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kromano
11-11-2007, 09:32 AM
I wonder if I could possibly fit any more acronyms into the title.
Much like Swizzle, I also have had a plan for a few maps for Team Fortress 2 CTF and (especially) Portal.

Unlike Swizzle, I haven't done any real advanced planning and am just kind of winging it as I go... back while I was still learning Hammer for HL2 I produced an Escher inspired map (in black and white) with twisted perspective. It was good fun but pretty sparse in detail. I hope to remedy this with ESCHERHAUSv2!

In essence, I am taking as many of Escher's works as I can find and combining them into a capture the flag map for Team Fortress (as if you hadn't guessed already). Each base is inspired from his work Ascending-Descending and the Waterfall, in between shall be a perspective warping mesh of passageways ala Relativity... together I hope to give at least one person as much motion sickness playing it as I had making the first.

I forgot to resize the images so here are a bunch of imageshack thumbnails of my current progress. Lots of work to be done, especially in lighting and decoration.

http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/7996/relativity0010qw8.th.jpg (http://img135.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0010qw8.jpg)http://img212.imageshack.us/img212/2060/relativity0009dn8.th.jpg (http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0009dn8.jpg)http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/8008/relativity0008jn1.th.jpg (http://img81.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0008jn1.jpg)http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/1076/relativity0007mk7.th.jpg (http://img88.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0007mk7.jpg)
http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/4025/relativity0003kg3.th.jpg (http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0003kg3.jpg)http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/6374/relativity0005qz4.th.jpg (http://img140.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0005qz4.jpg)http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/4541/relativity0006te7.th.jpg (http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0006te7.jpg)http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/3466/relativity0000za4.th.jpg (http://img81.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0000za4.jpg)

This is the Red Base constructed from http://www.meridian.net.au/Art/Artists/MCEscher/Gallery/Images/escher-ascending-and-descending-medium.jpg

psychojohno
11-11-2007, 11:39 PM
Hey!

It looks pretty good mate. I like the design of the building from the outside, very interesting indeed.

On the first inside shot i would suggest putting some trim between the walls and floor / ceiling. Whatís the story with running on the wall though?

I havenít played team fortress myself but i gather it is supposed to be cartoon style. I donít really get that impression from the textures but i could be completely wrong having not played it.

One other thing i would suggest is adding bushes and vines etc near and on the walls to liven it up a bit colourwise

Shade01
11-12-2007, 12:59 AM
One of the things that makes the maps that ship with TF2 so great is that retro spy/British/Warner Brothers style they have to them, and it all fits into a cohesive style thats fun to look at. This map, while not bad on it's own, totally doesn't feel like a TF2 map, and so far almost every user made map I've seen is guilty of abandoning the aesthetics that make TF2 so unique.

I think the concept of an Escher inspired level would be totally awesome if you could capture that zany spirit of the original maps in the execution.

kromano
11-12-2007, 02:01 AM
One of the things that makes the maps that ship with TF2 so great is that retro spy/British/Warner Brothers style they have to them, and it all fits into a cohesive style thats fun to look at. This map, while not bad on it's own, totally doesn't feel like a TF2 map, and so far almost every user made map I've seen is guilty of abandoning the aesthetics that make TF2 so unique.

I think the concept of an Escher inspired level would be totally awesome if you could capture that zany spirit of the original maps in the execution.

You make a very good point with the graphic style. I had trouble filtering their materials to only what was TF2 related, but after trying something so obviously simple (keywords) I can much more quickly search for appropriate TF2 materials.

My original plan was something more akin to my first Escher map, which really helped fuel the feeling of disorientation in the twisted hallways by making every object and texture inside the house black and white.

I've since abandoned this because I really don't feel like re-writing every material I use to adjust the shader into grayscale. I'll probably go back and try to change the bricks and overall texture application to more TF2 cartoony related.

psychojohno: If you're not sure what's up with walking on the walls, check out this url for a listing of Escher's works (http://www.meridian.net.au/Art/Artists/MCEscher/Gallery/)

Swizzle
11-12-2007, 02:05 AM
In essence, I am taking as many of Escher's works as I can find and combining them into a capture the flag map for Team Fortress (as if you hadn't guessed already). Oh, hell yes! I can't wait to play this.

kromano
11-13-2007, 05:42 AM
UPDATE! Now in COLOUR... sort of.

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/1324/relativity0017ez2.th.jpg (http://img209.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0017ez2.jpg)http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/7653/relativity0016ob4.th.jpg (http://img211.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0016ob4.jpg)http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/9585/relativity0015qo5.th.jpg (http://img208.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0015qo5.jpg)
http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/4729/relativity0014zo1.th.jpg (http://img130.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0014zo1.jpg)http://img115.imageshack.us/img115/9385/relativity0013ak5.th.jpg (http://img115.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0013ak5.jpg)http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/3926/relativity0012me7.th.jpg (http://img256.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0012me7.jpg)


I changed all the textures to more TF2 cartoon style and adjusted and expanded the house up to the rooftop. It'll take more than one rocket jump to reach the top where the flag/case is stored, so with a decent turret and some defense it shouldn't be too easy to hop in and run off, but that's what playtesting will help solve later.

The scout can't easily jump up to the top and must instead use the stairwell which may be too cramped and easily defended. I may have to adjust the paths later. In any event, please comment!

As an aside, I'm getting compiler errors when I try to use a TF2 skybox texture which leads to non-functional sky and/or reflections ingame (regardless of whether I do a cubemap rebuild). Any thoughts as to what may be going on there? No it's not a typo, I've tried multiple skyboxes and all report the same error.

I'm happy for the SDK release, but I can't wait for an update to fix these bugs and supply a few examples of how to do some of the crazier things in the game.

Ghostscape
11-13-2007, 06:08 AM
cubemaps are broken for TF2 at the moment.

kromano
11-15-2007, 02:53 AM
UPDATE! More Escherhaus!

I've gotten a good ammount of work done on one of the Red Team spawn rooms, I think I need to up the lighting a bit, it's a little too dark at the moment, but the concept is good.

http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/8469/relativity0025nm8.th.jpg (http://img211.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0025nm8.jpg)http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/1125/relativity0024mb8.th.jpg (http://img523.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0024mb8.jpg)http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/9828/relativity0023yz9.th.jpg (http://img526.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0023yz9.jpg)http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/2874/relativity0022tg7.th.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0022tg7.jpg)

http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/3065/relativity0021wo0.th.jpg (http://img264.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0021wo0.jpg)http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/2540/relativity0020zr6.th.jpg (http://img522.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0020zr6.jpg)http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/8784/relativity0019jx7.th.jpg (http://img520.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0019jx7.jpg)http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/1285/relativity0018vt3.th.jpg (http://img523.imageshack.us/my.php?image=relativity0018vt3.jpg)

With Swizzle's help I was able to change my skybox, I've no idea why I can't use most of the TF2 skys, but Hydro was functional so I'm going with it.

As for Cubemaps, they were fixed in the last SDK update but there are still bugs galore and constant crashes. I'm willing to write off half of them as my PC being too old, but the rest are just plain wierd.

I'm thinking of having some of Escher's more interesting work as props floating in the sky(box). I've also noticed that the lower texture for the Hydro skybox is just the roof texture again, so I may be adding some skylights to the floor of the Red Spawn... hopefully it'll work out.

Compile times have improved since I reduced the area you can travel around the house, just a little bit more "basement" to construct and it's time to move on to Blue Base and the path of interconnection between the two.

Swizzle
11-15-2007, 05:50 AM
Looking really nice, kromano. Seeing upside-down rooms is a really nice twist.

One thing I'd suggest is adding a slight tint to your lights; right now things are looking a little antiseptic because of the white lights, so changing them to very light warm color would make things feel a little more inviting.

kromano
11-15-2007, 06:39 AM
Thanks Swizzle, my favorite rooms to develop are the sideways rooms, if you do it right in a series it's a real mindf....bender. I can't count how many times I couldn't figure out which way my camera in Hammer was facing while constructing the sideways rooms. My mind just seemed to accept the upside down ones fairly easily.

I haven't decided on lighting yet, but I agree I should add a little warmth to the rooms. 99% of the current lighting is from the light_environment which was set to Valve's suggested settings... With the large ammount of white walls I think that HDR is over saturating the outdoors. I'll be playing with contrast to get a nice balance.

Valve appears to use fog controllers to give a slight red or blue hue when you're inside the appropriate base. I dunno if I want to include something like that to make the lighting have a little more colour to it. I'll probably replace some of the bare lightbulbs with something that looks like it'd have a little more warmth. I don't like how the shadows are falling behind the prop, either... Anyway, my next update will be when I've begun on Blue.

kromano
11-26-2007, 05:21 PM
An unfortunate doublepost but I wanted to update (Swizzle) on progress. Progress... Progress is slow. Exams at school and major projects have kept me from really doing anything to the map. Last night I decided to copy and modify Red Base into Blue Base, as the original Blue concept was not working. It lead to one base having many advantages over the other. After a (long) compile (48 minutes for VIS... I might have a serious problem someplace) I had some pretty severe lighting issues.

I don't have time to trace whether it was my PC causing problems or if it's a flaw in my map but until I figure it out. On top of which there are some pretty bad errors in entity naming that do awesome things like prevent the Blue Team from leaving their spawn zone and allowing the Red Team to enter.

In about two weeks, tops, I'll have time to seriously work on this again. At which time I will try to get some images and a playable map up for testing and critiquing.

Swizzle
11-26-2007, 06:54 PM
It's good to know that you're still working on this, kromano.

The issues with copying entities are easy to fix, but I'm curious as to what might be causing your long compile time. Try building a small box room with some of the same features as your map (lights, spawns, entities, sky) and compile it. If it doesn't take much time at all, it's probably your original file that's causing the issues and not VIS.

kromano
11-26-2007, 10:14 PM
I'm fairly certain it's due to the flow/layout of the map, it's fairly open and has the potential for a lot of Portal Flow (I'm talking visportals, not Portal portals). I really hate closing in Displacements, especially when there's visportals to consider. I might go back in and reconstruct all my nodraws behind the displacements, they're probably causing a lot of unnecessary carves into the visplane.


Speaking of entities, yeah, simple fix.. I just missed a few important ones. The major problem is the broken light I seem to be having now. There's a chance I may have duplicated the light_environment by mistake, or missed a critical error message in compile... Or maybe my video card was overheating due to too much overclocking.

If there are no replies after this message, I'll edit this post with screenshots when I get a chance to fix the map.

**EDIT, November 30,2007**
So I've put together enough of a map to be somewhat playable. It has no items or powerups and there are some flaws/problems in the center zone so it's not really multiplayer capable yet, HOWEVER it does have full spawns, restocking cabinets, the INTELLIGENCE to be stolen and a capture zone.

I don't know if it's the VIS compile times or what else but I'm really not satisfied with how this map has progressed. It doesn't have as much Escherness to it as I had originally envisioned, the base layout seems very easily exploited, the "flag" position doesn't feel right, the capture zone lacks feeling... In general I'm just not happy with it.

If anybody is willing to download this pre-release and run about, scanning for areas to improve maybe I can pull myself out of this slump.

Rapidshare : http://rapidshare.com/files/73445221/relativity.rar.html
I used rapidshare as I don't really want anybody in the general public to download and host this map on a server yet.

School has me feeling really tired and pretty stressed out, maybe things would be working better if I wasn't so distracted. Anybody who downloads please post your comments so I can try to improve.

Geta-Ve
12-07-2007, 06:55 PM
Hey kromano! I decided to play around with your map for a little bit and I have some comments and or suggestions if that is alright?

Firstly I really love the over all theme and design, original and seeing it for the first time is a mind bender. However with that being said there are some initial reactions I had, but be warned this is froma scouts perspective.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of things that I got stuck on, be it ledges, doorways, garbage cans, debris, wall corners and what not, I think a lot of it could be simplified or widened to allow more room to run around. This is especially noticable as a scout since he moves so fast.

The second thing I noticed was that the map SEEMED (to me) to be overly complicated when it doesn't need to be. But this could be due to lack of direction (intel signs and what not). It also might be due to the lighting? I found some rooms to be insufficiently lit not allowing me to take in the details. One thing I have noticed about Valves maps is that they are extremely detailed, BUT! Only where it doesn't matter (so to speak) I recently took a good half hour and walked around 2fort taking in all the details and was blown away by what I saw. Things you conciously miss when playing an actual game.

Things that your brain does notice but only for reasons of association. Like a lot of the extra rooms that you can't get to in many of the 2fort areas, they aren't important for the player when moving about, but take them out and where you are would look totally different.

Hmm, not quite sure I am making sense. What I mean is you can still have the detail you want but perhaps let it be in places that the player doesn't have to go? The rafters in 2fort (if you look up) have massive amounts of detail, but it is there for association, it is unimportant but it helps you memorize the locations.

Mainly disregarding most of what I said the big changes I would make is adding directions (arrow, intel, etc signs), warmer lighting overall, and take out the debris and broken bits of your map, I personally feel they bring the overall value down.

And with all THAT being said, I really do dig your map and I hope you continue to work on it. :) Don't get stressed bro!!

Kirt
12-07-2007, 11:44 PM
I was just looking around your map also and pretty much have come to the same conclusions as Geta-Ve. The rooms seem cramped which is a deterant to the faster classes. There's too much within the building (too many hallways, stairs, what-nots) which makes it confusing. I suppose confusion is a good thing when dealing with Escher inspired things ... but in this case I think it's just a bit too much.

Also, remove about 75% of your health and ammo pickups. It looks like you are building an engineer's wet dream and/or don't want to give reasons to utilize the support classes (or trips back to resupply rooms).

I also got a wierd "skating" effect when trying to jump up to the rafters on the center portion of the map. Some of those boxes are props right? Use clip brushes over them. I don't know why the engine does this and have seen it happen on other maps, but it is something that seems broken or not functioning as intended. Whatever is causing it, it makes it more difficult to jump up there and can be fixed with the clip brush.

Edit ... I should also say that I think your map idea is awesome. Can't wait to see this one finished.

Geta-Ve
12-08-2007, 12:57 AM
I was also thinking that to keep the integrety of your map you could eliminate about 50% of the accessable rooms and move them in to inaccessable areas. Viewing them through windows, doors, blocked off hallways etc. Where you can still see these escherhaus designs but they wont affect the overall gameplay aspects as much.

Just some ideas to play around with. Though I'd say, given the amount of work already put in to start from scratch. I can only imagine how mind boggling it would be to edit those brushes in the state they are currently in :D

You definitely have great eye for detail however it feels like you are still in the hl2 mindset. TF2 I find requires much bigger open enviros to move freely.

Kirt
12-08-2007, 05:08 AM
I wonder if you could construct an Ames room (http://psylux.psych.tu-dresden.de/i1/kaw/diverses%20Material/www.illusionworks.com/html/ames_room.html) in Hammer. This might be an interesting addition to your Escherhaus map. Especially if you could have players run through the room while others may look through a window or something at the other end.

Might be something to look into.

kromano
12-08-2007, 05:25 AM
I wonder if you could construct an Ames room (http://psylux.psych.tu-dresden.de/i1/kaw/diverses%20Material/www.illusionworks.com/html/ames_room.html) in Hammer. This might be an interesting addition to your Escherhaus map. Especially if you could have players run through the room while others may look through a window or something at the other end.

Might be something to look into.

I only WISH I could do something like that, I could probably fake it with some scaled down props and a deceptively constructed room, but not in any meaningful way.

@Geta-Ve: I think you've nailed just about every one of my beefs with the map that make me want to start construction over again.

The broken pillar on the front of each house wasn't always broken, I broke it because it was such a HUGE pain getting stuck on it all the time. There are definately other spots where that happens a lot, too. Most areas are such a pain that in order to rebuild them I'd need to rebuild most of the map, I think.

As for powerups, it's been soooo long since I've mapped for a game that required pickups that I totally don't know how to balance them anymore. I'll scale down the number of powerups by a lot, or reduce them to lesser versions of themselves.

Geta, you did some awesome paintovers for Swizzles maps, would you mind painting over a few spots you figure need adjustments on my map?

Also, I just want to make sure you were trying the version of the map I posted in the general discussion TF2 thread and not the link here (which I should edit out...). The linked version in this thread is old, missing many guidance signs and the lighting was terrible.

I'm going to start expanding on a few areas, I'll lose some Escher accuracy, but hopefully gain some mobility in the cramped zones.

Geta-Ve
12-08-2007, 04:17 PM
Well, I have come back from the MP edition of your map Kromano and I have to say it plays A LOT better with more people (and with guide signs :D ) But there is still a sense of smallness to it. One thing I was thinking about when running through the map with everyone and getting caught on corners was clipping planes. It would probably add a whole lot more smoothness to the experience if you went over your map with clipping planes. e.g. fences, stairs, entrance to the sideways room, entrance to the vents, rubble on the ground. Go in to 2fort and look at all the clipping they used in there, insane! But I do think this may alleviate many of your problems.

As for the paintover, I shall have a look and see what I come up with, not promising anything great but we shall see ^_^

But again I have to say it was a total blast, you should have heard the reactions when people stepped in to the sideways room and the upsidedown room, they were blown away! It was awesome.

Geta-Ve
12-08-2007, 04:20 PM
I wonder if you could construct an Ames room (http://psylux.psych.tu-dresden.de/i1/kaw/diverses%20Material/www.illusionworks.com/html/ames_room.html) in Hammer. This might be an interesting addition to your Escherhaus map. Especially if you could have players run through the room while others may look through a window or something at the other end.

Might be something to look into.

That could actually technically work if you place the windows exactly right.. And even if you couldn't get it playable would be one of those great 'on the other side of the fence' things that could be added.

kromano
12-09-2007, 01:03 AM
I found the fence out front was a pain, but didn't get to clipping it at the time of that release. I have since adjusted that. I've also removed a pillar from the front to open the space up a little more, I'm still considering how to adjust the stairs so you don't go cruising right into the alcove undeneath everytime you run into the room. I was VERY disappointed when I found out that TF2 doesn't do ladders. That would have made my space issue SO much cleaner.

What if I rebuilt some of the staircases as a pair of quick moving elevators?
No... no, I already hate that idea.

NO LADDERS! ARGH!

I'm cleaning up the blue base until I'm happy with the flow, then I'll duplicate the design into red base. I just hope I don't miss any important details.

Geta-Ve
12-09-2007, 04:36 AM
I found the fence out front was a pain, but didn't get to clipping it at the time of that release. I have since adjusted that. I've also removed a pillar from the front to open the space up a little more, I'm still considering how to adjust the stairs so you don't go cruising right into the alcove undeneath everytime you run into the room. I was VERY disappointed when I found out that TF2 doesn't do ladders. That would have made my space issue SO much cleaner.

What if I rebuilt some of the staircases as a pair of quick moving elevators?
No... no, I already hate that idea.

NO LADDERS! ARGH!

I'm cleaning up the blue base until I'm happy with the flow, then I'll duplicate the design into red base. I just hope I don't miss any important details.

I think it is actually a smart thing to get rid of the use of ladders as I believe they would slow the whole game down. TF2 relies of fast movement and fast paced action so to speak. Not a lot of downtime. I have a few ideas that I will draw up later, perhaps in a few days as I won't be home till around wednesday I think. Gotta go to the girlfriends for some "quality time".

Man, women are such a strange breed. :D

kromano
12-10-2007, 01:33 AM
And here we have, presented for your brief enjoyment, updated/cleaned out layout for Blue Base (http://rapidshare.com/files/75503583/blue_base.rar.html) << Download!

The BSP is a cordoned off section of the map including only the modified blue base. There have been other changes but I won't really show them off until the next playtest release.

Don't spawn on the Red Team or you'll end up stuck (or just noclip out).

I'm trying to open up the layout a bit more so there's less chance of getting hung up on corners and confusing arches. It still portrays the essence of "Ascending and Descending" while being a little more TF2 compliant.

PICTURES!
http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/4921/bluebase0005pp9.th.jpg (http://img220.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0005pp9.jpg)http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/4374/bluebase0004cl4.th.jpg (http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0004cl4.jpg)http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/765/bluebase0003ac8.th.jpg (http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0003ac8.jpg)
http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/5600/bluebase0002lz0.th.jpg (http://img519.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0002lz0.jpg)http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/6805/bluebase0001qp9.th.jpg (http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0001qp9.jpg)http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/8835/bluebase0000bk8.th.jpg (http://img155.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bluebase0000bk8.jpg)

Swizzle
12-10-2007, 06:47 AM
Looking really nice, kromano.

I like that the front of the base looks cleaner than it did before; having a broken pillar and stuff added visual noise that just didn't lend itself to a multiplayer game like this. The lighting also looks pretty sweet.

I wonder, though, if you might be able to incorporate the design of the terrain a little better with the design of the bases. I'm not exactly sure how you'd do itóperhaps with inaccessible paths or different texturingóbut I think this whole thing might look a bit better if the cliffs and the bases look like they are really part of each other.

kromano
12-13-2007, 09:29 PM
@Swizzle, I totally agree with you there but I oooooooh-so-hate displacements. It was enough of a pain to get the cliffs to work as is (and they're part of the reason why I wanted to scrap this map earlier and start over again).

I think having some better paths between bases that were accessable from terrain in the middle would be a much better solution, such as the two small caves on the sides put onto the other side and made higher up so that they put you where the broken railing is on the right side of the upper level of the front of the base (I wonder if I can fit in more location description there).

However I don't think I'm going to end up doing that at this point, it would more-or-less require that I delete half the map, rebuild the other half then copy/rotate it again and fix all the texturing and prop placements. I have newfound respect for the designers at Valve who built the Antlion-caves, it takes a great deal of patience to make displacements work for you like that.

I think next time I'll try to work out concept sketches to link the whole design together before I start whilly-nilly pumping out brushes, ought to help my workflow a lot and also make for more interesting layouts and design.

Now, as an aside (and the real reason I'm opened this up to post... I was never updated that Swizzle had replied, silly email reminders, but what a nice surprise) I mucked around with cubemaps and some other details and reduced the filesize of my map to 46MB from 78MB uncompressed. I still haven't seen a change in detail with the reduced image size and number of the cubemaps, so I'm really wondering if they're working at all in TF2.

Download link!
http://rapidshare.com/files/76374773/ctf_escherhausBeta2.rar.html

RockinAkin
12-13-2007, 11:01 PM
W00t! awesome - cant wait to try it out this friday. ;) :thumbsup:

Kirt
12-21-2007, 05:33 AM
Any updates? I want to put your lastest version on the server for Friday night.

kromano
12-21-2007, 08:41 PM
Oh ho ho, there are updates, updates indeed. I've rebuilt a good portion of the map, but I'll have to redo item placement again, and cubemaps and soundscapes. Hopefully I can have the items placed early enough today to upload.

I'll get back here when I've uploaded something new, otherwise it's last week's version. I can figure out what's not working right in the bases from the "old" version since they're roughly the same as before.

Okay, enough rambling.

kromano
12-23-2007, 05:20 AM
I really hate double posting, but I think this update would be completely missed if I didn't. New version uploaded for testing on Rapidshare, hopefully soon to be mirrored by VanillaChicken being the upstanding young fellow that he is.

http://rapidshare.com/files/78462329/ctf_escherhausBeta3.rar.html

The cave layout has been rebuilt, new 3d skybox, minor changes to the bases focused mainly at the Intel location so that the suitcase makes more sense as well as the drop point has been moved to the same location as the intel like in 2fort. Having the return zone in a difficult spot was confusing, especially when I didn't really have it super clearly marked. You had to be standing on top of it to understand where to take the intel to cap.

I welcome suggestions and comments for gameplay, balance as well as overall style.

*EDIT* Screenshots!
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/2629/ctfescherhausbeta30004xk1.th.jpg (http://img341.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30004xk1.jpg)http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/1936/ctfescherhausbeta30002ao0.th.jpg (http://img174.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30002ao0.jpg)http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/6285/ctfescherhausbeta30016jm9.th.jpg (http://img150.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30016jm9.jpg)
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/5929/ctfescherhausbeta30021ey8.th.jpg (http://img341.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30021ey8.jpg)http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/5440/ctfescherhausbeta30020ru6.th.jpg (http://img337.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30020ru6.jpg)http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/5844/ctfescherhausbeta30006wd3.th.jpg (http://img411.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30006wd3.jpg)
http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/1043/ctfescherhausbeta30012yr1.th.jpg (http://img148.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30012yr1.jpg)http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/4011/ctfescherhausbeta30008gr0.th.jpg (http://img299.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta30008gr0.jpg)http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/546/kirtislookinggoodfn5.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kirtislookinggoodfn5.jpg)

Partial examples of the new design while engaging in drunken brawls and fisticuffs.

Kirt
01-06-2008, 09:12 PM
I wish we'd have a full server to faithfully test this map. It looks great though. It seems like it would play well, but with only 3 or 4 players it's hard to judge.

There are only a few things that I can suggest right now. First, anywhere where you have two ammo or health packs placed next to each other ... dump one. Like at the top of the spiral stairs you have double health packs. Behind the crates near the dump trucks, double again. This is overkill if you ask me. You should have a dead area where there are no helpers. Make the players work for the area and use the Medic or Engineer's dispenser. That's one of their purposes.

Secondly, the stair ramps up to the center portion of the map could loose the hand rails. Make the stair/ramp wider or just dump the retaining walls on these. It's an easy place to get stuck on and I don't see a reason why you'd want to choke point this area for the players.

Kirt
01-10-2008, 11:58 PM
I have made the changes as you suggested and widened the stairways a bit. The trouble is they're a prop, so I don't have much control over them aside from position. Hopefully doubling them up won't make it look too ugly. I'm going to have to make some changes to the platform near the rock spires, players can fall off and get stuck currently.Actually I wasn't referring to the model stairs but the railing parts that (I believe) you've created with brushes. See image below.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a294/kirtstanke/escherhaus_fix01.jpg

These rails are what I'm getting hung up on. Double the width of the stairs like you said, but instead of the rails on the stairs, just leave it open. Here's an idea of what I'm thinking.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a294/kirtstanke/escherhaus_fix02.jpg

I would even consider widening the platforms a bit (which I haven't shown here). Not a neccesity, but it may be helpful to allow a bit of dodging room on these platforms. The mock up wooden platforms are designed to fit the Red base. I'd make the platforms solid to ground level (not wood platforms) for Blue base (keeping consistent with Valve's work).

You might also consider hanging a few lamps in certain areas of the caves so you have better lighting. As you can see in my screenshots, it's a little on the dark side (or maybe my gamma is way off?).

kromano
01-11-2008, 02:02 AM
Indeed, I understood about the railings you meant... It was a silly idea when I looked at it again. I've made changes to the platforms which also change their usefulness as well... before they were kind of single purpose, but there's an extended platform that will serve as a (probably too) useful sniping plateau.

But I wonder about the wood, I liked your railings and giving them crazy angles would add to the cartoony feel, but I don't think I can pull that off without making a prop for the rail, which I really don't feel like doing.

And more lamps you figure? I'll have to look around and see where I can put some in, or maybe just tweak the current lights to be brighter however your screenshots don't look too dark to me. Then again, we may just have different opinions on what is too dark.

Kirt
01-11-2008, 02:38 AM
Well, they're only crooked because I rushed the paintover. But they did come out nicer than straight rails probably would have. You can easily make those rails out of standard brushes and then convert the whole thing to func_detail. That will keep the map load minimal.

The flat ramps should be steps as well (but you probably already knew that).

The lighting may be my end. The Pyro's hands in those images are near sillouette from my point of view. However, in Valve's maps all areas have a pretty even light that allow you to see the character's colors (red/blue) easily. It was just a thought.

Plus ... as I said earlier, we haven't had enough people on to adequately test this yet. Hopefully, that changes this weekend. I think you have something truly awesome here and can't wait to see the props you're going to get when you release it to the public. I think people are going to be falling over themselves to play this map. Yeah, it's that good. :thumbsup:

kromano
01-11-2008, 04:57 AM
Bwa ha ha you flatter me so.

Beta4 is ready for the masses. Yes, that means all 4 of us! Soundscapes are in, but kind of buggy. I'll probably change them again. I finally got the intro camera and death camera viewpoints to work, no more strange half-clip view of the map when you die or join the map.

Tweaked middle portion, slightly adjusted lighting in other portions of the map. Still not much correction to lighting inside the cave yet, that's on the todo list. Compile time is back upwards of an hour so making minor changes, especially lighting, gets finiky. I guess I could start cordoning off the map to test sections at a time but... well I can't think of a good excuse not to.

As for wood rails and struts, I can build them from brushes but world brushes can't get thin enough to make for really interesting and not "fake" looking railings, especially if I were to make each post uniquely crooked. I've already got 10 degenerative faces I can't hunt down (which would probably improve compile times if I could just find them).

In 3 and a half minutes I'll be able to paste the download link here, not that it will make any difference to you reading this since it'll seem like it all happened at once... but I need something to do while this file uploads. VanillaChicken isn't online for me to get him to upload this version to his server yet so it's Rapidshare again. I'm sure he'll snap this up and get it on his server quickly, like he has done in the past.

*thumbtwiddle*

"I wasn't sure if he could recreate the experience of actually knowing him... but this comes pretty close."

90 seconds remaining.

"NORM!"

"What colour is the sky in your world?"

I think I might make an underwater map next if water viewed from the side has been fixed... This is completely unrelated and unispired from Bioshock, my PC can't even run the game.

Download Link! (http://rapidshare.com/files/82876775/ctf_escherhausBeta4.rar.html) 13MB

I really hope to see at least a 5 on 5 game tomorrow, as usual leave crits and comments so I might better my work for you all to enjoy.

Kirt
01-11-2008, 05:06 AM
Maybe a custom texture for the rail then? See that support beam in the upper left of my images? You could do something like that with the rails which wouldn't look too horrible. I think many of the rails in CS:S were done this way.

Downloading the new version and putting it on the server ...

Zealotlee
01-12-2008, 04:29 PM
I really like the underwater level idea. Or, try this on for size. Have a RED oil rig and a BLU oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. Underneath each rig is an underwater base where the intel is stored. It fits more with the industrial theme of TF2.

Waz
01-12-2008, 05:09 PM
Map is looking good and playing pretty good. 2 things would be the missing texture and the overall lighting of the map. Even with the correct texture judging by where the pink was I think you could dress up the surrounding area more so it isnít so bland. And overall the map is too dark, especially in the middle; you canít even see where you can go or who is coming at you. Valveís maps are pretty evenly lit through the whole map.

kromano
01-12-2008, 08:28 PM
I really like the underwater level idea. Or, try this on for size. Have a RED oil rig and a BLU oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. Underneath each rig is an underwater base where the intel is stored. It fits more with the industrial theme of TF2.

The water shader only functions when you're looking down on it from above and not from any other angle, which totally stinks. I can't have, say, a glass ceiling in an underwater base and have it looking up at the water. I thought about using a series of cameras and monitors, but valve removed the point_camera entity from TF2 (just like the missing ladders!) so I can't have TV screens acting as windows either. I'll just have to keep brain storming. However oilrig spawns and underwater flag rooms is a pretty cool idea. Too many stairs thanks to missing ladders and elevators are fairly easily exploited. I'm working on an elevator concept in another map with two elevators that alternate so when one is at the top, the other is at the bottom.


Map is looking good and playing pretty good. 2 things would be the missing texture and the overall lighting of the map. Even with the correct texture judging by where the pink was I think you could dress up the surrounding area more so it isnít so bland. And overall the map is too dark, especially in the middle; you canít even see where you can go or who is coming at you. Valveís maps are pretty evenly lit through the whole map.

I'm really beginning to think that my monitor gamma is higher than most or something, because I really honestly don't have that problem. I agree that the middle is still far too dark in many areas (which has been addressed in most places and I'll get some opinions to button it up in the rest) but would you consider the bases to be too dark also? I do enjoy some dynamic shadows in areas. I don't want the whole map to be bathed from some omnipotent superlight that bares ill-will to all shadows in general.

As for dressing up the mountains(missing texture) I think you're probably right. Some shrubs and bushes would certainly be nice, but the way most of the foliage props were constructed they lack collision meshes. I don't like using props that should deflect a grenade or a player and don't, even if the chance a grenade or player will hit them is slim to none. It's about consistency of a game world, if it's expected a collision will occur, then one should. There's no decent way to fake that with world geometry in the engine. And sadly, no vine textures to apply to the walls either. I promise I will find a way to liven things up a little more, maybe some bunkers halfway up the cliff or some sort of structure for appearance. I'll figure something out. I would admit that I've felt this map is very plain outside of some rooms.


@Kirt, were the new platforms something along what you were expecting? Do they meet your seal of approval? After my headshotting of Wyatt-Harris from the new extended-to-prevent-getting-stuck-when-falling platform I'm pretty happy with them.

Kirt
01-12-2008, 08:40 PM
I was on briefly last night to resolve the server stuck in a SD round. But I didn't get a chance to play the new version yet. I'll take a look at it tonight with the Saturday players.

kromano
01-12-2008, 09:03 PM
In that case, Kirt, please make sure you use this new version of the map. I forgot to include the texture for the mountains in Beta4 so I had to put together this Beta4_1 with the missing information... for some reason this bloated the filesize by 4mb, but it's out of my hands. It still compresses nicely.

ctf_escherhausBeta4_1 (http://rapidshare.com/files/83308192/ctf_escherhausBeta4_1.rar.html)

The final release should likely be the smallest of all the map releases, I think the filesize bloats from cubemaps going crazy.

Kirt
01-13-2008, 07:59 AM
Very nice! :thumbsup:

Perfect ramps now, I can run up and down with great ease. I see you took out a lot of the pick-ups as well. It's nearly perfect. But ... I have another suggestion.

The stairs in the front of the houses that run up to the left (if you're looking at the front of the house). I think you should either remove the edge so you can run off the steps at any point without having to jump. Or add a clip so that the feet are above the edge, so you can run off the steps at any point without having to jump. :D

Yeah, I know. I have problems going up and down stairs.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the map. I think it played pretty well (from a Pyro's perspective).

kromano
01-13-2008, 08:39 AM
Very nice! :thumbsup:

Perfect ramps now, I can run up and down with great ease. I see you took out a lot of the pick-ups as well. It's nearly perfect. But ... I have another suggestion.

The stairs in the front of the houses that run up to the left (if you're looking at the front of the house). I think you should either remove the edge so you can run off the steps at any point without having to jump. Or add a clip so that the feet are above the edge, so you can run off the steps at any point without having to jump. :D

Yeah, I know. I have problems going up and down stairs.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the map. I think it played pretty well (from a Pyro's perspective).

Oh poor poor Kirt, always stumblin' around in the dark up and down those stairs at all hours of the night. I'm not sure if I agree, it may make gameplay different but I starts to feel like I'm "building a level" and not so much an environment that "could exist" (albeit unlikely).

I'll experiment, maybe lower the railing slightly so it's easier to jump over but stairs in a house should have a railing. Even a house as twisted as mine. I also hate clips that make you "float" higher, it just looks strange if you're watching somebody do this on a map.

I've removed some more pickups as well, I found the healthpack in the hut at the rooftops was making it rather annoying to kill anybody in there, it's too close to intel and you don't want people to keep refreshingso you can never make the grab.

If people had problems with the way we had the turret and demoman protecting the rooftop, then people need to realize that there are alternatives to getting to the top than the stairs. These require you to think marginally outside the box. Demomen and Soldiers can rocket jump from two sides of the roof. One of which allows the soldier to swoop in and out completely avoiding any sentries protecting the door.

In fact, the ability for a soldier to do this might be so easy to grab intel I might have to adjust for it once enough people catch on and start trying it. However the long distances between bases allows for plenty of opportunity to subdue the interloper and protect the goods.

Animalator
01-18-2008, 06:22 PM
"If people had problems with the way we had the turret and demoman protecting the rooftop, then people need to realize that there are alternatives to getting to the top than the stairs. These require you to think marginally outside the box. Demomen and Soldiers can rocket jump from two sides of the roof. One of which allows the soldier to swoop in and out completely avoiding any sentries protecting the door.

In fact, the ability for a soldier to do this might be so easy to grab intel I might have to adjust for it once enough people catch on and start trying it. However the long distances between bases allows for plenty of opportunity to subdue the interloper and protect the goods."



I was really hoping you wouldn't mention that. Even though I've played mostly as a demo man and a engineer on that map I've always known how easy it would be to rocket jump to that intel. I wanted to keep that to myself though. Ive seen demo men do it, but its a little bit harder for them.

kromano
01-18-2008, 08:51 PM
"If people had problems with the way we had the turret and demoman protecting the rooftop, then people need to realize that there are alternatives to getting to the top than the stairs. These require you to think marginally outside the box. Demomen and Soldiers can rocket jump from two sides of the roof. One of which allows the soldier to swoop in and out completely avoiding any sentries protecting the door.

In fact, the ability for a soldier to do this might be so easy to grab intel I might have to adjust for it once enough people catch on and start trying it. However the long distances between bases allows for plenty of opportunity to subdue the interloper and protect the goods."



I was really hoping you wouldn't mention that. Even though I've played mostly as a demo man and a engineer on that map I've always known how easy it would be to rocket jump to that intel. I wanted to keep that to myself though. Ive seen demo men do it, but its a little bit harder for them.

Reading you quote my comment makes me realize just how pompous I sounded writing it... I didn't mean to sound so arrogant :D.

I find it's my duty to mention as many potential flaws or exploits to have people take advantage of them so I can try to protect against it before the map goes public. While I'm at it, I want engineers to try everything possible to get on top of the roof of the stair cubby and build turrets. I've found that by standing on the railing, jumping and hitting the "build" button I can toss a turret up there. In order to upgrade it you have to time your jumps and swings so they connect. This may be a really stupid place to put a turret or it might be an extremely unfair place to put a turret. I'm going to work on preventing engineers from getting up there at all, if possible.

This worked in CS, it might work in TF2. Use somebody as a ladder, have them duck then jump on top of them, the ladder releases the crouch key while the climber jumps. When the ladder is standing, the climber should be able to hop onto the rooftop.

Considering this, I think I'll try rebuilding the roof into a peaked rooftop so nobody can stand up there.


My last thought for the day is I think I might put a few more barriers around the intel so that while it's still easy to rocket jump up, they can't do it directly beside the intel like I have done in the past.

Kirt
01-18-2008, 09:17 PM
These alternate routes certainly occurred to me. I think in an earlier version of your map, it was possible to get to the roof with a scout jumping up the rock placed behind the left side of the house. However, as a Pyro (my preferred class) I can only find one route to take. Which leads me to that choke point at the top of the spiral stairs.

This isn't a bad thing though, so don't take that as a suggestion to change it. It's fine. It actually helps to promote teamwork on the map. It just seemed as though everytime I got there, my team was elsewhere. So, I spent a lot of time in that doorway listening to the 'beep beep beep' of a sentry (and a certain paranoid Engineer telling everyone that there was a Pyro by the intel - heheheheh).

We should definately grief test this map though. We had fun playing it, but we need to find out if there are any areas that can be accessed that shouldn't be. And as far as I know ... I don't think that the player ladder is possible in TF2. I've never tried it though.

kromano
01-18-2008, 09:54 PM
It's true, our teamwork is a little lax at times, especially on custom maps since we're all trying to experiment and explore what's new and what you can get away with. With slightly larger teams and a little more coordination we can probably beat the hell out of that turret defense.

That said, the staircase room has been changed at the top. There are more openings which could work for or against attackers. I've thrown up a couple more panels around the intel, though not much. The rooftop is now peaked and clipped off to prevent exploiting that location for turrets, in fact there really isn't a super great place to build upstairs anymore, this might also be a good or bad thing.

Compile is around an hour and a half, so check back after two hours and beta 5 should be uploaded, unless there are some serious mistakes again (like doorways that were too short to walk through.... oops) Lots of cosmetic changes to be seen as well, including the much ballyhooed lighting upgrade. No more 40 watt bulbs, it's all 60 now, baby.

On the subject of lighting, the final lighting will be different but I completely forget how. VRAD compiles do more calculations when you add the -final parameter, so final compile will probably take a billion years, but it should look nicer. I just hope nicer isn't darker for you folks that are saying it's too dark already.

Kirt
01-18-2008, 10:06 PM
Cool. When it's ready just PM me a link. I'll throw it on the server and leave the previous version until I can verify that Vanilla has it on his space.

Animalator
01-18-2008, 10:25 PM
This isn't a bad thing though, so don't take that as a suggestion to change it. It's fine. It actually helps to promote teamwork on the map. It just seemed as though everytime I got there, my team was elsewhere. So, I spent a lot of time in that doorway listening to the 'beep beep beep' of a sentry (and a certain paranoid Engineer telling everyone that there was a Pyro by the intel - heheheheh).


That paranoid engineer would be me....I hate pyro's with a passion and do what needs to be done to get them away from me. Ill kill myself before I let a pyro kill me.

By the way Kromano, I don't think you came off as pompous or arrogant. I knew what you were saying.

kromano
01-19-2008, 01:26 AM
That paranoid engineer would be me....I hate pyro's with a passion and do what needs to be done to get them away from me. Ill kill myself before I let a pyro kill me.

By the way Kromano, I don't think you came off as pompous or arrogant. I knew what you were saying.

Haha thanks Animalator, I probably didn't but it sure can be taken that way.

Anyways, here's a BZ2 download link hosted by VanillaChicken
ctf_escherhausBeta5 (http://www.vanillachicken.com/tf2/tf/maps/ctf_escherhausBeta5.bsp.bz2)

If you can download from that site, then it should also be working as a direct download during the game as well. Still, it would be better for people to preload the map rather than rely on the server as it gets bogged down quickly.

BZ2 is automatically supported by the Source Engine while playing, but to decompress outside you'll need something like 7zip or the free bz2 command line utility.

TheNeverman
01-19-2008, 05:11 PM
Hey Kirt - is that a public TF2 server your running?
I'd love to try this one out online...

Kirt
01-19-2008, 07:12 PM
Hey Kirt - is that a public TF2 server your running?
I'd love to try this one out online...
It's private but you can find the server IP and password in the TF2 thread located in General Discussions.

Kirt
01-23-2008, 04:24 AM
Last Sunday I was running around as various classes looking for exploits in your map. Although I didn't find anything that would be game breaking, here are a few things I found that you may want to change. In the corners near the health packs located in the center cave, there is a hole in the ground along the wall. I think sewing or moving the displacement map on the ground should fix this. I tried really hard to get under the map here, but couldn't. This is purely a visual flaw. The mountain at the back of the houses (near the top of the spiral staircase) has a shelf that any player class can jump up to. The Engineer can easily get up there and place a sentry plus dispenser. Although it can be defeated by a Demoman on the ground near the wooden sign stuck in the lawn. There are places that you can jump to that I'm not sure if you intended and may need player clips. top of the tower above the intel spawn. You can actually jump up and hit the skybox ceiling from here. Center of the map has a power generator with large pipe going up to a natural sky light in the ceiling. I was able to come within 1 foot of getting out of the map up here but got caught on the pipe at the top. Just inside the cave entrances you can easily get up in the rafters. I actually think you should leave this because it's an interesting hiding spot for Soldiers and Demomen. Two small shelves in the cliff near the side tunnel entrance next to the houses. Another you can probably leave, but I thought you (and other sneaky Demo/Soldiers) might like to know about. There really isn't much challenge getting to the intel as a Soldier or Demoman. These two can really make short work of this map if there isn't proper defenses set up by the opposing team. Compared to the distance and time it takes for a Pyro or other ground based assault to arrive at the intel ... maybe another small tweek to protect or better place the intel. Just so that it takes a little bit longer for the Demo/Soldier to get there. Maybe pushing the intel to the back of the roof? I haven't found a use for the basement level as of yet. Although it looks neat with everything upsidedown, the need isn't there IMO. The ground level spawn is faster to get to, plus you have several health/ammo packs right there in the front as well. In front you have an upsidedown couch and paintcan in a window. I got stuck here once while jumping up and down here. I'd make these props not solid.No complaints at all, these are just little things that I've noticed. I think you have the lighting perfected now. It all looks really awesome.

kromano
01-23-2008, 05:06 AM
Last Sunday I was running around as various classes looking for exploits in your map. Although I didn't find anything that would be game breaking, here are a few things I found that you may want to change.


In the corners near the health packs located in the center cave, there is a hole in the ground along the wall. I think sewing or moving the displacement map on the ground should fix this. I tried really hard to get under the map here, but couldn't. This is purely a visual flaw.
I could've sworn I fixed that, I guess there's another one, I'll look for it for the next build.

The mountain at the back of the houses (near the top of the spiral staircase) has a shelf that any player class can jump up to. The Engineer can easily get up there and place a sentry plus dispenser. Although it can be defeated by a Demoman on the ground near the wooden sign stuck in the lawn.
I played with that last game, it's a pretty useless spot to build, it's time consuming to get up, very little space to build and extremely easy to destroy so I decided to leave it open.

There are places that you can jump to that I'm not sure if you intended and may need player clips.

top of the tower above the intel spawn. You can actually jump up and hit the skybox ceiling from here.
You're actually hitting the clip ceiling, I debated whether it would be uglier to hit the clip ceiling or to try to jump up there only to hit an invisible, square barrier.\

Center of the map has a power generator with large pipe going up to a natural sky light in the ceiling. I was able to come within 1 foot of getting out of the map up here but got caught on the pipe at the top.
More clip ceiling, you can't get out of the map and it's such a pain in the ass to get up there that it's not very practical. Plus shaping the clip brushes to knock people off was too difficult to do with valid geometry so once again I'm leaving it unless it proves to be an issue.

Just inside the cave entrances you can easily get up in the rafters. I actually think you should leave this because it's an interesting hiding spot for Soldiers and Demomen.
That was intentionally done, Scouts can also do a double jump to get up there but it's a long jump and easy to miss. I haven't found a way to get engineers up there so I think it's safe from turret exploits.

Two small shelves in the cliff near the side tunnel entrance next to the houses. Another you can probably leave, but I thought you (and other sneaky Demo/Soldiers) might like to know about.
If you mean the new hut that is across from the intel above the cave, it's clip-brushed off. No way up there unless I hide clips and forget to unhide them before compiling.
There really isn't much challenge getting to the intel as a Soldier or Demoman. These two can really make short work of this map if there isn't proper defenses set up by the opposing team. Compared to the distance and time it takes for a Pyro or other ground based assault to arrive at the intel ... maybe another small tweek to protect or better place the intel. Just so that it takes a little bit longer for the Demo/Soldier to get there. Maybe pushing the intel to the back of the roof?
This is a problem that isn't really a problem until the map is played enough by regulars... I still don't know how to really protect against it aside from completely blocking off that section from jumping.

I haven't found a use for the basement level as of yet. Although it looks neat with everything upsidedown, the need isn't there IMO. The ground level spawn is faster to get to, plus you have several health/ammo packs right there in the front as well.
it looks neat and I moved a half dozen player spawns down there from the upstairs spawn. Other than that, not overly functional, but it's one of the only places that uses the upside down architecture, so I don't want to remove it.

In front you have an upsidedown couch and paintcan in a window. I got stuck here once while jumping up and down here. I'd make these props not solid.
This is a niggle that's been bugging me since I put it in at the very start of the map, I think I should remove it. I've adjusted the placement of the objects and put in some other clip brushes, but I think the couch is about to make a trip to the dump. I refuse to make something not solid to solve a clipping problem because let's say a demoman sees an object and tries to use it to bounce a grenade off, or a soldier aims at it to explode a rocket for splash damage, they'll just go through it and look really strange.

Thanks for the attempt to break the map, Kirt. There's only so many ways I can come up with on my own, it takes some thinking outside the box to exploit everything to the max.

Kirt
01-23-2008, 05:42 AM
top of the tower above the intel spawn. You can actually jump up and hit the skybox ceiling from here.
You're actually hitting the clip ceiling, I debated whether it would be uglier to hit the clip ceiling or to try to jump up there only to hit an invisible, square barrier.I think you can get away with clipping the whole tower and radar array. It'd make sense to get knocked back by these objects as it doesn't look like you should have enough room to stand up there anyway. From the top of the map here, your scenery (3d Skybox?) looks broken up as well. Everything looks better from the roof level. Two small shelves in the cliff near the side tunnel entrance next to the houses. Another you can probably leave, but I thought you (and other sneaky Demo/Soldiers) might like to know about.
If you mean the new hut that is across from the intel above the cave, it's clip-brushed off. No way up there unless I hide clips and forget to unhide them before compiling.
Actually no. I tried getting up there but found out quickly that it's clipped. :cry: The two shelves I'm talking about are in the cliff face. If you're standing at the tower where the intel is and look out and to the left you'll see the side entrance to the cave. Just above this and to the right you can see two grassy ledges which are both accessable to Demo, Soldier and Scouts. They're pointless places to hide for more than a couple of kills so I'd probalby leave them alone (like the one near the stairs).

kromano
01-23-2008, 08:25 AM
Oooh, right. I know where you mean now. Yeah, I built them as silly spots you can get to, but don't serve signifiicant tactical purpose. I considered building a few more spots like those elsewhere, but decided against it in the end. I really hate working with displacements.

kromano
01-24-2008, 12:55 AM
I've made changes to roof access again. I'm "boarding" up more of the roofline so you can't rocket jump directly onto the intel, but you can still rocket jump up there... there's just less room for you to really do so. I've improved (hopefully) the clip brushes around the stone to the back of the houses, scouts should have an easier time scaling it to get to the roofline and there will be new access to double jump up. It's a more agile route that will take some getting used to in order to navigate but adds another area to guard against that isn't the stairs. You can rocket jump up this area as well, but it's not very HP friendly to do so.

Also implemented are the clip brushes around the radar dish and small peaked roof suggested by Kirt. I don't think many people will really notice it and now having added more stuff to the rooftop (since my first design, not since Beta 5) it makes more sense to be knocked away as opposed to a perfectly clear and inaccessable roofline.

Fixed is the hole in the displacements. They were near impossible to notice in Hammer because there's no shadows, it blended together perfectly and in the game it's not a common area to stand around looking at the floor, so great eye Kirt. Saved me some embarassment there in the finished copy.

New doorway to the spawn rooms, I originally planned a long hallway to the basement but couldn't join the two very well, so now the hallway runs overtop with a glass window to pour some light into the dark tunnel coming up from the lower spawn room. You'll understand it when you play the new changes.

I'm not posting any screenshots because I can't recompile right now, my computer is busy downloading homework from the school network and I don't want it to crash. It's a real pain to access network files from home.

Beta 6 will NOT be ready for this Friday/Saturday matchup, so we'll all just have to put up with the super-shiny floors in Beta 5 for a while longer. I don't know why that happened, exactly. Seems 30% of the time the floors shine up like that, 70% of the time they show up as they have been in the past. Dunno whether to blame the Source SDK, Steam, TF2 or my shoddy PC. I have another computer I'm going to do the final compile on, just to see if it makes a difference in filesize, compile stability and lighting quality. I have a strong feeling this PC is on its last legs and I have $0 to replace it with.

kromano
01-29-2008, 09:27 PM
I've been working on adding some life to the map and opening up a few areas that were too cramped. The changes are coming along but it's time to optimize for performance. It gets kind of sluggish due to the current way I'm "handling" things which brings me to a difficult decision.

For those who have played you should be familiar with the center of the cave where you can take the tunnels under or the stairs over. This division was supposed to serve as both a tactical decision and a way for the engine to block Line Of Sight and NOT draw details behind it.

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/9592/centerfn5.jpg

Tactically it seems to work, but for optimization it has failed miserably. As a result the engine draws too much of the map all the time. I'm thinking of redesigning this spot to better block engine LOS but would an enclosed room or fenced off area at the top affect gameplay too much? I'm thinking of changing the top of the stairs to be some kind of storage or office room with a doorway at each far corner. This should block the engine LOS but might create a chokepoint where there wasn't one previously.


Advice on how to handle this location? Those who have played the map with lower-end PCs, have you had difficulty with framerates in certain locations? I need some benchmarks to tell whether I truely need to make changes or if things are currently allright.

CDConker
01-31-2008, 05:55 AM
This is my favorite custom map to do date. Hopefully Meelo can compile a final draft before his computer explodes.

Cheers,
{CD} Conker


http://cache.www.gametracker.com/server_info/64.182.146.96:27015/b_560x95.png (http://www.gametracker.com/server_info/64.182.146.96:27015/)

kromano
01-31-2008, 06:38 AM
This is my favorite custom map to do date. Hopefully Meelo can compile a final draft before his computer explodes.

Cheers,
{CD} Conker

http://cache.www.gametracker.com/server_info/64.182.146.96:27015/b_560x95.png (http://www.gametracker.com/server_info/64.182.146.96:27015/)

Thanks for your support Conker, and thanks for another reason too.
Cubemaps puzzle me considerably. When I compileand run the appropriate tools to build cubemaps they suddenly get all chromed out and super bling-bling. I don't seem to have any control over that, so for Beta6 I have skipped the cubemaps step. Hopefully this won't cause problems on anybody else's machine, everything seems OK on my side.

For your enjoyment I present to you: ctf_EscherHausBeta6 BZ2 (http://members.shaw.ca/bluzz/ctf_escherhausbeta6.bsp.bz2). However, this is hosted from my ISP's supplied hosting meaning it has suuuper limited bandwidth. I'm going to PM Kirt and Vanilla to get it on the server and mirrored at Vanilla's site before the bandwidth is totally drained.

Plenty of new features including optimizations few of you will notice but I sure have. From 3 hours to 30 minutes compile time (assuming I use the right computer to compile on... which I don't always have access to).

I also created this nifty Magic Eye, if you look at it long enough I might be able to backstab somebody as a spy for once.

http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/5007/magiceyewebau2.jpg

WyattHarris
02-01-2008, 09:26 PM
For those who have played you should be familiar with the center of the cave where you can take the tunnels under or the stairs over. This division was supposed to serve as both a tactical decision and a way for the engine to block Line Of Sight and NOT draw details behind it.

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/9592/centerfn5.jpg



Don't know if you resolved this yet. Also keep in mind I don't know all the proper terms in Hammer.

In most of the Valve maps when you transition from one area to another the walls, rock face, you know the big items, they always take a turn sometimes a right angle before moving to the next area. That part on the top seems blocked by nothing but metal plates and props. Now I don't know if they provide the same blocking as say a rock face but seems this may be part of the problem. Maybe at the top of the stairs have 2 rock walls extend out and overlap a bit so that the game won't render the other side till you transition.

I'm thinking something like this.

http://www.wyattharris.com/cgtalk/tf2/escher.jpg

kromano
02-01-2008, 11:11 PM
Don't know if you resolved this yet. Also keep in mind I don't know all the proper terms in Hammer.

In most of the Valve maps when you transition from one area to another the walls, rock face, you know the big items, they always take a turn sometimes a right angle before moving to the next area. That part on the top seems blocked by nothing but metal plates and props. Now I don't know if they provide the same blocking as say a rock face but seems this may be part of the problem. Maybe at the top of the stairs have 2 rock walls extend out and overlap a bit so that the game won't render the other side till you transition.

I'm thinking something like this.

http://www.wyattharris.com/cgtalk/tf2/escher.jpg

Now that I did some good reading on hint brushes and visleafs over my snowday breaks, I've been able to see where and why the problem exists and it's mainly the bottom of the rocks. I know exactly what you're saying and that's about the only solution that would really work, but it would create a choke point in the center that I strongly wanted to avoid. I could reconstruct the entrance to the caves in a similar fashion however, now that I think about it, and that probably wouldn't be a bad idea. I can make it into a branch that starts a single tunnel, branches left and right, and meets back as a single tunnel again. I wanted to avoid something like that so that the large trucks parked out front could, believably, drive into and out of the caves somehow but I may have to trade realism for functionality.

For anybody who's bored and has HDR enabled, noclip through the rockwalls to see the other base and watch the neat fog effect absorb or receed from the far end. It's a neat teleporter effect if you move fast enough!

I think I'm going to have to rebuild the entrance to the caves again to encorporate this new angled hall idea. It might slow down the flag carrier a little, but should provide performance gains and compile-time gains we can all appreciate.

Oh and as a little note, Wyatt, since you're thinking of starting in on Source mapping, take a look for some tutorials an explainations on the Hint brushes. It'll show you why Valve makes those decisions that you noticed about right angles in transition and also help you make better design choices than I did so far in Escherhaus.

WyattHarris
02-04-2008, 07:06 PM
I think I'm going to have to rebuild the entrance to the caves again to encorporate this new angled hall idea. It might slow down the flag carrier a little, but should provide performance gains and compile-time gains we can all appreciate.

Oh and as a little note, Wyatt, since you're thinking of starting in on Source mapping, take a look for some tutorials an explainations on the Hint brushes. It'll show you why Valve makes those decisions that you noticed about right angles in transition and also help you make better design choices than I did so far in Escherhaus.

Choking the flag carrier in the middle might not be a bad idea. Once someones past that point its usually a quick jaunt to the capture point, though the defense on a dropped case was pretty intense this weekend.

Checked out the hint brushes, why are most of the names in the hammer editor so odd? I would've never guessed thats what it did. Anyway, good info thanks for pointing it out. Seems everyday I make a new discovery on the valve wiki that will help.

WyattHarris
02-04-2008, 07:30 PM
Found 2 spots last night that could use some tweaking.

First:
Center section. When coming over the top via the stairway route my first instinct is usually to drop off the cliff onto the metal platform, then drop down to the platform around the rock column and then down to the ground and keep on moving. The railing around the stairways stops you dead in your tracks. I'm talking about the small railing thats only a few inches tall. If it were taller like a real rail I would jump over it or walk the path down but because its so short I never notice it till I'm stopped dead. Then you have to jump and at a dead stop you typically jump straight up making you an easy target. I prefer not to jump at all when I'm on the run as it makes you an easy target so I would prefer to simply skip down. Don't know if that rail is simply cosmetic or if it serves a purpose but maybe make it to where the player passes through it.

Second:
Center section again. Leaving the lower tunnels and heading to the side cave entrance to the base on the right, okay got me :D. The rock doesn't evenly meet with the floor of that first room on the left side. When you pass on the right side of the entrance, no problem. When you pass on the left side you get stuck and stop dead. The health and ammo pickups are also on the left side of that room so when I'm going up the rock I typically aim for the pickups and get stuck. I eventually learned to not pass on the left side but it would flow better if this wasn't an issue I think.

As for the chokepoint in the middle I think its fine. It seems impassable sometimes but 2fort can seem the same way when an engineer fortifies the stairs in that open area. It takes either a well timed assault, an uber heavy or a skilled spy and the chokepoint is eliminated. Thats my thought, so far I haven't seen any scenario where the right class can't overcome anything.

kromano
02-04-2008, 09:15 PM
Choking the flag carrier in the middle might not be a bad idea. Once someones past that point its usually a quick jaunt to the capture point, though the defense on a dropped case was pretty intense this weekend.

Checked out the hint brushes, why are most of the names in the hammer editor so odd? I would've never guessed thats what it did. Anyway, good info thanks for pointing it out. Seems everyday I make a new discovery on the valve wiki that will help.

"Zoner" built the hint/skip brush tool back in HL1 before he (I assume he's employed by Valve now) was working with them. It was established before the Source engine hit the market, they probably just felt it was easier to leave it as is, since returning mappers are already familiar with it and new mappers can catch on quickly, despite the strange naming conventions.

Found 2 spots last night that could use some tweaking.

First:
Center section. When coming over the top via the stairway route my first instinct is usually to drop off the cliff onto the metal platform, then drop down to the platform around the rock column and then down to the ground and keep on moving. The railing around the stairways stops you dead in your tracks. I'm talking about the small railing thats only a few inches tall. If it were taller like a real rail I would jump over it or walk the path down but because its so short I never notice it till I'm stopped dead. Then you have to jump and at a dead stop you typically jump straight up making you an easy target. I prefer not to jump at all when I'm on the run as it makes you an easy target so I would prefer to simply skip down. Don't know if that rail is simply cosmetic or if it serves a purpose but maybe make it to where the player passes through it.

Second:
Center section again. Leaving the lower tunnels and heading to the side cave entrance to the base on the right, okay got me :D. The rock doesn't evenly meet with the floor of that first room on the left side. When you pass on the right side of the entrance, no problem. When you pass on the left side you get stuck and stop dead. The health and ammo pickups are also on the left side of that room so when I'm going up the rock I typically aim for the pickups and get stuck. I eventually learned to not pass on the left side but it would flow better if this wasn't an issue I think.

As for the chokepoint in the middle I think its fine. It seems impassable sometimes but 2fort can seem the same way when an engineer fortifies the stairs in that open area. It takes either a well timed assault, an uber heavy or a skilled spy and the chokepoint is eliminated. Thats my thought, so far I haven't seen any scenario where the right class can't overcome anything.

I've never had trouble with the railings before, but I can fix that up with a clip brush, no problem. I'll have to look into that rock, that section seems to be giving me quite a bit of annoyance with things not lining up properly. Perhaps I'll have to create a clip brush to help cordon it off better to prevent players from getting stuck.

I agree with so many sides of the center arguement. Some people may be upset that they can't solo cap everything and others might be annoyed that it's too easy to run around capturing everything solo... I think that any strong defense can be overcome with a strong offense and coordinated teamplay. I Left the center open so demoman could lob grenades over and try to dislodge an embedded sentry, the medic Łber can certainly help make short work of defenses also.

Uh oh, I'm supposed to do some work for school now, so I guess I'd better post and get to work. I'll troll again later.

WyattHarris
02-06-2008, 10:45 PM
I agree with so many sides of the center arguement. Some people may be upset that they can't solo cap everything and others might be annoyed that it's too easy to run around capturing everything solo... I think that any strong defense can be overcome with a strong offense and coordinated teamplay. I Left the center open so demoman could lob grenades over and try to dislodge an embedded sentry, the medic Łber can certainly help make short work of defenses also.

Ah, do what you think is best and what plays smoothest. People will figure out what to do.

Uh oh, I'm supposed to do some work for school now, so I guess I'd better post and get to work. I'll troll again later.

Lol, Mardi Gras was yesterday so I'm not exactly in the 'working' mood today. :D

Animalator
02-06-2008, 11:54 PM
Honestly, I think the map is fine. I look at other custom maps like Labor, Toy Fort, Lazytown, etc and all of those have middle choke points, they are also CP maps but you get the idea. I think if we weren't held up in the middle there would be a problem. Like others have said, its just about teamwork. Get the right people in there and its a back and forth battle.

WyattHarris
02-08-2008, 09:09 PM
Well kro ignore what I said. I loaded up the map locally and couldn't duplicate what I was talking about. Everything moved smooth as can be. I tested it with scout, sniper, soldier and engineer. That should be enough different speeds to cover it. I thought maybe it had to do with running it locally so I connected to the server but couldn't get the map to load.

So, guess it was a false alarm. There must've been a player in the way but IDK.

kromano
02-08-2008, 10:59 PM
Oops, I hit reply in the wrong thread :/

kromano
02-20-2008, 05:26 PM
I tried, and failed, to prevent certain classes from accessing that high on the rooftops. The idea was only classes like demoman and soldier could get up top for defense while sentries would be limited to down below. Obviously that wasn't the case, I underestimated the inginuity of the CD team who have broken down my attempts to prevent them from climbing on-high.

Unfortunately there's no entity that would prevent engineers from building in a certain area. There are places I'd like to use such a device, such as on top of the breakable glass windows and on top of the intel huts.

I had an idea based on comments people had while playing and I'll see if I can work it into the design. The houses that are, currently, inaccessable across from the bases can be turned into another point where attackers can snipe at intel defense. I don't know how one might gain access to that level, yet, but I'll look at it and figure something out. If I do it off the side room in the caves it'd still leave the chokepoint in the middle that bugs some people but would add a third tier attack point for snipers and anti-sentry assaults. The trick would be making access to that perch fast and easy to reach the top of. The last thing I think people need is a long, spiral staircase to the top that would unnecessarily delay them from removing those sentries.

Should things work out well enough, I could extend a bridge or "ladder" like on some of the Valve maps from the rooftop of the house to the perch across the way.

As for turrets being constructed immediately outside the wall, I will try to place a few obstructions that would keep engineers from building anything that embedded. I cannot remove the new cave entrances, the way they were before was bad map design due to the sheer ammount of the map that is rendered by the game engine. The map is small and simple enough that it wasn't really a problem for most players, but it's still a problem. The major difference that is totally invisible to you is compile time. If I go back to the old style doorway, compile times increase to over 3 hours from 30 minutes. I will find a compromise between what it was and what it is, somehow.

The round timer, I followed some suggestions from CD Conker on a new map timer, but for some reason it didn't execute a round over condition. I must have missed a flag, or misspelled something. Conker will likely get back to me on my mistake as he's edited many user maps that are lacking any timers and ending conditions. Shouldn't be a major fix, expect a beta 7.1 release to address that issue soon.


Reposting a comment I made in the General Chat TF2 thread.
Thankfully WyattHarris pointed out an entity I can use to control construction in certain areas that I had missed.

kromano
03-09-2008, 03:18 AM
Updates! Sort of...

http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/8789/ctfescherhausbeta80010eu6.th.jpg (http://img409.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80010eu6.jpg)http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/8509/ctfescherhausbeta80009vu2.th.jpg (http://img85.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80009vu2.jpg)http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/9531/ctfescherhausbeta80007gv5.th.jpg (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80007gv5.jpg)
http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/5686/ctfescherhausbeta80006ow3.th.jpg (http://img262.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80006ow3.jpg)http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/204/ctfescherhausbeta80004fp2.th.jpg (http://img329.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80004fp2.jpg)http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/7342/ctfescherhausbeta80000pz0.th.jpg (http://img262.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80000pz0.jpg)
http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/7927/ctfescherhausbeta80001wm1.th.jpg (http://img255.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80001wm1.jpg)http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/5862/ctfescherhausbeta80002za0.th.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80002za0.jpg)http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/4408/ctfescherhausbeta80003np6.th.jpg (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ctfescherhausbeta80003np6.jpg)



This is a newly constructed pathway from center to the water-side of the cliff that goes through the formerly inaccessable hut on the cliffside. This cliffside hut can be used for sniping and unturtling an otherwise formidable defense. It does no provide direct access to the rooftop, but you can soften up defenders considerably from this position.

It should serve as a way of bombarding sentryguns built up outside the doorway as well that were preventing players from getting into the courtyards.

kromano
04-04-2008, 07:26 AM
Beta 8 has hit the shelves! In two flavours no less. I accidentally compressed to 7z format instead of BZ2 and noticed that while BZ2 was half the size of the BSP, 7z was half the size of the BZ2... so for your downloading convenience (or inconvenience since I'm still forced to use Rapidshare for the time being) I offer you:

Beta 8 in 14MB BZ2 format (http://rapidshare.com/files/104729269/ctf_escherhausBeta8.bsp.bz2.html)
and
Beta 8 in 7MB 7z format (http://rapidshare.com/files/104729806/ctf_escherhausBeta8.7z.html)


Enjoy and hope to see you in game on Fridays and Saturdays!

kromano
06-26-2008, 09:52 AM
Well, now I've gone and done it. I've done it bad... or good, or something. It's quarter to two in the morning and I just wrapped things up at the "studio" and I come to you now, live and twice the size of a breadbox to present ctf_escherhaus (http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/57581) final release

Kirt and Vanilla will hate me for this one. There are multiple files and such in the archive, I didn't bz2 any of it but setting it up for proper server hosting won't be a simple matter of uploading one BSP... Then again, it could very well be that easy, since the SECRET PRIZE isn't required for the map to work.

So in case you missed it, download CTF ESCHERHAUS (http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/57581) now! Or later, or whenever's convenient for you.

matsman
06-26-2008, 10:38 AM
Superbly done Kromano!

Congrats on getting this finished... was a wonderful process all the way! :thumbsup:

What are you going to do next?
I don't sleep at night thinking about it :P

kromano
06-26-2008, 07:13 PM
I've started and abandoned a few projects for various reasons since. The most recent was a largely vertical map suspended over long falls, but with the pyro update and the huge ammount of shoving off the bridges that would occur, I decided the gameplay wouldn't be much fun anymore and have left that idea.

I have the start of an under-sea lab constructed, but I couldn't figure out where the map was going, so that map is on hiatus.

With Kirt's help I'm working on a new prop design that should fuel another map that will hopefully REALLY push the escher theme I was going for in this one. I feel I could have gotten a lot more out of the twisted halls in this map but didn't take enough advantage of the concept. This release is still a successful map, I think, but fell short on the Escher Scale.

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