TF2maps.net's user interviews - Issue 3

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Shaar, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Shaar

    Shaar L3: Junior Member<BR>toboruin

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    episode three includes 100% concentration of fearlezz. enjoy

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    1) How did you learn how to use the particle editor for the source game? would you recommend others to learn it? has it been beneficial to you, knowing this skill?

    I learned how to use the particle editor when I first started my map Animus. I really learned how to use it by just experimenting with it alot. Just playing around with it and see what happens if you do that and that. Its really a great tool and lots of fun because you can really achieve some amazing things with it. It has really been beneficial for me because, I dont have to ask others to do it for me, which can sometime be in a pain in the ass cause you never know if that person is gonna really finish it and hand it to you. But if you know how to use it yourself, you can work on it anytime you want to and get it exactly as you want it to. And it's also alot faster then asking someone else to do it. I really wish more people would learn how to use it. It's a incredible easy tool to use once you understad what everything means. I remmember the first time I ever saw the editor. I was really confused. All those numbers and values.. It was complicated back then. But when I finally decided to dive into it and really try to learn it, it didn't take long until I got a hang of it. Then it took a couple of days to learn what the more advanced parament does ofcourse.

    2) How did you come up for your original idea for animus (as in killing to push the cart forwards)? what reasons were there for the change? do you believe that overall this was a good change?

    I came up with the idea entirely myself! Smashman did not help me at all with the idea :p No, but he wanted to start a map with me. And I said fine. This was before the third annual tf2maps contest was announced in which you are not allowed to do collabs. So we thought yeah, lets do something new with PLR. We discussed alot about it and finally came with the idea of Death PLR. We thought that if we restricted the players to just kill the enemy to move the cart we could fix these problems that we thought Pipeline had. We thought that we really needed to do something about the gamemode because it had flaws. We thought that it was mostly just DM. Ironically , thats exactly what Animus turned out to be. Deathmatch. Eventually, we split up because the skill differences between us was too big, and thats about then the annual contest was announced. So that was better off anyway :p. It was also right about there when we had decided what we wanted to do when we contacted A Boojum Snark. But more on that on the question below. Back then I thought this modification would be great. I got alot of positive feedback on the idea and all. But when I finally released it, I guess, it was a big disapointment to the community. And thats the reason why I decided to give Animus a make over and ditch the Death PLR. Ive been posting some updates in the Animus thread about the make over. I probably could try to fix the problem with Death PLR. But since this was during the contest I didnt have time to stop and think about what was wrong and how to fix it.


    3) how did you come up with the entity set up for the original idea of animus? how long did it take you to produce? did you get any aid in it?


    Creating the entity setup was quite a interesting time. A Boojum Snark helped me and Smashman back then with it. It was quite complex, atleast, if you ask e. Boojum does that kind of stuff while hes asleep :O Often we would all 3 go in game together and try the setup out and see if it needed changes. We discussed back and foth and came with new ideas. I cant remember exactly how long it took for Boojum to finish it. But it took a while.


    4) When designing Borax, what were your main ideas for the map? did you purposely try and create unique things such the eagle, and the final capture point?


    I always want to try new stuff when creating maps. Always. And Ive always wanted to, even before I came to TF2Maps Ive done stuff that never has been
    seen before. And ofcourse I wanted to do that again. Do something new and fresh. Altho, it doesnt always end up new and fresh. With Borax, I went to much into the ol' regulare dust theme, which is quite boring these days. But When I first started, I didnt really have anything unique in my head. The eagle and final capture point came later. No, in fact the final capture point idea came to my head when I was creating the pit. I was intentionally gonna use a pit like Goldrush and Badwater has. I also wanted a rocket above it. But then I thought, why have a rocket, if the cart falls down and explode. Why not, have it fly up and explode. In the beginning, many people didnt understand what it was, because I had brush work instead of real models. And I dont think many understood that the rocket blew up because it had never been done before. but I think it really turned out good in the end, thanks to JiveTurkey who made the cinematic explosion. And each time I play the map the only thing I look forward is the explosion in the end, because I still enjoy it :p

    The decision to have a eagle was made quite late. I am not allowed to say who made the eagle. But it tooks him about one month to finish it. It held me back quite alot but it was worth it in the end. And I kinda see it as the maps mascot, which is quite fun. And just recently I added a eagle soar when a capture point is taken. Which adds a little extra to it :)

    5) Do you think the effect of creating the said unique features has made your map more noticeable? How would you recommend other maps to become more noticeable?


    Yeah. I do think it made the map more noticeable. But it could have been a lot more if I did something new with the theme instead of the dust one.
    If you want to make your map more noticeable, then you should make it look different. At least that is what you should think of first. Unless you have some really cool new gamemode that you are certain will be a hit on the communities. You never want your map to blend in with the others. Thats when most people just ignore it. What you also should think of is the name. I often see beginner mappers choose simple and obvious names. Like.. uhm, Dustroad, trainyard,
    snow mountain ect ect.(I do not know if these maps actually exists) You want to come with something people otherwise wouldn't think of. I cant give you example of that, because its up to you to find something you like yourself and others might like.


    6) How did you find creating an entity set up for the map ctf_switchm? did you find there were some unexpected complications within it? how did you control it so that the made did not become stupidly easy, nor impossible?

    ctf_switchm? Hahaha. That was a mini-map of mine that I worked on when I didnt work on Borax. Was nothing serious. Just for the fun of it. The entitysetup was really simple. I just had a entity to choose from 3 mazes when the round ended. And for the mazes, I created one maze and duped it, then turned that one 90 degree. There we have 2 mazes. Then I duped one again and turned it.. 50 degree I think. And there we had 3 mazes. Then I carefully placed, medkits, ammopacks, spawns and itels where it would fit in all 3 mazes- Then I just let the entities do the work of choosing a map when the round ends. I think its because it was a maze that didnt make it too easy or too hard. What happened to that map anyway? Did it become populare? I dont know, never really cared for it :p

    7) being currently in the "mid-stage" of work on borax, what do you feel you have left to do? when others who are first time mappers get to this point, what do you recommend for them to do?

    I'm not really in mid-stage anymore. I think. Not sure, its in RC right now. But when it was in mid-stage. I tried to just fix as many visual bugs and gameplay flaws as possible. Thats mostly all you can do. When it first entered beta, and I had detailed the whole map, I did my best at promoting it. I had 2 vids and posted the release all over the internet. Thats something every mapper should do. Promote it when it looks the best.

    8) what were the biggest problems you've faced with making borax? how did you over come them?


    Optimazation and Balancing. I had just started to get a hang of optimazation when I started on Borax. So I kinda have some design problems in there still thats not good for optimazation. But I did alot of changed when I noticed that in the beginning. But you can still find them today. Most beginners dont relise how important it is. And thats optimazation is not just about areaportals and hints.
    Balancing is something that I probably always will have a problem with in tf2. Atleast when it comes to A/D maps. And what makes it so hard is that there is two teams and they are exactly the same. I think some people have it a bit eaiser when it comes to balancing then me. But yeah, Im just gonna put it out here; I hate balancing maps.And to over come it. Just play test as often as possible, and perhaps even over 9000 times!


    9) what were your targets for making both animus and borax? do you feel you have achieved them yet? or not? how are you going to strive to achieve them?


    I think Borax is pretty much done. As I said before, I just wanted to do something new. And I think I achieved the goal I wanted when I first started on it. Even though I today think that I should have done differently with that dust theme, but yeah, Im quite happy with it. Especially the explosion :) Its a payload dust map with some different spices then other PL dust maps. There are still few things left I want to add to it. Like custom particle effects. Just some small stuff.

    My target for Animus was; a new theme and gamemode. You know what happened with the try on the new gamemode. First try on the theme however, was dust (yeah dust again) along with darkness from pipeline and some rain, from sawmill. It was a good combination. But I have a entirily new theme now, that I decided to use under the make-over. Actually just finishing the makeover up. So you'll will probably be playing that soon. I cant really say yet if I have achieved what I wanted with Animus, because its in still in really eairly stages. But even though I abandoned the Death PLR thing, Im still gonna keep the souls and doomsday machine ideas. Its a really nice thouch. I might even throw some pumkins in there.

    10) what were the biggest changes when you progressed though borax? Was it daunting creating such changes?


    The biggest changes must have been when I was working on B1. That was when I detailed the whole map. I did quite alot in little time, and once I finished I got a bit suprised that I had done so much in so little time so yeah, you could say it was daunting.


    11) what game modes would you like to create and map for? are there any reasons why you haven't done so?


    I wont create any more TF2 maps. Because Im moving to other games. But I'll probably start some small KoTH and/or Arena maps that I will work on when I have some time over. I've only done kown payload maps so far because, Payload has really gotten me. I fell in love with it the first time I played Goldrush. Ive made 4 PL/R maps. 1 that never was released.


    12) did you enter the contest because you had less stuff to do on borax? or was it because you wanted to enter into the contest? what would you suggest to those who are tempted to drop there current work to enter in a contest?

    I entered the contest because I had already started this Death PLR map with Smashman before it was announced so thats kinda the main reason why I entered. And the other reason was because I never entered any other contests. Except the intel room contest, which I didnt win anyway. Right now, I dont think anyone should drop their work to join the contest, because then they are just way far behind. Unless that person is super fast and got lots of free time. And I dont think that anyone should ever drop their work. Just put it on hold. Like I did with Aurum.


    13) what was it that first inspired you to map? how did you learn what to do with hammer? did you find any major problems? how did you rectify them?


    Ever since I was 10 years old Ive always wanted to create my own stuff. When I was 10 I did some flash animations. But I stopped with that when I was 11 and went over to Hammer. I cant remember for sure what exactly inspired me back then. But it certainly was other pro maps that was populare back then. I learned the basic on a swedish hammer tutorial site called leveldesign.nu. Its a really good site for any Swed's out there :) Everything was a major problem for me. Because most stuff is written in english and my english was really bad when I first started with mapping, I was just 11 years old lol. So yeah, learning took about twice as long time then other english beginner mappers. And when I didnt understand I gave up. It happened lot. But then I saw those other pro maps and it got me back on track. And it was really hard for me to get going, and often I just wanted to quite cause I didnt understand and everything was so confusing. But at all time, I just was so decided that I would be like one of those pro mapper and show the world what I can do. I guess that eventually happened. I think. You tell me.


    14) what do you think the most difficult part of hammer is? how do you overcome it's difficulties?


    I think the most difficult part of hammer, is compiling. And optimazation. Designing a map is easy. Making it work and run perfecty is something else. I just try and try to get it to work if I have problems with anything. Like, some times you get these fatal engine errors you've never seen before. Can take days for me to fix those. I just dont want to give up, no matter how frustrating it can be. What is tricky with compiling is that you can get any kind of compile errors and they can be really hard to fix some times. But most importanly, it can take loads of your time to fix it.

    15) what have you done when you have reached a mappers block? did what you do solve the problem well?


    I often dont reach mappers block. But when I do, I just sit down with some background music and draw something on some paper. I think the reason I dont get a mappers block is because when I sit down and map for example, I have music on that I love, and that keeps me flowing. So as long as I have good music to listen to I have that flow. Which really feels great.

    16) what was your very first mapping project? what were the flaws in it? did you learn from those maps?

    This: http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/41385. A Jump map. I loved jump maps back then, thats why I made one :p Well I think y'all can see the flaws in that map. But I learned from all my eairly maps. And I learned that using atleast some more props would be better. So here was the second TF2 map I did http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/48851. Its a 3 CP map. Quite small. But It got really populare on some servers. Quite proud of that one, even though it looks really bad :p

    I always learn from my maps, even today I still got tons of stuff to learn. But you learn when you keep mapping. I never stopped mapping even though there was many times I wanted to. And that got me where I am today. I am a decent mapper. And thats what I wanted to achieve when I started with this.

    17) would you like to map for other games? have you mapped for other games? if so what was it like?


    Yeah, I'm quite tired of mapping for TF2. I'll be mapping with some talanted people on a L4D campaign. And it's alot of fun because L4D is a bit more realistic and I noticed that I have easier to map for that kind of games when I was working on Animus. I've mapped for lots of games. CSS, TF2, Portal, HL2, EP2 and L4D. And some strategy games aswell. Like Dawn of War and Command & Conquer 3. Mapping for RTS games is alot quicker then mapping for FPS games. I guess, thats because it doesnt need as much detailing since you often see all the action from above. Mapping for CS:S was quite boring, cause there wasnt many gamemodes to choose from. And to be honest I never really was good at the game back then either. Portal was tricky. I made some chambers that I never realeased. But it was alot of fun and good experience. Learned alot from that. But I got bored of it quickly because there wasnt much variation of texture and style in Portal. For HL2. Ive mostly just done test maps. Never really got extremly detailed and stuff like that. Mostly just testing the limit off AI and stuff. I did some maps for Left 4 Dead when it first came out. Before the SDK, long before the SDK actually. It was me and some friends that came with the so called Pre-SDK. We found a way to config hammer so we could map for L4D. We made a tutorial. Got pretty populare and ended up on the valve wiki quite fast. About 4 months later Valve came with the official SDK. I never finished my maps for L4D tho.

    18) it can be quite hard to attain the tf2 art style? do you feel you achieved it in your maps? seeing as you have somewhat adverse themes (animus) and odd final capture points (borax)?

    Is the final cap in Borax really that odd?:p Well I never really had any hard time trying to understand the TF2 art style. Cause pretty eairly I read a useful tf2 art tutortial from Snipergen. And I had some other maps that I looked up to back then when I was still learning the tf2 art. So yeah I had it pretty easy with that part.


    19) how do you think you will decide when to move your map to RC status and then later to final status?

    I moved Borax to RC because I knew it was starting to finish up. I guess thats just something you know. Im not sure about final. I guess it will go there after RC2 or something. It will go there when I feel like its ready for it.


    20) is there anything else you'd like to add?

    This is a long list of question and Im quite tired right now after answering them. But you should still have moar :D

    And yeah thank you for the interview. Hope this helps some newbies.

    21) OMFG hidden 21st question! Is ctf_2fort_upsidedown the best map ever?

    Yeah. Valve contacted me about that map the other day. Just so you know, dont get suprised if you see it go official ;D


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    Sorry its alittle late, been sorting university stuff this week.

    anyway; hope you find this useful guys c:


    EDIT: Fixed the line issues
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  2. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    please sort out the end of line problems in this so we can actually read it! :/
     
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  3. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

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    He was very Fearlezz with the :ps
     
  4. Dr. ROCKZO

    Dr. ROCKZO L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    Nice read, guess I need to check out Borax! It''l be a shame to see you leave here..
     
  5. Smashman

    Smashman L3: Member

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    Very nice..
    Shame you are leaving tf2 mapping.
    I hope to play your l4d campaigns!
    And maybe your l4d2 campaigns!
    Interesting for those new to mapping.
    Thanks.