Two approaches to designing a map

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Hawk, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Hawk

    Hawk L7: Fancy Member

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    How do you come up with the ideas for your map designs?

    Do you come up with a layout that favors gameplay, then work a theme into it? Or do you decide a visual theme or location first, then try to create a fun map within it?

    I've been using the second method. Ever since Duke Nukem 3D, I've really enjoyed the idea of having deathmatches in familiar locations (like the movie theater or football field). So I try to think of some kind of location that would be fun to fight in, then I work on the layout. It sometimes limits you when you want to try something with your layout but realize it wouldn't fit the theme, but I think that's part of the fun challenge.
     
  2. Shmitz

    aa Shmitz Old Hat

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    I use both. For cp_science, I came up with the layout first, and then tied the theme into it. For cp_roswell, I came up with the theme first. Though I knew I wanted it to be an attack/defend CP map like gravelpit, it still took me two and a half weeks and a visit to an actual ranch to finally settle on a layout.
     
  3. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    Most of the time I'll get a theme, then design the map around it. I find it near impossible to even do a basic layout if I don't have a setting already figured out.
     
  4. Dox

    Dox L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    I just make what comes to mind and tweak as I go, trying to make it playable is almost always at the front of my mind though.
     
  5. Snipergen

    Snipergen L13: Stunning Member

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    I agree too, most of the time i really draw first, but in some occasions i just go with the flow.
     
  6. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Get an idea, then build rooms and 'imagine' what they will look like once finished ( i use the dev textures to get layout)
    Then, as I've said many times before I do numerous playtests with just the layout in dev textures and only the necessery entities.
    Then once it produces nice balanced games I start detailing it. I believe that this method allows me to create a more fun map than others because whilst everyone else [seems to] jump straight in to details after a closed playtest with only a few people.
     
  7. Paria

    Paria L5: Dapper Member

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    some people dont have access to a proper dedicated server and a community willing to test alpha versions of their creations, i'm sure its not so much a case of they simply rush onto the details stages and hope for the best, they simply dont have the resources to fully playtest an alpha map.

    By the looks of things if the TF2 game nights take off a bit more - having a server full of fellow mappers/players would make an awesome resource for testing a map (shame im always working when they are on though).

    For the map im working on at moment, i made a simple sketch on paper with rough dimensions of the rooms and how they should interconnect, I already had a fair idea of what i wanted in most of the internal rooms, and the points where i wanted to make it harder to progress, the outside main middle area i left till last, hoping my skills in hammer would get better to do it justice,

    I made several changes to the layout along the way, all to hopefully improve gameplay, and certainly adhoc'ed alot of the brushwork as i went along.

    The 1 main point i have learnt though is i should dedicate alot more time to brushwork before even thinking of slapping that first prop into the map :)
     
  8. Koei

    Koei L4: Comfortable Member

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    The approach we used for our first map (still wip) was a basic idea of what we want. And then we just made some big rooms and thought about what they would be. Over time the style of the rooms changed because we thought that would look better. But the basic level layout is still there. One room is ready for playtesting. It consists of simple texturing (not dev, because that doesn't got the feeling I wanted for this room. It's a cave...orange rocks just doesn't do it for me.) and some basic big props in there. But with everything I place I have gameplay in mind. "hmm engy's don't got good positions that can't be spammed...lets fix that" etc.
     
  9. Cereal_Killer

    Cereal_Killer L1: Registered

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    I'm weird. I always think of gameplay first. I try to think of what I would want to play level wise. Like what would be cool and what would be fun and then I think of theme to around it.
     
  10. SaerisHawkeye

    SaerisHawkeye L1: Registered

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    For me, I usually come up with a theme and combine it with a game type (or sometimes vice versa), then in my head I plan out how I'll adapt the theme to the game type. I also don't even begin to map until I've got a solid idea of the map layout in my head first. For my 3 WIP's, that's how it's gone so far.

    With the current idea I'm brewing up, I'm taking the time to completely design the level on paper before even opening hammer. Seeing as I want it to be a group project, I want to go and make sketches, detailed layouts and descriptions to use as a roadmap for building the map. Later on I'll post more about this.
     
  11. ChronoTriggerFan

    ChronoTriggerFan L7: Fancy Member

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    When I design a map, I think of reasons to put a building or ramp or whatever. Will it make the path to a capture point longer? Does it give soldiers and demomen height advantages? Does it provide a bit of cover for a sentry gun? Or does it do nothing? I use all of these to create a game play effective layout, but I base it off a theme so it can be consistent.
     
  12. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    My first inspiration always comes from actual architecture. A house I enter that would be suitable for a base, or a location on campus that I could see players having diverse matches across. Then I sew some of that architecture together in my head and give it a united feel. Finally, balancing.