My first submission. My first map meant for real use. I'm learning a lot while doing this, so I'm interested in comments about how it works playwise, and performs FPS-wise.
Modelled after a baseball field. Somewhat to scale, bases replaced by 4 CPs. Blue wins by capturing all 4, Red wins by stopping Blue, then sides switch. Intended to play to best 5 of nine innings, and to play fast.
I've added some infield fences to hinder Blue, and gates only Red can pass to help them defend. Red also has early access to the cage around the pitchers mound, which might help with defense of First and Second base CP's.
Each CP base captured by Blue unlocks the next base, and also drops fence sections to speed Blues access to that base. Dropped fence sections raise little dustclouds.
Outfield sightlines interrupted by train cars lifted in from nearby rail yards by a big overhead crane (mostly in skymap.)
5/3/2009: For version _a3, made some changed to help Red defend.
Comments invited in this thread, or you can PM me if you wish.
Thanks Owlruler. I've concerns about all action being concentration in the infield. I'd like to keep the CP's in place of the bases, but that may just not be viable for TF2 style play. I'm considering adding some taller walls to the dividing fences, in order to hinder the jumping classes from going directly to the next CP before it's unlocked, but I'm not sure that's enough to spread the fight out.
And my use of textures is an evolving thing. Red respawn shares it's floor with the parking lot, hence the accidental texture. Blue respawn is even worse, at this point, having that same parking lot texture AND a shiny floor section with a badly chosen env_cubemap reflection. But I DO agree, these things will have to be changed.
Our first match on the Saturday gameday lasted about 30 seconds. It got better after that...Red finally figured out where to go.
You might put up some signs...maybe even have them say "Infield" and "Outfield" in order to stay with the theme
The outfield was hardly used. A few snipers moved out there in the last matches.
Maybe you should put in a setup time so the defense could get set....but then I think you run into the problem of the spawns getting camped. BLU won every match...none were even close.
Some of the comments I heard and wrote down:
--Needs more cover
--CP #1 caps too quickly
--Need direction signs
--Doors to open too slow...and you can get stuck behind the spawn doors (someone goes out right in front of you...the door closes...you run into door and have to step back for it to open.)
I like the idea. You just need to find some way to slow the matches a little and give RED a chance to win.
Thanks for the comments, Karma, and to everyone who played a map that clearly needs some work. I was surprised (and gratified) at the full time you all dedicated to trying it out. You guys are great.
The game test really just flooded me with input. Long post follows.
I noticed everyone initially ran out of the 'back door' of the spawn rooms. That surprised me, but exposed assumptions I built in my head as I built the map. ('I' new where I should go, so I assumed everyone else would too. )
I'm hoping that if I turn the individual spawn points 90 degrees then people will see the capture point sign and head out to the ball field first?
I need to increase the size of the spawnrooms, add another door (or two?), to help avoid them getting shut down by campers.
I think I'll shrink the accessible areas outside the stadium. Game-wise, no one really needs to go WAY out in the parking lot, or over the outfield wall. That will avoid people wasting their time out there.
Play style/team balance:
I'm realizing that the core concept (capturing points as in baseball) is awkward to forcefit into TF2 gameplay. It turns the infield into more of a deathmatch area, rather than team play. And it robs any value out of controlling the outfield areas.
An obvious solution would be to move the CPs outwards. But that goes against the (admittedly flawed) core concept of the map.
Perhaps if I:
- place some health/ammo out there, but close in to the infield
- add some cover from which to fire into the infield
- build some patterns into the stuff in the outfield (creating attack/defend routes)
- and increase the time required to capture the bases
that all that will give some value to controlling the outfield, and maybe help Red defend?
Red clearly needs some help here. Setup time is a clearly missing, a glaring omission. I think if I also increase the time needed to capture each base that blue will meet more resistance. I had them set at 5 seconds for testing. Oops. Maybe, in base order, 15, 20, 25, 15?
The spawn doors actually open pretty quick (400?) I think I have their triggers too small, so some players were bump into them anyway. (Another reason for me to increase the size of the spawn rooms.) The doors also raise back up too quickly, trapping the next player. I need to add some delay there I think.
Signage is needed, both for game play and atmosphere. I've been learning as I go, and figuring out how to create textures/decals/overlays is on my list. Until then I'll need to use stock arrows, and more of them.
I've only recently realized that Hammer contains textures from HL, etc, that don't work well in TF2.
I'm also cleaning up my floors. ("Why are there parking lot lines on the red spawnroom floor?") I've already got them sorted out for the next version.
My favorite overheard comments during game play went something like this.
Player #1: "Why are the CP's so close together?"
Player #2: "Because this is baseball!"
Player #1: "But why are there train cars all over the outfield?"
Player #2: "Because this is BASEBALL!"
I laughed so hard at myself over that, because those two guys were SO right. Thanks, whoever you are!
Why trains? When I first built this, the wide open outfield was obviously a sniperfest. I was trying to think of some way to break up those sight lines. My wife suggested something from a movie she saw (Brewsters Millions?) where a minor league stadium had train tracks (and sometimes trains) running through the outfield. I meant to build tracks across there, but didn't like the available stock track selection. So I built that skybox crane as an excuse for HOW the train cars got out there. My only excuse for WHY is an attempt to break up sniper sight lines into the infield.
I've updated the map to version _a3. Changes include:
- Added setup time
- Added gates that restrict Bluz movement during setup time, to give Red a chance to defend.
- Increased capture time for all 4 bases.
- Enlarged both respawn rooms, and added a new door for each, to make them more difficult to shut down.
- Added player clips to unneeded areas, to help avoid players getting lost and wasting time.
- Added some signage to guide players onto the ballfield
- Added structures near the bases to help defenders
- Increased height of infield fences, to hinder soldiers and Demos a bit.
- Added some broken up second level options in the outfield, and rearranged things a bit to keep Sniper sightlines from totally dominating from up there.
- Improved texture use some. (No more parking lot lines in respawn rooms.)
Many of the changes are meant to give Red more of a chance to defend, as Blue was overwhelmingly winning. However, the close locations of the CPs within the infield create problems which I'm not sure can be overcome. So unless people request further changes I think I'll put this on the back burner, mark it down as a learning experience, and start work on something better suited to TF2 game play.
I got a fair amount of feedback for you while testing today. The major problems seemed to be with the larger areas outside of the play field. People really liked the area but there was no reason to go out there. People just wandered out there to look around.
The play area feels a little tight. I don't really know a good way to both have all the points around the baseball diamond and incorporate the rest of the ball field into the flow of the map. My first thought would be to move the points around into the outfield but I assume you probably don't want to do that.
I would say make the infield a bit larger, make the outfield a bit smaller. I get that you are trying to stay with the baseball theme but the giant fences in the infield and the trains in the outfield really take away from that.
Red had a decent defense. They seemed to be able to spawn camp for a while on the first point, although there are other ways to get out of the spawn so it wasn't a huge deal. WE had an SG on the pitchers mound and lowered the gates whenever blue was around. That was pretty difficult to overcome since it's really hard for blue to get in there with all the fences.
I was thinking about this map this morning and I think it might work better if you just put blues spawn in the outflield. That would allow you to open up the infield and rework some of the train stuff in the out field to include it into the map flow. This would solve a lot of the problems that people have with the map and would still allow you to keep the 4 bases kind of feel.
Opening up the field would make it but more difficult to defend but if red could have snipers in the stands behind home plate and build SGs and stuff around the field, it shouldn't be too difficult.
Glad Red gained some defense. Did they manage to win any rounds, or was Blu still winning most/all of them? Also glad the spawn rooms seem to have better resistance to camping. Blu spawns in the outfield is an interesting idea. It's a break from 2 teams leaving the locker rooms to compete, but really, to make it work in TF2, changes of some sort will have to be made.
All stuff to consider while I've got this on the back burner. How to make it interesting in TF2, but still be 'baseball'ish.