TF2maps.net's user interviews - Issue 4

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Shaar, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Shaar

    Shaar L3: Junior Member<BR>toboruin

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    Today's interviewee is Eerieone


    1) Cashworks is one of the of the most popular custom payload maps around; what do you think made the map so successful? is there any advice you could give to people who would like there map to recieve the same fame and glory?
    Someone else asked me that already, and I had to think about that, which I hadn´t done before. I believe that Cashworks was a combination of two new factors that the community demanded more of and longed for: Single Stage Payload & Alpine Theme. Valve didn´t release any alpine-themed maps and players wanted to see it without having to enter the unloved Arena-Mode, and Cashworks looked pretty enough, even in early alpha.

    2) working as a modeler on the Swamp project; what models did you make? Were you happy with the pack overall? what do you think made it a very useful pack?

    I modeled the low polygon trees (the ones without the small branches) and the Mann Co. Box.

    The pack is genius and it´s been a pleasure working with the rest of the team. There is a ton of talents lurking amongst the tf2members who are very ambitious and professional in what they do.

    The Swamp-Pack can very well stand on its own and harmonizes perfectly with Valve´s Sawmill theme. Although some props are very specific, most of them can be used in other environments.
    e.g. i´m using the rowboat and oar in Premuda to create a more unique atmosphere

    3) what were the basic key things you had in mind when you originally came up with the idea for both cashworks and permuda?
    Cashworks started out as a desert-themed map, then the alpine theme came along and I just tried it out and sticked with it. It was never meant to become this big... My clans name is Cashworks, so I wanted to make a map for us to play on, that´s also when the giant vault was created to legitimate the strange map name. As a versatile player, I wanted to create a map where all classes feel needed at all times and where vertical advantage comes into play. As a graphic designer, I wanted to create something beautiful that feels right from every angle.

    The idea for premuda started after I combined the gravelpit-texture with the alpine sand/grass for the piles of dirt at CP3 on Cashworks. I immediately started to thing where this texture might fit in well and remembered a vacation in Croatia, where rocks and scarce grass dominate some areas.

    4) what were the main changes that occurred though cashworks, why did you choose to fix them in the way you have? Did these changes cause problems which you weren't aware of? how did you rectify these problems?
    _That might become a long answer, so i´ll keep it short... I had to redo the first section and blu spawn several times, because I didn´t know a thing about visibility control, proper level design, vvis etc. I reworked the center house before CP1, it started out as a shack, but thats when I learned that you have somewhat limit the ways players can take, msake it obvious that one building decides on who is in power. I had a hard time balancing CP2, where I thought blu would have a strong momentum coming down the hill and could push on hard to way further where the CP is now. I moved it slowly to where it is now, altering some cover and alternative routes to balance out blu´s vulnerability in their safe spot above CP2. The most severe architectural changes were made for optimizations sake, although I always tried to keep the old routes intact. Sometimes I had to find solutions where both gameflow and optimization proffited. By moving a CP further back, the main cluster of defenses weren´t visible that early and only started hurting fps when they came into play. Giant Thanks go to FloorMaster who was a giant contributor in suggesting changes and Andysss456 for introducing me to the magical func_occluder :)

    5) being a mapper for the new attack defend CTF; what issues did you have in trying to balance the map? did the map play out differently to what you expected on your first trial?
    _A/D CTF is a b****, unless people know what it´s all about and you have a fair amount of players on the server, you´ll never get the balance right. So let´s not speak about the first trial, it was an absurd cluster of fully evolved confusion....
    That said, i´m pretty happy with my layout, all point have a difficulty build in to make it harder for the carrier to get the cap, the caps are either elevated, well fortified or close to spawn, thus giving red an advantage. I am not one to listen to every advice people give me, some advice might be rushed and be nullified in further tests. If a problem is obvious, I change it, if it smells suspiciously, I give it another chance before dumping it.

    6) due to doing mapping in relatively different environments to the standard TF2 realm (E.g. you started work on the alpine cashworks, even though alpine was new at the time; and permuda); do you feel you kept the tf2 style? How hard did you find it to keep in the same stylisation?
    I think I stay true to the basic TF2 realm style, but I like to throw in some more props, some more eye candy, make it look a bit more dense the default style. I want it to look delicious. Whenever I start detailing, I cordon the area i´m working in, construct a building, render, and run around always looking for “boring/empty” spots in the map.

    I sometimes get criticism towards the amount of detail I put in and a drop of fps compared to valves maps.... so maybe i´ll mention that :) i´m not mapping to suite the needs of computer build prior to 2000, not that I ignore those needs, but I don´t like do restrict myself too much. In Cashworks there are many areas where I have 110fps when I solo through, Premuda is on steady 130+, so I have learned a bit and getting better at that. My rig is 2 y/o and I get steady 50fps in mid-battle on my maps, always.... My sound advice is to keep a pretty bare PC, only install the utter necessary, keep the rest portable so you don´t stuff up your registry with garbage.


    7) Have you done any mapping work prior to pl_cashworks? What were those maps? And what were the main issues with them? How did you learn to over come them in later maps?
    Cashworks was my first one, I touched hammer once before, but that was decades ago and only a cubical room with some stairs.. I went through a rough school building Cashworks, and I learned plenty by just googling for tutorials and advices on optimization.

    8) Have you mapped for other games before? have you considered moving onto other games, if so, which? if not, what do you think is stopping you from doing so?
    nope&nope... :) TF2 is my CS 1.6, i´ll stick to it through good and bad times
    only thing that will hinder me mapping are my upcoming diploma and less free time...

    9) What do you do when you reach a mapping block and require inspiration?
    I honestly never had that problem and don´t really believe in it. there is always something to do, and if I run into a problem and don´t find the perfect solution immediately, I let my brain work on it in the background and solve easier issues in the meantime.

    10) What part did you find the hardest to implement and learn about in mapping? how did you gain more understanding for these parts of mapping?
    As mentioned above, optimization. It´s a science for itself if you don´t know a thing about it, once you start doing it, you get the feeling and understanding for vvis mysterious ways. I solved most riddles by using several of the optimization tutorials on the web, but most important of all (all new mappers please pay attention) by inspecting decompiled valve maps. If you run into a problem, just search for a similar constellation of geometry in valve´s maps, and see how they approached the problem....

    11) How did you learn to use hammer? are there any recommendations for those who are still learning to use hammer?
    Trial & Error... You will get many things wrong when you map for the first time, no way to avoid that. Read as many tutorials and explanations as you can, look things up in the sdk_mapname.vmfs, Build yourself a testlevel where you try to control visibility. Thats how I got into understanding visleafs and areaportals... it´s like in school, you have to practice what you want to understand, there´s no magical way around it

    Don´t be afraid to contact a senior mapper with a specific problem, worst thing he can say is no, but don´t hassle him with too simple question. (we know the tutorials you can find online and so we know if you have done your homework)

    12) When coming up with a layout, or layout changes, what do you do? do you draw them on paper, or do you block them straight out?
    I just draw some basic layout for the first point, then is start blocking out right away. All except the first point in Premuda are blocked without a prior sketch.

    13) Did you find anything hard about the entity set up for payload, or the new A/D CTF? How did you overcome these problems?

    Icarus was a great help killing the bugs that swarmed around the A/D CTF ent-setup, ABS as well. I have a giant entity-nest which handles the intelligence/custom models, which went through several iterations to it´s current state. Unfortunately it bugs out more frequent after valve implemented some changes on the intelligence. But where would the fun be if it would be too easy.

    14) Due to now being very close to a release with cashworks; What do you feel there is left to do on it to get it to release status? what do you suggest to mappers getting unsure of if there map is suitable to be released yet?
    An Art piece is never finished. Not that I see Cashworks as art, but like everything you work on, you have to finish it eventually. It will never be perfect, there will always be naggers who don´t like minor things, but if they didn´t speak up earlier and if those are single complaints that don´t feel like serious issues, make it final. Cashworks is pretty much done. I´m just working on a the additional stuff like a mini-page and video to make it a nice release.

    15) Has there been anything you've wanted to do in your map which you had to cut out due to limitations with the source engine?
    There are some stupid restrictions which I just don´t understand seeing other, way more complicated games/engines, but everything I had to abandon so far were cosmetic gimmicks, nothing that would have hurt the setting.

    16) what first inspired you to map? do you think this had an effect on the way you map-make as a whole?
    I had some free time and wanted to try out something new. I tend to get stuck to a hobby and get all perfectionist about it. Having some spare time, I could dig into mapping and aim towards a complete map.

    17) what do you think was the best piece of advice someone gave to you about mapping? what advice would you give to new mappers?
    There wasn´t single piece of advise I got, rather a friendly warm welcome from the community giving me a whole lot of support and many members having a look on some problems in my layout/optimization.

    I´d advise becoming a decent player with every class, that´s the only way to get a natural feeling for the game´s balance.
    In early stages of blocking out, complile once in a while and don´t chose the scout to explore your map, this will only distort your sense of distances and space.

    18) in permuda; you changed the Intel flag into a backpack, did changing a recognisable game-play feature have any negative repercussions? what would you say to those who are debating on changing other recognised game-play features?
    The intel in that gamemode didn´t make much sense to me. If I have a map, I want it to have some kind of round logic. Delivering a briefcase to a satellite doesn´t make much sense, so changing it to something more fitting didn´t break the logic, and since the transmitter is iconic as well, it works out neatly.
    I´m all for using custom content, it keeps the game fresh, but make sure there is a similarity to the thing you try to substitute. No one would recognize an intelligence if it wasn´t attached to the back.

    19) what aspect of mapping do you enjoy the most? what would you say to those who dislike that area of mapping?
    Guess what :) Detailing of course, although it so time consuming it pays you back tenfold when you see how the world from your mind becomes visible to others.

    What I dislike the most are the entity problems that I run into, which could be solved if the engine wasn´t that restrictive. One example of that would be the hardcoded Briefcase model that bugs me entirely in the entity-setup

    20) is there anything else you would like to add?
    Yeah, It´s PREMUDA, not Permuda :facepalm:

    --------------------------------------


    Another very good interview to read, hope you guys find it useful

    and much thanks to him for a very quick reply back ;)
     
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  2. Fearlezz

    Fearlezz L10: Glamorous Member

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  3. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

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    The questions are getting better. :)
     
  4. Engineer

    aa Engineer

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    Nice, thanks!
     
  5. Nutomic

    Nutomic L11: Posh Member

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    Would be nice if you put some pictures og the peoples maps in or so, looks a bit boring how it is. Good interview.
     
  6. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Nice read, when am I up??? :p
     
  7. Dr. ROCKZO

    Dr. ROCKZO L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    Lol a misread perhaps? Overall a good interview, it made me tingly inside when I realized I sorta do some of the same things he does aswell!
     
  8. eerieone

    aa eerieone

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    clearly misread, happens to me quite often, i´m not dislexic, but sometimes my eyes skip some words
     
  9. drp

    aa drp

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    hah, i read it probably the same way you did.
     
  10. Sgt.Sausage

    Sgt.Sausage L7: Fancy Member

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    I really enjoyed reading this. I would also like to say thanks eerieone, for inspiring me to learn more about maping (even though i haven't motivated myself yet , i really enjoy helping others map and just playing tf2). I followed you to tf2m from fpsbannans and Sorry about all the comments on fpsb errorine for cashworks. I am sure i annoyed the hell out of you. But thanks for making a fun map that inspired me to learn about mapping.
     
  11. eerieone

    aa eerieone

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    shouldn´t sound gay, but i love sgt. sausage :p
    really,i love good questions and a fair amount of criticism about my map, and getting good responses on a superficial and almost shallow page like fps is a rare thing, so thanks to you .
    thinking back, i almost got no bad or worthless comments on the banana, surprising but true :p
    glad to hear i was some kind of inspiration

    my offer still remains, if anyone wants to have suggestions regarding detailing, just contact me, i´m glad to help whereever i can, i will have a runthrough and provide you with screenshots and scribbles what "i would have done with that room"

    sure, this shouldn´t end up with me doing the detailing for you, but giving you an inspiration in which direction the detailing could go.. just another point of view :D
     
  12. Sgt.Sausage

    Sgt.Sausage L7: Fancy Member

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    Well glad to see that i didnt annoy your to badly. :p