What Do People Like in TF2 Maps?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by The Wiggin, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. The Wiggin

    The Wiggin L2: Junior Member

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    Hey Guys,

    Sorry if i am posting this in the wrong place, im new to the forums. I have been assigned as part of my year 12 studies to complete a research project on a topic of my choice, I am a huge TF2 fan and subsequently decided to research firstly how to use hammer and secondly what makes a popular and fun map. The latter being something that people have varying opinions on. So I would love to here from everyone what your favourite map and game mode are and why?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. AgeNt_

    AgeNt_ L5: Dapper Member

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    like any game of course, you need to have something fresh. a tf2 map that has the same looking areas, same kind of corridors will be a flop. I personally try to go with a feel that no other map has since that is what would set my map apart from others. And a unique look to it will also differ. There is also the simplicity factor aswell, look at 2fort and how simple it looks from the main courtyard to the spiral stairs. Its a simple type of map that is symmetrical so no matter what team your on you know where to go when someone screams "the intel is down in by the staircase".
     
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  3. Shanghai

    Shanghai L6: Sharp Member

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    A fun map has a few key elements:

    • The gameplay has to be balanced. It's no fun if the RED team always wins because there are too many good sentry spots or something. Games are the best when both teams struggle, and neither one remains on top for long. Also, no one class should be able to dominate all the others by the fault of your map (i.e. long sniper sightlines)

    • Scale. If it takes too long to reach a point, players will get frustrated, and a lot of the important time they need to try to win will be sucked away by running to the fight. This also relates to keeping things small/well labeled enough that players won't get lost.

    • Interesting architecture and good details. The final version of a map should be pretty. TF2 has an amazing graphical style, and it helps players to visually identify friendly territory and hostile territory.

    • The terrain should lend itself to gameplay. Whether this means rooftop Scout routes, rocks for cover, or buildings to block sightlines, the gameplay should come first.

    • Plenty of alternate routes and flanking routes. If there's only two plausible ways to get somewhere, both routes can easily be blocked. There should be enough ways to maneuver around the map that the map provides a different experience every game.
    I can't think of anything else to say, but there is so much level design theory behind every good TF2 map. The Valve developer wiki has loads of articles on it. Also, I hope you have a lot of time for this research, because believe me, learning Hammer to the point where you're comfortable with it takes AGES. But the TF2maps community is really helpful, so if you have any questions, just come to us. Hope I helped :woot:

    Irrelevant.
     
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  4. The Wiggin

    The Wiggin L2: Junior Member

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    Thanks heaps, I didn't expect such in depth responses so fast. :) Iv had a god look at the Valve Developer Community and learnt heaps from their tutorials. I have 11 months remaining for this assignment and have previous experience with Hammer, now im just trying to discover what people think makes a TF2 maps popular and fun i am yet to decided on which game mode either, iv heard KOTH is the easiest any suggestions?
     
  5. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    At least 10 death pits, preferably inside the spawn area. /sarcasm

    But for real; certain game modes are more popular than others. TFC (TF2's predecessor) was based around CTF. The game was fast paced and the skill curve was as tight as Quake's. (TFC, afterall was an adaptation of quake CTF, on the quake engine (taken and modified by Valve into the Gld Source); an adaptation with class based team play). Every game mode was a variant of CTF, whether it was classic CTF, or invade mode CTF (take the flag from your base to the enemy capture location) or gather the flag (collect all 4 flags at your teams capture location) or bag handler (aka murder ball) where you have to hold the flag for the longest (often played with 4 teams, but sometimes with the typical RED/BLUE) and finally Attack/Defend CTF.

    TF2's evolution left it with much slower gameplay and so CTF was left as a kind of redundant past time for Team Fortress. Many of the classic map designs no longer work as effectively as they once did, in both layout design and the with regards to the new class/weapon mechanics.

    Fundementally players are drawn to new and interesting things so i feel like listing existing mechanics that have been the most successful only tells half the story. Payload is an adaptation of "escort" from TFC which involved escorting 1 player to an end point of a map where the defending team was limited to snipers. It has probably been the single most successful game mode of them all because of the many gameplay variables that suit many classes and weapon loadouts; the mechanic of the payload keeps large quantities of players together creating a peak of gameplay-combat throughout the map's length/timer. Secondly King of the Hill sees a significant amount of play, in a similar manner the single objective in the centre of the map focuses gameplay and keeps players in combat for the most amount of time (less travelling and capturing objectives away from the fighting).

    The intense fighting that makes certain maps and game modes more exciting than the alternatives (if maybe a little more repetitive) also makes some maps popular despite the fact that their balance is skewed. CTF 2fort has a reputation for being unbeatable and constantly stalemate-prone, but players are drawn towards it anyway because the peak of combat is fairly consistant within the no-mans land between the bases.

    In terms of what makes a map successful you can be looking at many variables that can contribute to a maps success but usually new things will peak interest in any custom map design. Either aesthetically or as a new game-mode concept such as the sequential capture map cp_steel. New mechanics like lifts (pl_hightower) or dynamic bridges (pl_thundermountain) can all contribute to a unique experience that attracts players to specific maps. This can include "death pits", otherwise known as "environmental hazards" to level designers/mappers; which include literal pits of death, or trains/crushers/scripted explosions.

    Gimmicks will attract players to your map, though the more reasonable the gimmick, the more successfully it is incorporated into the TF2 universe (aka not mario-kart), also increases it's general success within the hard core TF2 community and subsequently the level of attention it garners from TF2 developers that might eventually consider it for official material.

    P.S. Koth and Arena are the easiest because they are generally smaller maps and obviously take much less time to construct and run an artpass on; but also because of their simplicity makes play-testing more straight forward and the game entities are not as complicated as other larger game mode experiences like payload which requires a greater understanding of point-entities.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  6. McNuggetFiend

    McNuggetFiend L3: Member

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    From a server admin perspective, small file size :p Gamers are impatient and even with the nicest of download server setups people will drop like flies if it takes "too long" to download a map, sadly.
     
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  7. The Wiggin

    The Wiggin L2: Junior Member

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    Once again thanks heaps, its greatly appreciated im think about leaning towards a KOTH Map.
     
  8. gamemaster1996

    gamemaster1996 L13: Stunning Member

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    First off I will never play a map which is bland and looks too much like a current Team Fortress 2 map (Unless it intends to look this way and makes a point of it).

    Secondly there should be inside aswell as outside. Maybe this is why turbine isn't as popular as it used to be.

    Thirdly the layout should be really nice and should include height variation. This is important as height variation both improves agmeplay alot and makes it looks more interesting.

    And finally I really, really like, custom models and textures. Whilst this isn't neccesary it draws people towards a map. For example I can still remember that map that played at gameday last month. Why? Because it had cool custom cars, a huge dogbread and dinosuar ribs wrapped around the point. Why can I remember it? Because it had awesome custom stuff :D
     
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  9. Bermuda Cake

    Bermuda Cake L9: Fashionable Member

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    I'd say the main thing that can put someone off a map would be being killed and being powerless to stop it. Poor team balance, bad sightlines, chokepoints, spawn camping, etc. are frustrating for the player and not much fun for either side. Always make sure that IF there is a powerful position in the map, it always has a weak point - this forces the team to split up a bit, and gives the other team a chance.
     
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  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    I, personally, love maps with lots of height variation.
     
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  11. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    This is an important point. Pretty much every good map has multiple levels in the primary combat zones. Flat maps are bad.
     
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  12. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Good maps have a little something for everyone.

    Decent lines of sight for snipers.

    Good but not overpowered sentry spots and plentiful metal for engineers.

    Relatively short distances to objectives or to get to health/ammo packs for heavies.

    Side routes and hiding spots for spies.

    Open areas and interesting jumping areas for scouts.

    Smaller areas and ambush opportunities for pyros.

    Height variations and a decent amount of ammo for soldiers.

    Doorways or other choke areas for demomen to utilize.

    Good cover and small health packs for medics.

    Many of these would be helpful for multiple classes. EX: a side route is not only great for spies to get behind people, but scouts and pyros are often found in them as well. Height variation really helps not just soldiers but scouts, snipers, and demomen.

    So in short, variation with the intent of providing something interesting for all classes.
     
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  13. gamemaster1996

    gamemaster1996 L13: Stunning Member

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    Oh and for people to even look at your map, it must never be orange.
     
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  14. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    Especially if it's a release candidate.
     
  15. GenEn

    GenEn L1: Registered

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    A lot of the responses have great points, the only thing I would add myself is to make each area have purpose when considering player movement and layout (as Grazr would tell you at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro). In several beta maps I've been playing, there are overly complex hallways/stairs in out of the way locations with no reason to even pass through them. Consider where the players will go in your map, and what opportunities they should have from different positions.
     
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  16. The Wiggin

    The Wiggin L2: Junior Member

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    Hey guys, I forgot to ask if it would be okay if i used the information you have given me as evidence of research, please send me a message if you are not happy for me to use anything you have said.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  17. Jeremy

    Jeremy L11: Posh Member

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    Yes - in fact, you're encouraged to do so.
     
  18. REEJ

    REEJ L7: Fancy Member

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    What makes a custom map popular is originality that brings a new experience.
    And what makes a good TF2 map is copy-paste what Valve does.
     
  19. Shanghai

    Shanghai L6: Sharp Member

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    You can use everything I've said. Good luck on your paper!
     
  20. The Wiggin

    The Wiggin L2: Junior Member

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    Thanks heaps. Im thinking bout making a KotH map and i have i few ideas iv never seen before, so im gonna start doing some concept work.