pl_extraction – Stage 1, Update 1

Hi everyone,

My TF2 map; pl_extraction, is underway. It’s been a slow start, since I’ve been learning how to use Displacements to create my hilly environment. I’ve started, restarted and re-restarted a few times now, but I think I can now say that this version is coming along quite well.

If you recall from last time, I had to create a hill with a watchtower on top. This would act thematically as a vanguard post for the past RED defence and as the primary objective for the BLU team in the current attack. The whole map is intended to have duality in its narrative, showing both the past battle (before the game started) and the current one.

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Beginnings of my hill and watchtower

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Currently it’s not finished. What I began with doing was ensuring the hill brush displacement was properly sealed on all sides (so it doesn’t leak into the void) and that the edges were unpassable (people can’t walk or jump up from the side). What I need to do now, is to add a path and to colour the texture so that it blends into the mountain on the western wall and so that it looks more natural.

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My hill and watchtower in the editor

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As you can see, I’ve built a sort of mini wall on the right hand edge. This is just for testing purposes so far. The elevation of terrain determines whether it can be traversed, 16 hammer units is the highest a person can walk over, 72 hammer units is the highest a person can jump vertically (minus the Scout). Of course, there is also rocket jumping but I cannot really mould the hill to prevent that, since the watchtower needs a line of fire on the payload path. To balance this, I will put more defence on the south eastern corner of the tower, which should prevent any barrages from airborne Soldiers.

When I get more comfortable with displacements, I will add the new features and make it look much better!

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Back mountain tunnel

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The next part I have constructed so far is the tunnel through the mountain on the back section. I actually intend there to be a cavern in the first part, but need to really think about how this map is going to be balanced. So far, RED essentially have to put all their eggs in one basket, their success hinging on the watchtower. Currently though, the watchtower is too close to BLU spawn and will be quickly overcome by grenade spam. I’m thinking about pushing the spawn back. Furthermore, there is also the attack from the mountain position (the blue box between the mountain and grey placeholder). The question is, do I make the mountain position accessible from the RED side?

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RED view once the tower has been lost

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As you can see from the above picture, once the tower has been lost RED are in a very bad position. They cannot re-access the tower (because of the cliff) and are on the lower ground. BLU must push the cart along the payload track, so this gives RED a break, but it will be very difficult to set up sentry guns or charge defensive ubercharges with the watchtower looming overhead. The grey cobblestone squares are where I need to set up the ‘old BLU fortification’. Somehow I’m going to have to balance this so that at least one sentry gun can be placed, which is safe from bombardment from the watchtower.

If the mountain can be accessed by the RED side, then the battle will initially be on 2 fronts. The western watchtower battle and the mountain tunnel battle. So far, I’m leaning towards this (if I can build a sufficiently sized mountain cavern on the BLU side) because the battle is quite one-dimensional so far. The payload path is so narrow and cramped that there isn’t really a battlefront on that plane. BLU take the tower then push the cart. I want there to at least be the possibility of pushing the cart without taking the tower first (makes for more strategic gameplay choices). Increasing the width of the map, and making the payload path wider, is one option that I’m considering.

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The back mountain tunnel in the editor

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This would remove the need for the mountain cavern battle (which is going to be tough to design). I’ll play around with some things!

That’s the first update. Next, I will create the front part of the mountain, the mountain firing position and then should be able to decide whether the cavern approach, or the wider payload approach, is best.

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Sam

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