The Dev Process: Creating KOTH Quarry

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by Idolon, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Positive Ratings:
    People mentioned that these kinds of threads are pretty cool, so I figured I might as well take the time to make one! KotH_quarry is probably my most successful map, being unique and fun in gameplay, and looking kinda pretty too. So, let's start from the very beginning and work ourselves up to the present, starting with:


    I was relatively new in mapping for TF2 when the KotH contest rolled around, having come back to TF2 after 2 years of not playing it. Consequently, I was still learning about some of the new maps that came out. One map caught my eye in particular: Thundermountain. Also in my mind, was Upward. Both of them remain impressive maps in my mind. Eventually, I had formulated a plan for a map, which I then wrote down:

    Yay scanned drawings!

    The original plan was to have the point hanging off of a cliff side, with entire map slope downward onto the point, with a platform on each side that would reach around the point and hang off of the cliff. However, when I started blocking out the map, I realized that this was going to be a bit more difficult to pull off than I had anticipated. So, I moved the yards over to the side, giving the map its current long shape. Here's a picture of the first alpha, for comparison:

    The very first tested version of my map!


    It didn't go well. Many, many people ran off out of the side buildings into the deathpit immediately. Also, spawncamping was an issue: Each team only had one real way to leave spawn, and two chokepoints leading to the main arena. Playing on the losing team myself on the first test, being spawncamped like this was really not any fun.

    There was also a bit with a conveyor belt. Full health/ammo crates would randomly spawn on a conveyor belt underneath the point, and then fall off the edge. I ended up scrapping this feature because of its unpredictability.

    So, I resolved to fix these things. For one, I moved the spawn "exits" to the main arena entrances. For this reason, the map doesn't really have any yards like conventional KotH maps, making it difficult to hold onto the point for the entire match. Secondly, I filled in the giant deathpits with something more interesting: buildings.

    I couldn't find any screenshots of the second alpha, but here's what the buildings looked like!

    As you can see, I also added a 3rd exit onto the roof of the side building. I felt that two routes weren't enough, so I added this one in. Not in the picture, there is a bridge connecting the two buildings together. This simultaneously solved my deathpit issue, while also curing some sightline issues. I also added a ramp that lead from the bottom platform up to the middle building, allowing even more routes and flanking opportunities.


    My initial idea was to have the map on the side of a cliff, but the changes I made to the layout ended up not really fitting that idea. Instead, I ended up with an enclosed arena with walls on all sides, leading me to the idea of having an open rock quarry, which fits the fact that the entire map is suspended over a deathpit. Taking a lot of inspiration from Upward, I began to detail, very sparsely.

    The current "middle building," no longer actually a building

    There are some times that your initial layout and your themes don't mix. For example, I decided that the side building just hanging off of the cliff wasn't very nice to look at, nor realistic. Instead, I replaced the building with a cliff that still allowed players on top and beneath, and also being a bit more varied from the rest of the map, which mostly consisted of buildings.

    Me marking out how b2 would improve upon b1.

    However, making this change also lead to some further layout changes. For example, I ended up extending the side buildings out to line up with the cliff, allowing every class, not just jump classes, to access this area quite easily. This also alleviated some sightline issues. I also ended up moving back the spawn visualizers from the side building roof access, so that snipers wouldn't be overpowered.


    I'm currently working on releasing b3, which will include detailing and optimization upgrades. No map is ever finished! While I am very happy with where the map currently stands, it has a ways to go before I consider it even a Release Candidate. Anyways, here's a screenshot:

    A (slightly) outdated image of koth_quarry_b3.

    It's certainly come a long way, and I've learned a lot. If you ever get your hands on a map that's actually fun, stick with it: you'll learn a lot with taking it from alpha to RC, and having a 'finished' product is certainly better than having a million scrapped ones.
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  2. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

    Positive Ratings:
    Prestige and I played this on STAR's server, and I did the secret thing but everyone had 3D skies disabled and no one noticed.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  3. radarhead

    aa radarhead Level 20 "Mapper"

    Positive Ratings:
    You can disable the 3D sky? Why would anyone want this?
  4. nightwatch

    aa nightwatch

    Positive Ratings:
    If 3D sky is disabled then that's theoretically a lot of stuff not being rendered, sometimes giving a huge frames boost.
  5. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

    Positive Ratings:
    Yeah I can always tell who does that on Wubwubwub because they miss the cool opening and it's just always in space after the initial wubbery starts.