What IS Upward's theme, anyways?

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by nekomaster1000, Sep 12, 2021.

  1. nekomaster1000

    nekomaster1000 L1: Registered

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    I love Upward, easily my favourite map in the game. With most of the classic maps, they're often themed around two competing faux-companies competing to capture land or blow each other up with Payload bombs (broadly speaking.)
    Oftentimes, the theme of the map is self-apparent in the map's name. "Sawmill", "Gravel Pit", "Kong King", "Egypt".
    What exactly is Upward's specific theme supposed to be that differentiates it, then? The fact that it takes place on a hill? The shoreside-aesthetic? Going "Upward" as a "theme" is kind of broad, I think. I guess I'm just trying to figure out what makes it so loveable, more than anything. Any thoughts on this?
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  2. Mattie

    aa Mattie

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    In terms of formal classification I'd honestly say Upward as a map established the "Upward theme" as its own thing - it's easy to assume it's all stock 2007 assets but the beige rocks, the muted blue skybox, the dark blue metal and a lot of the dark wood textures must have been specifically made for Upward, because they were only added to the game along with the map in the Engineer Update. For the most part the architecture itself is standard TF2 fare, but it's the overall desaturated look of those textures, along with an emphasis on verticality and integration of the structures into the mountainous oceanside environment (which always felt vaguely Mediterranean to me), that gives it what at the time was a very unique look. It's one that a lot of mappers still emulate wholesale when detailing their own custom maps, and often you'll see maps use the same combination of textures and skybox as Upward - a formula that's just as visually effective today as it was in 2010, it seems.
     
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  3. Another Bad Pun

    aa Another Bad Pun In the shadows, he saw four eyes lit by fire

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    Upward
     
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  4. nekomaster1000

    nekomaster1000 L1: Registered

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    Fantastic analysis, Mattie! It's most certainly standout from other Badlands maps in very subtle but distinct ways that make me love it uniquely to those 2007 maps <3 The noting of it feeling Mediterranean is super interesting, it'd be cool to see maps that take inspiration from Upward play into that more! Do you have any examples of maps that emulate Upward's aesthetic?
     
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  5. Mattie

    aa Mattie

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    CP_Desertion is one that immediately comes to mind:
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  6. Alex.bsp

    aa Alex.bsp Professional Nap Taker

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    I would describe Upward's theme as a combination of arid/dry landscape, badlands, and mountainous.
     
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