TF2Maps.net Major Contest #15: Payload Checklist Contest [PRELIM VOTING]

Discussion in 'Contests' started by Idolon, Mar 4, 2019.

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  1. dexc34

    dexc34 L2: Junior Member

    Messages:
    68
    Positive Ratings:
    21
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x



    Will edit later: Not finalized
    Feedback will be written for all maps once I get the time
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  2. 14bit

    aa 14bit L14: Bit Member

    Messages:
    271
    Positive Ratings:
    838
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x

    Here's some feedback and reasoning for my votes. A lot of this is sort of first-impressions type observations, I'll be doing a deeper analysis of the finalists for the judged round feedback.
    Amaryllis:
    Seems to play pretty well over all, and while the artpass isn't anything spectacular it's better than some of the other entries. It feels like a lot of the spaces could be simplified or opened up a bit more (everything feels a bit claustrophobic), but it's not a deal breaker. B is my least favorite just because there's so many little bits of cover and flanks that enemies can duck into that it's hard to keep track of. The left side (while attacking) of the B->C area (before the spiral) didn't seem to get much use, and I think simplifying it could help the area flow better. Final is a bit cramped for my liking, but it's fun enough to play in. The crocodiles in the pit are funny.

    Bella:
    One of the most visually interesting maps in the contest; clearly a lot of effort went into the custom assets around the map. Unfortunately the lighting is extremely bland and the way the buildings are structured makes the whole thing feel very artificial. The gameplay is awful. It's far to easy to defend second, and attacking final isn't terribly fun. Every round I've played it's either a roll all the way through, or Red locks down 2/3 so hard that it's not fun anymore. There's a super hard choke right before the third point, and there's a weird dead-end where it feels like there should be a flank for this area. Third and final are weirdly close, and final is incredibly bland from a gameplay perspective. It's just an empty room! Finally, some of your checks are a bit iffy in my opinion. Sure you technically have a non-standard cart because it's taller than the standard one, but it doesn't impact gameplay in an interesting way; I didn't even notice it was larger than normal until I went to go double check your checklist items.

    Berlebeck:
    I really can't tell if this one is good or not, so I'm not going to give a yes or a no. I've never been a particularly big fan of ToW, and the layout of this feels a bit wonky. The track layout is interesting and some of the spaces are neat to fight in, but a lot of the gameplay just kind of feels... off. I appreciate trying to use the geometry of the level to sort of force the game into ending, as it's easy for the cart to get stuck in one of the outer loops, but at the same time it's quite frustrating with final being so hard to defend. You did a nice job with your checks though, using the track-crossing one particularly well.

    Bombastic Forest:
    At first I was worried that I wanted to give this a no only because of a sense of "the loss of what could have been." Let me explain. I've played two versions of this map: A3, and the contest version B6B. I really liked A3, particularly the area around the train and the rollback zone immediately following it. Sure it had flaws, but it was quirky, fun, and unique. That third point was one of the most interesting things I'd seen in a map in a long time, and I was excited to see how it would eventually turn out. Fast forward to B6B, and that whole area is gone. Much of the personality the map had in my mind has been sandblasted off. The most interesting part of the map to me is gone, while much of the fairly forgettable first point is still the same. It doesn't help that the clean dev textures have been replaced with a rainy mess that doesn't look terribly great in my eyes.

    It looks like you've been working very hard on this (22 updates, wow!), so I was willing to admit that I may have just be upset at the loss of what could have been rather than judging the current version on its own merits. Because of this skewed perception of the map based on a perceived failure to live up to the expectations I held of an old version of a map, I was not fully willing to commit to a "no" when I originally wrote this feedback.

    After further testing, I can confirm that it's a no from me. Second is a mess for both attackers and defenders, what with Red spawning right behind the point. In multiple rounds I've seen Red get spawn camped there, but Blu still couldn't cap! Final is also really small and strange to attack; it's worse to defend since you're suck in the low ground, surrounded by pits, and there's no good way to get out.

    Burner:
    A decent layout with a lot of dev textures. I don't have much to really say about this one at the moment. It plays pretty well from what I've seen, and it does some interesting layout stuff around final that's grown on me. B, C, and D are pretty forgettable, but you made good use of your height and cross-over checks to create an interesting layout as a whole.

    A bit disappointed that it all looks the same with all the grey dev textures. I have very mixed thoughts on this map, so I'm moving it to "no opinion."

    Canale:
    I can't comment much on the layout, as every singe round I've played Blu never makes it past B. The routes are somewhat confusing, and there's a general lack of health kits that are easily accessible. Red not being able to reenter spawn unless they are a jumping class is really bad as well. Visually it's a bit of a mess, the feeling of propspam, bland lighting, and some really odd texture choices that don't work well together. The payload being a boat is a neat idea, but I think it needs a lot of work.

    Cannonburg:
    For an early map this is very impressive. Pretty average payload map overall, but there's a few shining gameplay spaces that help this map feel special, notably stage 1's B and all of stage 2. Visually it needs work, and could use a bit more visual variety, but it does have a nice sense of place that a lot of early mappers don't quite nail. Nice work!

    Cavern:
    A pretty decent attempt for what appears to be a relatively inexperienced mapper. The layout needs a lot more work. The track consists of mostly large straight sections, which aren't terribly interesting or fun to push though. There's some crazy sightlines as well. The legth seems to be alright, but a lot of the map is wasted space that could be used to create cover, routes, and flanks separate from the cart's path to keep it interesting. The most interesting part of the layout is the bridge in the cave, but there's so little room to maneuver and little time for red to set up that I never saw much fighting over the cart even there.

    The map's visuals feel very much like they were made by someone new to artpassing, which it seems like you are. I'd up the texture scale on the rock displacements, the texture you chose was meant to be used at a much larger scale so it doesn't repeat as much. The lighting is also very uniform, which isn't visually interesting.

    Finally, the map is quite broken. There's no func_respawnroomvisualizers keeping enemies out of the spawns, and there's a bug that makes Red's first spawn exit get stuck open. This lets Blu enter red's spawn, and they can even use Red's resupply lockers to spawn camp! Even while doing this, Blu still had difficultly capping final because of how far they had to run to get to the cart.

    Descend:
    While some of the other entries are being marked down from me for not being artpassed, I'm willing to bend a bit just because of how well this map plays. You've done one of the best jobs integrating the checklist into the map that I've seen, and the clever routing and multilayered layout is truly impressive. The whole A->B section is good enough to carry the whole map though to the next round of voting in my opinion. I've somehow only played C and D on Red, so far, so I can't comment on them too much. C is alright, and final could use a bit more work. All the fights at final take place from quite a distance due to Blu having to push through so much open space, so many of the classes aren't the most useful in the final fight. It could feel different from Blu's side though, I'll have to see.

    Fractal:
    I was worried during the first few versions, but you seem to have turned the rather funky layout of the first stage into something truly unique and interesting. Stage 2 is pretty great as well, though obviously not as polished. Final is neat. Not too sure on your implementation of crossing a hazard/non-death pit hazard, both of which I assume is the portal-thing at the end. The fizzle effect is neat, but I'm not sure those checks were used as well as they could have been.

    Frostwire:
    I'm torn on this one. It seems to play pretty alright, and there's some semblance of detailing that's been put in, but I'm not quite sure where I stand on this at the moment. Yeah, your checks are there, but they're not used particularly interestingly (especially the "payload goes straight" and "256 unit ledge" ones). It's a perfectly serviceable payload map, but none of the sections stand out to me in ways some of the other entries do. The map felt quite labyrinthine at first, though with more play time I grew more familiar with it. The dedication to keeping the map within city streets did make the whole thing seem repetitive. It's not confusing per say, but it's not terribly memorable. The choke right after the bridge is probably the most interesting part of the map at the moment, and the only part I can clearly remember having a fight in. Some more open areas or memorable gameplay moments could really help.

    I don't feel strongly enough either way to give a vote, so I'm leaving this as "no opinion." This could have gone either way with more testing, but I don't feel like I'm familiar with it enough to call it either way.

    Highwood:
    I love the first point. The map as a whole is solid, and the visuals are very well done. Second feels impossible to hold as red, and final is really cramped. Blu's rolled all but one of the finals that I've played, but I'm willing to chalk it up to coincidence for now. Great work!

    Josh:
    I like it.

    Kahoalii:
    Both stages feel like completely separate maps. The one thing they do share is a feeling that the checklist items were not implemented well, and feel kind of forced. It seems like the only reason the first stage exists is to accomplish the multistage and track-crossing checks.

    The first stage is visually bland and uninteresting, with tall, barren walls that don't provide any sense that this could be a real place. It's also got some major layout issues, with Blu's first flank presented to them taking them almost all the way to final, passing the first point entirely, and offering no options to rotate once they're committed to the route.

    The second stage is much more visually interesting, has a great sense of place, and plays much better than the first. Excellent use of angled geometry at the start. It just doesn't play well and final is uninteresting.

    Kinder:
    I really like the first point, and second point's area is super neat how it wraps around. I'm not a fan of the A->B area itself, and there's a few areas that feel... off. Both the gameplay and visuals in the second half are forgettable, but I like the first half a lot.

    Longhaul:
    This map has a lot of issues. We'll skip talking about the HDR lighting issues that make the map hard to even look at. The detail work is quite messy, and the map is inconsistent in it's visual direction. There's both wooden doorways and metal ones on the same metal buildings, and there's hazard strips around the track when it's not a rollback/rollforward zone. The whole thing just lacks a sense of identity.

    The heavy reliance on shutter doors hurts the flow of the map. It's easy to get lost, and hard to figure out where to go. Blu really could use a forward spawn, final is a ridiculous distance away from spawn, even as a scout. Your checks aren't implemented in a interesting way; the dynamic element doesn't meaningfully contribute to the map in any way, and the train is so far off to the side that it pretty much never interacts with the fights happening. The lead up to final is one of the more interesting areas, but final itself is too close to the defender's spawn doors and lacks any height variation at all.

    Munitions:
    I've only gotten to play one round, and only on defense, so I don't feel qualified to pass judgement for the public stage of voting. I had fun (especially on the final point of the second stage!), but there seemed to be pacing issues with the second stage, and the attacking team complained vocally about constantly being at a height disadvantage for the entire map. While that might not be an issue in reality, I still don't feel like I'm able to properly vote without experiencing it myself.

    It looks great, has some interesting spaces, seems well constructed, and uses its checks well. I just haven't played Attack, and that seems like something I should do before passing judgement.

    Preinvention:
    Very technically impressive especially for an early map. Unfortunately the layout doesn't flow well and it feels like it's trying to do too much at once. The tutorial is neat, but players don't like to read and if the map needs a tutorial it's probably too confusing. In the future, I recommend focusing on making a simple and memorable layout, rather than focusing on the gimmicks. The visuals could use work as well, but that will come with time and practice.

    Rush:
    I love the first stage of this, and the second one grew on me as I played it. The layout of stage one is super clever, and I love the use of rollback zones. I don't have much to say on stage two at the moment, but it's fun. Visually, the center area of the first stage could use some work, as it's quite empty and boring. I'm sure it'll look great with improved lighting and a 3D skybox in the future though.

    Slipway:
    I haven't played this enough to give a definitive vote. There's a few good moments, but most of my tests have been on lower player counts and I don't have a strong opinion either way. The third point is the big standout to me, I really like the crane bit. First is fine, so is second, but final just doesn't do it for me. Final looks and feels like a gmod map, which isn't a good thing. I can see what you are going for with the visuals, but it needs work.

    Snowthistle:
    While the test I played in was full of micspamers and generally annoying people, I still had loads of fun actually playing it. Visually it's really nice, and the way the carts are laid out makes for an interesting fight. You used your checks to create an interesting layout that makes great use of the custom gamemode. The only part I'm not sure on is how the spawns are set up, what with the large amount of dead space between them and the actual cart paths. It feels like you could have condensed spawns down to a single unified room, and offered multiple exits on the left and right. Granted you're only the second (possibly third if I heard you right?) person to ever make a map with this gamemode, and I couldn't figure out how to do it either.

    Thorium:
    There's no detailing, and you didn't use the check marks well at all. There's huge height variation at final that makes it a mess to both attack and defend, massive sniper sightlines at first, and a generally uninteresting layout. It feels like you were fighting the checklist rather than embracing it to do something unique. I think the best way to look at this is to walk though your checklist:

    - 256 Unit ledges present
    Yep, they're here. There's some interesting use of the height around first, but it gets a bit ridiculous around final.

    - Payload Crosses Hazard
    There doesn't seem to actually be a hazard that the cart path crosses...? Unless it's the pit at final, which technically counts, but you already had enough checks without this.

    - Payload goes Straight For 1500 Units
    You've overused this idea, and there's some crazy sightlines around the map. This also causes issues with the "respawn never moves" check later on.

    - Payload goes down 256 units in Height
    This one's fine.

    - Non-death pit hazard
    Sure, the toxic sludge is there. But it's way off to the side and has little to no gameplay impact.

    - Respawn never moves
    This is the big one. Only one of the spawns had to remain in place, and it really feels like Blu could have used a forward spawn for attacking final. This also leads to some ridiculously long walks for Blu to reach the cart.

    Tumble Tech:
    I'm a big fan of PLR, but this map just doesn't do it for me. The biggest issue is that it's not clear where you need to go when leaving spawn. In any other PLR map in the game, you can just walk towards the cart outline and you'll end up at your cart. Here if you do the same, you'll just end up at the bottom of the center structure most of the time, with your only options being to go back to your spawn or all the way to the enemy's spawn. The biggest and most obvious route directly in you line of sight out of spawn doesn't go anywhere near where most of the gameplay happens!

    Say I want to get to my team's cart. If the carts are near the top of the center structure (and you aren't a jumping class), you need to go all the way to the side where they start, up the center ramp, all the way to the other side of the structure, then up through the center back the way you just came. That, or you have to know to take the stairs near spawn (which turn you around and are placed in such a way that they don't feel like a main route), pass though a narrow choke right before final (which also has a height advantage over spawn which is another issue entirely), and then figure out where in the structure the cart is. All of this is compounded by narrow ledges, large drops, confusing geometry, and only one viable route into final.

    Sure, there are technically flanks to final, but if your cart is at the end of the track and you can't push through the upper route, you would have to drop to the ground to commit to one flanks. But these go all the way to the enemy's spawn and then up a narrow staircase, and there's no opportunities to rotate between them, which makes the flanks completely non-viable for a push.

    Wizard Town:
    Looks nice, and has some really neat gameplay spaces. I like the first point a lot, it's quite fun. I like the fun little dips and twists the carts track makes at times, and the vertical finale is a fun change of pace. This is the best Halloween-themed payload map I've ever played. Not entirely sold on the second point, but it doesn't hurt the map enough to change my vote.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  3. Wyvern

    aa Wyvern Certified TF2 Cartographer

    Messages:
    100
    Positive Ratings:
    100
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x

    I was really only able to play Maid's map thoroughly, and I really enjoyed it. I'll edit my vote once I get the chance to play more maps.
     
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  4. Captain Cactus

    Captain Cactus L1: Registered

    Messages:
    48
    Positive Ratings:
    20
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x
     
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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  5. Narpas

    aa Narpas I don't know what the heck

    Messages:
    357
    Positive Ratings:
    341
    Finally actually got to playing some of the maps. Hopefully I'll manage to vote on all of them, or at least a majority
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x

    • Bella: Alright detailing, but the gameplay isn't very good at all. The map felt way to small and short, and there's a glaring lack of flanks which makes it unfun to attack
    • Burner: Pretty alright, still has a somewhat confusing layout, but seems much more polished than when I've tested it before. Pretty much on the edge of getting my vote, might change it later depending on how well the other maps I've yet to test are
    • Rush: Decent fun, though my biggest complaint would probably be how awkward it is to defend at the end of stage 2. I'm not quite as bothered by the amount of rollbacks as most people seem to be, since I think that add a bit more interest to the gameplay, but I definitely wouldn't complain if some of them were taken out
    • Snowthistle: I didn't have a lot of fun playing this map the one time that I have for judging, but that was mostly a problem of the test (mic spam, unbalanced teams) than the map itself. I really like how the map goes out of it's way to try something different, and it seems like it worked pretty well. There are a couple of things I would change (spawns, adding a bit more structure to the routes), but all in all a pretty good map
    • Tumble Tech: I'm a fan of the detailing, and has some interesting gameplay spaces, but overall I feel the layout doesn't work too well

    To be updated when I hopefully test more of the maps
     
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  6. Tumbolisu

    aa Tumbolisu  I ⌄ I 

    Messages:
    990
    Positive Ratings:
    976
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x

    • Bella
    • Bombastic Forest
    • Canale
    • Kinder
    • Longhaul
    • Thorium
     
  7. samjooma

    samjooma L1: Registered

    Messages:
    34
    Positive Ratings:
    14
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x
     
  8. Hoplitejoe

    aa Hoplitejoe cuz

    Messages:
    74
    Positive Ratings:
    148
    MAPS No Opinion Yes No
    Amaryllis x
    Bella x
    Berlebeck x
    Bombastic Forest x
    Burner x
    Canale x
    Cannonburg x
    Cavern x
    Descend x
    Fractal x
    Frostwire x
    Highwood x
    Josh x
    Kahoalii x
    Kinder x
    Longhaul x
    Munitions x
    Preinvention x
    Rush x
    Slipway x
    Snowthistle x
    Thorium x
    Tumble Tech x
    Wizard Town x
     
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