Theme/Design Guides

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we've all had better times to die
Feb 10, 2017
While browsing the I found 3 small pages that I think may come in handy for people trying to make their themes stick to Valve ones, and I doubt too many know of them:
I hope these come in handy for someone, as they've definitely taught me a few things!
(Sorry if this is in the wrong discussion, wasn't too sure where to put it)


L6: Sharp Member
Jun 26, 2015
Definitely useful for new mappers who want to have that cold war aesthetic with their maps.

One thing that I would like to point out would be the idea of having realistic prop placement. For instance, barrels should be placed in areas that make sense (storage rooms, risers), and the idea of having minimal props.

For instance, only have a room with a telephone, TV set, and a table. Don't go overboard and add 10 other things. Furthermore, make scenes look as if they were in use (for instance, tilt props to make them look as if they were used at one point in their lifetime), convey a story with your props to give life to your map. Thus, using the themes and these tips can save detailing and make your map good.


Spiritual preprocessor
Dec 19, 2015
This is a great series of guides that I recommend everyone look at. Goes into detail about what looks good where, how to disguise seams and low-poly decor and more.
That said, the author also made Hoodoo (I think).
Hoodoo wasn't made by Nineaxis but instead by YM, who also has a series of articles on this site, breaking down detail in 5 various TF2 maps, "A look at the detail of TF2". And even besides that, the site is very useful. Article index.