koth_jailbird – First test, initial thoughts

After weeks and weeks, I finally got my map tested. It wasn’t exactly pretty! It was to be expected. This was my first map ever so I was learning a lot and wasn’t sure I’d make something fun… but, as I saw the admin change the server time to 10 minutes (half the regular time), I realized that something was definitely wrong.

Admittedly, I probably could have done a bit more for the first alpha… using less makeshift terrain (all the area around the spawn points was just crap to be honest), but I mainly wanted to test if the concept was ok. It seemed alright in the main prison cells area… I didn’t really get long enough time with an audience in there. Partly to do with the reduced time, partly to do with the design.

Lesson 1

The yard is just terrible. It’s way too big. Even in an in-game test, it’s very difficult to judge the scale of areas. When in an actual game situation (with enemies and allies), it’s just a massive barren area which doesn’t contribute anything to the map. Seeing as there are only 2 main areas in the map (the cells and the yards), I’ve gotta do a major overhaul.

Lesson 2

I need to focus more people into the central area. While I was naturally inclined to run straight to the point, most people were running down the scenic route… which is meant to be just for a few flankers. The outside walls and yard are big and boring but apparently a temptation for a lot of people. Snipers love that area. Spies love that area (because they love Snipers).  In the end there was about 16 people in the map, 4 on each team were running around the yard and walls.

Conclusions

After playing many community maps as part of the gamedays, I definitely have to step up my game. I wanted to start with something very simple but it just didn’t really work. I like the idea of a prison and I think I should stick with King of the Hill, but I think a complete overhaul is necessary. I need to get into real detail and design the area around the point, routes to that area and ways to focus gameplay to where I want it. Right now, Jailbird is too simplistic and boring.

As the awful Martin Lawrence said in that awful movie Bad Boys… this shit just got real.

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Sam

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