TF2 Map – King of the What?

Hi everyone,

This is going to be a sort of ‘off-the-top-of-my-head’ post, as I process some thoughts about my TF2 map design. Later this week, I’ll probably come up with a proper problem statement (like I did for my LoL tank design).

I’ve been playing KOTH maps on TF2 for the past few days, although not that much. As I said last time, I don’t like the mode. Fighting over one point is pretty much just a deathmatch but with an objective to funnel players into a conflict zone. Of course, designating a main area means that you can add other paths and routes on the map to promote strategies like flanking, pincer attacks and sabotage.


No more KOTH map research, please!


Since KOTH maps are small and fast, it’s difficult to build up a proper defensive position. With all the combat in one area, with no Attack/Defence roles (and therefore no advantages for defence), means that any defensive positions only last a short while. What does this mean?

a) 1 Ubercharge = Change of point – The close proximity of all the players and sentries will increase the impact of a single ubercharge.

b) Ubercharges are harder to charge – Small maps, with multiple routes mean that Medics will find it harder to charge their uber. The fast gameplay and lack of stagnant defences means that you won’t get a Medic hiding round the corner from the point, charging their medigun.

c) Low level Sentry Guns – I like building short term sentry guns. As an Engineer, I like offensive sentries and choosing my placement wisely but aiming for a few quick kills and then building another. This is why I like the mini-sentry. In KOTH, combat starts so quickly that it’s difficult to get a level 3 sentry.

d) Demospam – Focusing the entire mission around a single point makes Demomen much more powerful. They’re already pretty ridiculous, but now they can spam to their hearts content and actually be doing something useful.

All this really does boil down to is that KOTH is basically deathmatch. The 2 of the most unique roles in TF2 (the Medic and Engineer) are nullified, while the standard grenades and rocket spam are exacerbated. I suppose this is why I dislike the mode, it doesn’t really feel like you have a strong objective to overcome with your team. There’s no real strategy, it’s just ‘kill everyone and take the point’.


I totally want to capture 4 logs arranged into a square...


For me to enjoy this map, I suppose I’ll have to make it so that I solve some of these problems. I’ll need the final point to be safe from demomen (at least to some extent). I’ll need lots of little offensive sentry positions so that Engineers can put up their quick makeshift guns. I’ll need to place at least one area, on each side, that can assist a medic with charging their ubercharge. On the other hand, I could also make the map react to whomever owns the point. This would turn the map into a 2 stage affair…

Stage 1

No-one owns the point. The battleground is completely balanced

Stage 2

RED (for example) owns the point. The battleground shifts slightly, to help RED defend the point.

This would turn the deathmatch style KOTH into a bit more of an Attack/Defend style map.

This sort of technique is actually used in Gears of War 2, to a minor extent. There are levers on the enemy side, which can be pulled to bring up defensive chest-high walls for cover. Of course, when you defeat them, the walls work for you too. What I like about this idea is that the battle is almost decided in the first confrontation, and will require a proper team effort in order to retake the point. The reward for retaking the point will probably equal victory, unless the other team can muster up a similar effort.

This technique should create a more replayable map. It won’t feel the same, with clone conflicts in the same area every single game. The first battle will be intense and fair, then the remaining battles will be epic and really turn the tide. Currently, at least in the few maps I’ve played, the point changes constantly and every battle feels alike.

One of the basic things I have to decide is what to fight for. My pl_extraction concept was that the BLU team were fighting their way out of a secret RED research base to escape with valuable intelligence. For my KOTH map, I need an objective that both teams want equally. Here are a couple of ideas I’ve been thinking about…

Airlift – RED and BLU are fighting over the valuable resources (maybe gold bars) in a secret mining facility. The central point is a Helipad, which each team have to capture to be able to airlift the resources from the facility.

Prison – RED and BLU want a highly prized super spy scientist. He’s being held in a security facility and each team has to hold a central point in order to obtain the prisoner.

I definitely want something pretty cool and original to be the theme of my map. KOTH maps tend to have pretty basic narratives, I want mine to stand out.

I guess this is the end of my random stream of thoughts. Next time I’ll get something more professional planned!




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