OK, OK… hear me out. Changing my TF2 map.

Right,

I’ve been slowly making my TF2 map, pl_extraction, and learning the Hammer Editor at the same time. I’ve been reading tutorials, trying new things, failing new things and talking to mappers in the TF2 Mappers Group on Steam. The group chat has grazr in it! The guy who wrote all the tutorials I’ve been plagurizing errr quoting!

After trying to figure out why my map wasn’t compiling, I was explaining what I was doing with a curved corner in my mountain tunnel. Apparently I was doing it all wrong. I should just be using hard corners until I get some tests done. That’s how I should be thinking. It doesn’t matter how pretty my map is, I need to get something functional, balanced, fun and small… test it to oblivion and go for pretty and big. I was also advised that Payload is a really difficult mode to start with, and that I should try something much simpler for learning purposes.

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This is what Valve says about King of the Hill maps…

KOTH – King of the Hill

In the King of the Hill gametype both teams assault a central point. The control point unlocks 30 seconds after the round has started. When one team captures the point their timer on the top of the screen starts ticking down. If the other team captures the point then their timer starts ticking down and the other team’s timer stops. (So if Blu ran their timer down to 2:30 and then Red took over the control point then the Blu timer would stop at 2:30 and the Red timer would start ticking down)

When the timer for one team has reached zero, that team wins. If the point is partially captured when a team’s timer reaches zero, overtime occurs until the point is either captured by the other team or defended by the team with zero on their timer. If the other team captures the point during overtime their timer will start ticking even though the other team’s timer is 0.

KOTH maps are popular on many servers due to their simplistic gameplay and chaotic action occuring at one control point. They should always be symmetrical to ensure team balance and should also be relatively small due to having only one point.

Advantages

Easy to create
Easy to balance
Relatively popular
Very unlikely for one round to go long enough to burn out the player

Disadvantages

Not much depth
Can get repetitive due to short round times

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The small size of the maps means I should be able to design and create something, and iterate it, very quickly. The more feedback loops, the better the map will become. A 3 stage payload map (like pl_extraction) will probably take a month to get into Alpha (perhaps longer, since I’m a newbie). I do want this project to create something brilliant and I don’t think I’ll be able to finish if I get too ambitious.

Therefore I will be playing a lot of KOTH over the next week. I don’t like the mode very much to be honest, so I need to learn what makes a good KOTH map. Once that is done, I’ll start a new paper design and map concept! This is still a significant challenge, especially since I now have to make a KOTH map I actually enjoy!

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Sam

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