick if you want to defend the left or right side and stick with it, as rotating is only really needed when blue actually coordinates an attack on just one of them (rare). The middle route seems like it would be effective, since red has a hard time getting to it, but snipers are very powerful and the pathway to the point is narrow enough that good soldier/demo spam makes it really scary and ultimately not great. Doing anything to try and centralize how the final point plays out would be a plus.

    The detailing is unfinished, but what exists seems somewhat unfocused. I don’t get a vibe of what the place is meant to be, other than a place that deals with water. A more consistent and mature material palette would go a long way. I do like that both spawns are outdoor, though I’m not sure that this is right choice for red (why isn’t blue attacking from that side instead?)

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    So, ever played Alloy? I mean, I definitely see the differences, but it’s beyond the bounds of usual inspiration, especially the final point. Sadly, the quality of Alloy hasn’t really come through.

    The interior areas of the map take some getting used to, but the general flow isn’t too bad, and I can usually get to where I want. B is an interesting point to fight over, but usually lost so quickly that the only actual fighting it ever sees is the odd skirmish when Blue sets up a sentry nest there before pushing C. (There’s also a big sign saying “A” over the main red route to it.) A isn’t fun at all, really: the water is such a killbox that you have to push through two narrow flanks, and once on the point can be attacked by red from a couple of directions. I found I usually ended up cowering in cover while someone spammed the point, whether attacking or defending, which can’t be fun for either player. A is far far too hard to cap compared to B, including taking ages to cap: there’s not much reason not to instacap B, then just go straight for C (I think the difference between C and A in terms of difficulty is roughly a tossup.

    There are lots of routes to C, and without a clear focussed “main” path blue get way split up, it's an easy defense for red. It’s hard to put together a good attack because you’ve got as many routes to the point as you have teammates. I think you’ve tried to balance how hard it is to cap with how long you have to cap, and this is a good explanation of why you shouldn’t do that: it just ends up as literally ten minutes of neither side having much fun.

    -

    What detailing there is is competent, although nothing seems to particularly stand out. Clumsy brushwork is often used instead of what should have been props (the windows and bridge at Red spawn), and there seems to be a fair bit of custom content used for no real reason - lots of props lying around that don’t seem to bring anything to the map except increased filesize. Textures around B are used well, with a progression from white wood to red wood to red brick. Inside the buildings tends to be all one color, and doesn’t do much to stop people getting lost. In addition, aside from C there don’t seem to be any landmarks: I think that trying to make the points distinctive would have been a better use of time than detailing the spawns, especially lovingly handcrafting windows out of brushwork.

    I like the football game outside Blue spawn, that’s a clever idea. The spawn itself is super wierdly dark, though.

    I’m not sure this map would have been an aesthetic winner even if it was fully detailed, though as I said, its competently put together. With more time and effort, and somebody to say “no” to some of the strange ideas, it could be very impressive.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 4


    Muddy said:

    This map was pretty fun to play overall. The points felt unique and the layout was intuitive enough that I could find my way around with little trouble. However I did notice a trend of B point getting captured as soon as the round started and A giving BLU a lot of trouble pushing into (sort of the reverse of Gravel Pit's problem). In fact, I felt that A had a lot more going for it than B did in terms of good attacking and defending spots - it was mainly just a building with two entrances.

    Point C is fun to play around, although it wasn't clear to me for a while what advantages were given to BLU team for capturing each point until someone explained it to me (capturing both points extends catwalks between the control point - surrounded by deathpit - and the platforms opposite), which then made me wonder what the point would be in *not* capturing both points, since until then the only people who can reach the control point are Scouts, Soldiers and Demomen... making me wonder why it shouldn't just be regular Gravel Pit style, rather than Alloy's 'Steelpit' style.

    Aesthetically, Boondoggle is rather pleasant to look at. The bits that are artpassed are nice (and rather reminiscent of 'classic' TF2), and the bits still in dev textures look neat.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 6

    Extol
    Idolon helped make this map, and thus did not judge it.


    Sword said:

    I think it’s a testament to yrr skills (i’m allowed one pun) that even when scrambling, you’re able to put something together of the quality of A: I personally don’t think it’s so terrible. It’s too easy to spawncamp, especially since there’s a good spot with health to fall back to, but the defensive spots on opposite sides of the point are pretty decent. It’s of course far too close to the point and such, but I think there’s a very solid basic design here.

    B is solid, but has some areas which I feel are mistakes. There’s no real place to defend all routes except the point itself, which means attacking requires you to run the gauntlet of one of the open side routes, then actually fight on the point itself. There are some decent spots for attacking engineers, but the side route and balcony is a weakness. That side route is much easier for red to counterpush than blue to push (since the fight in which counterpushing is a disadvantage is right under red’s nose) and then Red get a lot more from counterpushing (almost unfettered height advantage over the choke). The cap time seems very fast - I saw a lot of backcaps. The spacing is good - no real corridors, good scale.

    The deathpit is utter bullshit. “Why would a space you can’t get out of be gameplay space?”, you asked in one of the rounds. If I may answer a question with a question, why would a two inch drop fucking murder me?

    -

    I want to open up by saying that i’m a very big fan of your Spykea aesthetics, Yrr - they’ve always impressed me, even if other maps have pipped them to the post in contests before. I also very much respect the decision to be sparse and discerning with detail - it’s a fascinating look for a Team Fortress 2 map, and makes Extol stand out a lot. At first glance, however, the map just looks unfinished, and while I grew to like the overall look much more as I dug into it, that feeling never entirely leaves: the “patch” aesthetic is so important to TF2 that going entirely without it is strange, and a little sterile.

    The density of detailing - as in, using it to draw the player’s eye - also feels a bit strange, and doesn’t help me find important routes or areas. This is particularly important with such a limited color palette, and the sharp 90degree turns one has to do to find the control points. Similarly, the lighting doesn’t help in this regard: it’s particularly important with all the dark wood, which can leave important doorways nearly invisible to a quick glance. The skybox is gorgeous, and the crisp blue would contrast wonderfully with the rich red of the interior if I could ever see it without rocket-jumping up. You suggested starting the map outside, and i’m not sure if I agree with that - to me, it works very well as an external vista, perhaps more well than it would work up-close and in person: you just need to widen those vistas and bring them into the main map better.

    I’m not sure at all what the train is doing there. It takes a minute to realise what it is, and it feels like it’s driving straight through an office, with no fuss at all: it’s almost a surrealist effect, like the train from Inception. What’s more, it adds nothing whatsoever: there’s nothing about it so singular that couldn’t be replaced with another bank of computers, or crates in a loading bay, or anything else. It’s a very strange choice. (And the metal brushwork on the top of it is pristine! Is this train designed to be driven through an office? Do they polish it? This is like french arthouse cinema.)

    As I said, I love the theme: please don’t get disheartened by the score for this particular implementation. I very much hope you carry on with Extol - I can’t wait to see how you expand on it with more time.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 8


    Muddy said:

    Since Extol was designed with aesthetics rather than gameplay in mind, most of my comments will be on the looks - and I think this map looks pretty darn great.

    The theme is very unique - a cross between Spytech and Sulfur's more industrial areas, with some Glacier sprinkled on top. It looks modern enough without looking out-of-place in the TF2 universe. My only complaint about it is that there's just not enough of it! There are lots of opaque windows around the place that could easily provide plenty of opportunities for cool out-of-bounds details, with which to elaborate on what exactly this hidden arctic base is for.

    Gameplay-wise, A leaves much to be desired. BLU's spawn exits plop them practically right on top of the point and RED doesn't have much of a chance to defend it for very long. B is definitely much better, though none of the entrances into it felt very fun to push in my experience - the side entrances are very vulnerable to RED Snipers, and the middle entrance is pretty easily spammable by Soldiers and Demomen.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 8

    Fantasmud
    Idolon said:

    Something about the distancing ruins this map for me, though it has been getting better over the many revisions. There are a few consistent issues – the connectors are very large and don’t offer great entry points into the open arenas, making most of the fighting occur through doorways rather than open areas with cover for players to use. Small areas with tight corners are not only necessary for optimization/sightline reasons, but also for different classes to take advantage of what they’re good at.

    The detailing is unfinished and difficult to comment on.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    Overall this is a solid map. The points are clever but i don’t like the connectors much: it feels like a very wide map if you get me? Like every actual area is pretty small, but there’s lots of them in parallel so teams get a bit split up, and the furthest flanks come out a long way away from the points. Similarly, the deathpit is miles away from the point so nobody ever goes near it.

    There are some good sentry spots around, though there seems to be a general lack of health and ammo. I heard people complaining about a lack of good sniper spots too.

    -

    The moon theme is a strange one to judge, since there’s no finished valve exemplar to look up to. As a statement of intent, though, I very much admire the Blue Spawn you’ve built. It’s a bit sterile and sparse, maybe, but I really like the gentle storytelling in the mining gear, crates, and timecard - there’s something very Futurama about it, and personally I think Futurama is the perfect inspiration for spacy TF2. The rest of the map is a disappointment by contrast - I mean, of course - but I can see that real effort’s gone into it. The glowing oranges break up a limited color pallet without overpowering it, the lighting leads us to the right places, and the few props there are hint at progression - although, I’d definitely like to see more of that: it has to be “sold” much harder in a theme with so few textures.

    What the hell is the lava doing there? Why do they have a big box of lava on the side of this asteroid? Why not let me just fall into space? I think the weak spot of the map is point B - the point is just kind of in a big box. The laser is so high up we can barely make it out, since nothing is drawing our eye up there.

    I’ve said this a lot already, it feels, but I’m keen to see where this one goes.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 5


    Muddy helped make this map, and thus did not judge it.

    Fieldworks
    Idolon said:

    My favorite of the contest. The individual points have their own small issues, but the broad strokes here are more or less solid and it’s the map I’m most enthusiastic to see developed more.

    Most points generally feel a bit too easily defensible, though I think there’s a larger discussion to be had about whether or not a map should adhere to the average level of difficulty in the game. Generally, I would see about moving the points further towards blue’s end of the map (by small amounts, maybe 128-256 units) so that red has a harder time defending the point from within spawn (especially B), so that they need to maintain a presence on the point in order to hold it down.

    While there is no detailing at the moment, I think this map has the greatest sense of place out of any map. Most everything is architecturally sound in a way that’s honestly impressive, and it’s more than just a simple rearrangement of Granary’s existing elements. By traditional definition this doesn’t really fit into a detailing score, but I feel like not recognizing what this map achieves in a formal score would be a farce. (Otherwise this map would receive a 2 or 3.)

    Gameplay: 8
    Aesthetics: 5


    Sword said:

    I like this map! It has more than a few unusual quirks - i’m not sure how well i think the separated caps works, it seems to just cause thirty seconds or so of scrambling after each cap. It’s got good flanks, while still bringing teams together onto the points. I think the main route to A is a bit cramped (while the “side” route is wide and open) and so defending A can be a bit spammy. B is my favourite point: I saw engineers complaining there were few good sentry spots there, and the bridge above can be a bit fiddly to scramble about on. I don’t like C that much: there’s an awkward jump down to it for blue, an awkward, almost-hidden jump across to it for red, and most of the ways for blue to reach it are forcing their way up through a killbox.

    -

    Well, firstly, from the first spectator cam, holy shit those are some ugly shadows, turn your lightmap settings up.

    That’s a pervasive flaw throughout the map, but hardly a major one, and overall i’m very fond of this map. The gridless dev textures feel like the cleverest “unfinished” map so far submitted, and I assume the non-dev sections are unfinished too - I hope so, otherwise they’re far too bare and empty. There’s a very strong sense of place, though - much more so than some of the more detailed maps. Farmyard’s back, hell yeah! The high buildings cast long shadows though, which means that the lighting only rarely helps players find points or important areas.

    I think the connection between the points and the explosives could be more clearly set: At the first point I thought that particular mustard-yellow color was a deliberate connection, but it’s used all over the place later on. The interior colors seem very strange at times (a rich, mystifying aubergine?), and don’t help with the progression much: the sense of place falls apart completely once inside - why is there water at C?. (The aubergine is also way too dark). It does feel less like it needs the “landmarks”, though.

    Gameplay: 8
    Aesthetics: 5


    Muddy said:

    From the screenshots, this map looks very nice - I was always a fan of the Granary look - but when I was actually playing it, the whole thing felt kind of cramped and messy, with props strewn around the place, needlessly cluttering up the gameplay spaces. I still like how it looks, and there are some good uses of props (like the grain pipe and catwalk from Granary's final point), but the clutter takes away more than it adds to it, both detail and gameplay-wise.

    As for the gameplay, I was only able to play the first two points, since BLU was never able to capture the second point; and I think the reason for that is that there were only really two routes into it, and one of them is really hard to reach for BLU but really easy for RED to defend. Said route is to the far left of the map (from BLU's perspective), but for them to reach it, they first have to run all the way to the right, and then run through a tight hallway that RED can easily spam out. Not only that, but RED's spawn is very very close to B point, making it even easier to defend.

    Overall then: aesthetics are very nice, but the gameplay needs work. It definitely has potential though, and I hope to see more of it in the future!

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 6

    Hellwalkers
    Idolon said:

    Some of the basic ideas here are okay, but the overall linear layout of the map and the total darkness make it very difficult to play. It can be fun to play at times, but the layout just doesn’t function properly.

    I am boosting the detailing score slightly because I think the detailing job is consistent and mature, even if it is completely unserviceable.

    Gameplay: 2
    Aesthetics: 2


    Sword said:


    You made this in nine hours, and I respect that, but compare it to some of the great entries in the 7.2hr contest and it’s obviously lacking. I’ll talk more about the darkness in the aesthetics section, but it makes it very difficult to play. You can’t see the edges of the cliffs. One path is so dark you can’t see that it’s a dead end. You can’t identify teams. There are no landmarks, which at least disguises the fact that the map is one corridor, with few flanks, but means that there’s no sense of direction or place.

    Spawn>A is a massive choke, and A has a long cap time, while blue have a very long respawn wave, which doesn’t help. The jumps are far too fiddly to actually use in combat. The second point is a spampit, and usually gets rolled as soon as A is painstakingly captured.

    There’s almost no health or ammo. There’s no real defensive spots, and equally no good attacking routes, largely because there’s almost nothing. It’s like someone’s first map, but unplayably dark. Fittingly, it keeps screaming at you.

    -

    Holy shit this is dark. Like, holy shit. I’m not certain it shouldn’t have been disqualified as “unplayably dark”. There’s not that much more that I can say about it. Some effort has gone into the brushwork (though other brushwork is clearly just rectangles) and props, and the low lighting does give it an interestingly hellish theme. Hefty glows that appear to be shadow bugs as much as anything else draw the eye to the control points, but otherwise the player is left to blunder around in the darkness - the biggest most eye-catching lights are from the deathpits. At the finale, the giant skull’s nose glows bright orange from a phantom light. There’s a chain from nowhere to nowhere.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 3


    Muddy said:

    I was pretty late in testing this map, so when I requested it to be run (after everybody else had seen it), I was told "let me know when you've given this map a 3/10 so we can move on," which is a little unfair I think.

    I'm not sure I agree that the layout is a bad as I've heard others make it out to be, which leads me to think that what lets it down is, well, everything else; the dim lighting making team recognition very hard, annoying jumping puzzle routes (which are optional, sure, but there are too many of them), the ambient sounds drowning out pretty much everything else, and the lack of viable routes into A.

    I can't say much about the aesthetics, since the entire map looks exactly the same - it's hell! I like the use of lighting around the torches and lava pits though, they really help add to the atmosphere; and let's be honest... you can't go wrong with giant demon skulls looking down at you.

    Definitely more points for aesthetics than gameplay overall.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 4

    Highground
    Idolon said:

    This map is close to working, but parts of it fall flat.

    A isn’t great for similar reasons that A isn’t on Boondoggle – the middle area isn’t all that useful, relegating gameplay to the linear flanking paths, and red has a lot of good cover behind the point, making it a bit too easy to retake. In addition, blue has a very difficult time even getting into the area.

    I haven’t spent enough time to have an informed opinion on how B plays, but what I have seen is good. Entering the area is awkward, but playing in the area seems to work. I don’t know if it’s fun, but it isn’t broken.

    C is probably the most interesting point, but some of the general ideas don’t seem to work. The two side entrances make it pretty difficult for red to establish a defense that isn’t easily flanked, and the middle route offers some really cheeky sniper sightlines onto both of red’s major high grounds. It’s probably the place of the map that I’ve had the most fun, but it still has some functional issues.

    The detailing is fairly well polished, but the overall style of the architecture doesn’t make any sense to me. Everything is dominated by this outside grid of structure that’s just… you might see it as a structural scheme for a modern art gallery, but definitely not at an industrial facility. There’s also some troubling distinction between interior and exterior, where an area is floored in polished tile with a large, almost uninterrupted opening to the exterior.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 5


    Sword said:

    There’s definite competence here. Points are interesting creative arenas - i like the idea of Last very much - and it’s not un-fun to play like some are. It’s not great, though. Firstly, the “flow” of the map is nearly non-existant. Everything is identical and red, so it’s hard to navigate, and the natural flow out of spawn directs people into a dead-end path to C. The natural path to A seems to lead me into a narrow, spammy corridor, instead of the better route. There’s also a lot of dead space in the middle going unused: look at how tight Gravelpit’s points are packed, and how there’s only a handful of paths between them, not a whole arena equally the size of the points.

    A and B are very poorly balanced against each other. A is much harder to cap than B - I’ve never seen a round where B wasn’t swept in seconds and then A several excruciating minutes later, and i’ve seen several promising pushes to A (two heavy-medic pairs and two others, in one) driven back or off the point and away by far less organised counter-pushes. Cap times are high throughout the map, but at A it’s most obvious, when six people cram themselves into the tiny space and watch the counter crawl up, waiting for a single demoman or pyro to spam them into oblivion. There’s no good defensive spots at B, and lots of routes for blue, while A offers either a spammy corridor, a killbox low route, or a useless unintuitive flank thats practically hidden. C is a nice idea but the implementation doesnt live up to it - there’s no cover or good defensive positions for red, forcing them to constantly hurl themselves onto the point itself - where they can be attacked by blue coming from anywhere on a 180degree arc.

    -

    This is one of the more fully detailed maps, and I’m impressed by it. You’ve detailed one of the larger maps in the contest lavishly, however I rather suspect you had to do it quickly. There are lots and lots of little niggling issues - visible nodraw, shadow bugs, wierd reflections, props half-sticking out of walls. It’s a real shame, since there’s definitely something here, but these little mistakes keep letting it down.

    Overall there’s some other, larger missteps. I find it hard to feel out what any of these buildings are, what they’re doing or who owns them. Why is this room flooded? Why has a pallet of barrels been loaded onto that dump truck? Why are there grubby milk crates in a spytech room. Each room seems to be entirely it’s own thing, and so there’s no sense of progression: A, B, and C, all look exactly the same, with none of the transition towards industrial and spytech that sells TF2’s environments so well - this is just a place, with a rocket. I can assume it’s a power station from the “McJohn Power” overlays all over the place, but nothing seems to generate or transmit power: instead there are cranes to nowhere, satellite dishes (and an observatory?) on every rooftop, and computers on the roof. You’ve clearly put a lot of effort into the brushwork of the map, but these massive, clunky 32-hu pillars are actually pretty ugly, and absolutely everywhere. None of the windows have frames, random props have their own concrete supports… it doesn’t make any sense! You’ve clearly spotted where things go in official maps, but don’t seem to understand why they’re there, or how they got there.

    Find Grazr on this site, and read through all of his tutorials. You’ve worked hard on this, and they’re just the thing to push this from an intermediate map to a great one.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 6


    Muddy said:

    There are some good ideas here, but the execution is... not bad, but weird. The Gorge-style theming is nice, but the thick concrete beams you've plonked everywhere look really strange and unfitting. The environment lighting is blindingly bright even with HDR turned off, and your cubemaps are a little screwed up (as evidenced by the VERY SHINY floor tiles found throughout the map).

    The spawntimes appear to be equal for both teams, rather than being long for RED and short for BLU, leaving things a little unbalanced and favouring RED when defending C. The deathpit around C is also really annoying because it's so small that there's no way you can knock anybody into it - the only way someone can fall into it is by walking into it by mistake. Honestly, the map would not lose anything if you just patched it up and made it walkable.

    My last main complaint is that all of BLU's spawn exits are easy to spam, particularly with stickybombs, since all the exits are tiny and there's very little visibility coming out of spawn. What made Gravel Pit's BLU spawns work was that they were far away from the action and in places that weren't easily reached by RED team, so they were hard to spam.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 6

    Laadeedaa
    Idolon said:

    This map is a mixed bag. A is one of my favorite places to play in out of the entire contest, while C is one of the absolute worst. B seems to function alright, but the location of the point and the distance red maintains while still defending the point is really bizarre and I don’t like it much.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 1


    Sword said:

    I don’t like the first point at all: you spam from above, or you take a circuitous route, but thats all. There are lots of wierd little jumps around, and narrow fiddly planks, and the point caps so fast that getting stuck for half a second on a 32hu wall can be enough to get you stuck and you’ve lost the point. The routes between points are just long corridors, with chokes at either end. Second is small and awkward to navigate, with the water as a killbox, only partially mitigated by not being able to see through the water. It’s a clever idea for a point, but about a quarter of the size it should be. Last is even worse: just a single big box.

    -

    The forward spawns point players in a wierd direction, and lots of spawntimes are wierdly long. There’s some very clever ideas in here, but ultimately too many problems with the execution.
    I’ll be brief here, it’s clear that not much has gone into detailing this map - and that’s fine, you’re not going for that. The skybox/sound/rain particles give a good outdoor ambience, but otherwise there’s nothing else. I’ve no sense of what any of the buildings are - they all seem big and empty and squarish.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 2


    Muddy said:

    There are some good ideas here, and I can tell some real effort was put into it (more so than in the name, at any rate); and from what I remember, despite some annoyances in the design, it was pretty fun to play on. My biggest pet peeve was the two entrances into B, which were very very easy for RED to lock down since they were very chokey and also guarded by shutter doors which vastly limited visibility. The water around B was also a little annoying to play around, since it was easy to fall in by mistake (and let's not forget those Engineers who built their sentry nests in it).

    I'm not as big a fan of C point though, which is little more than a big empty room with two small(-ish) entrances for BLU and a big ammopack for RED Engineers to more efficiently set up sentry nests. I also often found myself getting turned around a couple times at C. Personally I'd rework C entirely, but the first two points can be made decent with some tweaking, I reckon.

    Not sure I can give many points for aesthetics though. I think the B Point area looks nice, but A looks kind of ugly with its freestanding walls and ceilings, and C is just bland. The use of soundscapes is nice too, though I couldn't help but notice that even when I was in the lobby leading to C, the soundscapes suggested I was still outside.

    So overall, B is probably the best-designed point in this map, with A being a close second and C a very far-off third. (I realise that lasts are hard to make though!)

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 3

    Marinara
    Idolon said:

    I feel like I haven’t played this map enough to get a great grasp on it, but my impressions of it are not great. Stage 1 seemed to suffer from bad connectors and a lack of options for blue attacking B, while stage 3 suffered from a lack of usable geometry for red (the entire connector feels unused because red doesn’t use it at all – sitting behind the final point is their best option at almost all times). Stage 2 seems like it might be the best of the bunch, but I need to play it more before I can offer any useful feedback.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 4


    Sword said:

    There’s some quirks here, but overall I think it’s solid and promising. Most fighting areas are creative and well-scaled, and several of the points have unique layouts. I think that’s also a weakness, though - some of these cool ideas are worse than others.

    Stage 1 is pretty decent. I’ve noticed that CP2 is often capped very quickly after CP1: There’s only one exit from red spawn which leads out straight towards the point, which means that a critical mass of Blue on the point can be near-impossible to drive off. I like S2CP1 quite a bit, but the broken setup gate really hurts it, meaning that no proper defense can be mustered. Firewatch had a similar problem, but capping S2 in setup time broke S3. If that happened here, you’d have been disqualified. I don’t like S2 CP2: it’s overscaled and open and a bit spammy, with the doors really annoying. Stage 3 is overall a weakness: again, both points are very creative, but the connector is a real disappointment: just a bunch of bland corridors, very hard to push through, and i’m never sure where the flank routes are going to come out.

    -

    This is another map which is clearly not worried too much about its aesthetic score. There’s some clunky brushwork to create cool things around the control points, which kind of works - i’m very fond of the greenhouse - and you’ve used the lighting well to feel interestingly sun-baked. Some of the areas are very difficult to understand, though - what are points 1-1 and 1-2? What’s with the wierd-ass bridge at 2-2? I admire the desire to create landmarks, though.

    Progression is hurt by the blue area in the final red base - particularly after putting all the effort into making a cool red base that you can see from a distance - I should feel like an interloper! There’s also a lot of twisty, samey side routes - grey dev textures at last, yellow cliffs earlier.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 4


    Muddy said:

    I love some of the ideas here - the landmark over the final point being visible from all points in the map; the angles; the the way that each stage leads to the next one like in Dustbowl. The execution could've been better, but what's here is definitely not bad.

    My main concern with the layout is mostly specific things; Point 1-2 is hard for BLU to get into because their routes into it are easily spammable and hard for them to hold, and 2-2 is hard to get into because of those shutter doors (which weren't there in earlier versions, and I felt the map was much better for it).

    Stage 3 needs the most work, I think - it's got a lot of narrow hallways, flat open rooms and very circuitous routes that make it difficult to navigate. It's also terribly dark in some places, which is bad for team recognition, and on top of that it's kind of ugly due to the clashing, inconsistent colours.

    I quite like the aesthetic of the first two stages though. Very reminiscent of Half-Life. Though the dirt bridge under 2-2 looks very strange.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 5

    Villa
    Idolon said:

    This is another one that I’m taking a bit of a shot in the dark with, as it is a large map that I’ve only played once.

    The individual points seem to be somewhat well designed, but the connective tissue doesn’t do a good job of getting players to where they want to be. This might just be a symptom of having no landmarks, but it might also be due to an overabundance of routes, a lack of signage, etc. On red I felt like I was always playing on a server of 6v6 even though we had a full server. These might just be symptoms of making a Steel-type map.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 4


    Sword said:

    I like what you’re trying to do here, and I think you’ve got some good ideas, but the overall result falls a bit flat to me. Absolutely crucial in a steel-style map is making the changes clear and meaningful, and this map doesn’t do either. I know that capping A moves D, and I think one of the other caps raises it up by like 64hu? But not what the third one does. None of those are important changes: in fact, capping A makes it harder since D is now at a major height disadvantage. Once it’s been moved, D isn’t much fun to play on at all. It’s at a height disadvantage from all sides, and the corridors are sufficiently confusing it’s very hard to tell where enemies will come from, meaning that both attacking and defending the point feel like cowering at the bottom of an ampitheatre, trying not to get spammed to death from above. The interior of the main building seems to have generally poor flow, and teams easily get split up, meaning a lot of fights are 1v1 or 2v2 instead of full-on team clashes.

    I also can’t find much health around on the map. The clipping on the stairs is rather dodgy, and it’s possible (and easy) to get around the clipping and into C before it unlocks.

    -

    The detailing here feels a bit erratic, like you’re spending more time fiddling with trellises (align the textures!!!) or creating paths from rocks than on the rest of it combined. What there is, I find myself liking: the shapes and textures suggest realistic buildings, and the overall environmental feel is nice - though the lack of a soundscape is very disappointing. Your displacements are very jagged and erratic, which is a shame. I’m also not convinced that enough is done by either the lighting or any kind of existing detail to draw the player’s eye to important areas. As I’ve said with several other maps, i’m very keen to see what this looks like when it’s finished - but it’s definitely not there yet.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 5


    Muddy said:

    The world could always use more Steel-types. But what made Steel so intuitive was the fact that it was laid out like a circle, whereas Villa's layout leads players from A to C, while B is in a completely different direction. It's not as linear as it needs to be, which is where the confusions arise. The invisible wall blocking off C until B is captured (not even letting players shoot through it) just serves to confuse players even more.

    It's a good attempt though; the points themselves are decently fun to play on and the map itself is fairly well-balanced overall. The artpass looks lovely too, and the dev-textured parts are pleasant enough to look at to not take anything away from the aesthetics. I wouldn't mind a less featureless skybox, though, and I'm not sure about the cable over B that has been put up at head height - that doesn't seem like something somebody would do.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 6

    Shrine
    Idolon said:

    There’s some decent ideas about what a gameplay space should look like and how that might interact with a detailing theme, but they’re all assembled in a way that doesn’t make any sense. The map feels like it was planned on a piece of paper with no regard for height differences, and the overall layout of the map fills a nice rectangular shape for seemingly no other reason than to fill the entire space.

    Gameplay: 1
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    I applaud the attempt to make an asymmetrical KOTH map, but I think it’s missed the target. Making the map L-shaped complicated things, and the map feels unbalanced. Specifically, Blue has a much shorter, easier, more direct route to the point, but the natural flow from the spawn takes them a longer route: to an extent I think this map comes down to whether blue can get into the habit of taking the unintuitive shorter route before red wins, because when that happens blue should walk it. Red’s best route to the point is a wierd tiny corridor (why are both doors to the point facing away from the red team? The point is small and spammy, and very easy to defend: I saw multiple single heavy/medic pairs lock it down.

    There’s lots and lots of wasted space - like, 60% of the map? Players don’t get directed by the map, which means they go instinctively, and tend to miss most of the area - and if they try to find flanks, they can end up at the enemy spawn without seeing any enemies. Major fights tend to take place away from the point, and the nearby section of the open area is kind of flat and boring.

    -

    You’ve put a lot of work into this, and it’s great to see how you’ve come on as a mapper. There’s a strong environment and aesthetic, some very clever use of the japan props, and some obvious careful thought about what will happen next. The map is let down by the implementation though - buildings tend to be large boxes with no clear purpose, and the corridors passing through are tiny and dark. The environment lighting feels just a bit too orange, and clashes with the pink blossom. Shadowing on the props is very dark and erratic, and there are a few missing textures. These are technical details though, and while they let down the map, I would like to see this map worked on in the future.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 3


    Muddy said:

    Asymmetric KOTH is an interesting idea, and I can imagine it working if done right. Unfortunately, I can't say this map does it right.

    For starters, a lot of this map's layout is made up of props, which is a bad habit to have. It's fine to use props to make gameplay spaces more interesting, but if removing all the props in your map leaves you with a bunch of barren, empty spaces, you may want to consider changing the layout a bit. I'm also confused by your use of soundscape; while the map itself is set in a pleasant Japanese garden and shrine, the ambient sound suggests I'm in some kind of industrial complex in the middle of the desert. The outside wind and machinery noises persist indoors too.

    Aesthetically, there are some nice ideas here (and some nice use of the Japan theme pack) and with some tweaking (mainly turning those cube rocks into more natural-looking formations, and replacing the dev textures with real ones) I could see it working as a detail map for an SFM project of some kind. And again, asymmetric koth is a gamemode I could see working, it's just not quite there yet.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 5

    Borealis
    Idolon said:

    I think the overall scheme between blue spawn and B is flawed in that blue has a rather cramped and height-disadvantaged approach to the battle while red has lots of protected sightlines and open space. This seemed to be a common problem across multiple tests, which made it difficult for me to play the rest of the map, though the small amount I did play tells me that the approach to C is probably the best part of the map and last is very difficult to defend.

    I’m speculating here on gameplay, but it also feels as though the (to use your own terminology) calm spots don’t seem to work as you want them to. The open area to the side of B looks like it might be an interesting spot to play in, but I have a difficult time ever getting there, and I don’t know what advantage it’s actually meant to offer me as a route for attacking people on the cart. Badwater’s B side area offers red a single staircase into the area while giving blue about a million – plus red’s staircase has to be approached from an unprotected location.

    The detailing is nice, but alas, unfinished. Texture choices are inconsistent (it feels like every building is vying for my attention). It’s obviously unfinished, so this doesn’t matter a whole lot. Blue spawn is nice.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 4


    Sword said:

    I was all ready to give this a really high gameplay score… but that choke ruins it. Point B is just such a nasty chokepoint and so completely miserable to push, that it lets down the whole of the rest of the map. It’s flaws are replicated elsewhere, though: the whole map is one massive uphill battle for blue, with no point at which they have a height advantage. Red has control over all routes to B, and their spawn is practically on top of the point itself. Even very strong pushes tend to break at the corner after A, and snipers, soldiers, and engineers can make the process of pushing A-B absolutely miserable. After capping B, C and the area around it seem trivial.

    A has a pretty good flank, but it’s very long for limited benefit, and practically hidden behind the rocks. I like this map, but can’t ignore the flaws.

    -

    Of all the “undetailed” maps, I think this is the one I like the most. The buildings feel potentially like real places, and the environment sells it well in the same way. It’s never too dark, thanks to the generous use of skylights, and the lighting seems to draw the eye correctly. I don’t have much else to say - congrats, good work on it. Finish it off!

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 6


    Muddy said:

    This map is definitely one of the better PL maps in the contest. Even with the lack of detailing, it has a strong theme and it's very pleasant to look at. I also really like the use of angles here - I'm particularly impressed by how pretty much the entire B Point section is at a 45º angle!

    My main issue with this map is the balance - B is by far the hardest point to cap, and is where a lot of rounds ended (at least in my experience), but if BLU got past it then they were usually able to win without much difficulty. The main cause of this, I think, is due to how RED's spawn is very close to the point, and their spawn time is quite quick, so they're respawning faster than BLU can gain any ground even after destroying their defences.

    I'm also not a fan of the sheer lines of sight going through some places. The biggest offender here is Point C, which is fairly long and narrow and doesn't offer as much in the way of gameplay options as the other points do. Point D also gave me (and a lot of other people I saw) some grief with its pitfall that marks the last capture point. It also felt a little hard to defend generally, due to the lack of cover around said capture point; previously there was too much, and now there's too little!

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 6

    Dereggub
    Idolon said:

    I think this map is unique and interesting to play on, but rough around the edges. The track overall is very long, and some of the areas don’t have a good balance of advantages for either team to use. Everything could use some shrinking down both to reduce sightlines and walk times.

    The area directly in front of blue spawn is probably the best part of the map. I think that, up until the area right before last, everything generally works, but things like scale, sightlines, and a lack of height differences can make gameplay stalemate hard.

    Detailing isn’t really there, but it’s alright to look at as an alpha.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    It’s hard to hold A on this map, and very easy to hold B. I think B is a more fun choke to beat your head against than Borealis’ - it’s an arena to fight in and around, not a corridor to die crossing - but it’s still nasty, and beating your head against it is all you can do. There’s a lot of large open spaces in the map, and snipers can dominate from a very long distance. It seems kind of generally large? Long walk times, long sightlines.

    -

    It’s crisp and clean, but doesn’t have - to me - the strong sense of place that the best of these undetailed maps does. The displacements are rather more gentle and smooth than some, and I like the props you’ve used, but in comparison to Borealis or the first area in Fieldworks, it feels a bit bland. Sorry.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 4


    Muddy made this map, and thus did not judge it.

    Divide
    Idolon said:

    Looks and plays like a Casali map – sparsely detailed and far too large. I think you’ve outdone both Badwater and Thundermountain in overscaling, and I would really recommend trying to shrink the map overall to make approaching some areas not as anxious of an ordeal.

    The intro area is too open for red to establish a good defense. They can put up a decent fight at the rollback section, but they aren’t really able to make a good hold until the cart reaches the A building.

    The connector into B is probably the strongest and most iconic part of the map. Something about the area on red’s side of the connector isn’t quite right (probably how much height advantage and what kinds of sightlines they have), but it’s definitely the area of the map I have the most memories of (and they’re positive ones).

    The B -> C building needs some work. Something about the bridge above makes the area flow strangely – if red can establish presence on it, blue struggles really hard. If blue establishes a presence on it, red gets flanked savagely. I want to play in the building more, but the way routes enter the building just doesn’t support that very well.

    Last is probably the worst part of the map. Badwater last seems to work (I am using work loosely here because I’m not a huge fan of it) because the sniper positions are predictable, while the design here leads to me being incredibly anxious to be anywhere as either team. There’s no cover or small areas for different classes to take advantage of. Also worth noting that Badwater’s low ground is fairly protected from sniper fire, and the map room that overlooks it has a direct and protected route from spawn for red to go take care of enemies in that area.

    Beautiful theme. I can only assume that you intend to detail this more, but it’s very Casali-esque in its current state in a way that I can appreciate.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 7


    Sword said:

    This is a good map! I had a lot of fun on it. It’s a bit big, though, isn’t it? Even “small” routes like flanks tend to be more than 256hu wide, and the cart takes long straight paths all the time, meaning there’s a lot of sightlines. Add that with some generally good sniping spots, and, as chin i think flippantly said: “if you don’t have good snipers you lose.” For quite a long chunk of the map, blue have a long walk to the cart - this is most notable at B, where blue runs for twenty minutes to leap into a killbox, while red spawns directly into a commanding position. There also doesn’t seem to be much health.

    I don’t like last: it seems really difficult to take.Every route to it is big and open and snipable, though there arent really any good spots to actually defend the point: snipe/spam the routes, because if the cart reaches the corner you’ve basically already lost.

    -

    I’m very pleased with what you’ve done here. It’s a little more sparse than a fully detailed map, of course, and missing things like the 3D skybox, but by choosing not to deal with those things you’ve freed yourself up to scour away the dev textures, and make one of only a very few maps in the contest that feels like a beta. It’s not as striking and creative as Extol or Enclosure, but it’s adept and carefully thought-through.

    Some strange decisions let it down - some quite dark areas, the long steep flat ramp down into last, a kinda clumsy brushwork hole in the wall - but otherwise I like this a lot!

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 7


    Muddy said:

    I want to say that this is one of the best-looking entries in the contest, but it feels like the majority of the effort in the detailing was put into the first half of the map. It's not to say the second half looks bad, just that the first half looks really great, and if the whole map looked like that then it'd be no contest. Except, well, it'd still be contest. Whatever.

    Gameplay-wise, the layout is pretty good overall, but it's not much fun to play as a short/mid-range class since a lot of the map is pretty open. The biggest offenders are the area were the cart starts, and the routes into the last point (which is especially bad since every route into it exposes you to either a Sniper corridor or a doorway that's easily locked down by a spammy class or sentry gun). The huge slope at last also feels awkward to play around, because unlike the slope in Badwater, the one here feels very closed-in (and also bigger).

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 8

    Ember
    Idolon said:

    Another map that I didn’t get to play enough. I don’t have a lot to say about the layout beyond small nitpicks, but I think this might have to do with my lack of play time and the size of the map.

    Last is probably the weakest part of the map, mostly because blue’s walk is very long. Gameplay doesn’t seem to happen where I expect it to, and it feels more like corridors instead of proper gameplay spaces. Blue gets very divided up.

    The detailing is nice, but unfinished.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 4


    Sword said:

    I’m not a fan of the last point. The big horseshoe-shaped wall blocks off a lot of the area, making it feel very small, and red have easy access to the flanks, allowing them to flank quite a large part of the cart path and making it difficult for blue to push through. I don’t like the dropdown next to first: without that there’s only one route at A, meaning a good counterpush from red at the choke can cause real problems.

    A-B is a pretty good choke: It always seems to hold blue up well, while eventually being broken. I think a part of this is the distance to red spawn: its pretty far from blue spawn too, so there’s some long slow walk times. B-C feels a bit strange: oddly underdone compared to the rest of the map. There’s also a long nasty sightline there.

    -

    The early part of this map is very promising - much like Divide, it feels like a proper (if sparse) beta, and I like it a lot. Your displacements seem a bit bumpy and jagged, I think.

    The later transition to dev textures is a disappointment, but i get that that’s what time needs. Some of the buildings are considered and shaped, but others are just cubes. The grey environment washes things out rather than providing a sense of place, though the artificial lights are used well to draw the player’s eye correctly. It avoids Corridor Syndrome well, and doesn’t seem to have any areas that are too dark. I hope to see how it looks when it’s all done to the standards of the first area, but right now it’s not as good as some.

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 5


    Muddy said:

    I keep getting this one and Quickflow confused, because they're both Sawmill-themed Payload maps with finales set in concrete industrial buildings. I love the look of this one though; the 3D skybox and other out-of-bounds detailing areas are creative and the geometry all looks very clean and pleasant to look at.

    The layout is pretty great too. Besides one or two minor niggles (like that route near A that looks like a viable route for BLU but is actually a drop-down) and the final point, which is kind of bad, I don't have a lot to complain about it.

    As for the final point though - like I said, it's pretty bad. The height differences are a little too extreme, it's full of tiny doorways that can be easily spammed, and RED has an easy time pushing BLU back due to a route that takes them behind C. So, fix that and this map will be very good.

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 8

    Enclosure
    Idolon said:

    While I’m not sure that I enjoy playing on this map, it does have one of the more consistent layouts out of the contest. It works. My main gripes about the layout are areas that are too open (the aviary could definitely use some more cover), areas that are chokey and don’t provide either team with a lot of options (stage 2 last, pushing out of stage 3’s intro building), and areas that don’t seem to get used much at all (either side of the raptor pit, some of the open area after A in stage 2). I don’t think I’ve ever seen red defend the final point.

    The detailing is ambitious and generally well executed, but the overall look of the map is depressing. Dark colors, flat lighting, blocky geometry, and noisy textures all come together into something that looks like it came out of GoldSrc. Borneo also has flat lighting, but it scrapes by as passable by using colors that contrast with each other well (and having some geometry that is fucking on point). Artificial lighting also isn’t particularly bright, making interior and exterior areas almost appear to be lit at the same level.

    Something I want to note: Despite the middling scores, this map is tied for third on my score sheet. This map has had a lot of effort put into it, but I think most things could use some tweaking (especially the overall color scheme) before I can start to appreciate it.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 5


    Sword said:

    This won’t be a long gameplay discussion: its overall a very solid map. I think there’s a good range of scales and spaces, solid flank routes and paths, and I’ve not found any truly massive flaws in it. I’ve never seen any proper defenses of the final point, and I think there’s a lot of wasted space around. I’m not a fan of the second half of stage 2 - it seems like a mess of random wooden buildings, and all the entrances to the point seem to come through the same place.

    -

    There’s a lot to like about this map, and it’s gloriously creative. Right from the “jungle” setting to the core conceit, there’s almost nothing we’ve seen in TF2 before. Custom content is used lavishly, almost every room feels like a place with a purpose, and considerable care and attention has gone into many of the details - I love the river.

    I think the custom content is overused though, and sometimes it doesn’t entirely fit the tf2 artstyle - the Goldbloom and logo overlays in particular feel very crisp and clean and new. Some custom stuff is also used only in one place - the frontline crate tarp, the vines - and could be removed to trim the filesize at no real cost. I’m not a fan of the grassy rocks - they just look like they’ve been smeared with some kind of green sauce. On a similar note, the trailer is a very clever idea but looks absolutely hideous in brushwork, and makes a very bad first impression. The nature is super noisy, and is all over the place.

    Some areas are very bare and bland, and some feel like you’ve slapped textures on alpha brushwork and called it a day. This is a real disappointment after how much attention has gone into some other areas - the wood buildings in stage 2, the bunker in stage 3, and odd spots around the rest of the map. The same areas also often don’t make much sense - what is the bunker? What are these random shacks? (Which have minor missing textures in them, too.) The Karst walls are similar - the sudden transition to them is jarring, and they’re absolutely hideous en masse. These areas let it down a lot, and make it feel a lot more clumsy than it deserves. The mine is very dark and kind of inexplicable. Why is there a mine, and what is the...timer? safe? thing in it?

    I’m kind of not getting the joke with the dinosaurs. Firstly, I’m never sure when i’m in a “cage” and when i’m not - something that I would think would be a pretty important distinction. The wooden dinosaurs are used kind of sparsely, to the point where until i was midway through s2 i didn’t realise they existed. Why, though? Is it an amusement park? Or are they… studying the wooden dinosaurs? If you wanted to sell the park as an elaborate fake, why are the “backstage” areas full of holding crates? In fact, why are there Backstage areas at all? I would suggest, to sell the joke, setting up a sharp contrast between the public areas (with the SUGGESTION of dinosaurs, including fake crates, fake feeding troughs, and wooden dinosaur heads peeking through the trees) and the “backstage” areas (the wooden dinos leaning against the walls, “dino” crates filled with rocks etc). Then at the end, move the players back into the public areas, and hype the T.Rex up as much as possible, so that when we blow the doors open and it comes out and is shit, it’s a really funny moment.

    The map also seems to overwrite some textures used in Erosion.

    It’s one of the prettiest maps in the contest in my opinion, but still has a long way to go before feeling done.

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 7


    Muddy said:

    I've seen a lot of people rate this map highly for aesthetics, and I can see why. There's a lot of nice ideas here - I especially like the funny signs scattered around the place! - and it's clear a lot of work has been put into the artpass. Also, the finale is great.

    That said, I'm finding I ultimately don't have a lot to say about it. It's possible that the map has too much that stands out, making the whole thing sort of bland. The first and second stages feel somewhat interchangable, since they have basically the same theming and landmarks, and everything is heavily detailed. I'd recommend toning down the detailing in the bits that are further away from the capture zones so the points of interest are more clearly defined.

    I also feel that the environment lighting feels washed-out and generally kind of depressing overall, and there's some weird detailing quirks I kept noticing, like the lone-standing telephone pole erected in the middle of a dense jungle? and some massive-ass vents that lead into thin walls, and the jungle skycards sometimes being a little too close to the gameplay space, making them too obvious for my liking.

    The layout is intuitive enough that I rarely find myself going the wrong way. My only issue with it (which I'm going to point out once again) is the river at the start of stage 2, which is a deathpit that looks nothing like a deathpit.

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 7

    Erosion
    Idolon said:

    Something about the scaling and routing of this map makes it difficult for me to play on. I don’t know how to approach a given situation because it feels like the options I have as a player don’t let me take advantage of anything in particular, either because the enemies are too far away or because I have no cover or height over the enemy. The open area before B seems to be the best part of the map.

    The worst part of this map is the flank into last. Blue has a flank that’s both the closest route from their forward spawn and exits into red’s main highground over the final area. It’s not a fun space to play in, but it’s essential to control. Playing as red generally isn’t fun in this area either, as I feel like I don’t have a lot of options for defending the area. The location of the spawn and the scale of the area are probably to blame.

    The flat textures don’t look great, especially when the floor texture matches the wall texture. I’ve gotten disoriented when quickly turning around to face an enemy.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    I first played this as Pyro, used the flanks, and loved it. I had like a killstreak of ten, and it felt fantastic. Then I switched to heavy, and hated every second. There are so many flanks and side-routes that pushing/blocking the cart isn’t much fun at all, since enemies can come from any direction at any time. This seems to give a major advantage to attackers - I didn’t see any proper defenses at all (though credit where it’s due, the map avoids the nasty chokepoints characteristic of other maps.) This seems to break down at last, which is big and open and a bit flat: the only good height advantage is directly over spawn. (Also usually ends up with super long time at last, since ive never seen a solid defense put up before C.

    Overall though, its well-scaled and interesting.

    -

    What makes this map stand out from the others in my opinion is the landmarks and the interesting geometry - even in dev textures, it makes an effort to feel like a real place, and even bland twisty back corridors have added details to seem interesting. It’s plain and underdetailed, but pretty solid with it.

    Displacements are nice and smooth, though the transition to the 3DSkybox is pretty ugly. There are some real oddities in detail, including random generators in the middle of the room, and the wheelbarrow with the truck-load of coal.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 5


    Muddy said:

    Another favourite of mine for the aesthetics category. This map makes good use of the underserved Hydro theme, and I like the use of the flat dev textures. I don't really have any complaints about the detailing at all, I just wish there was more of it!

    Gameplay-wise, I feel the layout is a little too cramped overall. The last point is also a bit weird; RED's spawn is very close to the tracks that BLU have to push past, meaning the only way to win as BLU is to spawncamp RED long enough to get the cart to the last point. Also, the upper entrance to last is practically a death sentence for anyone who isn't an overhealed Heavy because of how small and spammy it is.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 8

    Fracture
    Idolon said:

    I want to like this map, but I don’t think I do. Both stages suffer from a middle section that doesn’t offer red any good holds, meaning most of the gameplay focuses on keeping blue in their spawn and defending the cart from inching its way into last.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    This map is pretty fun to play, but you could cut a good 60% of it out and not notice. Perhaps 95% of all the time spent on the map, the cart is in the building behind S1CP1, or on the approach to S1CP2, or on the approach to S2CP2. The rest of it always seems to get breezed through so easily by the attackers. These three areas are kind of nasty chokes, though the flanks around them are sensible and interesting, and theres generally good flow.

    My suspicion is that the right defense at S2 Blue spawn could really knock it down, but I admit I haven’t actually seen that.

    -

    Pretty characterless, and not much effort has gone into aesthetics. Neither light nor detail does much to attract the player’s eyes to the right place. There are some dark areas in tunnels, and some wierdly yellow lights. It’s perfectly servicable, but doesn’t do enough to stand out from the other undetailed maps like Fantasmud or the others.

    Gameplay: 7
    Aesthetics: 4


    Muddy said:

    The first stage of this map feels much better than the second stage, regarding both gameplay and aesthetics. Stage 1 looks nice and tidy, has a clear theme going on, and has a good balance of open areas and close-quarters areas; Stage 2 is mostly tight, dimly-lit corridors and a very small finale. Incidentally, I like how the cart goes into a lift at the end of stage 2, it's a nice touch!

    Otherwise, there isn't much to say about this one. I think BLU has a slightly too powerful flank to the first point, since it leads them right behind RED's defences. And there's the issue of the improperly-packed rock props, which appeared to have broken collisions, allowing players to phase and through through them, and even build sentry guns in them if they felt particularly cruel.

    Gameplay: 4
    Aesthetics: 4

    Quickflow
    Idolon said:

    There’s some good gameplay areas in this one. Playing as either team in the beginning area is fun (although I’m not sure that the latest revision is an improvement over the previous versions that I have played). The middle section of the map I haven’t played much because blue almost always roll through it until last, where the map starts to be fun again. Last has a flank really similar to the one that I hate in Erosion, although it’s less miserable to fight in.

    Detailing is nice but unfinished. I like how the map uses symmetry, both in blue spawn and last.

    Gameplay: 5
    Aesthetics: 3


    Sword said:

    This map is very solid. I think just about all the fighting spaces are fun to play in, and every class can do it’s bit. It feels quite short and small, though? And this isn’t helped by flanks that cut straight through the general S-shape so you can skip from spawn nearly straight to second.

    I don’t like C-D. There’s such a complicated network of flanks around them that you keep walking into the enemy spawn, or into last from odd angles. Only the cart path itself has any flow. Red has easier access to these flanks than blue, so even when blue come through from their forward spawn, they get flanked and harassed all the way. (Said forward spawn also points you in the wrong direction.

    -

    This map has a strong atmosphere and a good sense of progression. Obviously it’s unfinished but generally a good sense of place. The waterfall is a very nice detail, and while I can’t see why it would be blown up, it does make for a good centerpiece.

    Not sure I like the random red lights behind gratings all over the place, or the one weirdly massive plank. In addition, the wind blows the ropes REALLY strongly and the rain not at all.

    I would have suggested using more effort on details to move the player’s eye to the right place, but it’s a simple map so thats rarely truly necessary. The back rooms around last are also very bare and kind of complicated: some better progression or landmarks there could make it a lot easier to navigate.

    Not much else to say, really. In general, for where it is, it’s doing really well.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 6


    Muddy said:

    This map captures the Sawmill atmosphere very well, to the point where I almost wish there was more of it! The inner industrial bits feel rather bland in comparison, but by themselves they look fine. I take issue with the use of the window props though - you've used the ones you stick on walls (models/coalmines) when you could've easily used the ones you actually cut into walls (models/2fort) with little effort, and they would've looked SO much better!

    Layout-wise, the whole thing plays well, although I feel like BLU has a lot of flanks that puts them behind RED's defences. It also seems like each point is very easy to cap except for last, which is very hard - in other words, the difficulty progression isn't smooth enough. BLU also has a bit of a trek from their forward spawn to last, and RED can easily flank them and push them back, which is likely the main cause of the last point being hard to attack.

    This map has some ideas I like, namely the waterfall splitting in two to allow the cart to go through - although it does make me wonder what BLU is actually trying to blow up. The waterfall? The water? I don't get it.

    Gameplay: 6
    Aesthetics: 7

    Redstone
    Idolon said:

    The layout for A is… ok. I don’t really know what to say about it because I haven’t played much of it, but what I mostly remember about it is that it isn’t very interesting (indicating that there isn’t anything super terrible about it).

    Everything between A and last is a mystery to me. I don’t know what the layout is. Playing in this section felt like a particularly orange fever dream where any route could be a flank or a main area. I could give this part of the map an honest analysis if I took a more thorough look at it, but it’s such a maze that anything short of massive changes are probably not enough.

    Last seemed to play alright, though I didn’t feel like I had a lot of options for defending it.

    Gameplay: 2
    Aesthetics: 1


    Sword said:

    I admit, the gimmick of this map has grown on me. I think the switch between point and cart doesn’t add much (except a lot of stupid questions from the cheap seats) but it’s not actually un-fun, if you get me? I admire the steps you’ve taken to make it as obvious as possible what’s happening. I’m not sure the implementation works terribly well however - in all cases, there seem to be only limited paths for defenders to the point, usually meaning that as soon as a critical mass of attackers has built up, they can simply spam any counterattack into oblivion. I’ll specifically mention that waiting for C is boring, and adds nothing to the map.

    There are lots of dynamic doors and moving elements and things, and honestly they don’t add anything: all they do is confuse players. Suddenly a corridor is a dead end, or a door is unlocked, or a section of floor is missing. The natural flow of the map often leads me to these places, where i have to stop and find my way back. It makes it that much harder to learn, and it’s already kind of hard to learn: there’s a hundred flank routes, and many of them end up in unexpected places. (Also the half-transparent one by A is slow, i keep bumping into it.)

    A is a really boring point: there’s just some big blue walls and that’s it: though the point itself is I think the best of them, with the Badlands-style fight and jump route. A-B is just a corridor, and since there’s no way up from the cart to the high ground, the cart is held back mainly by volume of spam. B feels unusually small, and there’s only two routes to defend it: I took it nearly single-handedly with stickyspam. I still don’t understand C much - it always gets capped before I can learn any of the layout. D is the only place I’ve seen defended: it’s a creative point, but there are so many ways to get around any defenses that either attacking or defending is just a bit of a scramble.

    Like I said, the gimmick has grown on me a lot. I think that perhaps, though, you need a better map to go with it.

    -

    No effort seems to have gone into the aesthetics of this map whatsoever. That’s cool, but it doesn’t even try and get a sense of place like how some of the others do, and so gets a correspondingly low score. That said, however, I do like what you’re going for at Last.

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 2


    Muddy said:

    Every time I've played this map, I've gotten lost at least once. The layout is very unintuitive, with doorways leading in all directions and everything looking more or less the same. The long, straight hallway to A is hard to push as BLU because of how easy it is to pin down with some explosive classes and one or two good Snipers.

    The gimmick of capturing control points to open doors to allow the Payload cart to progress doesn't really add anything interesting to the gamemode, instead just slowing everything down and making things more confusing for no real benefit.

    Finally, the last control point area is far too big. Massive drops, massive sightlines, and to top it off there's very little cover for RED. A lot of it is very dark too, and the only routes BLU can take are small, cramped and easily spammable.

    As for the aesthetics, the score of 3 is mostly due to the sheer number of eye-blazing bright orange dev textures all over the place (and the constant feeling of claustrophobia weighing down on my head).

    Gameplay: 3
    Aesthetics: 3
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 16
  3. Nick

    aa Nick Joe Jiggleton

    Messages:
    828
    Positive Ratings:
    1,354
    Thank you to all who worked on the contest and judged for it (I really appreciate the feedback), and congrats to all those who won! After participating in my first major contest now, I feel a bit more prepared about what to expect for the next one. I look forward for the future! And again congratulations to those who won, you deserve it!
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  4. Diva Dan

    aa Diva Dan not a furry

    Messages:
    461
    Positive Ratings:
    464
    Wow, so much time and love put into writing that much about every single map. Mad respect to all of the judges!
     
    • Agree Agree x 7
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. 14bit

    aa 14bit L14: Bit Member

    Messages:
    181
    Positive Ratings:
    350
    Congratulations to the winners! Your maps are all fantastic, and I can't wait to see where they go in the future. Thank you to the judges as well, the feedback is always appreciated and it looks like you spent quite a bit of time writing that all up!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Quantum

    Quantum L1: Registered

    Messages:
    42
    Positive Ratings:
    22
    Congrats to the winners and everyone who participated! A lot of great entries in this one. :) Also, thanks to the judges. Y'all did a great job deciding the winners and left a lot of great feedback!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. Auwi

    aa Auwi Certified in best in fun

    Messages:
    149
    Positive Ratings:
    313
    This contest was pretty fun, I also hope to see more from the maps we've already seen. Its been a great amount of time and energy put into this and i'm excited to see what happens next.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Nick

    aa Nick Joe Jiggleton

    Messages:
    828
    Positive Ratings:
    1,354
    Valentine's Day contest confirmed, I'm telling you now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Diva Dan

    aa Diva Dan not a furry

    Messages:
    461
    Positive Ratings:
    464
    Every map must take place on a ship ;)
     
  10. CommodoreKong

    CommodoreKong L6: Sharp Member

    Messages:
    288
    Positive Ratings:
    249
    Congrats to all the winners!
     
  11. Muddy

    Server Staff Muddy sweetheart

    Messages:
    2,053
    Positive Ratings:
    2,940
    I know who I'm gonna work with :0
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  12. Yrr

    aa Yrr An Actual Deer

    Messages:
    889
    Positive Ratings:
    1,514
    im 3 for 3 at coming 3rd in contests now
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  13. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

    Messages:
    3,883
    Positive Ratings:
    4,865
    the nega-valve
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
  14. Crowbar

    aa Crowbar perfektoberfest

    Messages:
    1,105
    Positive Ratings:
    673
    Did the definition of a contest, Valentine's Day, or summer change though?
     
    • Respectfully Disagree Respectfully Disagree x 1
  15. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

    Messages:
    3,883
    Positive Ratings:
    4,865
    A valentines day contest is not planned, no. (I mean, I did immediately start thinking about how it could be done, but it's a bit late and would overlap too much with the 72hour, so no.)
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  16. Cytosolic

    Cytosolic L4: Comfortable Member

    Messages:
    165
    Positive Ratings:
    121
    This was a ton of fun. Congrats, of course, to the winners, and a huge thumbs up to everyone who participate and came together to make this happen.
     
  17. RodionJenga

    RodionJenga L4: Comfortable Member

    Messages:
    193
    Positive Ratings:
    166
    I stopped reading after this so congratulations everyone, we did it!
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Mikroscopic

    aa Mikroscopic

    Messages:
    471
    Positive Ratings:
    441
    Thank you everyone for participating and making this contest a wonderful experience!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  19. PevWolf

    aa PevWolf Un-Notable Member

    Messages:
    120
    Positive Ratings:
    59
    :soldier: "Well that went asymmetric shaped fast." :soldier:

    Voice line jokes lol.
     
  20. Hosomi

    Hosomi L3: Member

    Messages:
    101
    Positive Ratings:
    31
    There's some great feedback from the judges there. I can't wait until I have enough time to continue working on koth_shrine