Mapping Contest #7: Payload (Dynamic element)


Grand Vizier
May 14, 2008

Yet again is hosting a major Payload contest. It's been done in the past, and now it will happen once more. Does this mean we will cycle through old contests from now on? No. Does it mean we all loved the previous payload contest? Yes.
Unlike the last iteration of this contest though, we have a new judging criteria, which will be very important if you plan to win this contest. So make sure you've understood whats going on here before you start, because it's hopefully going to get very interesting!

You are to create a single stage payload map within the allotted time.
However, the new judging category "Dynamic elements" is unique for this competition. In order to get a high score on your map, you'll want to think about how this plays into your level. If you can make your dynamic gameplay elements flow into your payload map naturally, and not seem like a forced afterthought that would probably also help you.

What is a dynamic element?
Good question. We are not entirely sure what this would encompass ourselves, but we like the sound of it. Any sort of payload gameplay element that involves moving, turning, lifting, teleporting, cloning or turbo-boosting the payload cart is in my opinion okay. You more or less have completely free hands here to exercise your creativity for what can be done as a interesting feature in a otherwise uneventful and simple payload map.
It doesn't need to be much! As long as it's fun and well executed that effort will be reflected in the final scoring.
You are not tied to manipulating only the cart. If you so please, you may raise/lower platforms, open gates on various conditions or whatever you can think of, as long as it makes for a good map.


  • Must be a Payload map.
    Single stage​
    Payload Race is allowed​
  • No medieval mode.
  • Must follow the same game mechanics/scoring system as set by official payload maps.
    You are allowed to increase/reduce the number of control points.​
    Use the standard premise of Blue = offense and Red = defense, where applicable (anywhere but plr).​
  • No Collaborations
  • Must be able to spawn 32 players (16 per team)
  • Maximum of two entries per author.
  • No straight out copying or stealing content from other maps, official or otherwise. Inspiration and ideas are good, just make sure you built it yourself for this competition.
    You can't recycle your previous maps into this competition.​

Other things that should be mentioned to avoid confusion:
  • Custom content is allowed, All publicly released content will not count towards collaboration, more than 'a few' from a single modeler specifically for your map will, the first 'few' wont be. This will be enforced on a case by case basis.
    "Publicly released content" means content that is available for download and use by anyone, at least one month before the submission deadline.​
  • TF2M Staff and Officers are allowed to win, Contest judges are not.
  • A forum thread is not required to participate (but encouraged, this is a community event after all).


The contest will end on April 30th, 9:00 pm UTC (Check your timezone!), (Countdown!). Submissions will open 1 week before the deadline.
After the deadline closes there will be a 72 hour grace period to fix any critical errors and mistakes. This will be handled on a case by case basis. The grace period is not "extra time", it's a safety net to prevent crashing servers and broken map logic.

Late entries will not be accepted! Make sure you plan ahead and avoid the risk of having 4 months of work get disqualified.

Judgment Procedure:
Eligibility: Maps will be checked and disqualified when the contest submission deadline ends if they do not meet the rules.

Judging Categories
There are 5 judging categories, each one has a different weight on the final score of the map.
The Gameplay and Balance categories account for 25% each, Dynamic Element is 20% while Aesthetics and Performance account for 15% each.

Gameplay (25% of final score) - Does the map have a good flow, is the layout intuitive? Are spawn timers correctly adjusted to create battles in the right areas? Is the map scaled properly, are the walk times between points of interest too long or short?
Balance (25%) - Do RED and BLU stand an even chance of winning the map? Is there a fair contest for each control point? Can each class hold their own in the map? Is any one overpowered or underpowered? Is there a good distribution of health and ammo kits?
Dynamic Element (20%) - How well designed are the dynamic element(s) in the map? Does it add anything to the level, does it feel like it's a positive design choice?
Aesthetics (15%) - Is the map intricate and beautiful? Is there a high level of polish to the map? Does the map fit the style of TF2? Do the individual detailing choices make the map feel put together, or discordant? Is the environment visually pleasing?
Performance (15%) - How well the map is optimized.

First component - Popular Vote
  • One thread will be made where votes will be posted to. The first post will contain a template vote which voters will copy and paste as their reply, changing the numbers to reflect their opinions.
  • In that thread, voters will have the opportunity to grade each map for all categories, from 1-10, as well as giving a short summary if they wish.
  • The results of each vote, after the judging time is over, will be calculated together to get an average rating for each map.
  • Users MAY NOT grade their own maps.
  • The goal of the popular vote is to get an overall rating for each map based on everyone's impression of how fun it is. It prevents judges' votes from counting too much, and makes sure the winners are indicative of our entire community's feelings.

Second component- Judges' votes
  • There will be a panel of judges. Anyone who feels they have the expertise to provide a higher-than-standard level of feedback should send a PM to me (Ravidge) with a statement about what you feel qualifies you before April 25th. Once the site staff have decided on whether or not to accept your application you'll be contacted and will gain access to a new judges-only forum when signed in.
  • Judges' own entries will be disqualified from winning; they will receive marks but will not be eligible to place in the final rankings. Judges may review their own maps but their rating will not be calculated into the map's total score.
  • Judges will playtest each map considerably on their own, via the server or private servers.
  • Each judge will rank each category on a scale of 1-10 and include a write-up of their decision making process per map. The judges' ratings will be averaged for each map. Each step of this process will be publicized.
  • The goal of the judges' vote is to get a professional look at each map, with a high degree of scrutiny that the mapmakers can use to improve their skills in the future. It prevents a tyranny of the majority, wherein people vote on maps in a popularity contest, thus making the rankings fairer.
  • The judges' average ratings will be multiplied by a factor of .5, and the popular average ratings by a factor of .5. This means a 50%-50% split. They will be added together to achieve the maps' final ratings.
  • The maps' ratings will be published, the ineligible maps (like the judges') removed, and then the final rankings posted. The final rankings will determine the winners.


We will be able to present the top 3 placing authors with an in-game medal, misc item!

Specific prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be announced shortly, hang tight!

Q: Can you explain "Must follow the same game mechanics/scoring system as set by official payload maps." A litte more?
A: When presented with the map, it should be clear it's a Payload map, there should be no question that it's about pushing a cart from point A to point B, whilst you push through any number of intermediate cp's along the way, Point A, B and the cp's are located on a track on which the payload is pushed.
The scoring system is that Blue wins by reaching the final point before time is up.
Red wins by stopping the cart from reaching the final point until time is up.
And in PLR: The team that reaches their end point first, wins.

Q: Can I have a hybrid gamemode in my contest entry.
A: No. It needs to be a payload map, like the ones we're all familiar with.
However, your dynamic elements may include scenarios where something similar to another gamemode is present. For example: standing in a remote location instead of next to the cart, to move it (cp mechanic). Bringing something to or from the cart to progress (ctf mechanic).
It's important that these scenarios remain as short elements of a PL map and not as a replacement for the normal PL rule set.

Q: How much gamemode hybridization is too much?
A: Impossible to answer. As I want to leave the door open for experimentation it causes issues with where I can put down my foot and say "Here, this is exactly how far you may go!". I (Ravidge) will have to approve ideas manually as they appear. I rather answer questions and define stuff further than just slamming the door shut completely for the sake of my own convenience.

Q: Does rollback hills count as dynamic elements?
A: Yes.

Q: How many dynamic elements may I implement?
A: As many as you need to make the best possible contest entry. However, this is not about quantity, but quality.

Q: Can you give me some examples of existing dynamic elements in official maps?
A: The two elevators at the end of plr_hightower.
The turntable in pl_barnblitz.
The roll-forwards zones and rising bridge in pl_thundermountain.
The roll-forwards zone in stage 3 of plr_nightfall.

Q: Can I make a Tug-of-war map like pl_waste?
A: No, you can't. It's not an official gamemode. it completely changes the way normal PL is played, it's not a dynamic element, it's a completely different gamemode.
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L11: Posh Member
Oct 24, 2010
I was going to first but then I didn't.

Sucks this had to come up right when my exams are just about to.

EDIT: Holy fuck I'm slow.


Jun 9, 2009
Void you should get a team of people working for you then deny it all


L3: Member
Sep 2, 2011
This is the greatest idea for a contest you could find. Thank you Ravidge I will enter.


Ravin' Rabbid
Jan 18, 2009
This time I'll do better than having only 0.03 points less than the winner. :D


L4: Comfortable Member
Jan 25, 2010
Asked this in the chat.
Instead of just staying near the cart, if bringing a flag to the cart like l4d's scavenge system. Would this still be allowed?


Grand Vizier
May 14, 2008
Asked this in the chat.
Instead of just staying near the cart, if bringing a flag to the cart like l4d's scavenge system. Would this still be allowed?

No problems with that idea.
If you think this will work (gameplay-wise) go for it.

*EDIT* for anyone coming late to this thread and reading this: check the FAQ section in the op.
You're allowed to to the scavenge system as a dynamic element (a minor event in a map), not as a complete new gamemode.
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Jan 6, 2008
I'm going to enter this one guys!

*shoves five prealpha-aborted contest maps under the bed*