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Swizzle
11-08-2007, 08:00 AM
I've been working on a concept for a capture-the-flag level for TF2 since shortly after it came out and, now
that the SDK has been updated, I figured I'd get down to building the actual level.

Just to give an idea of what I have in mind for the overall feel, think of being in a deep desert ravine with
a stream running down the middle. I got tired of industrial settings, so this should look mostly organic.

So far I just have some sketches of main features I want and a couple of tests I did before the SDK was
updated, but in short order I hope to have a playable version up for anybody to take a crack at playing in.

So, without further ado, here's what I have so far.

Sketches:

This would be at the very center of the map. It's a multi-level rocky column from which you'd have a good
view of most of the map—good for sniping and being sniped. There should be paths going up the cliffs so that
you can easily get to different levels of the column.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level001.jpg

This is a cavern right beneath the column in the above picture. There'll be a small cavity in the base
of the column that will let you drop down into this cavern.
The different holes lead to caves which should go to the different bases. Still not sure how good an
idea this part may be, so some playtesting will definitely be needed.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level002.jpg

This is a really rough image of what things should look like if you were standing at the base of the column
in the center of the map and looking towards a base. The main thing I wanted to get across is the shape of
the cliffs above, not necessarily the actual look of the base.
Again, playtesting will be needed to see how well a layout that looks like this works with cliffside paths.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level003.jpg

Here are some cliff tests I did in Hammer a while ago when I was trying to see if I could get the shapes working:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/valleyscreen001.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/valleyscreen002.jpg

blastzone
11-08-2007, 11:12 AM
nice start. only thing i ould say is be careful with the open areas. dont want to over balance it for the snipers.. maybe if you had some kind of cover near the middle.. just to stop it being such a fish in barrel kinda thing. i get the feeling i might have misunderstood the layout a little so i couldbe wrong.. could you post up a really rough overhead map of the outdoors of the map?.. and remember the bible.. make sure there is more than one way into every area :P

Zealotlee
11-08-2007, 01:51 PM
Very cool idea, and I can't wait to download and play it (I'll be willing to playtest it as well, just send me a PM). I do agree with blastzone though. Many times I've played custom maps that were too open and allowed snipers to basically dominate everything. Providing plenty of cover in the valley is a good idea to help prevent this. Otherwise it seems you have a pretty solid idea of what you want to do. Another suggestion would be to perhaps make the paths on the cliffs just a bit wider so it wouldn't be as hard to fall off. Some cover around the cliffs (boulders, shrubs, etc) would help as well and make it appear more natural. Good luck with this map though!

Swizzle
11-08-2007, 06:33 PM
I knew I forgot to mention something; there should be caves going from each base to various points along the cliffs. Here's a (very) rough layout that should give you some idea of what the final ought to look like:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/roughlayout.jpg

I'm still not quite sure where the best places for caves and cover ought to be, so don't take that as anything more than a super-rough sketch of a super-rough idea. :) Also note that there should be caves underneath everything as well, so those will provide more places to go.

Raane
11-08-2007, 06:34 PM
The one major thing i can see about this map is that i'm wondering if there is enough room to get by someone on those ledges. This will lead to blocking people off while in these parts, soldiers will reign supreme due to the enemy being utterly unable to mitigate damage from a near hit.

dpizzle
11-09-2007, 12:13 AM
hell yes
i can't wait to see how this turns out...
i will have some constructive crits in the future, not time right now :eek:

looking pretty cool so far though, especially since tf2 is the best game ever

:thumbsup:

Auctane
11-09-2007, 12:55 AM
Should turn out cool! May need something to prevent everyone from going sniper. From what I remember on doing caves in Hammer, you have to do some planning, make sure the celing floor and walls match EXACT before you start to deform it. It gets tricky if you start getting complicated tunnel systems. (maybe you already know that though)

Ill be checking up on this one, good luck.

Swizzle
11-09-2007, 01:50 AM
blastzone:
I'm going to try my best to keep it balanced for all the classes, so I'll definitely take care to make it so it's not too easy to rack up kills as a sniper. One of the things I I'm planning to do that should more or less mitigate this problem is having the sections of cliff that jut out from the rest overlap heavily. This should make it harder for snipers to pick people off because they'll be popping in and out of view if they're running along the cliff paths or the bottom of the gully.
I also plan on putting a lot of nook and crannies along with caves so that there are lots of ways to get from one place to another.

Zealotlee, Raane:
I'm definitely going to make the paths wider; in that little test area I made, one could hardly run along the cliffs without feeling like they were going to fall off. That's fine in a single-player section, but I realize that something like that is completely unacceptable in multiplayer where lots of people might try to go to the same place along the same path.

dpizzle:
Thanks! I look forward to the critiques and criticisms; they can only make it better. :D

Auctane:
Yeah, the caves are going to present an interesting challenge. I've done some cave tests in hammer and they turned out pretty nice, though you're right about having to lines things up perfectly. If there's a single unsealed edge, it can throw everything down the toilet. Using displacements with noise will save me a lot of work as long as I can balance it with good brush work.

I should have some screenshots of the start of the level some time tomorrow for you guys to look at.

kromano
11-09-2007, 05:06 PM
I really love the whole Warner Bros. Wile... uhh, I can't spell... Holy hell.. Anyway, I love the use of the cartoon feel of TF 2 put to use with your design concept. However, I agree that it is very likely to become sniper alley very easily. Perhaps you may consider tunnels down under the ground that basically just go straight a bit then come back up to add some cover from snipers.
-> -> ->
---\ \---------/ /---- (I'm in class learning Assembly and thus, ASCII is my friend)
......\___-->___/....... (stupid forum code erased my alignment with spaces)

You may likely prove me wrong, but your overhead illustration seems very linear, just straight back and forth. Maybe consider an elbow turn at the center, just to break up the straightness of the map.

I do look forward to what you wind up with and will happily help you playtest it when you're ready. I hope that custom content has a place in the TF2 world instead of the rediculous opposition it saw in Counter-Strike.

Zealotlee
11-09-2007, 08:12 PM
I agree with kromano. Turning the valley into an elbow-shape would GREATLY reduce turning the map into a sniper alley. It would also make it look a bit more interesting as well as natural, seeing has how most canyons are winding (canyons are nothing but ancient erroded river beds anyways). Where I don't agree with him however is having both bases on the same side of the canyon. Perhaps instead you could make the canyon an s-bend shape. Also, the first drawing is a bit confusing. Are there going to be multiple ledges along the sides?

Swizzle
11-09-2007, 11:36 PM
kromano:
Thanks! I hadn't thought of doing short tunnels like that through the ground, but that's a really good idea. I'll also consider the elbow idea since it seems like it'd add a good amount of interest to the level, but we'll see.

Zealotlee:
The s-bend does sound good, and I agree with you that it might be kind of weird to have both bases on the same end of the map. We'll see how it plays out.
Regarding the ledges; I plan to have two different levels of ledges on the sides of the cliffs right in the center of the map where there's going to be the column so that players can go to the middle level or the very top level of the column. There should be a fork with one side going fairly level and the other fork going up.

Screenshots!

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level004.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level005.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level006.jpg

After screwing around with the current rough build of the level, I've found that the only areas on the ledges that people (unless they're completely uncoordinated) will have trouble with are the areas that jut out towards the opposite wall. I'll still make them a bit wider so that you could have a couple of people walking abreast, but to help with the possiblility of people falling I'll just put guard rails and rocks in strategic places.

Mio
11-10-2007, 04:50 PM
looking awesome so far! finish it,i am sure i want play this one!

removed
11-10-2007, 08:01 PM
Paradise for scouts and snipers ;D

Swizzle
11-11-2007, 03:40 AM
Mio:
Thanks! :D It's going to be a while before it's finished, but I'll try to update often.

CooKiez:
Ha! Only right now. There are going to be a few pretty open areas, sure, but there are going to be even more enclosed spaces once I start working on the caves and bases.

Screenshots!

The view from just outside one of the bases:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level009.jpg

The view from where a good sniping point is going to be above the bases:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level007.jpg

The view towards a base from the center of the map:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level008.jpg

Things that need changes NOW:
-Still obviously way too easy for snipers to dominate.
-The bottom of the canyon has some extremely tight areas that need widening up.

Stuff that will be added next:
-Actual bases.
-The large cavern and caves.

dpizzle
11-11-2007, 03:50 AM
what color scheme are you gonna go with? just curious

Mateism
11-11-2007, 04:44 AM
brilliant, very tight, i hate levels that are big. giving it depth and feeling of proximity is very good design.

Swizzle
11-11-2007, 07:24 AM
dpizzle:
I'm going to try for something light-colored and bright. I'm not really planning on using custom textures unless I really have to because I want it to integrate well with the feel of the maps that TF2 shipped with. I also want it to be light so that there aren't too many shadowy areas outside; lighter textures mean more bounced light.

PoodleBoy:
Thanks. I want a nice balance between fairly open areas and tighter, more cramped ones, but we'll see how that turns out.

nintenjo
11-11-2007, 10:09 AM
nice map design.. will be interesting to see it textured. I dont forget to add some nice details like plans and shrubs in the corners and some small rocks..

Also go a bit wild with the areas you dont get to play in.. IE the very tops of the cliffs, have lots of nice silhouttes or trees and towers etc, as it helps break up the skyline.

Looking forward to seeing how this plays. Infact you might want to knock out a blocked out complete version and have it playing on a server to see if there are any major weakspots that need corecting sooner ratehr than later.

Zealotlee
11-11-2007, 04:32 PM
nintenjo brings up a good point about playtesting a basic version before you start with the details. Seems like a timesaver to me. Also, in the first two screenshots, what is that circle? It looks like a portal kinda. Secondly, I want to try to learn hammer myself and start doing some levels. Where is a good place to start?

HughieDM
11-11-2007, 04:52 PM
First I would like to say this is a really excighting level cant wait to play it!:scream:
so keep it up!

Zealotlee Go check out http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Main_Page
every thing you need is here
also check out www.3dbuzz.com they have a good set of free HL2 hammer video tutorials

Brocklesocks
11-12-2007, 06:22 AM
I think this map should be fun -- I've been watching your progress. I actually played a new map today that reminded me of what you were shooting for (the outside areas, specifically). Check it out! http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/screens/38412?img=http://titan.fpsbanana.com/ss/maps/77875.jpg

Swizzle
11-12-2007, 06:56 AM
nintenjo:
Adding all the little bits like shrubs and debris is the part I'm looking forward to most—by then I'll have this thing basically done! :D
I'm going to be releasing the first alpha version, as it were, in a few days' time; there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out before it's playable.

Zealotlee:
I'm doing playtests on my own every time I make a major change, so I can certainly see the advantage to playtesting before it's done.
That circle is one of the round signs with a white arrow that you sometimes see pointing to the bases. I put it there so I could orient myself properly while the map is still untextured. Dunno why the arrow wasn't in those screenshots.
One of the main places I've gone to learn more about Hammer and modding the Source engine in general is Interlopers.net (http://www.interlopers.net/index.php). They have some good tutorials on how to use stuff that the Valve dev wiki only lists as being there.

HughieDM:
Thanks! I'll be excited when I can finally let people play on it.

Brocklesocks:
That map looks great and it those outdoor areas are some I should definitely study. This is my first foray into level design, so I find it amazing how fast some of these people can come up with good-looking stuff so fast.

Right. Enough talky-talk! On with the pictures!

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level010.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level011.jpg

I've started on the insides of the bases. This is still extremely rough, but has some of the general layout that I want in the final version.

Some time this week I should have a playable build ready to be released. I still have some things I need to take care of before that happens, though:

-Widen the base of the canyon so that it's easy to get around in groups.
-Add access to the cliffside paths and the central column.
-Add proper spawnrooms so that players don't get massacred at spawn time.
-Add sniper nest to the front of each base so that they can counter the guys in the center column or give support to the guys on the ground.
-Put player clip over the top of the entire level so soldiers don't rocket jump onto the tops of the cliffs.
-Use displacements for the walls and ceilings inside the base so it ties in better with the rest of the level. (purely cosmetic, I know)

Once I have those things done, I'll start working on the caves. I think I have an interesting way that I could light them, so I'm eager to start working on that.

WyattHarris
11-12-2007, 08:46 AM
Good ideas so far.

Main thing about the sniper points it to make sure they can't reach all the way across the map or at least some unfair distance. Looks like you've done that with the walls being closer together. Add an adequate amount of cover and it should be fine. Remember that snipers need to have fun too. :D

Now that you've brought the canyon walls closer what about a crossover point somewhere along the upper levels? I could see an engineer entrenching himself along one of those back corners. And as far as people falling off the cliffs. Don't worry about it, stay on the ground if you can't handle it. I mean widen them if need be but don't add rails. I wouldn't think they would fit in very well.

The bases look wide open. No suggestions on how to fix it or if it needs fixing really. Seems like an engineer could easily get entrenched in there but you never know.

Swizzle
11-13-2007, 03:10 AM
WyattHarris:
I'm working hard to make it so that snipers won't rule the map while still having a good time. Right now it's nearly impossible for a sniper to have a good line of sight to anybody going into and out of the bases, but they can still see most of the canyon area. I'm playing with some land bridge ideas that should give intermittent cover to anybody running along the cliffsides.
I'm still working hard on making the inside of the bases fit with some sketches I have, so don't worry too much about that. There are going to be a lot of areas that an engineer won't be able to reach with a single sentry.

You can sort of see in the screenshots that there are land bridges going across some areas in the middle of the map. I'm going to add a few more structures like this soon; they give visual interest and a good feeling of height to some areas that otherwise feel sort of cramped.

Today was mostly just devoted to tweaking things I already have, but I should have some more good stuff by the next update—the start of the caves, most likely. It should also be entirely playable by the next time I update, so if it is I'll have a link to a download.

Looking out from the front of the blue base:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level012.jpg

Looking back at the blue base from the center of the map:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level013.jpg

An overview of the map:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level014.jpg

This is so unfinished.

Armanguy
11-13-2007, 05:22 AM
that is looking sexy my friend it looks like a solid map, i got no complaints yet! :P cant wait for the textures.

gsokol
11-13-2007, 05:32 AM
I'm liking this I will definately be watching to see how you progress.

kromano
11-13-2007, 05:37 AM
Your progress is looking pretty sweet, Swizzle. Should make for some fun times, give a call when playtesting is abound!

I had a question for you however. I've tried changing my skybox texture to one of the TF2 versions and I get compiler errors about non-matching resolutions and ingame either the skybox and reflections or simply reflections don't work (with or without rebuilding cubemaps).

Any idea what's happening here? It looks like you have a TF2 skybox happening in your canyon, unless I'm mistaken.

Swizzle
11-13-2007, 05:47 PM
Armanguy:
Thanks. Sorry, but I'm afraid it's going to be a while until proper textures are anywhere to be seen in this thread. :D I want to make it play nice first and look nice second.

gsokol:
Thanks!

kromano:
I should be posting a link to a download later this week, so stay tuned.
If you're still having trouble getting your skybox to work, here's how you can do it and it should work properly:

The only way that you can make a proper skybox in Hammer is by applying the toolsskybox texture (don't asky me about 2D skybox because I have no idea what the hell it does). You can find it by putting that name into the texture browser dialog box:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/texbox.jpg

Once you've selected the skybox texture, just apply it to whatever faces you have selected and they should look like this:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/skyboxtex.jpg

If everything looks alright, then go to Map>>Map Properties...

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/mapmenu.jpg

The Object Properties dialog box should pop up:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/objprops.jpg

Select the item that says SkyBox Texture Name and change the name in the box on the right-hand side to whatever skybox you want. You can find a list of skybox names and properties at the Valve Developer Wiki (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Sky_List#team_fortress_2_materials.gcf). Remember that the name you enter is just the name of the skybox, not one of the skybox textures or a path to a texture file. You don't need to add a file extension to the end or have leading or trailing slashes.

Once that's done and you have the proper sky selected, press Apply and close the dialog box. If everything was done correctly, you should be able to compile your map and have a working sky. If not, then God help you. :D

kromano
11-14-2007, 03:01 AM
Thanks for going to all that effort for me, Swizzle... however I still get the same errors.

I am aware of the skybox tooltexture and all that, what my problem is relates to THIS error message:

writing E:\HammerMaps\relativity.prt...Building visibility clusters...
done (0)
*** Error: Skybox vtf files for skybox/sky_gravel_01 weren't compiled with the same size texture and/or same flags!
Can't load skybox file skybox/sky_gravel_01 to build the default cubemap!
*** Error: Skybox vtf files for skybox/sky_gravel_01 weren't compiled with the same size texture and/or same flags!
Can't load skybox file skybox/sky_gravel_01 to build the default cubemap!

If you check out the skybox texture sizes you'll notice that all the skys are 512x512 or 1024x1024 or some other SQUARE whereas the TF2 skys are combos of 512x256 and other RECTANGLES... which appears to be causing the compiler to puke all over my map.

...And yet for some UNKNOWN reason, sky_hydro_01 WORKS... How very frustrating. Maybe I'll have it solved some time, or maybe not, who knows? I guess I'll use Hydro for now.

Geta-Ve
11-14-2007, 03:57 AM
Wow! Swizzle this is fantastic. I am really digging the design, the rounded cliffs and cliff faces are great, very organic feel and it differentiates itself to the mechanized inside of the bases.

Not quite sure if you have stated this already but are there going to be more than ''1'' way in/out of the bases? As someone state before short underground tunnels would be great, but having them lead in to the base might even be better? When I look at the inside of your base I can't help but notice all the great sentry positions ;)

One other thing you should think about is the player count, since (unless I am mistaken?) the max players on a map can only be 32 you don't want it to be too big correct? If the valley is too long then only scouts will be making the run to the base with heavys and medics on front door defense. engineers will set up turrets top side in front of base or at the flag, with a few throwing teleporters half way down the valley as I forsee snipes taking them down any further.

You gotta give credit to valve for the maps they have made so perfectly thus far. How much time and effort was put in to making sure there was balance for all nine classes. Insane!

But you are doing really well thus far, I would love to test it out when possible. :)

Swizzle
11-14-2007, 07:16 AM
kromano:
Dude, that's some serious mess-up-edness. I suspect, however, that it's an issue with your SDK, as a lot of people have been complaining of myriad bugs from this latest release. Once Valve gets around to updating again, your problems may be solved. Try posting to some forums and see if anybody's run into the same issue. I'm one of the lucky few whose problems have only been caused by user error.

Geta-Ve:
I'm definitely going to be having more than one way in and out of each base; there's going to be an entire system of caves going underneath everything so that there are lots of alternate routes for all the classes. I don't want this to be a strictly scout and sniper map because that would just plain suck, so there's going to be a lot of room underground through which you can move.

bardur
11-14-2007, 12:11 PM
Hi man.. i just want to say that... That map looks SWEET!
i have been using Hammer Editor for some time (years..... but just resently started again)
and i know how it can be a bit difficult to find a great balance to get the best game play..
but that map just looks so god damn sweet.. im SURE it is a damn good map

Regards
Bardur

Swizzle
11-15-2007, 11:44 PM
bardur:
Thank you! I know what you mean about making the gameplay balanced, and that's why...

THE FIRST OPEN TEST IS TOMORROW

Tomorrow, (Friday the 16th) during the CGTalk Friday Night Deathmatch, we will be playing ctf_happyvalley v0.1. This will be the first time anybody has tested the map in actual gameplay, so I encourage you to have fun (hopefully), explore, test everything to the breaking point, and give me critiques in this thread.

While playing tomorrow, please keep in mind that the map is still very unfinished and many things must still be added, tweaked and improved. One of the major features currently not in the map is the system of caves. These will be playable at the time of the next release.

Here's an update on the flag room. It's still very unfinished; I still have to put in all sorts of little details that should make it look like a control room environment.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level015.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level016.jpg

Zealotlee
11-15-2007, 11:47 PM
Aw man! I'm going away for the whole weekend! Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait until the next test. Good luck with it though!

Shade01
11-16-2007, 01:34 AM
You are doing a great job at capturing the spirit of a TF2 map. This might be the first custom map I've seen that I actually want to play:thumbsup:

kromano
11-16-2007, 06:00 AM
I will be waiting until the moment I can wipe the drool off my chin and burn somebody with my sniper flamethrower rifle and sniper shotgun.

I sure hope I don't get distracted by something and miss the playtest, this should be good fun, if a bit unbalanced until the rest of the map is finished. You're making leaps and bounds of progress over me, it seems... I don't even have a second base yet! But when I do, I expect to find you there helping me find the bugs (or just squashing the other team).

By the by, I love the little control box you have overlooking your command center but (as was mentioned before) your Flag room seems a little too wide open and easily camped by Fungineers (as it were). As a suggestion, perhaps stack crates / freight containers along the bottom as a storage area for unspeakable [evil]/[good] deeds. This would provide a little cover inside the room without feeling out of place.

And as a final post script, the name I'm using on TF2 (and any other Source MP game)is [AF]Meelo, if you happen to see me about say hi.

HughieDM
11-16-2007, 06:56 AM
wow Im pumped, Im def going to tri and make it.

ps watch out for my mean back slash...:D

Swizzle
11-16-2007, 08:29 AM
Zealotlee:
Don't worry! I'm going to be posting a link to a download in case you want to try out the map on your own.

Shade01:
Thank you. Comments like that really mean a lot to me and definitely provide a lot of encouragement.

kromano:
Hell yeah! I can't wait to play your map; the freaky upside-down rooms and stuff look kickass. If there's an easy way to control gravity in the Source engine, you should see if you could incorporate it into your map for all sorts of rocket jumping hijinks and whatnot.
I'm definitely going to be adding some cover before I upload it tomorrow. At present, a single turret could easily cover the entire flag room and that would just be awful. Things should improve when I start adding the caves, though, because the flag room is going to be one of the entrances to them and that'll give you ways to circumvent the entire front entrances to the bases.
I'll make sure to keep an eye out for you in-game. :D

HughieDM:
I hope to see you in the game tomorrow! And I'll definitely watch my back. Keep in mind, though, I'm a mean Pyro.

Swizzle
11-16-2007, 10:25 PM
Link to download page:

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/38993

Auctane
11-16-2007, 11:28 PM
AH I totally want in on the friday night deathmatch!! What server, how do I join?

Swizzle
11-17-2007, 12:28 AM
Check out the Team Fortress 2 thread in General Discussion.

kromano
11-17-2007, 03:31 AM
Well Swizzle, I'd say your first playtest went well. The control rooms weren't so easily protected as I had imagined, and the confined yet still openness of the valley made it challenging for snipers to get a clear shot and let me step in carefully to the bases.

However, it became quickly frustrating if you left the base on the ground floor or fell off from the upper levels as there was no way back to the top except by returning to your base and running up the ramp again.

I didn't get to try to exploit the level much since I played the entire round as an engineer so I'll see what I can "break" on my own sometime for you. I'm sure that most people found the areas you'd missed in skywalk protection and the like. Rocket jumping is grand, but the Demoman's grenade/stickybomb jump is far more effective when done right.

You've got a pretty good balance going already, just needs a little more tweaking.

Kirt
11-17-2007, 05:55 AM
Swizzle, I downloaded your map to take a look. I think you got a nice start. I love the idea of the bases joined between a canyon. It reminds me of WB Road Runner cartoons for some reason. Very nicely done.

A couple of issues though:

The canyon needs more routes, which I believe you said you were planning on adding. As of version 1.0 there really isn't much choice if you end up on the bottom level. You either keep going towards the enemy base or you backtrack to get back on the upper levels. When you add caves, I think this would be a great place to transition between the levels.

I think the canyon would also benefit from a stronger "S" curve allowing you to open up the paths a bit more to allow for dodging of projectiles. If you dodge on a topside path, you're most likely falling because of the sidestep.

I think something other than the "V" shape of the canyon would be nice as well. By transitioning up/down or left/right through the canyon rather than running straight through it you add more interest, better cover and more ambush locations. I'd check some ref pics of the Grand Canyon and see if that doesn't provide some inspiration for the design.

The bases seem like a lot of loop back to get to a point of interest. The ramps are the main culprits here. You run one direction to catch a ramp, then backtrack up to the next location. I think you could cut some of that out and make it more interesting to transition the levels.

The intel room seems too large and out of scale with how Valve's maps are constructed. The nice thing about 2Fort is the couple of different routes into the intel room, The various size of hallways leading to it and the break in monotony with an occassional room that opens up the space for combat. I don't think you should create a map with all hallways or all large rooms. It's just dull (IMO).

I didn't like that you basically have to run all the way to the back of the base (near the opposing team's spawn) then all the way forward to get the intel. And then ... run all the way back and then forward again to get out. Ugh! That seemed like a chore after the second time. Move the spawn room to the front of the base and make the route to intel more interesting.

I like on 2Fort that you're passing the spawn location to get to the intel and if your intel is snatched while you're in spawn mode, you have an opportunity to intercept. I think on your map, once the opponent is at your base's front door the intel is as good as capped unless your team is heading back.

One last thing (see attached). I was able to crouch+rocketjump out of your map. Take the path to the left out of your base and 'crj' at the apex of the first turn to get to the top of the cliffs. Then just drop down behind and walk leisurely to the enemy's base. Yes, you can fire rockets through the backside of the cliffs also. :D

Weeee ... I hope this helps with the development of your map. I only wish I could have played with you folks. Sadly, at work they block TF2. :(

Sycar
11-17-2007, 06:29 AM
I had a real fun time playing your map. I dont think i have much to add to the comments of other people. But i would say that as the map is now with out the caves it is a little to easy to defend the lower entrance to the base placing a turret or a heavy right behind the center pillar is all you need to do. Ammo and medkit are right there. But i think the caves will add another entrance to the base thus increasing the surface area to be covered which will completly change how it is balanced. I look forward to playing it more.

Geta-Ve
11-17-2007, 08:54 AM
Just to drop in with my few comments. I agree with a lot of what Kirt said, though my biggest gripe would be that the intel room is much too large. To combat this I would say simply cut the intel room in half (or more) using the extra space as scenery (ala 2fort intel room). Perhaps bring the entrances to the intel room close to the front of the base and have the intel sitting at the back side of the intel room (closer to the spawn) so that when it is captured one can make a quick transition through either door cleanly traveling toward their base, never back tracking.

That being said I think the caves/tunnels will add a lot more depth to this map. That in mind you could even get rid of one side of the intel room entrance utilizing the tunnels as a second entrance/exit. This would give the interest, and still provide the flow of exiting and entering the intel room.

Another interesting idea, if you didn't want to add the 'S' curve to the valley is to shorten its length (by half?) and open it up a bit further to intentionally allow for snipers to pick off targets. This wouldn't be a bad thing because of the shortened distance between bases. This is (I believe) one reason why 2fort works so well, even having the wide open area in the middle of the map snipers still can get shot down by anyone trying.

Anyhow, I had meant this to be shorter so I will end it here, but I am definitely stoked for your next update. I am also contemplating making my own map, you have inspired me ^_^

Awesome work so far!!

By the way swizzle, I was curious, are you modeling the whole level in the hammer editor?

Auctane
11-17-2007, 05:03 PM
I made it in sort of late, but I made it.

First thing that happened was I wanted to go switch characters and when I did, it killed me like I was not in the spawn.

The intel buildings are too big if you ask me. its a LONG walk to get out of the building, especially if your a heavy or soldier. I didnt like how there was glass running up the sides of the intel rooms - if the room were smaller, senturys would be able to cover those and you could leave it open.

Needs a little more variety, I think the caves will add it.

Good job so far!

Swizzle
11-17-2007, 07:32 PM
Wow, guys! Thanks for taking the time two write all that.

kromano:
I'm definitely going to be adding more routes up to the cliffs; that seemed to be one of the things that was bugging people the most. Hell, it was even bugging me and I made the thing!

Kirt:
I'm going to add some ramps to get up to the cliffs for the next build, so that should ease the pain of falling or getting knocked off.
After last night's test, I knew almost immediately that the scale of the entire thing was an issue. The first thing anybody said when the map finally loaded last night was "That's a hell of a jog." I'm definitely going to be cutting down the size of a lot of things and adding intermediary rooms that are smaller.
A couple of people last night found the areas where you could jump onto the cliffs, so that's going to be the first fix I do.

Sycar:
The base entrances are definitely due for a major overhaul. As soon as I saw people putting turrets on top and camping down below, it was apparent that they needed something to break them up. I'm going to make the base entrances asymmetrical next time around, and probably something more to make them a bit more interesting visually as well as gameplay-wise.

Geta-Ve:
Just like I'm planning with the front entrances, I'm going to make the intel rooms asymmetrical next time around.
I'm certainly considering shortening the canyon to make the level play faster, but the first thing I want to do before that is tighten up the bases. For the next release I don't think I'm going to be shortening the canyon because of how much the bases need to change, but if it's still a problem I'll certainly make them shorter.
Yes, I'm making the entire map in Hammer.

Auctane:
One of the things I realized last night right before the game was that all the default maps let you change classes even in the anteroom to the spawns, so I'll fix this immediately.

So, with all this in mind, here's what I hope to have by the next build:

-The caves
-Smaller bases
-Asymmetrical base entrances and layout
-Lots of smaller rooms in the bases for variety and strategic possibilities
-Ramps and more alternate routes through the canyon
-Fixes for the spawn and skywalking issues

More updates soon!

Auctane
11-17-2007, 08:01 PM
I was just thinking if you made the canyon wider & with the caves and such, maybe you could just do away with the center ground/make it a dead fall... it would also make it appear to be a larger canyon. Ohhh that would be cool if they were like 2 bases suspended in a canyon...

Geta-Ve
11-17-2007, 10:00 PM
I was just thinking if you made the canyon wider & with the caves and such, maybe you could just do away with the center ground/make it a dead fall... it would also make it appear to be a larger canyon. Ohhh that would be cool if they were like 2 bases suspended in a canyon...

On that idea, having the canyon wide enough for only the scouts to jump accross would give a lot of interest, having routes (tunnels) off to the sides of the canyon leading to the other side. Almost like 2fort except without the bridge in the middle..

I am always amazed at great WIP's, the amount of alternate ideas that come out of them are astounding. There are so many great ideas in this thread I have little doubt 2 or 3 different maps could be made from them.

Swizzle, I have a question pertaining to hammer, specifically if a sphereical level would be possible?? I was thinking it would be contained inside a giant cube (skybox). Though as I think about it now I have my doubts as gravity just popped in to my mind. Dang.

Definitely can't wait for the next version of your map! :)

Auctane
11-17-2007, 10:39 PM
Swizzle, I have a question pertaining to hammer, specifically if a sphereical level would be possible?? I was thinking it would be contained inside a giant cube (skybox). Though as I think about it now I have my doubts as gravity just popped in to my mind. Dang.

So like a space station or someting where gravity matches the sphere? Thats a wicked idea man, glad I thought of it :D. That would be a sweet modificton to make... We should talk about that.

Kirt
11-17-2007, 10:54 PM
With my experiences with Hammer, there is no gravity direction controller. It's basically down. I have seen one map where the whole level was rotated to change the direction of the gravitational pull. But it killed performance.

You can however, adjust the amount of gravity that pulls downward.

Swizzle
11-17-2007, 11:05 PM
I really have no idea if altered gravity is possible in Source without some modification to the physics engine. A quick look through the Valve Dev Wiki shows that there's a brush-based entity that lets you control the force of gravity within it, but I think it's unidirectional so you could only affect what the gravity might be like up and down but not side to side.

I know that in the Serious Sam 1 and 2 engine, you can make entire levels in which each face has its own gravity. I don't know about the third one.

Auctane
11-17-2007, 11:14 PM
I was thinking: it may be possible to program the SDK so you can assign gravity to individual brushes... Like gravity zones. If you could, then it would be possible to do lots of cool stuff in hammer, a worth while mod IMO.

kromano
11-18-2007, 12:15 AM
Back in HL1 I made a king of the hill tower (no mod, just a level where that was the goal) as one of the first maps I'd designed. The person at the top had a variety of time-delayed traps they could fire off to keep the players out of reach (one of which was the crossfire deathmatch level's "nuke"). Anyway, there USED to be an entity that, once triggered, changed gravity for the entire map. I used that brush trigger on the bottom of the map across all the player spawns so that it would automatically triggered as soon as the match began.

In theory the same idea should be possible using the automatically firing logic entity (I forget what it's called, logic_auto or something) or by placing the activator in the player spawn room so that it will be re-triggered every round, in case something might reset gravity.

You can also have an entity which will launch a console command, you should be able to use that to trigger sv_graivty 20 or something crazy. That may or may not actually work, however, because of server-side cheat protection. sv_cheats may need to be set to 1 in order for an entity to trigger a change to server state or the server may need to be reset in order to activate changed gravity from the console.

Geta-Ve, unfortunately there is no way to change gravity so that level could be a sphere and players could be running around it in a complete 360 vertically, so to speak. If it were possible, my map would indeed be making use of these functions. Nothing like defending a flag from people walking in from staircases on every wall.

If anybody manages to make a gravity mod like that, I will be making another perspective bending map to go with it. It really shouldn't be that complicated as far as modding goes. If they could do it in AvP for the alien's wall climbing, I'm sure it could be done in HL2.

Geta-Ve
11-18-2007, 03:58 AM
Wow, I didn't expect this kind of response. It is unfortunate that it can't currently be done as my idea was to have a moderately sized planet with a big tower on opposite ends. Climbing up these towers (stair cases and such around it) would lead you do the flag/intel.

Obviously the planet would have more interest with either ponds, fences, hills (perhaps even tunnels?) and such.

Too ambitious I suspect. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated!! :)

edit: btw swizzle, sorry for hijacking your thread! :(

Swizzle
11-21-2007, 02:34 AM
Today I found out just how many kinds of errors can cause Vbsp to completely crap its pants and refuse to compile. This was not fun. I do no wish to repeat this.

On another note, I'm making progress. I spent an hour or so yesterday and about eight today working on the new base layout (the only thing I like about my job is that I can screw around with my own stuff all day). It's all a lot tighter and more interesting, I think, than what I had before, and there are more places to hide and set traps and stuff instead of it being completely open.

I'm not quite ready to put up more screenshots yet, but I wanted to post this just to let you guys know that I only took the weekend off and I'm back to working on it. At this rate, I'll have the next build ready by mid-Thursday if the Thanksgiving holiday/gorging/gluttony fest doesn't get in the way.

Here's a rough layout of the new bases. There are a few things that weren't quite feasible, but mostly just slight changes to the locations of certain features on these diagrams.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/baselayout1.jpg

If these are confusing, don't worry. Things make a lot more sense in-game.

I think I'm going to be moving a spawn room to the second floor of the bases. That ought to add a bit more variety than there already is and it should make it slightly less frustrating for those that like being on the cliffs.

I'll have screenshots up tomorrow, if possible.

Geta-Ve
11-21-2007, 06:20 AM
Nice! Alternatively with the spawn point you could always have 2 of them, ala 2fort. :) Can't wait to test out the new build.

BrettHolton
11-21-2007, 01:52 PM
definately a good idea whoever mentioned to make the gap between the 2 canyon walls reachable by scouts double jumps and no other class.. gives heaps more dynamic and makes scouts have a bit of fun..

that's why i love 2fort atm simply double jumping from battlement to battlement

Geta-Ve
11-23-2007, 06:22 AM
Man I am totally having a blast making a map for TF2, I gotta ask though, as you said you have modeled the whole map in hammer how did you go about getting the mountainous curves and such? The only way I can really see doing this is in pieces?

Anyhow update, now! :D

kromano
11-23-2007, 06:40 AM
Geta-Ve, those are made with Displacements. The quick of it is, you select a face with the face selection tool, click on the displacement tab and hit "create." Then you can start "painting" relief onto the walls/floors etc. They're simultaniously a fantastic and HORRIBLE invention.

I strongly recommend you run over to the SDK wiki and check out the piece on Displacements. You'll go simply batty trying to figure it out without knowing what's written there first.

Swizzle
11-23-2007, 08:12 AM
Geta-Ve:
Each base is going to have two spawn points, one on either side.
Like Kromano said, I did the cliffs with displacements. If you're interested in getting the same look I did, read through these tutorials and they'll be a lot of help. I used them both, and they served my purposes well:

Practical Cliffs
http://interlopers.net/index.php?page=tutorials&id=16891

Advanced Displacement
http://interlopers.net/index.php?page=tutorials&id=2119

I've also used a lot of vertex manipulation to get the different chunks that make up the cliffs to align properly and such, so you may also want to try that. Be careful with vertex manipulation on diplacements, though, as non-planar faces can invalidate them and you'll have to destroy the displacements and then undo your vertex edits to get the displacements back.

Mathiu:
So many cool ideas, so very little time! The entire canyon area needs a once-over to get it working a little more smoothly and add some features like you mention, but I simply can't do it right now because I have so many other things that need work. I hope to give the canyon some love by this time next week, though.

Kromano:
Get crackin' on that Escher map; I want to play it!


Sorry about the lack of updates, everybody, but school and family have been heavy on me this week and I didn't get a chance to do much more than work on the bases. I can't guarantee that I'll have even some rudimentary caves working by the next playtest tomorrow, but I can guarantee that you'll be able to play through the new bases and there will be more ramps to the upper levels of the cliffs so things aren't as frustrating for those on the ground.
I'll have a slew of new screenshots and an updated map download by game time tomorrow.

Final note:
Yesterday while I was testing the map, I opened up the internet server list and found some random server with 30 people playing my map. It told me a hell of a lot about map balance issues being able to see strangers I have no connection with at all playing the first test version.
Soldiers were completely dominating everything...

Geta-Ve
11-23-2007, 10:25 AM
It also tells you that you have a great map in the making if 30+ people were playing it. Nice!

Thanks Kormano and Swizzle for the awesome info.

kromano
11-23-2007, 09:30 PM
Kromano:
Get crackin' on that Escher map; I want to play it!
I'm workin' on it, I'm workin' on it!


Sorry about the lack of updates, everybody, but school and family have been heavy on me this week and I didn't get a chance to do much more than work on the bases.

Same here, hence my slow progress. Blue Base DOES have some stairs, a door and a window and there is a small area between bases and a series of caves (man do I hate displacements), but I haven't had time to do more work since last weekend.


Final note:
Yesterday while I was testing the map, I opened up the internet server list and found some random server with 30 people playing my map. It told me a hell of a lot about map balance issues being able to see strangers I have no connection with at all playing the first test version.
Soldiers were completely dominating everything...

I'd find that both strange and flattering that some random server is running your custom map AND that it was populated with 30 people. I think that shows that there's a cry for CTF maps other than 2Fort.

Swizzle
11-24-2007, 03:12 AM
So I haven't even gotten a chance to start the caves, but the bases are all spiffy-like now with two spawnrooms each and different layout. The week didn't give me as much time to work on this as I'd have liked, or I might have gotten some work done on the caves as well as adding some features needed before the next playtest. I was hoping I'd have it ready by tonight's Friday Night Deathmatch, but that didn't work out.

The new base entrances:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level017.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level018.jpg

A side view of the new intel rooms (you can see a future cave entrance on the far wall):
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level019.jpg

And an overview:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level020.jpg

Geta-Ve
11-25-2007, 04:05 PM
As I said in chat I think the new layout looks pretty good, though I will have to take a run around to really get an idea of its layout. I like the design of the new intel room though (assuming I am looking correctly. :P )

bardur
11-29-2007, 11:21 PM
Are there any updates to the map Swizzle`?
will we be playing it today/tonight :twisted: :)

Swizzle
11-30-2007, 12:42 AM
Geta-Ve:
Thanks. I'm actually back to working on the bases again, getting the layout a little more refined, making rooms bigger or smaller, adjusting features for (possibly) better flow. The version you see in the next release will look a little different.

bardur:
No more major updates right now, though I actually have been working on it. I put a couple of hours into a test last night to see if I could get a cave system working the way I was hoping I could, and things turned out well. Other than that, I've mostly been doing cosmetic updates because orange has started to make me nauseous every time I see it. ;)

Alas, there are still no caves. That's probably going to change between today and tomorrow, though.

I'll have a download link to the next version posted in here tomorrow.

Geta-Ve
12-03-2007, 08:30 AM
Yoyo! So I downloaded the new version and have a few crits off the bat. (bad news good news type dealio.

- The spawn room (left hand side of base when looking out) is a bit big, though my guess is it will change in the future so that isn't a big deal, you could probably just pull in the wall between the doors for interest.

- The tight halls (especially right outside the spawn room) are a bit disorienting when first navigating the bases, perhaps opening them up a bit? (I'd say a foot or two on the sides)

- It feels to me like there is not much cover when coming directly out of the spawn rooms, engineers would probably be able to set up turrets and camp the spawns, not to say they shouldn't be ABLE to do that, but it should take some effort to get to that point.

There are a few other things that I would modify as well, though I will upload some pictures of that later. All in all I would say this is definitely a step in the right direction. My main qualm currently is how tight the bases seem.

The textures add a lot however. Really digging 'em. :)

Geta-Ve
12-03-2007, 09:26 AM
Alright dude, I had a few minutes to do some real quick paint overs, and just a warning these are (most obviously) just my ideas/opinions AT FIRST GLANCE. So take them with a grain of salt :D

Oki doke, so with the first one what I am talking about is the flow of the intel room, I played around with having the upper most pathes not facing INWARD toward the back wall but that seemed to cut out the flow of anyone running in to the room so I left as is, however I was thinking that the part of the path that connects to the back of the wall is pretty unneeded and I think it takes away a lot of the open space in the room. The one thing I found when going in to the intel room (not using windows to look in) was that the pathes seemed to block a lot of what was going on.

Another issue is that (not quite sure how it play tested in this aspect though) engineers could set up turrets right behind the intel (under the path) with no interference at all ( ? ) So perhaps that is an issue? One thing I find with Valves maps is that, as many places as there are to set up turrets and such there is ALWAYS another spot to take them out. As I said I am unsure of how this play tested so perhaps it is a non issue.

As per the rounded ness, I figured it would flow with the other parts of the intel room a bit better. Thinking about it you could in fact have a 3 tier system in the room (will draw something up) to 1) promote traveling toward the intel, and 2) to promote traveling out of the intel room, (directional angles and such)

http://www.ts-studios.com/Mike/hv_po1.jpg


The second picture here is just to note that I would cut away the computer booths (or whatever they are :P ) as they SEEM to waste a lot of space without doing much. Now I understand that you have the caves coming up from this area, and to be honest I am not quite sure how I would contend with that. I was thinking you could have the caves lead directly behind the intel, (thus eliminating the turret camp, forcing engineers to build in front of the intel rather than behind it, watching both entrances at once) but that may be a bit cheap in regards to stealing the intel. (not sure how your caves are layed out.

So this one is a big iffy, but I definitely would detract some of the waste space..

http://www.ts-studios.com/Mike/hv_po2.jpg


And the third image is simply to have the front glass match the design of the rest of the glass walls. support beams etc. No biggie here really.

http://www.ts-studios.com/Mike/hv_po3.jpg



As I said, these are purely personal tastes, so do what you will with them. :D Really love watching your progress however. keep it up bro!

Geta-Ve
12-03-2007, 10:20 AM
Last post, just an image for now, don't have time to go in to details but, again this is just an idea. :P

Will explain more later!

EDIT: Okie doke, it's later and I guess I will explain a bit. So pretty much the main thing I would change is the upper most tier (second floor of base) As it is right now, for my tastes there doesn't seem to be much continuity/flow to the leveled design, as you are going from angular to curved design and it throws things out of whack.

I was thinking, IF you were to use a design similar to the one drawn up below you could have the cave entrance directly in FRONT of the intel, where the stairs lead up to (if that makes sense) Pretty much where the computers are right now in the intel room is where your cave entrance would go. This would be great for scouts as they could double jump the lowest tier to get the intel.

You will notice that the second tier (blue) is not the same on both sides, and that is simply because the proportions are skewed, but they would still retain the same base design that you have already.

Anyhow, that is that. Good luck with whatever you end up designing, I seriously can't wait to play your next version!! :buttrock:

http://www.ts-studios.com/Mike/hv_intel_idea1.jpg

Swizzle
12-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Geta-Ve, I swear you're psychic. While I haven't done too much since the last playtest, one of the first things I did do was change the layout of the intel room. In the next version, there's going to be one path going along the top edge of the room like there has been, and there's also going to be another path mid-way down the wall on the opposite side that you can get to from the lower level of the base. The way things are in the current version, it's way too easy for an engi to camp on that upper level with a turret and just kill people as they come out of the hall (which actually happened last friday :D ), so I'm doing away with that structure and making things asymmetrical.
I'm also going to put that cave entrance in a different place, though where exactly is still up in the air.

I know what you mean about the corridors being cramped. While pretty good for pyros, they're still a bit too tight to get around in without getting caught on corners and doorways. I think I'm actually going to merge some rooms and get rid of others so that it's easier to get around quickly.

Now, next time I post in this thread I should have some screenshots of the caves along with even more of the bases. There really isn't much I'm going to have to do to get the caves working now since I've tested out different designs, so I should be on top of things pretty quickly. I also don't have much homework or anything of that sort to do this week, so that will help things along.

Geta-Ve
12-04-2007, 07:08 AM
Nice! I can't wait! :bounce:

Zealotlee
12-04-2007, 06:27 PM
Looking awesome. I still haven't had a chance to play the map yet, but if you're testing a new version again this Friday I'll definitely drop on in. Whats the server IP?

Waz
12-04-2007, 06:49 PM
Having tried your map a few times now Swizzle, I really think it would be better if the distance between the 2 bases was shortened. It would help to create much faster paced action as I find it a rather slow map.

kromano
12-06-2007, 05:39 AM
Having tried your map a few times now Swizzle, I really think it would be better if the distance between the 2 bases was shortened. It would help to create much faster paced action as I find it a rather slow map.

Maybe a little shorter, but I don't like the ADHD-hyperactive-foaming-at-the-mouth-non-stop action of 2fort all the time. Slower pace isn't necissarily bad... heck, I even enjoyed playing as a pyro, despite the large disadvantage of a big, long, straightaway that really isn't condusive to safe leaf burning.

Zealotee, the server is hosted by RockinAkin, check the Team Fortress 2 Beta thread on the General Discussion forums for the address and much ballyhooing... I wonder if that's even a real slang word or if I'm making up stories again.

Swizzle
12-06-2007, 05:59 PM
Sorry about being slow with the updates. There was a, um, family tragedy recently and it kind of threw me for a loop.

Zealotlee:
You should definitely check out the TF2 thread in General Discussion like Kromano said. The CGTalk group on the Steam community always has an event scheduled on the day of the match with all the necessary server info.

Waz:
I actually agree on this one; I started working on the caves a couple of days ago and it really gave me a new perspective on just how huge the damn thing is. As such, I've removed some sections of the canyon and now it doesn't take quite as long to get to different places while still remaining long and narrow.

kromano:
I shortened the distance between the bases by maybe a hundred feet and I think it's going to be more fun for everybody because everyone's going to be able to get places much faster, but it's not so short that it'll be crazy-hectic like 2fort. The new bases will also be good for pyros because they have corners and corridors and such.

Here's a little work from a couple of days ago on the new intel rooms. Since these screenshots are a few days old, they're missing a few things that are currently in the map. They're pretty well representative of what you'll see in-game, though.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level023.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level024.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level025.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/xkostolny/tf2level026.jpg

That alcove at the very back is going to have a cave entrance and the actual intel room with the desk is going to have glass walls so you can't fall down into the computer area. The bottom part with all the computers and stuff is going to be inaccessable.

Geta-Ve
12-07-2007, 05:03 AM
Wow! Huge change, looks much more appealing to the eyes, very interesting and dynamic. Will definitely have to get my hands on this one to have a look-see at all the new changes!

A few questions if that is alright though? (not entirely about your map though, lol) Firstly, with stairs and such is there a way to stop the jittery motion when moving up them (more noticable when moving slowly up stairs) I am thinking there is some kind of invisible box used as a path.

And secondly, how the heck do you fly in game?? Would be great to have that in my map to look at everything properly.

Thanks, and looking really sweet!

kromano
12-07-2007, 06:02 AM
Wow! Huge change, looks much more appealing to the eyes, very interesting and dynamic. Will definitely have to get my hands on this one to have a look-see at all the new changes!

A few questions if that is alright though? (not entirely about your map though, lol) Firstly, with stairs and such is there a way to stop the jittery motion when moving up them (more noticable when moving slowly up stairs) I am thinking there is some kind of invisible box used as a path.

And secondly, how the heck do you fly in game?? Would be great to have that in my map to look at everything properly.

Thanks, and looking really sweet!


Stairs will be jittery due to the way that the player's height is calculated in code. I don't think going from stair to stair counts as "falling" but rather the player is simply moved down to the next step instantly. You could try creating a sloped clip brush, but I don't think it'll really help out as much as you'd like.

"Flight" is just noclip. Enable dev mode via the command line, or in the console with "developer 1"

My TF2 shortcut looks as follows for map dev:
E:\Steam\steam.exe -applaunch 440 -console -heapsize 512000 -dev +sv_lan 1 +map relativity_newcave

You don't actually need -dev and -console, -dev implies -console, but -console does not imply -dev.

There are lists of developer console commands for testing your map, one of which is really important for figuring out portal flow and how to optimize using hint brushes... but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

You can also turn off aspects of the HUD for screenshots using "drawhud 0" I think it was, or perhaps "cl_drawhud 0" There are others but I've forgotten them, it's been a while since I did serious mapping in CS: Source.

Ziggurat
12-07-2007, 01:34 PM
Yeah, all the stairs should be accompanied by sloping clip brushes to fix the jittery effect when going up, as well as a possible skating effect when going down (if steep enough). You can see where Valve has clipped all of their stairs in TF2 using the command r_drawclipbrushes 1.

Geta-Ve
12-07-2007, 05:37 PM
Yeah, all the stairs should be accompanied by sloping clip brushes to fix the jittery effect when going up, as well as a possible skating effect when going down (if steep enough). You can see where Valve has clipped all of their stairs in TF2 using the command r_drawclipbrushes 1.

Forgive my uselessness, but I am not quite sure how I would implement that? Would it be a simple visible brush? Or invisible brush? And with what settings?

@Kromano

Many thanks man! I will definitely have to look up those dev console commands. Most helpful everyone! :)

@Swizzle

Sorry for the family tradgedy :(

Ziggurat
12-07-2007, 06:49 PM
Forgive my uselessness, but I am not quite sure how I would implement that? Would it be a simple visible brush? Or invisible brush? And with what settings?


Just make a brush in the shape of a ramp from the top of the stairs to the bottom with material "tools/toolsclip". This will block players as well as projectiles. If they are stairs that are open with gaps between them (like the wooden stairs in 2fort for example) then use "tools/toolsplayerclip" which will allow projectiles through the gaps.

kromano
12-07-2007, 06:58 PM
I will have to go back and investigate if it's changed, but clip never blocked projectiles when I was working on a map for CS: S. Grenades would still pass through areas blocked off by clip brushes, playerclip didn't seem to provide any different functionality.

I imagine that was the intended design of the different clip brushes, but it just never worked like that in my experience. I believe what it used to be was Clip brushes would block players and NPCs, playerclip would only block players, NPCs could still pass through.

Geta-Ve
12-07-2007, 06:59 PM
Ah! Thank you very much!!

Swizzle
12-07-2007, 09:14 PM
I know that there are a few different types of clip brushes, though the only two that spring to mind at the moment are the player clip and NPC clip ones. If I understand correctly, player clip only blocks the player from entering an area but lets all projectiles through and NPC clip is for AI NPCs like the resistance fighters in HL2.

Also:

I'm going to have the next version of the map available for download in a few hours. Have to do some adjustments to the intel rooms so people don't get stuck and stuff, possibly sew up the caves and make them playable if I have time, and tweak a few things in the canyon and it'll be ready for the next test.

Geta-Ve
12-07-2007, 09:44 PM
Yes! Been waiting :) The clip brush I used was the tools/toolsclip (standard im guessing?) I tried out the other playerclip brush but it didn't seem to make a difference (projectiles and such went through both)

Swizzle
12-08-2007, 02:00 AM
Well, hell.

I thought I was going to have the updated map ready for tonight's match and it's been compiling for a half hour now. Something is terribly amiss.

kromano
12-08-2007, 05:14 AM
Remember when I was complaining about my vis compile times being over an hour? I managed to reduce them by over 30 minutes by finding and removing a number of intersecting, non-entity brushes.

Check out your new bases and look for brushes that intersect each other, could make a huge difference in compile times.

Swizzle
12-08-2007, 07:39 AM
Remember when I was complaining about my vis compile times being over an hour? I managed to reduce them by over 30 minutes by finding and removing a number of intersecting, non-entity brushes.

Check out your new bases and look for brushes that intersect each other, could make a huge difference in compile times.I did add a good number of brushes before that last compile, so that's probably it. There were several non-planar faces and I could've screwed things up in vertex edit mode and made some funky intersections, so I'll see if that's what made the difference and report back.

EDIT:

I figured out what the problem was, and I have a suggestion for anybody reading this thread:

Don't go overboard with vertex manipulation in Hammer.

Turns out that vvis was having trouble figuring out where visportals or something along those lines should go because I had glass walls that were doing all sorts of funky things in the intel room. As a result of this, a redesign is in order.

*sigh*

Geta-Ve
12-09-2007, 04:31 AM
I did add a good number of brushes before that last compile, so that's probably it. There were several non-planar faces and I could've screwed things up in vertex edit mode and made some funky intersections, so I'll see if that's what made the difference and report back.

EDIT:

I figured out what the problem was, and I have a suggestion for anybody reading this thread:

Don't go overboard with vertex manipulation in Hammer.

Turns out that vvis was having trouble figuring out where visportals or something along those lines should go because I had glass walls that were doing all sorts of funky things in the intel room. As a result of this, a redesign is in order.

*sigh*

That is unfortunate dude. Perhaps using a different kind of wall? Or segregating the wall so you don't have to do too much vertex manipulations? Would love to see the problem area, might have some second opinions?

kromano
12-09-2007, 04:38 AM
Do a quick read on how visportals work and/or how to use the hint brush texture. Glass shouldn't cause many problems unless your brushes are either A) Concave, all brushes MUST be convex. Use multiple brushes to create a concave shape. Or B) You have two verticies on a horziontal line between two corners, as in +---------+---------+
Weld the third vertex to form a single line +---------------+

It might not hurt to turn your glass into func_detail entities, if they aren't already to see if that allieviates some problems.

Vertex manipulation in Hammer can be a cruel mistress at times. In most cases I generally just layer brushes up to make the shape I want rather than carving and vertex editing a single brush. The end result SHOULD be the same, but sometimes might result in strange brush cutting.

Kirt
12-21-2007, 05:34 AM
Any updates? I want to put your lastest version on the server for Friday night.

Swizzle
12-21-2007, 06:12 AM
No updates yet. I just finished my finals and also just got back from dealing with family stuff five hundred miles away from home, so things have been hectic.

I'll see if I can get something working by Friday, though.

Swizzle
12-30-2007, 02:44 AM
I've updated the map again:

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/download/38993

TF2player
01-05-2008, 06:29 PM
can TF2 levels only be designed in hammer? or how about Max?

kromano
01-05-2008, 08:40 PM
If I remember there used to be plugins for HL1 map building in 3ds Max however even if you COULD I would recommend against doing so.

The way quake-style engines compile maps would make map building in max a real pain. When I first learned Hammer for HL1, I learned it alongside 3ds Max and found the two to be similar enough that it was a pretty easy learning curve for me. You probably wouldn't have much difficulty in picking it up either.

Kirt
01-06-2008, 08:59 PM
Hey Swizzle, we were playing your map last night and found a bug. Sometimes the red team will spawn in the forward blue spawn room. This traps the player in there. You might want to check all your spawn point properties.

Swizzle
01-06-2008, 10:28 PM
Crap. I was worried something like that may happen again and I wouldn't catch it.

Animalator
01-12-2008, 09:13 AM
After playing your map during the CGtalk match last night I must say Im pleased with its progress. Although, I did prefer the original intel rooms you had designed. I understood the reasoning for changing it. They were too easy to defend I'm assuming?? I think once you get an alternate route that leads to the intel it should make it a lot harder.

If I remember correctly you also had 3 100hp health packs sitting close to the bases entrance/exists. It seems a little much for those areas. I think 1, maybe 2, would do the job. Just a suggestion.

There were also spawn problems last night again by the way, which I think you might already know about.

kromano
01-12-2008, 08:36 PM
I think there was consensus over the intel rooms last night in preference to the original design. I think you could do a good combo of both, though. Have your current sinister desk and vault, but behind the desk is overlooking the NASA room (as many put it).

I think we proved pretty adamantly that a pair of engineers (or even just one, probably) can effectively control that room as is (that is until they get bored of camping out). As I suggested in game a ceiling drop would be very useful in getting those campers out. A demoman could drop down some pellets of doom and flush them out. The room was too small for a single spy to really take anything out if an engineer was still hiding out there.

I'm really curious about the spawn problems that plague. You've got more than enough locations so that shouldn't be the issue. I've found that if you're short spawn locations for a player on one team, TF will put him onto the other team, regardless of which team it was set to be a spawn for.

Here's a suggestion, use the entity report menu option to bring up a list of every entity, filter it down to info_playerteamspawn and select them, entire teams at a time and set them to the appropriate team. Hoping that made sense, I have some reports to write (and it's only been the first class too).

Swizzle
01-12-2008, 10:00 PM
I've been trying to figure out the layout for the insides of the bases for a really long time and it's proving to be a nightmare. I really don't have much aptitude for industrial or architectural design, so that's part of why the insides of the bases have been weird. I'm definitely going to add a vent to the top of the intel rooms and I still need to get the caves done. Once I get those things in (along with some other tweaks), the intel rooms should be better balanced. I'm also going to add background scenery like the big control room, but it needs to play well before I do that.

I figured out the spawn point issues as soon as I heard about them. I apparently had two spawn points set to red insead of blue and that was the problem.

Here's a paintover of the front of the bases for the next iteration:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2305/2187775997_47cec414cd.jpg

Auctane
01-12-2008, 10:23 PM
Looks nice man! I havent had time on Fridays to play your map, hopefully tonight. I like how you have the mine cart tracks on the path.

Are you going to try and squeeze some ICBM's in there?

kromano
01-12-2008, 11:07 PM
Swizzle I really dig the concept painting of the exterior, especially the high-up bridges and the train tracks.

Interiors can be a lot of fun or a huuuuge pain in the ass. I stink at planning things out before jumping into them (and yet they often somehow work, i.e escherhaus) but what I've found that seems to work for me is to come up with a concept for a single room, some aspect that simply must be included and build the rest of the design from there.

Construct your intel room and then figure out the rest of the base after that if you can't get anything down on paper. I really liked the new wood texturing to the interiors, but I found the new layout very confusing, I think there might exist a happy medium between what you had in version 3 and what you have in version 4.

Kirt
01-13-2008, 08:03 AM
Swizzle, we need an update! Had fun playing the map tonight, but Red has a disadvantage until you can fix that spawn point problem. This was the first time I played it with more than 4 players. It was fun.

Love your concept drawing above. Are those tracks and high house going to be accessable?

Keep 'em coming! :thumbsup:

Swizzle
01-13-2008, 09:08 AM
Auctane:
I'm going to end up squeezing a lot of background scenery in there eventually, but first I have to make sure it plays nicely.

kromano:
That's some really great advice, and I think you may've just helped me through a huge problem I've been having with the bases.

Kirt:
I'll have a new build of the map with fixed spawns online very soon. I'll post a link in this thread and the General Discussion forum thread as soon as I get it done.


Okay, I've just made a major decision that's going to change the entire feel of the bases and, possibly, the entire map. With kromano's tip about figuring out something I just have to include, along with taking another look at that sketch I posted, I'm going to be doing some huge changes.
First off, the bases are going to be mostly outdoor affairs. See that barn in the background? That's going to be the intel room. All those bridges and tracks way up there are going to be functional instead of just for looks like I'd originally intended.

I just gave myself a ton of work to do, but I think it'll be to the general benefit of the level; I suck at doing interiors and this is the first time I've been excited about doing the bases.

Swizzle
01-13-2008, 09:15 AM
Here's a download link to the fixed version of HappyValley:

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/download/38993

The spawn points have been fixed so no more people should be spawning in the wrong base.

Animalator
01-18-2008, 06:30 PM
How's the map redesign coming along Swizzle? Haven't seen any updates in a while.

Swizzle
01-18-2008, 07:36 PM
The redesign's coming along okay, but I haven't actually done much in Hammer since I last posted. I have a few promising sketches, though I've been too busy preparing for Dominance War 3 to get much done. I'm trying to figure out a good normal mapping workflow and I'm still working on really learning how to combine textures with normal maps for best effect. I've also been trying to import models and textures into Source, but I've not been having much luck.

kromano
01-18-2008, 08:45 PM
The redesign's coming along okay, but I haven't actually done much in Hammer since I last posted. I have a few promising sketches, though I've been too busy preparing for Dominance War 3 to get much done. I'm trying to figure out a good normal mapping workflow and I'm still working on really learning how to combine textures with normal maps for best effect. I've also been trying to import models and textures into Source, but I've not been having much luck.

Importing models and textures to source was a pain until you learn the process. If you want, PM me and I'll send you a package of all the models and textures I built for de_kneedeep (probably not all, there's a few hundred MB in TGAs floating in there). Some good tips for you on compiling textures and models (ignoring QC programming)

- use the sourcesdk_content folder and the mod name, ie sourcesdk_content/tf/materialsrc
- create new folders to separate your work from the valve defaults sourcesdk_content/tf/materialsrc/swizzle
- create a new explorer shell command for VTex
> Open an explorer window, go to tools folder options
> Open File Types tab, find TGA and click ADVANCED
> Click NEW, give Action a name (Such as VTEX or TGA to VMT, or was it VTF?)
> Point Application used to Perform Action to sourcesdk\bin\orangebox\bin\vtex.exe and append "%1" -nop4 -mkdir to the end, -mkdir will create a folder if it doesn't already exist. By default VTex will just fail if the folder doesn't exist.
- You can use a simliar process for compiling your model QCs, but by default StudioMDL doesn't pause when it finishes so you can't read errors. I wrote a batch file to do the compiles for me with PAUSE at the end of the script so I can read any error messages.

Kirt
01-20-2008, 07:45 AM
Here's a download link to the fixed version of HappyValley:

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/download/38993

The spawn points have been fixed so no more people should be spawning in the wrong base.
File not found. PM me a link so I can get the most recent version please. Thanks Swizzle!

ScudzAlmighty
01-20-2008, 11:02 PM
First off, let me just say i think you're doing awesome job so far!, can't wait to see the changes.

secondly, i don't suppose there's a chance in high-holy-hell there'll be a way to get this onto my 360 since i stupidly bought that version instead of pc and best buy won't take it back?

Swizzle
01-28-2008, 12:03 AM
So I've been kinda slow to update this. Sue me. :p

Working on the intel rooms:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2130/2223887999_73175f01d7_o.jpg

The intel's hard to see in that picture, but it's over by the computers on the cart. The upper area with the windows and that area behind the glass door are inaccessible, but I felt the room needed a little more depth and story. If you've played the latest version, then you should be able to figure out where I'm standing in the room.

Still working on the lighting. As you can see, most everything except this room is dark. I'm going through and completely revamping everything so it looks better. It's taking a long time, though the compile times are mercifully short. If I just compile the base, it takes less than a minute right now.

As for my other big plans? They're on hold; there were too many good ideas to put into one map. I'm going to try to make this one the best I can and then do different stuff on another map.

iSOBigD
01-29-2008, 10:19 PM
Well it's looking good so far. I haven't played it yet but it looks good and I like the little inaccessible areas. This isn't a very demanding game so if you can put more detail around without affecting the gameplay, go for it.

I'd suggest maybe just going into Photoshop and playing around with the colors, levels and lighting to save yourself some time and then just work on the actual level once you know exactly how you want it to look.

Swizzle
01-29-2008, 11:50 PM
iSOBigD:
I've actually done a few paintovers to help me get my bearings and it's definitely helped. In fact, I did one earlier today to help me figure out what the background scenery in the screenshot below would look like. Luckily, I've been able to do tests in near real-time because my compile times are extremely short. Compiling what you see here takes in the neighborhood of one minute.

Anyway, here are some before and after comparisons as well as a shot of some background scenery:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2278/2229705798_5291525826_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2179/2228914591_8bcb44dc22_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2305/2228914625_57eaa45dc8_o.jpg

iSOBigD
01-31-2008, 12:28 AM
I like all the details you've put in although the parts you can actually run through look really dark on this monitor (at work). The ground looks just pure black. Maybe it's just me, but you could still brighten up the parts where people can go. This isn't the kind of game where you should camp and hide in the shadows so there's no point in making rooms very dark imo.

Swizzle
01-31-2008, 12:50 AM
I like all the details you've put in although the parts you can actually run through look really dark on this monitor (at work). The ground looks just pure black. Maybe it's just me, but you could still brighten up the parts where people can go. This isn't the kind of game where you should camp and hide in the shadows so there's no point in making rooms very dark imo.Hmm. The intel room is actually about as bright as the one in 2fort, though I do agree that it needs some brightening up everywhere. I'll crank up the brightness on the lights.

Shade01
01-31-2008, 01:56 AM
Looking good!

kromano
01-31-2008, 03:23 AM
Hmm. The intel room is actually about as bright as the one in 2fort, though I do agree that it needs some brightening up everywhere. I'll crank up the brightness on the lights.

Swizzle, I believe I've discovered the source of the "This map is too dark" complaint I hear quite often. I think both you and I run with HDR enabled when we check out the map which tends to oversaturate areas frequently. To us it looks great, to others using HDR it looks great, to those with HDR disabled it's too dark.

Run your map, but first switch to HDR disabled and then load it up, compare the light values between HDR and LDR. Some areas in my map looked fine under HDR but needed a lot of brightening up in LDR. Fortunately Hammer gives us the option to adjust the brightness of one light and leave the other intact.

Swizzle
02-01-2008, 01:53 AM
Shade01:
Thanks!

kromano:
I'm definitely going to be tweaking things for both HDR and LDR, but first I have to make things look decent in one before I switch to the other. Right now things are still a bit too dark in most areas no matter which -DR I choose.

More background scenery!

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2045/2233215039_cfd915529f_o.jpg

I really need to cut this area down; the first time I tried to compile with this new room attached, the compile was well over an hour. Compile times for me have never been an issue before, usually taking about a minute for the whole map, but this room's placement and size just completely borked things when it came time for vvis to do its job.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

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