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First off, hello to everyone here (especially the familiar faces). I've been meaning to sign up here for a while now and never got around to it, but as I've currently been spending much too much time on forums I needed another to spread it all out a little :D As crackerjack and ferret seem to have abandoned the Snarkpit in favour of here I had to follow just to see them again :sniff: In addition, some of you guys have some awesome levels, and a little critical feedback from the pros never goes amiss ;) Good to see you keep up with industry openings here too, but well I'll stop blabbering as I've clearly justified my reasons for joining up already!

This is my WIP map for Valve's DM contest - dm_echo. Its based loosely on my HLDM map of the same name, though little other than the setting is constant between the two. You'll also possibly notice the similarity between the tunnel area and the first level of "Sand Traps" in HL2 (zombie infested, car packed tunnel), since I'm trying to keep the map quite coherent to the HL2 world.

Any and all feedback is welcome - be as harsh as possible please and shout out even little niggles with passion enough to make me think its worth the effort to change :D




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You'll also possibly notice the similarity between the tunnel area and the first level of "Sand Traps" in HL2


shout out even little niggles with passion

Whooooooowhat? So... racist..

Looks fairly interesting so far, nice and moody.

Go nuts with the Z axis.

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The map do look good, but how will it play?

In DM there can't be too many things that can stop your way, it gets hella irritating with small passages, or having to jump over half the environment.

It looks a bit "crowded" with details on the playfield, maybe I'm mistaking.

Looking good still.

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The area with all the wrecked cars worries me as far as gameply dynamics go. First of all, it seems like with that much crap lying around, quick navigation during firefights becomes difficult (especially getting snagged on props). My personal thought is that you should be able to run backwards when you need to through any good DM level without much problem (Q3A and UT fall along these lines).

Secondly, the area seems a bit prop happy. I think this is going to be the flaw of most first generation HL2 maps. It's such a new toy, that everybody sprinkles them on so much they lose all meaning. The critical flaw with HL@DM right now is that it's just dodgeball. Skill only accounts for abut 10% of your total score right now. Where you spawn, and what's lying next to you seem to matter more (as well as your ping determining if you can catch items fast enough). So when I see so much stuff strewn about, it gives me the heebie jeebies. In my mind, if an object can kill you in one hit, it needs to be treated like a weapon. Just like you wouldn't put 12 weapons in the same room in a DM level, you shouldn't put that many grav-gun affect props in a single area.

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Oh fuck yeah, that's looking nice man! Finally someone's getting the lighting right!

Looks like you can handle the tools, now you gotta come up with good gameplay. I agree that nice z-axis action is critical for a fun hl deathmatch map and I don't see any really interesting spots for good gameplay yet. Because I think we've had enough of running around in flat, open, prop filled areas with the gravity gun.

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Thanks for the comments guys :)

The pickup truck and truck cab are both statics and stuck in the rubble that blocks off both ends of this tunnel, while the other two cars are physics enabled. I understand your concern about the overpopulation with props, so I'll see what I can do to limit them a little more without making the map feel empty. I've not really played much in the way of HL2DM yet so I've probably gone overboard thinking this much is needed when it really isn't - I guess testing will tell!

I also think I've been "encouraged" to populate the map by the official maps' crazy physics prop useage, but maybe I'm making a bad move looking at those for gameplay tips :roll: I've tried to keep all the props out of crucial movement areas by default so I think you could navigate it fine backwards by default. Its whether the prop layout stays that way for long that is a big issue.

I do see your concern Fletch but I'm not sure HL2DM merits the comparisons to Q3A and UT, which both have static layouts and fast movement. Knowing how to get around the map without having to look and see is crucial in those games, but in HL2DM you never know if you are going to trip on a physics item somebody has placed, and the only way you can, as a mapper, avoid this is by removing them all. HL2DM maps have a dynamic layout - sure it starts the game but won't stay that way for long - and I'm taking the position that if you don't encourage the use of physics, then you aren't gonna win the comp.

I've also tried to ensure that the map has plenty of cover to ensure physics items aren't the dominant weapon of choice - take the concrete blocks seperating the two roads for example, which should provide nice cover from the flying cars :)

Those of you who mentioned z-axis is really limited in this area are right on the ball, and I'm afraid I only have one planned z-axis addition to the tunnel area. With other areas I'll have to try and push it more in order to stop the gameplay being vertically challenged. Underneath the tunnel is going to be a sewer area and I've some fairly cool ideas for interesing z-axis links between this floor and that, so its not all doom and gloom in terms of gameplay potential ;)

The blurry wall textures don't come across as too blurry while playing I don't think, but others have voiced their concern over this in the past as well. Its not my settings, its due to the fact I've used a 0.5 scale on the main walls as opposed to the default 128. The texture I've used in there just doesn't come out right at a 0.25 scale in my opinion, and works better scaled up a little in order to coat the whole wall. If during beta testing people find the map to look blurry, I'll definately look into alternatives.

Thanks again for all the comments guys, you've definately proven that this site is a great one for map feedback I see :)

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