pl_extraction: Stage 1 concept, plan and other nonsense

In my last post, I explained the premise behind my TF2 map. It would be like a reverse payload. BLU have fought their way through RED’s defensive fortifications and into their weapons research building, my map starts after they’ve grabbed their intelligence and have to fight their way back to get to the extraction point.

When working on the first stage, I was thinking of a short battle story that could have taken place. The whole map will have a grassy mountain theme, a hidden research base on a mountain plateau. Stage one will the battle from the Research Centre to the Main Defensive Fort. Between these two buildings, there is a vanguard watchtower (used to warn RED of incoming threats and make a last stand against attackers, like what actually happened).

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Of course, there has already been a battle. BLU have already bested the RED defences and overcome the watchtower. Therefore, there’s a story to tell, which assists with creating my map layout.

Main Path

This is where the cart travels. It’s generally the low ground, meaning it’s slightly protected but overall it’s vulnerable to fire from the watchtower. I’m aiming for it to be pretty much impossible to get the cart through the main path unless the watchtower is defeated.

Watchtower

What’s really interesting about the watchtower is how it is accessed. In the past, it would need access from the RED Research Centre and protection from the north (since that’s where attackers would come from). Therefore the south side has an accessible path and it’s more vulnerable. This works brilliantly for my map, since the first stage should be relatively easy for the attackers. The watchtower has a natural advantage for those coming from the south. So, while it would still be powerful at preventing the cart moving through the main path, it will be difficult to hold from the south. It will also be inaccessible from the north, so once the BLU team have taken the tower, they will have a strong defensive position which will be difficult to retake on foot.

Mountain Caverns

The watchtower was pretty effective at what it did. It would have held back BLU for quite a long time. It’s inaccessible from the north, heavily fortified and easily resupplied (from the south). This creates another story the map can tell, which adds a tertiary path for surprise attacks. The narrative is that the watchtower has been defeated already. BLU have opened a cavern system inside the eastern mountain, which gave them access to high ground across from the watchtower. This enabled them to pummel it with rockets, burning it to the ground. This high ground will be essential for pushing the cart through the chokepoint between the mountains and the watchtower. It will also force the RED team to focus on the southern attackers and any threat from the mountains.

Overall

RED will want to hold the watchtower as long as possible, however it’s a 1 time defence (since it cannot be re-accessed easily). BLU will have to attack on 2 fronts, pushing for the watchtower from the south, while covering the main path and bombarding the tower from the eastern high ground. Once the watchtower has been taken, BLU will be able to push the cart into the second phase of Stage 1.

Old BLU Defensive Placements

I want to give the impression that the fight for the watchtower was originally epic. BLU needed time to blow a few holes in a mountain, and a way to survive until that happened. Therefore they would have been dug in deep, weathering fire from the watchtower as they set their explosives. The remnants of these defensive placements is the basis of the RED defence, post-watchtower. BLU will have the watchtower from which to fire (and high ground), but the defenses left by BLU will help RED hold on for victory. Their chances will be slim, but there should always be a chance! BLU will be able to flank this position through the mountain cavern, so RED must defend 2 fronts.

This is Stage 1 of my map. After this, the battle is likely to move into an epic struggle inside the defensive fort, before the final stage, which involves the final push to the extraction point.

I’ve actually been working on this for 8 hours  in the Hammer Editor yesterday. To say I’ve bitten off more than I can chew would be an understatement. It’s a very ambitious map, especially for my first one. The Valve ‘First Map’ tutorial really doesn’t teach you anything except how to make indoor areas consisting of square blocks. Yesterday I spent most of the day playing around with displacements, which is how you create hilly and bumpy landscapes. My whole first stage is essentially a massive compilation of displacements. They are much tougher than I thought they would be, so I’ve got a bit of a learning curve to overcome.

I plan to work on this, creating a prototype in Hammer Editor, before moving onto the next section. When I get my displacements figured out, perhaps I’ll post a little ‘how-to’ on the subject. But for now, it’s back to the editor!

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Sam

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