What To Do After Posting Your First Map

  • Site Migration: See bugs? Report them here. Want something changed or have an idea? Suggest it here.
  • Something not downloading? Download authors read this.


semi-trained quasi-professional
Aug 8, 2010
Hello! I've created this tutorial to redirect people to after they've posted a map to the site and they want to know what to do next. As such it's fairly basic, but should give you an idea.

Say Hello
We're far more than just a place to show off maps and give advice - we're a community. Head over to the Introduce Yourself subforum to say hi, and join our steam group chat - that's where most of the casual talk goes down. We're much more able to help you if we get to know you.

Add Pictures To Your Map
Something lots of people will tell you is to post screenshots of your map in the Download or the thread - this isn't mandatory, but will persuade people to download and try out your map. Plus, some people can give you good advice just from the screenshots. This Thread has some great advice from Umbratile - though i'll add that you can take the pictures using the steam screenshot function nowadays.

Once you've taken the screenshots, why not show them off in our Work In Progress thread?

Check You Have The Right Version
It's important to put the right Version Number in your map filename - it makes it easy to see which version of your map is most recent. Alpha maps (_a1, _a2, etc) are mainly for testing gameplay and making a map fun and balanced. Beta maps (_b1 and on) are for testing the aesthetics of the map and how it looks, and Release Candidate versions (_rc1, rc2) are basically final and finished.

Often people will tell you not to detail in Alpha. Of course, you can detail whenever you want - but if you detail something that then has to be removed or changed for gameplay reasons, you then have to do it all again. The best way is usually to wait until you're pretty happy with the layout before doing much to make your map look nice.

Remember, if you change your map filename, you have to recompile it - and if you want to release a new version, you have to change the filename or people won't be able to play it.

Get Your Map Tested
This is the fun bit! We have a great testing community here, and we have a pretty good system for playing maps and giving feedback. Before we can test your map on our servers, you need to do a few things:
  • Make sure all the logic works - so you can capture all the points, all the doors and spawns work right, etc.
  • Make sure the map doesn't have any leaks (holes into the void around the map - these can cause strange problems.)
  • Add plenty of lights, so the map isn't fullbright and you can see both teams well.
  • Pack all the custom content - this means saving into the BSP anything that isn't in the base game, like content from the Frontline or Construction packs. There's a tutorial here on using VIDE to do this.
  • Repack your map - this makes it smaller and easier to download. See the guide here.
Once that's done, we can help you test! We run two types of playtests: Gamedays and "Imps", short for "impromptu tests".
  • Gamedays happen at least once a week and are announced on the steam group together with a forum thread in this subforum. Submit your map in the thread and it will be played on the corresponding day.
  • For Imps, you have to message our steam bot called "V2Bot". To do that, join the steam group chat and type "!add [full filename of the map, without .bsp] [download link to the map]". You can also click the little arrow next to the bots name and use "Send Message..." and do the same thing. We usually run one every day or so.
    • We have a lot of maps, though, so sometimes it can take a while to get a test.
Make sure you join our steam group so you know when our tests are.

Get Feedback
This is the most useful bit - getting help, advice, and understanding on how to make your map better.
  • The best way to get help is to play the map yourself, and to try and see what you like and dislike about your own map. If your map is being played and the server is full, speak to the host - they'll try and fit you in.
  • We have a special feedback plugin on the server which stores messages that start with certain commands, plus where the user was looking at the time. To get the results from this, go to feedback.tf2maps.net and find your map there. If you sign in to the site and claim your map, you can download the feedback as a .vmf file, which means you can look at all the things said directly in your .vmf.
  • Our servers are also set up to record Demos - these files act like a kind of video of everything everyone does on your map, which you can watch as if they were playing it live. These are phenomenally helpful since you can watch them over and over again - you can download them at demos.geit.co.uk
Sometimes feedback is nice easy things to fix, and sometimes it's more complicated. Pay attention to what people say and do, what routes they take, and what classes they play. Where do lots of people die? Where are the good sentry and sniper spots? See if you think all those things are good or not, and then either try and get rid of them or make them better.

Don't be upset if people don't like your map. Everyone makes things that aren't great now and then - it's better that you know the problems so you can fix them, than everyone tells you it's perfect and you never fix the issues.


Take what you've learned, and make changes to your map. Do they make it better? Do they make it worse? See what the next lot of changes needing to be made are, and do it again, until your map is perfect.

If you're ever stuck, the best thing you can do is play a lot of maps like what you are making. What do you like about them? What do you dislike? Take inspiration from anywhere - and if you can't think of anything good, make something bad and then make it better. A rubbish map is much better than an empty .vmf!

Have fun
A bit of a cliche, but yeah. Do what you want: this is a hobby! Enjoy it!
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Dec 6, 2014
I remember this little thing called heatmaps.tf, which shows you a visual representation of where people are going on your map. Is that still operational?