Well i know there's no excact instructions that you absolutely have to follow and you don't HAVE to follow this either but i found this on my phone one day and recently found it again on my Pc so im uploading it here because i find it useful for any wanna-be or being mappers.
I do not own this and all credit for this gets given to the creator who wrote this.
Team Fortress 2 Mapping Tutorial and Reference
This tutorial or reference will show you how to make a great map. I will first talk about the layout of the map, later about the TF2 style and how to finish your map with some details that don’t affect gameplay but the player that runs trough your map will feel that it has something extra.
So, let’s get started than! Take some chips, put some music on and read on. I hope I can help you with how I think you should make fantastic maps.
1. Overview of game types.
So, in Team Fortress there are 3 game types: cp, ctf and tc. I hope you have played the original valve maps and you should know what stands for what. Decide what game type you want and be aware that every game type has a different approach.
Just a quick overview of how I think every game type should be like:
1. cp – control point.
These maps can be quite “big” in my opinion. But don’t make them too big so people get tired running from their base to another control point when the engineers are too lazy to make teleporters. Think of that.
Great valve maps for example: cp_dustbowl and cp_gravelpit.
2. ctf – capture the flag
Don’t EVER make ctf maps big. You have to run back to your base when you have captured the intelligence. Good example is ctf_2fort. A very small map actually but with great connection to the intelligence it looks bigger.
3. tc – total control
If you want to make a tc map, you make 3 maps or more in 1 (I ignore cp_dustbowl here atm). The valve map, tc_hydro, changes the layout of the map after each capture so you can’t predict what map you’re going to play.
Made a decision? Great! Let’s move on to the next step. The most important one.
2. Map layout
Yes indeed! Don’t start hammer first, but instead take a paper and pencil (or start photoshop) and draw the layout of your map. This is already very important, because this will be your base you rely on after this phase has passed. Make more than 1 sketch, just draw crazy designs and eventually think of a setting that will fit the layout of your map. Remember the size of your map. You don’t want people complaining that it’s too big right?
Definitely, you are going to come up with a superb drawing that looks like it will work in TF2. It doesn’t have to be final, I change sometimes stuff to, make places smaller, add corridors etc. Also, if you have an idea suddenly when you were daydreaming about your map and you come up with something great, write it down so you can’t forget it!
Now, Ill give an example of how I made the drawing of my map I’m working on.
I scanned the original drawing and later I made some changes in photoshop and cleaned it up, and I added some notes to it too.
This is from my de_bioshock level that I never finished, and I haven’t scanned in my TF2 map drawing yet, sorry for that.
Also you could make some ‘artwork’ of your map if you have it in mind and try to make a picture of it. Imagine, draw, and hammer it later. That’s how I like to do it.
I just want to point to the most played level in the world; and that is counterstrike it’s de_dust2. This would not work in TF2 but if you know the map try to analyze the map why it is so good in counterstrike and think of things that can make your map as good as de_dust2 but remember TF2, it’s style and classes.
When you are this far, we can start hammer, but first I want you to read this.
This video is a MUST for every TF2 mapper; I’m not going to explain all this again.
One thing I’d like to point you at is the textures. Valve didn’t use any reference when they were making their textures. They started photoshop (yes they use it too) and painted their textures from scratch without looking at real materials. What’s so important about all this? This is how valve remained the overall style of the game. Ill write down what I’ve notated when I was at the GDC in Lyon 2007.
RED TEAM: Warm colours, natural materials, angular geometry.
BLUE TEAM: Cold colours, industrial, orthogonal geometry.
Textures: Impressionistic, but the material is clear.
Lights: NEVER too dark, always an ambient light.
This is SO IMPORTANT that you have to read this 3 times. This is what TF2 is all about.
I think I made it clear to you now that you’re not going to make a Counterstrike map. I’m going to stop talking about this topic now, I hope you get it. Lets do some more boring work! But let’s start hammer.
3. Block your map out
This step is important, like any step actually, but basically it’s this:
In hammer, place blocks for the basic layout of your map. Make a floor, walls and maybe a roof. This is to get the dimensions right, so you don’t see surprises when you run trough it about proportions that are not right (doorposts too low etc…)
Use the player start entity as reference. There are some good dimensions about stairs, slopes and doorposts on the net or download the decompiled original valve maps.
Some rules you have to follow:
Use 2 textures, the orange wall texture for all VERTICAL surfaces, the gray floor texture for horizontal surfaces, floors and ceilings. Yes, only 2, no I’m not crazy
NOTE: These are the famous texture maps you see in counterstrike (aim_ag_texture 2 for example). This is the prototype of your map. Too bad some people already make these for TF2 too.
Add some simple lights so you can see where you run and how some shadows fall from your env_light and test, test, test.
4. Testing for the first time.
How I tested my block prototype of my map: had to keep in mind some things. (I’m making a cp_ map with setup time)
1. 60 seconds, how fast can an engineer reach the control point, set up sentry guns and upgrade them to step 2 or even 3, dispensers and teleporters? Can a heavy reach the spot in time? Can a demoman place sticky’s in time?
2. Rocketjumps. You know what this is right? Keep in mind that players can reach places you never thought of being able to reach. Certainly with the pipejump of the demoman, if he shoots 2 sticky bombs and launches himself you can get VERY high. (In cp_well you can look out over the map with this jump… I think valve didn’t think of that)
You can solve this with some player clip brushes that block the player. But do it subtle so players don’t bash their heads in invisible walls and so on.
3. Test with some mates, the more the better. Look what works and what doesn’t work, is there cover enough, is it fun, and has every class as much advantage as the other class? Does the map have a good flow (do players know where they have to go directly)? A good map is where players fight with the players, not with the map.
So, you could say if you have done this, your map is finished! You made a map that plays great, everybody enjoys it, its balanced, exciting and never is 2 times the same.
But, it looks ugly of course. Only 2 textures, lets change that!
5.Texturing the blocks.
Ahh, finally, we can add some colour, area by area, do this with patience and don’t rush this. Choose your textures wisely, read step 2 again and again until you are bored of it ! It’s Red vs. Blue and not green and yellow and black or something. 2 colours dominate the environment. A player should feel in what part of the map he is by the textures. If he’s home or in enemy territory.
And, don’t use Half-Life 2 Textures. I know they are in the texture pack (I have NO idea why valve did this) but only use TF2 textures. You should be able to see the difference. If not, stop mapping you don’t get the point than
Of course add some more blocks too for details some things to make it more natural, add some props here and there (don’t place them random! They should blend in the background when you pass them, but they are there, you feel it, it gives something extra to the map remember?)
Make displacements for the ground to give it a more natural look, and the rocks (because rocks are not flat
NOTE: Displacements are very hard. You are going to have to put some time in this, its boring work and they are hard to paint how you want them, it takes practice and patience, but when you get them right you will be happy you’ve gone trough this.
If you are going to upload your map later to a website you will have to post screenshots. And from what people see on the screenshots makes them interested in downloading the map and play it. No details = boring map = no players = wasted time. It’s simple. But why don’t have a lot of maps it? It’s not even hard to do. Just think twice when you pass a room and ask yourself: what if I cut a little bit out here and add a fence with junk behind it? There are many more possibilities to make something more interesting.
Look at these screenshots that illustrate all this.
A 3D skybox is needed for this: Create the illusion the player is running in a bigger world than just the skybox he is running in. How? Create a fence instead of a wall and add trees behind them(in the skybox) and there are so much more examples. Look at valve maps. Don’t make your map claustrophobic. It has to breathe, feel open. Even indoor locations (windows…)
Finally! Oh finally you can release your map! Make sure everything custom you made (models, textures,…) is bspzipped before you distribute the map. Upload the map to, for example, fpsbanana.com and wait the reactions. Of course, if you have done everything right, your map should be hitting the TF2 community as a bomb. So admins have your beta on their server, people enjoy it, yell best map ever, something fresh, new, and than… they find glitches, give recommendations and have requests…
Listen to what your public tells you, but don’t do everything they ask. Fix the glitches, grant some requests (move that a bit more to the left, move this to there, make some Easter eggs o_O (don’t do that, its silly ) ).
Compile for the last time. You are probably thinking: “I’m never going to map again!” but first, release your final. And look how the people enjoy your map. Isn’t it a fantastic feeling? Every person has the piece of art you made on their hard disk, every server has it in their rotation and here and there are some 24/7 servers of your map.
That’s why you have done it. That feeling
Now how long have you been busy? Probably a few months. Good maps are not build in weeks, but in years. It depends on how many hours you map off course. Some days go better than other days and sometimes you need a rest. But that’s it. You finished it.