Thoughts on starting in mapping

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Fish 2.0, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Fish 2.0

    Fish 2.0 L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    I'm pretty new. Like a month or so new. I started using Hammer a month ago.

    I have drawn 3 maps so far, all of which I have deemed terrible. I started them, and haven't finished them. The first one, I detailed the whole spawn before knowing about how the alpha testing works. Also, I had no skill in hammer so I just gave up. Too overwhelming.

    Second map, it was just plain bad.

    Third map, It was nice, but it wan't good enough.

    So what have I done in between all these fails? I have made a few stupid muck around maps, I started working on a trade map for a guy and a few more stupid maps. I made one for Gmod, where you build a boat in a few minutes and you have to ride up rising water through holes in the roof to win. Stupid crap like that. Also, I actually wanted to put effort into the trade map. I learnt a lot abut the lighting engine, about detailing. I know it will be wasted on the audience, but I did it for me.

    Now, pointless for the game it is, but is it pointless for me? No. I think it has given me a fair amount of experience in hammer. While I am still clueless and bad at layout and actual TF2 gameplay aspects, without making those dickish maps I would be nowhere near as efficient at making maps as I am now.

    What are your thoughts about learning hammer in general? How many bad designs did you take before you finished your first map? *insert more generic questions here*

    EDIT: Actually, looking back at the design my first map looks all right. Maybe I might make it quickly and see what happens.
  2. Micnax

    aa Micnax I maek map

    Positive Ratings:
    I went through about 4 released maps before I made a decent map (Arroyo). That doesn't include the many maps I never released, such as a really bad 2fort knock-off that took place over a canyon (it looked a lot like Doublecross but I made it well before).

    I'm the type of person that digs a project for a couple of months and then slumps into something different, which is why most of my maps are never finished. The other reason why is because I tend to want to get the general layout spot-on, and get disappointed and lose motivation when it doesn't.

    Hiddentomb was way too small, I over-detailed ChristmasRun and ran out of motivation, Carewater's layout was pretty bad and Muschio was way too cramped for any actual gameplay to work. I feel I hit the head spot-on with Arroyo's layout.

    I feel all that time going through those failed maps has improved me as a whole and made me learn a lot more than what I knew when I started off. Not to mention there are still many things to Hammer I didn't even know existed (I didn't know what the cordon tool did until a month or two ago...), so I find it really enjoyable.
  3. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Positive Ratings:
    All my maps are terrible and my next one will always be better, and none of them have ever been finished. Such is the way of creativity.
  4. Egan

    aa Egan

    Positive Ratings:
    I started out with weird messing around maps like you did Fish, lots of weird achievement map ideas. I tried once making a capture point map but was pretty out of tune with the mapping communities and what I thought was amazing at the time - if I posted it here it would have been torn to shreds. I mostly then went to surfing servers and have made 9 full maps for that.

    The first ones were not necessarily the simplest ones - they were messy but intricate. But through all of them I always try something radically different with entities and have learned lots from that messing around. Like two maps ago a friend made a plugin that gives players addcond effects when they move through specifically named triggers, and with that I built a glorious map that is used for the wrong reasons. The surf community is neat and fun to play with, but a good 90% of them are most horrible at actually surfing maps, so the potential of that map fell short.

    If I have any wonderful ideas, I'll usually write some things down when I'm bored on bus rides home from school, and if they're actually worth while I'll make some simple designs for it. But most of my maps don't go anywhere. The longest I've ever stayed on one map was that huge messy intricate one - 5 months. And the shortest was 4 days - one of my highest rated maps? Kinda ridiculous.

    TL;DR: I made lots of messing around maps. Many didn't get released because they required too much work for something I didn't have my heart in. The ones that were made - were made mostly because I had a goal before-hand.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  5. Fish 2.0

    Fish 2.0 L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Sometimes I just wish someone would come to me with their own design because then I don't have to worry about myself telling me its going to be a bad map.

    I find it harder building my own than building someone elses.
  6. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

    Positive Ratings:
    Pick a gametype, something quick and simple, like KoTH.
    Make that map.
    Gameday it.
    Realize how bad it is.
    Try again until you are better, move to more advanced gametypes when you feel ready.

    I wrote this up awhile ago that explains how I learned from the start, with each project listed. Shows what I learned with each map and how I got to where I am today. Might help you out, too. Sorry for the broken images.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  7. Shanghai

    Shanghai L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    I've been here for like 2 years and never released a real map. I spent a lot of time learning the basics by working on a TF2 adaptation of Warsong Gulch (from WoW), which I eventually abandoned after realizing how shitty it was. Then I started making a payload map with a great layout on paper (at least, I liked it), but I abandoned it after I lost the file and realized that I didn't quite know enough yet to make it work. After that one, I built (and even released!) a Parkour Fortress map, then spent a few weeks refining it according to feedback. Eventually I got sick of it, too, because my layout was too easily abused by the freerunning mechanics.
    Over the summer, I planned out my current project, pl_Watercolour, with my friend. It's the first map of mine that I've felt genuinely confident about, from layout to building. I'm still learning new things about Hammer, too.

    TL;DR it's been 2 years and I've never released a real TF2 map, but hopefully I will soon.