Understanding the TF2 Map best practices

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by timetopat, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. timetopat

    timetopat L1: Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Positive Ratings:
    0
    After spending a lot of time looking up engines to work with and games that I played that have user created maps, i decided to take the plunge in understanding valve games and more specifically, understanding making TF2 maps.

    I was looking up the best design practices that are recommended and was flipping through the map section to see what people were critiquing. I understand that you want to keep the tf2 look and feel in tact as well as make it play like a tf2 map and not a sniper only map.

    My question to you is about some ideas i wanted to work towards and if they do not fit the tf2 way of playing. I understand many will say, "Find another game" , but I dont see many popular first person shooters with this kind of community and tool set available. My idea was to have a control point map, there would be 3 control points and once one team owned all 3, a gate would go down and a big Bot with a good amount of health would be available to fight, and if he is killed, the team who killed him wins.

    I know this is vague and not really descriptive, so I guess a more simplified version would be , are hybrid game types discouraged? Is the notion of using NPCs to have as well as players a bad Idea?

    Keep in mind I am new to the design aspect of games. I do have a knowledge of code, but not really much of design.

    Thanks
     
  2. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

    Messages:
    1,544
    Positive Ratings:
    2,495
    As mappers we have very limited power over NPC AI/bosses. practically none in fact. At best we can create scripted map events, but to make a "boss" battle out of what we have right now is not really possible.
    The boss encounters that exist in tf2 right now, from the Halloween events are impossible for a mapper to customize/create. We can add those that exist already, but we can not create new ones.
    So, It's not like it's discouraged, it's just purely impossible.

    Hybrid gamemodes has another problem with the HUD being locked. You can not switch it to another gametype HUD mid-game.
     
  3. timetopat

    timetopat L1: Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Positive Ratings:
    0
    Thank you for the information. I had no idea that this was the case. This definitely makes me rethink the idea i had for the map. I also was unaware that hybrid game modes were that problematic. I have seen the term thrown around loosely and I guess that in its truest form it cannot exist in a coherent manner.

    Are there any other limiting powers in play that many novices such as myself fall victim too? Or is it best to assume that everything that are in the valve maps , such as 2 fort, is what you get and it is up to the mappers to manipulate what is there to make the experience enjoyable?
     
  4. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Messages:
    2,868
    Positive Ratings:
    4,896
    Hybrid gamemodes are mostly possible, but it comes down to the "how well can the player understand." The hud can't change, nor can you combine two (payload and CP, for example). That's the main problem. If you can't see one element on the hud, then people can't usually understand what to do.
     
  5. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

    Messages:
    5,034
    Positive Ratings:
    3,989
    All we can do is manipulate what we are given. In some cases we can do more, and in some cases less.

    You want to do things achievable only via modding. Modding isn't a bad way to go.

    TF2 did not become insanely popular because of maps with NPCs and hybrid objectives. It is a simple game and ought to stay that way.

    I will add more when I'm not on my phone.
     
  6. timetopat

    timetopat L1: Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Positive Ratings:
    0
    Would you recommend other source games to mod for a multiplayer mode that is different? Or is source not the modding tool and engine of choice now? I remember 4 years ago i downloaded age of chivalry and zombie panic source and other ones that came to steam and had a lot of fun, but I dont seem to see as much added after that. Or is it just that I am looking in the wrong places?


    Also when you said TF2 should stay simple and that is why it is popular. Does that mean that all default game modes such as Control points, CTF , Arena, and so on,are good to work on and as long as I stick to them it would be logical , or are some of those inherently less popular?
     
  7. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Messages:
    2,868
    Positive Ratings:
    4,896
    Some are less popular. The most popular are Control Point and Payload. Capture the flag is played a fair bit, but mostly only on 2fort and then it's usually just a killfest.

    King of the hill is a good choice for a first map, people enjoy playing it. Arena isn't played that often, medieval is a terrible gamemode and you should never make a map with it (The theme itself is fine though).

    Payload race is played, but probably less popular than the others. It's also a rather complex choice for a first map.

    For a first map, I would definitely recommend KoTH or CTF. If you're feeling adventurous, other choices aren't bad, just harder to get right the first time.

    Most people start mapping because they want to make a map that will be played. If you want to do that too, then make a default gamemode first. People may play another hybrid mode, death match or gimmick map (quake, halo, etc remake), but then they most likely won't KEEP playing it. It's more of a novelty thing.



    As for your first question, Source is still modded a bit. But making a new mod is an intensive process, and perhaps these days with more accessable (sort of) engines, like Unreal, Unity, source is less of a popular choice. It's fairly old, after all.
     
  8. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

    Messages:
    4,489
    Positive Ratings:
    2,219
    Valve has pretty much just dropped all support for creative, off-the-rails modding in the last few years, and TF2's locked-down HUD was just the first nail in that coffin, but the older versions of their engines can still be turned into built-from-scratch games like the ones you're describing. It's just ... well, they have to be built-from-scratch games, which is exactly as much work as it sounds like.
     
  9. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

    Messages:
    1,544
    Positive Ratings:
    2,495
    TF2 has a massive layer of complexity besides the maps. There a 9 classes and I don't even know how many weapons, more than a hundred. Each class has multiple ways you can play it.

    Now, as level designers, our challenge is to make a map, where every class can have fun, every class is balanced and that it provides a good battleground basically. Adding super funky new and exciting gamemodes is often not needed.
    It's recommended that you play the game for yourself to understand how it all fits together. By doing so you will also notice what gamemodes are more popular (hint: arena and CTF are hard to make entertaining).
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  10. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

    Messages:
    5,034
    Positive Ratings:
    3,989
    There is nothing more I want to add now that I am off my phone seeing as everyone else said it.

    I'd advise starting your own independent project, whether using an existing engine or by creating your own. It sounds like your goals and ideas conflict with TF2 quite a bit. If you haven't even played TF2 much or at all, you are going to be lost in a sea of confusion and misunderstandings.
     
  11. Dragonic

    Dragonic L1: Registered

    Messages:
    34
    Positive Ratings:
    1
    If the OP is still around I'd recommend checking out TF2Mods.net if you're into modding the game.
    The folks there are mostly into silly stuff like this:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  12. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

    Messages:
    5,436
    Positive Ratings:
    3,568
    In short this kind of thing is not possible to modify as it is hard coded into the engine. It's actually rather unfortunate, TFC had so many flag variables and workable I/O's to create so many potential game modes from the same entity masters, but it's very difficult to create hybrid modes in TF2 as the HUD system and game mode logic is all very specific and linear.

    As for "bosses", these are a recent addition to TF2 and perhaps we will see more user control for mappers to incorporate such mechanics into a custom map, but these bosses are super-relative to TF2 lore and so currently Valve have maintained strict control over the use of bosses.

    There is a reason the current game modes are as they are. Perhaps we will see more game modes if they are simple in design, but that is not up to us as mappers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  13. timetopat

    timetopat L1: Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Positive Ratings:
    0
    Thank you for all of the advice and information. While I am not new to TF2, i still am not a veteran as all of you are and have not considered the finer points of mapping and level design. Actually in the 111+ hours i have spent in tf2 , I have never really considered why the game is the way it is and why good maps are fun and maps i didnt like were not. I guess I took for granted the class balance and the map balance. I say this because in other games I have played such as world of warcraft which is hailed to be the mmo with the best class balance, i found that to be an almost lie. Some items made you a god, and some classes were way more viable and easy than others. In tf2 i always felt outplayed and not cheated out of my victory.

    I will look into other engines such as UDK for this idea. I worked heavily with unity before but as of late I found it gave me some terrible experiences with it.

    I guess my initial idea of what mapping is was contrary to what it really is.

    Once again thank you for all the help and posts. This was a great experience with the TF2 mapping community and If i decide to make a proper tf2 map, i will come here to learn more about it.

    Thanks