It is always cliché to mention, but trust me when I say: the overall quality of maps in this contest astonished me. I never imagined how close the running of these maps would turn out to be, and how good so many of them would be. I am in awe of the thin margins separating each of these maps in the rankings. A special thank you to the mappers, testers, and everyone else who helped make this contest so great!
Before we begin, I'd like to explain my methodology. Each category was scored slightly differently, with all of the maps getting an initial score independently from all the other maps. After the initial scores were written down, I went back and adjusted score values in the same category across all the maps, comparing them. For example, on the first pass I might have given both Map X and Map Y a 25/30 for Objectives, and on the second pass adjusted Map Y's score to be a 26/30 since I found it slightly better than Map X in terms of Objectives. In most cases I left ties in place, but adjusted scores upwards if one was clearly better to my eyes in a given category.
The first pass of scores in each category was treated as follows:
Objectives: I judged each objective separately, with the number of possible points each objective could get based on the total number of objectives in the map. In TCDOM maps each control point was worth up to 10 points, in TC maps with 6 objectives each was worth up to 5, maps with 4 objectives up to 7.5 each, etc.
Balance: Balance was assumed to be 30, and for each issue that affected a team's ability to make progress I deducted points. For example, long stalemates on the same objective repeatedly, or objectives that were impossible to defend would deduct points. This was mostly based on "feel" rather than hard data and I did my best to ignore rounds with unbalanced teams and normalize this across both tests of the map.
Readability: Could I, in any moment, figure out where I am and where I need to be going? A full 20 points would be for all the time, 10 points for half of the time, and 0 for none of the time. A penalty of 2 points was also applied for any TC maps that did not include a round overview screen.
Routing/Flow: It is fun to push through combat spaces, are the routes intuitive, and do those spaces guide players to where they need to be? Baseline of 20/20, with how much of the map failed to direct combat properly being applied as a penalty. A side effect of this methodology was that the fewer routes and spaces a map had, the harder it was penalized for each infraction.
Detailing: Is the map pleasing to look at, and do areas look unique enough to tell them apart? Fully detailed was a 5, with a 0 being an unreadable mess.
Innovation/Uniqueness: Does this map do something unique, and if so, how well does it work? Doing just the basics of a mode with no new ideas awarded a baseline of 1 point. An additional point was added for each unique innovation, and a further additional point if it worked well. If a unique aspect didn't noticably effect gameplay it didn't get any additional points, and any unique aspects that actively harmed the map were penalized points instead. Maximum of 5, minimum of 0.
I had a very hard time navigating this for some reason, and kept feeling like all the routes and signs were pointing me the wrong way or to points I already owned. During one round, trying to get to C from A at round start following the only C sign visible resulted in me getting backstabbed by enemies passing through A to get to C somehow. How did they get behind me that fast? It may have been user error on my part, but it seems that it's very easy for people to get behind you without realizing it. Everyone else seems to think the map is easy to understand, and it makes me feel like an idiot since I do not get it at all. I can't make informed decisions since all I can do is desperately follow signs; I can't hold the layout in my head. I don't want to dismiss it outright in case I am wrong, but I get so, so lost. Everything feels too cramped, and there's tons of doors and spaces that look like gameplay areas that are not. After additional testing I started to get it, but I think it was more that I learned to avoid the confusing areas rather than actually learning the layout. The spawns feel like they keep pointing people the wrong way, and some routes seem designed to direct you past enemy spawns to reach objectives instead of pushing you to take the safer routes. The B/C route in particular confuses me a lot, since it's almost entirely one-way routes that don't read as one-way routes; pushing from B can result in you getting stuck in a hole and having to backtrack using a jump pad that sends you past where you need to get off, which means you have to jump back down or keep going back to B to try again. In the end I think this map just isn't for me. Also, there's no real indicators on the jump pads? Please use the standardized yellow jump pad arrows/a particle of some kind please, the vent props on their own aren't enough.
Very pretty, I love the sky! This map's unique feature is that time is lost on cap rather than gained. I'm not entirely sold on it, but it's an interesting idea. It can lead to rounds going on for a long time, and it also seems like it's easy to grab a point right at the end and force a win via time out. Rotation times feel a bit long in some places, and it might benefit from having a middle area so teams can rotate faster. Attacking B when it's the only one remaining isn't fun for either team, but in tests where teams didn't get stuck there the map was very fun. Actually, I think B is the weakest overall no matter which way you slice it; I just think the other points are much more solid. I think it might be the water causing it? Defenders can't really hold forward of the point, so they have to fall back to the spawn side and turtle. The one way door near B it is odd too; I get it's to counterbalance the dropdown across from it and allow teams turtling at B to make a push for C, but it seems out of place. Other than those issues, pretty fun! Everyone loves the fish.
Looks great, plays well. All the areas and points are distinct, and points exchange hands often. A is fun, and C has some neat geo in the point room. B is probably the most forgettable, and least interesting. I think much of that is caused by the B/C connector, which feels like the weakest point in the map to me and isn't fun to fight in or through for either team. Other than that, there's no much to say. There's that upper A/B/C connector that's a bit hidden I guess? It's very awkward to get into from C, and is super hidden coming from A. It seems like there's a cut route still hidden in the wall that goes to the B/C connector, I'm curious how that played if it was ever tested, and if it helped make the B/C connector more interesting. In the end, there's not much to say but nothing terribly wrong either. It's missing some kind of spark that many of the other entries have, something truly unique. It does everything fine but nothing spectacular, new, or interesting. It's not boring by any means, but I struggle to pinpoint what the map is trying to be. Maybe it's just me.
This one's super close, but there's a few things that just don't work for me in this iteration. First the points themselves: A feels like it's lacking cover (with defenders getting very hard to access highground), B feels very close to spawn, and C is just a bit bland? A lot of gameplay all over the map takes place on the upper level, with very little reason to drop to the ground unless the map forces you to. The jump pad near A (in the elevator) compounds this issue, since it encourages fights over the upper floor which isn't where the objective is. At the moment all the areas kind of play the same because of this, which is a shame. The strategy boils down to "get to the highest point I can, and walk forward" without any useful flanks or interesting decisions. Interestingly, this is mostly only applicable at A and B, since the upper floors at C didn't seem to see much use in the testing we did. For both attackers and defenders you have to cross into combat space to reach the jump pad or the stairs to get up there, and at that point it's better to just join the fight rather than go around for height. The same issue happens at A when approaching from C. It's difficult to move between floors around A, since all the staircases are far from where combat happens and it isn't worth it to go out of your way to reach them when those precious seconds could be much better spent fighting on the point. You also take fall damage all the time at A if you are trying to defend or push out; some of the fastest routes require you to hop over railings. Also, defending A from the upper floor (the only place with some kind of cover) and losing results in enemies spawning behind you immediately and killing you which isn't fun. I think the lack of a center connector hurts the map, since it means rotation times are long and fights always take place in the same places. This is caused by a few nasty sightlines you can't flank around without rotating through the entirety of the rest of the map. I understand the need to simplify, but now there's only one doorway between C and A, one hallway between C and B, and everyone only takes the upper routes between A and B. Finally C's gimmick doesn't seem to come into play often either, which is a shame. I'd try it with C flipped, so starting it elevated and lowering it when capped? That could help with making the height more valuable, and differentiating it from the other points by giving it more cover. It's a good map, but with some tweaking I think it could be a great one.
You played to the rubric well by choosing medieval and focusing on simplicity, very clever! The overall size seems good for medieval. Some braziers for Snipers to light huntsman arrows with would be nice. At times it's unclear where spawn rooms are since you can't see your own respawnroom visualizers, but that's a nitpick. C's spawn is really close to the point, in testing we'd get stuck with one team backed up at C a lot. Maybe due to being lowground? Maybe a lot of sightlines? Tons of people gravitated to sniper in the first test, but in further testing it balanced out. Still, a bit more cover could help. The cave route seems like it wants to be a way to push A but isn't; maybe make it give some highground for those coming from C, and that would help with teams getting stuck there. Respawning a team when they lose a point is clever for medieval, and helps keep the pace frantic and leads to some great final fights where the entirety of both teams piles onto the last one.
All signs are attacker-focused, making it hard to tell how to get to the point you need to defend if you are about to lose. Fits well into the DM niche, though it lacks a bit of tension since it just goes in circles. On paper it's very similar to PLC, but doesn't feel nearly as satisfying, and after a lot of puzzling and bringing this up to the other judges we determined it's because the objectives are so far apart in this, whereas in PLC the objectives get closer and closer as a team is about to win or lose. Not really useful, but an interesting observation I felt like sharing. It feels like you need to fall back and defend in order to actually make progress, but the map is so large and there's not many places to set up a defense that it often feels futile even when it's working; you just can't get backup from teammates in time since they spawn on the other end of the map usually. Feels like an A/D take on TC, whereas TCDOM is a Domination take on TC; neat! Looks nice, areas are well-built. I'd be curious if this worked as a TC map; it's certainly got the size for it, though you'd have to figure out diagonals and new spawns that aren't in between the points. I think this is the first map that has ever rickrolled me, so well done I guess?
This mode is confusing at first, but then it clicks and it's loads of fun. Grab flag, bring it to any point to start your clock. The whole thing is a mess visually at the start and initial impressions were that routes didn't flow well, but after playing for a while you start to see how well-designed it all is and how distinct the areas are. I'm impressed at how navigable it is, and how focused the fights are; truly impressive work for such a huge gameplay space. A seems to be the weakest but I can't quite pinpoint what I find wrong with it; maybe it's the space underneath that feels underutilized? B is a bit odd and defensible, but seemed to play fine. Point C is a bit hard to navigate up to the drop site sometimes, but it plays well. D is wild and the one I have the least experience with. Leans heavily into DM, but in a way that feels focused that I really like.
No map, docking points. Hard to tell overall game state without it. Combined with the lack of final rounds, there's no sense of progression that TC is built around, which irreprably damages the experience of the map. While the concept of routing all rounds through the same mid is certainly unique, I would not call it innovative as it does far more harm that good; every round just feels the same, which compounds on the previous problems. All this adds up to just making TC worse; it's not innovation, it's regression. All the ponts feel cramped. Almost every round went to sudden death or stalemate, but not because it's an interesting back-and-forth: it's because neither team can push. The train point is the most interesting one, though it's confusing that there's hazard stripes at the bottom where there's isn't a capture trigger. The boat is the other interesting one geometry-wise, though the point is in a very awkward spot in relation to all the entrances to the area and the huge water underneath isn't utilized well. The map is okay in Sudden Death I guess (though at that point it's just Arena with 6 minutes of mindless downtime between), but with Stalemates it's miserable.
No map, docking points. Hard to tell overall game state without it. The point outlines are interesting and almost make up for it, but they don't help with overall progressing tracking so no extra points. WZ was nice for a diagonal, the other diagonal is much harder. The finals are fun to defend, though can be tough at times. Spawn times getting longer as the round goes on is interesting, but after a bunch of testing it doesn't seem to work too well. Teams can respawn in huge waves and stop captures very easily. Seems like it leads to stalemates and rolling even with seemingly balanced teams; you can't make a push in the last few minutes since the spawn times are so long. What is open when is neat. W's spawns are strange, and kept getting spawncamped across multiple tests. I like point X, though the spawns having such high ground makes it hard to attack. The other points are nice too, and I love how much the routes change between rounds. Very impressive, very well done!
A's geo is neat, B is okay. Teams keep getting stuck on C, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because it's so easy to block capture long enough for your team to respawn? I'm curious if a non-nipple point would fix that, but that might cause some nasty sightlines. Readability is fine for the most part, but the flow is off I think? Playing more makes it feel better, but I'm not sold on the A-C transitions. Specifically, the A/C connector has this one really long route around the outside that didn't see much use, and makes attacking C weird since it doesn't really help either team attack most of the time. Losers respawning on cap is interesting, and it seems to help here since the map is so large compared to other TCDOM maps. Overall nice geo, with some interesting height variation! Final note: I'd switch to using the cp_ or tcdom_ prefix so people know it's not actually TC.
Very creative premise for a TC map, but not well executed. Visually it's a bit of a mess, which makes it hard to navigate. Doors that don't open are the same texture as ones that do open after setup time, and door that seem like they should open don't sometimes. The routing isn't very good, and while players don't often get lost, they have a hard time approaching the points to capture. The diagonal rounds aren't terribly fun since while some of the entrances to the coaster area are far enough apart, the routes immediately converge into one space that's hard to push. I think there might be a fundamental design issue going on, where each "zone" is a lobby, with the point then in it's own area at the back instead of in the zone itself. So instead of "Spawn -> Point Area -> Connectors -> Point Area -> Spawn" like in Hydro or National it goes "Spawn -> Point Area -> Lobby -> Connector -> Mid -> Connector -> Lobby -> Point Area -> Spawns" which means there's a lot more opportunities for a push to stall and it feels over-scaled. The only point that doesn't quite do this and blends the extra lobby into the connectors a bit is Haunted House, and I think that's why it seems to play the best of the ones here. The round overview is very nice to see, though signage regularly points you to locked doors and into solid walls so it's effectiveness is undermined a bit. Red's final is the more interesting of the two finals, though suffers from "one viable route syndrome" since Blu gets free, safe high ground out of spawn that almost reaches the point that Red can't access. Overall impressive in scale and scope, but I think almost every area needs a redesign to be more focused and less sprawling.
No map, docking points. Hard to tell overall game state without it. Unpacked, overscaled. No arrows for navigation, the capture zones are tiny. There's some neat ideas, but it's unfortunately nonfunctional so it had to be disqualified. It's about double or triple the size it should be, and seems to be missing routes for the diagonal rounds, instead funneling players through other zones that are not in play if a diagonal is chosen. That's probably not a good idea, as players will get confused as to why there's control points they can reach but can't capture. The point with the railroad tracks is the most interesting one to me at a glance, but it suffers from the same lack of cover the rest of the points do.
No map, docking points. Hard to tell overall game state without it. This is by far my favorite entry in the contest, hands down. It's incredibly well constructed, and I am in awe at how well it plays for an A1. I've been telling people it's better that National's A1, and I mean it. It's one of the best maps I've played in a long time. The building/Street diagonal (W/Z?) is hard for building to push out of. Actually, Z (building) is hard to push out of towards both W (diagonal street) and Y (bridge) since the routes are narrow. I think you've got room to widen those a bit. Lots of good back and forth in the center rounds! The diagonal rounds are good, which is a first for TC; nice use of the same road in multiple rounds. I love the height at the bridge point! Bridge might be too easy to defend, except in bridge/building? The stairs point (X I think?) is really unique! Blu last is incredibly cool, and so is Red last; They might need setup time though, since they felt over too fast with no chance of a defense in some rounds. The defenses that did happen were very fun though. Absolutely stellar, and I can't wait to see where this goes!
The visual clarity here is great, I love the use of colors and holograms. My one issue with them is you can't choose to go to the "wrong" point first, which is a viable strategy in other TCDOM maps. Each point looks and feels unique. The cap times might be fast because it seems easy to cap without backup, and enemies still can't reach you in time. The routes out of A to B at round start are odd maybe? I'm not a fan of the extra spawn runs to fix timing, but it's certainly creative. The middle bit with the door might be easy to lock down, lots of rounds revolved around control of that room. A doesn't see as much play as the other two, maybe it's easy to defend? Might be a slight bit large, the rotation times seem long.
Congrats to the winners once more, and congrats to everyone who entered; an incredibly strong showing all around, and I hope many of these make it to RC. If you've got any additional questions on my feedback, don't hesitate to ask!