I'm really into 3d modeling and game design, and I just recently got into TF2 mapping in hammer because of some discussions with some of my gaming buddies. So I've looked into it, downloaded Boojum Snark's ultimate resource pack, read tutorials, and otherwise browsed this site. It's very helpful, so as I design my first *serious* map, I'd really like feedback to help me balance the map without ruining everything.
I don't totally 100% understand the way map feedback works, though. I see the map workshop with maps with feedback in the threads, I get that, but before I start, can someone give me a briefing about what I should include and how it'll work? I'm asking now so I don't feel like an idiot later on when I mess something simple up.
When leaving feedback, you should point out any problems you see. This can include overly-long sightlines, an area being very open with little to no cover, the control point being seemingly too easy to capture/defend etc. Anything you feel might hinder gameplay. There are plenty of guides here which will tell you what makes a good map and what doesn't. This, for example, is a very good guide on what not to do with your first map.
You should also keep in mind what stage the map is in - if it's in the alpha stage (map name suffixed with _ax with x being a number, eg cp_cockandballs_a1) the primary focus will be on the gameplay, and aethetics aren't really a priority. Aesthetics come with the beta stage (cp_cockandballs_b1).
For your first map, you'd be well advised to begin with a small, simple map - preferrably Arena - and as you gain more experience (christ it feels like I'm talking about an open-world RPG) you may feel more confident in making more advanced stuff, such as Payload, Attack & Defend or indeed Special Delivery.
Finally, it's nice to see another modeller join the forums. You can show off your work here.
Ah, thank you very much. That's very helpful. One more question: how far through development of the map should I be before I ask for feedback?
I'm working with 2 map ideas at the moment, one is a KOTH map which I *might* enter in the contest if it doesn't suck and is done on time, and the other is a Dustbowl style Attack/Defend map I want to be a longterm project throughout the year.
We give feedback from anything you provide us with, whether it's gameplay testing, screenshots or whatever. Remember to take feedback with a grain of salt, as people are always responding according to what they feel like is right, but as with every other art, there is no objective truth.
When designing maps, we usually do it in the following stages:
WIP/Planning: When you are designing to first rough version of the maps layout. In this phase, your map isn't ready for gameplay
Alpha: Map is ready for gameplay, but lacks aesthetics (to make it easier to change the layout). In this phase, your map should be tested a lot so you can improve the layout and game configs.
Beta: When your layout seems solid, you can move on to Beta, where you will detail your map.
Release candidate: When everything seems good, you move on to RC. Maps will usually stay in RC for a very long time. This is where you let people find the last tiny buggers, something that can take a while.
Final: When you are certain that your map requires no further work, you can call it final, whip the sweat of your forehead and be proud over your now complete map.
TF2maps offers gametesting for all maps on alpha/beta stage. Look out for the gameday announcements when you need to get your map tested
__________________ mvm_sludge | koth_nippletwister
Works in progress (inactive, or haven't reached a satisfying playable state yet): ctf_hurricane, cp_glacius, koth_sprout, pl_thorndike, tc_feldspar