Wareya's FAQ for 6s mapping in general

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by wareya, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    Wareya's FAQ for 6s mapping in general

    This is just an FAQ. It's not a tutorial or a guide or anything. This guide is for the totally clueless. If you're an experienced mapper, or know a lot about 6s, there might not be a much to find here. However, there might be a thing or two you don't know, so if you're curious, take the time to skim this. I'm open to suggestions for things to add here, too.

    * Tell me about comp map layouts!

    That's not a question! I'm not fit to answer it right now, either. I recommend looking at valk's guide here for that:


    It also serves as an introduction to 6s for the uninitiated. If you need that, you should read it, too.

    That said, I will touch on a little aspect of 5cp layouts in this FAQ as well. If you're only interested in that, read the
    spire section.

    * What's a "rollout?"

    A rollout is the fastest effective path that a player of a given class can take to reach the middle point of a 5cp map while it's still neutral. The same concept applies to koth and ctf maps, but it's nowhere near as important to have "good" rollouts, on the map design side of things, in those gamemodes.

    Basically, the idea is that certain classes should get to the middle point in a certain order, and under a certain amount of time, and with a certain amount of health. Specifically, demoman almost always arrives at the middle point first: then scouts: then soldiers and the medic: then all other classes. This breaks down when certain items are available, like the powerjack, gloves of running urgently, and the disciplinary action. However, you can simply ignore their existence for the sake of rollouts, from the map design side of things -- they're banned in 6s 5CP everywhere for this very reason.

    The simplest thing that you can do is sprinkle lunchbox health kits along the shortest route from the initial spawns to the middle point. This makes it so that demomen can heal up once or twice on their path of stickyjumps. Other things you can do are, if you have a very short route from last to mid to begin with, or other things that make it hard for demomen to get there long enough before scouts or with high enough health, are:
    - Add lots of vertical open area along the path so that demomen can make long stickyjumps
    - Add raised objects in places where demomen would normally land so that they can choose to land with lower velocity and avoid taking fall damage
    - Add ramps facing upwards away from the rollouts, so that classes which can generate a lot of momentum can "surf" up them to maintain some momentum without spending more health

    * What's the "splash bug"/"stair clip bug"/"explosion bug" AKA Why do soldiers want me to turn all my stairs into ramps?

    In TF2, when rockets explode, the explosion's center comes from the very tip of the rocket. Also, rocket collision is an infintesimally small line. Therefore, they will sink into tiny crevicies, and the explosion will be cropped angularly by whatever geometry it gets sunk into. The most common offender in this regard is stairs: When a rocket hits the side of a stair, it acts as if it hit a wall, and the explosion is restricted accordingly.

    This is annoying because it means that something with such high precision it might as well be random aliasing has an influence on fights. Especially against scouts, because you can't take the time to aim rockets properly against them: just shoot the floor. Anyway, the *only* current known way to avoid this is to clip the staircases with "blockbullets" geometry, because rockets count as hitscan as far as displacement collision types are concerned.

    For more information, read this thread: http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=20749

    * What's a "spire"? AKA Why do 6s players want every map to be badlands?

    There's a subtle flow aspect that popular competitive 5CP maps enforce one way or another. That is, after the midfight, a team that won decisively would be easily able to capture the next control point. But, otherwise, it should be a fair or interesting fight. Spires are an easy way to imply this: The height advantage of the spire itself prevents the team with the spawn time advantage (the one that captured mid) from forcing the defending team to turtle or lose to attrition. However, height advantage isn't that useful when there' nobody or almost nobody to use it.

    They're not the only way, of course. Snakewater does something similar by giving the defending team a gradient height advantage and lots of cover near *them*. Granary puts the 2nd point INSIDE of a CHOKEPOINT, and puts a huge yard split into two between mid and 2nd. One of my maps, gulge, tries to do something like this by putting the point on a platform, and having a train regularly pass in front of it, but I don't know how it works out yet: it might not be defensible enough.

    Why do 6s players like things like this? Let me ask you: Why do pub players like payload? For psychological reasons, that's just the way it tends to be.

    * The players are complaining about their framerate, but I don't know what the problem is! Help!

    Well, it's not the rendering of players, but the rendering of the map and the things in it, that's likely to be causing most of the performance issue. 6s players are totally used to the performance of having 11 other players at once: almost every midfight is something like that. Maybe they're complaining that it's like that all the time, because players are always rendering for some reason. However, that's not likely if you've been getting so many complaints that you found your way here, or remembered about them reading this. The real killer of performance in 12 player matches is the rendering of the map itself.

    If your props don't have (good) LODs, you need to optimize their area aggressively, or make them fade out. Don't be afraid to use occluders in areas that are extremely dense in detail, or areaportals between sections of the map instead of only in doorways. That being said, be careful not to spam things that take up CPU usage like that (especially occluders, because they're very expensive and reduce performance if misused or constructed improperly), unless they have some particular performance benefit. Basically, optimize your map well in the first place, and don't rely on their (not-)beefy graphics card to pick up the slack with rendering tons and tons of static world geometry.

    * The players are complaining about my detailing, but I know that it's not causing a performance penalty! Help!

    Since 6s is a competitive format, the players care a lot about their moment to moment performance. If a map makes functioning on a moment to moment basis more difficult than other maps, they'll shy away from it. For example, colorblind players can have problems differentiating blue and red player models against white backgrounds, like snow. And, certain things can confuse them when they're trying to process the world around them, worse still if they don't expect it, and still bad if they do.

    Also, visual noise caused by "bad" detailing is a bigger problem for 6s players than those of other formats of TF2, because the dynamics are more extreme and they need to process more senses faster than other formats -- listening to speech to comprehend communications, listening to the game world to locate things they can't see, processing not only the person they're fighting on their screen but the things around them too, etc. Basically, for them, detailing is all about the intuitions that it adds to the game, like lighting to dedicate connectors to their routes, or overlay signs and architecture that differentiate areas from one another.

    In formats like highlander, where everything is already complicated to the point of noise being expected and in fact a balancing part of the game, and players have more dedicated roles and less to worry about what's going on around them because of the way responsibility is distributed and so forth... visual noise isn't as much of a problem, because it blends in with the other chaoses that the player is experiencing. However, extremely skilled highlander teams will still notice and be frustrated by excessive visual noise, so despite the fact that it's "more okay", it's still "bad".

    * Why are you calling it 6s instead of 6v6?

    The way I see it, 6v6 is just a playercount. 6s (six-es or six-'s) is a format. "Standard 6v6" is that format, where you have six players on each team, and there's a standard set of restrictions put onto them (only one medic, only one demoman, etc). There are sub-formats of 6s, but for the most part, they play largely the same after the basic restrictions are given. But, because of these basic restrictions, and for the point of making things slightly easier to understand, I always refer to standard 6v6 as such or as 6s -- never as much "6v6".
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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  2. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Guest

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    Thanks for plugging my guide :D <3
  3. Lenny

    Lenny L2: Junior Member

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    Do people even run CTF maps in 6s.
  4. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    No league currently runs CTF maps in 6s as far as I'm aware of, and competitive hate being forced to play CTF in general. But, there are still things that make a CTF map more or less competitive, and it's a gamemode with competitive potential in TF2. Arena is ignored in this guide because there are design decisions in TF2 that make permadeath a nonviable mechanic for "proper" competitive play.

    Personally, I like playing competitive CTF sometimes, and CTF is my favorite gamemode in general.

    I could go into why I like CTF, what makes it have potential as a competitive gamemode, or why a mapper who wants to make a map for competitive players shouldn't make a CTF map, but that's outside the scope of this guide.