The cure for Mapper's Block

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by RedO, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. RedO

    RedO L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    I've seen a lot of threads and chat messages saying:

    Not the exact wording, but you hopefully understand what I'm saying. You can actually fix this by using 4 simple steps.

    1) There are plenty of themes in TF2! To start, there are a few made right now:

    - Desert
    - Industrial
    - Remote desert-farm-with-trees
    - Spytech complex (???)
    - Alpine
    - Forest
    - Snowy
    - Let us not forget the cleverly made Swamp Theme

    If you can model and texture, you can make your own themes to fit your fancy. But, you may need an image. You can use an enviroment gallery for quick use.

    2) Maybe you need to know what props to add into your enviroment. Easy fix! Just open the SDK and open the model browser. From there, you may browse the various galleries there.

    Example: props_trainyard would be set in a trainyard, and even a distillery. Watch for the sneaky props.
    props_spytech would be a spytech base, and the little crannies in the spawnrooms and such.
    props_forest would be...

    A Boojum Snark also released a prop library, and the visgroups really help find all props alotted to a certain area.

    There are also downloadable items for additional inspiration.

    3) Most importantly, you need to find an idea you like and can stick with. If you wish to condemn deserts back to VALVe, and it's the only way, don't even try it! Keep looking until you find a center of interest you may rely on.

    By center of intrest, I mean that it's easier to work from the center out. Find a central focus, like a doomsday device. A drill. A log. Fit it with your theme, and you have a map.

    4) Finally, it's all down to naming.

    If you were unable to choose a CoI in step 3, look in a dictionary, and find something interesting. [Tip: The word 'Chlorofluorocarbon' and such would not make a good name. Trust me.

    Viaduct - n - A series of spans or arches used to carry a road or railroad, usually over a valley or river.

    Source: The American Heratage Dictionary, 1994

    Viaduct's main focus is a railroad bridge, isn't it?

    Otherwise, find a synonym for the object being fought over, and you can map happily!

    Hopefully my useless/useful blabbering helps you in your quest to win a contest. [Still having problems? Ask me, and I will help.]
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  2. lana

    aa lana Currently On: ?????

    Positive Ratings:
    I don't believe that spytech really stands alone to be its own theme. Even if Junction uses it, it's a custom map and it's very cramped. Spytech alone doesn't give off the gameplay that makes TF2 what it is.
  3. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

    Positive Ratings:
    I find the cure for mapping block is to not touch hammer for a few days and then come back to it later. You can't force inspiration and you're only hurting your productivity by continuing to work through fatigue.

    It would have been more beneficial to discuss the design process as a series of problem solving exercises and the creative process in general. Rather than advising people to stare at the model browser and wait for inspiration to smack them in the face. Things like "Bare wall? How can we resolve this? Overlays, doors, windows, clutter at the base of the wall etc". Then discuss things like, ramifications on gameplay, optimisation and whether the props are complimentary to the chosen theme.

    You need to tell people to research their theme by looking at photo's, so then they can work their map objectives around important structures or resources and begin to imagine a reasonable TF2 layout in relation to their chosen theme. If they have reference material you reduce the chances of ever acquiring a "mapper's block" significantly.

    Plus, yea, spytech isn't a theme in its own right, you have your environment themes and then you have gameplay themes, which are your washroom spawns and spytech hidden bases that house objectives such as intels, or final control points/capture points etc. If you make a map out of just washroom or spytech materials then you obviously don't understand the TF2 narrative.

    edit: plus the article itself is very brief and not indepth about what it does cover either.
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    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  4. RedO

    RedO L1: Registered

    Positive Ratings:
    I am not implying that you are limited to the objects. I just mean that a trainyard would MAINLY use items from props_trainyard and such.
  5. Boylee

    aa Boylee pew pew pew

    Positive Ratings:
    100% agreed. I find a two week break after an extended period of mapping is advisable.
  6. Prestige

    aa Prestige im not gay anymore

    Positive Ratings:
    short burst man. short bursts.

    I just made a couple CPs in ~2 days and everything and was about to finish the last one today, but just couldn't get going. Gonna have to wait I guess for the muses to strike or whatever the hell they do.
  7. Cerious

    Cerious L7: Fancy Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Looking at images of existing architecture around areas like the alps and farmland also helps a bunch. If you've seen lots of movies, you can also draw inspiration from that time period too.
  8. WastedMeerkat

    WastedMeerkat L3: Member

    Positive Ratings:
    I thought you were going to help me finally be happy with my mid. :(