Jump to content

de_holland (WIP) + introduction


Recommended Posts

I edited this post to put some non-essential language in spoiler tags, to prevent killing readers with a wall of text ;) .

 

Hi everyone,

Sven here, I'm new here on mapcore. I'm working on a map for CS:GO, and people on this forum seem to have a lot of experience and insight in (multiplayer) mapping, so I figured I should join this forum to benefit from your insights ^^ .

I started experimenting with level design with the scenario editor for Age of Empires 2 and with SWAT 3, which used Worldcraft. I never really got far with that, probably because I was a bit too young and didn't yet speak english good enough to make sense of the interface and documentation.

I played the original counter-strike occasionally, but I prefered Team Fortress Classic and Day of Defeat. When HL2 came out, I toyed around with mapping, but never did very substantive things.

With CS GO being my go-to FPS nowadays, I felt inspired to try and make a map.

 

While I love a good match on Dust2 or Nuke, it can get a bit tiring to only play "middle east" or "bland facility" maps. I decided to make a map set in the Netherlands, where I live. I love dutch historical city centers and I think it would make for a good variation on South European village settings of Inferno, Italy, etc. The tentative title is be de_holland. As far as I know, there have been no similar maps. There was a de_rotterdam, but that was set in a harbor, so it has more of a facility/industral setting.



The setting is not based on any one actual location, but combines several elements (a windmill, a lighthouse, an old townhouse, a small church, etc.) into an archetype island village.

When I read the loading screen tip that says something along the lines of "avoid wading through water, you will walk more slowly and make a lot of noise!", I saw the opportunity to implement water as a gameplay element in the map, since my typically dutch village of course had to have some canals! I always loved the role of (water) noise in FPS games (even in arena shooters such as UT2K4). There is a canal that separates the A and B sides of the map. You can use the canal as a shortcut to some places, but at a bit of risk: you are at an exposed position, you move slower, and make noise. The same risk/reward applies to the 3 tunnels, which are a bit like the cs_militia (or dod_kalt, etc.) tunnels in the sense that there are several routes (entrances and exits) you can take.



I started with sketches, then made some very, very rough brush layouts, then I did some testing with bots and made modifications. After I was convinced the gameplay could work, I started from scratch with that layout in mind. Currently, I am satisfied with the general layout. All texturing, lighting, props, details, displacements, etc. are basically just placeholders, so try not to pay too much attention to those things :P .

Currently, I think the map feels more like a Day of Defeat map than a CS GO map. This might be explained by the fact that I love maps like Anzio and Avalanche, and by the fact that the "village" setting might lend itself more for a more open map. Hopefully playtesting will show if the general style of the map works well for CS GO. Playtesting with bots is very fun so far, though the bots aren't the most intelligent players in the world. Some problems with the map may not be evident when playing against bots, so I hope to do a real playtest some time soon (I played with some of you on playtest evenings before, and it was a lot of fun!).



Potential problems: Might be too open, too many lines of sight. Perhaps there are too many interconnected paths, not enough "CS-style" choke points. The rotate times bombsites maybe too quick, so T's cannot always hide well enough before CT's come for the defuse. Water may be gimmicky. Encounter times may be too quick.

Potential positive points: Open nature of the map provides many views of natural reference points (you can see the lighthouse, windmill, crane, and/or church from most places in the map). The map might be quite small, so though the paths may be intricate, the general layout shouldn't be too confusing. Additionally, both CT and T spawns are viable combat areas, as opposed to say Nuke spawns or Aztec T-spawn. Map hopefully doesn't get boring quickly, because there are always several assault/defense options. I sometimes dislike being more or less forced to take over a bombsite like Dust2 A or B when it is me vs 3 enemies or something. In my map, there are often multiple entry points and routes, so you might not get stuck in a corner like a rat in a cage too often. Ofcourse, your offensive routes are also opportunities for the other team to flank you, so I think it should still be balanced. An advantage of the short rotate times is that T's can easily change their minds if opposition proves to difficult. Also, faking maybe more viable, since you can fake going to A, and then quickly go to B.

Apart from the gameplay, I think the most difficult part for me will be to blend all the elements together in a coherent map. Also, I hope that I can use enough of the included props and textures to make things believable, without them looking out of place in a non-Inferno/Italy type map.

I will try to give every building a bit of a unique style and look so that it is instinctively clear where in the map you are, and also because I want to add as much "feeling" or authenticity to the map as possible.

The elements will be: a windmill, a farm, a shed, a lighthouse, a small school, a dock area with some containers and a crane, a city council building, a chuch, an old bunker building, on observatory, a group of dutch townhouses, and a beach. Of course, not every building will be completely open or explorable.

Some inspirational images to give you an idea of what i am aiming for: http://imgur.com/a/v9ScI

Some screenshots. Keep in mind that everything is very WIP: http://imgur.com/a/aOGUh

Well, that was a long story... All comments, questions, criticisms, etc. are most welcome, and I hope I'll see you on a playtest some time :) .

Edited by sven
Link to post
Share on other sites

As a fellow Dutchman I'll have to watch the progress of this map now.. ;-) Based on your story and the screenshots I do have several questions though.

Layout wise the map might be fun, but the way you filled it in doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. The side the windmill is currently placed to (a non-rotating windmill at the moment I noticed), it's not going to work -> it's not a logical place to direct a windmill to since the buildings/lighthouse seem to block the incoming wind. Since you mentioned you love historical city centers, I think you should pay a bit more attention to what's logical and what's not.

Aside from that, I do like the general idea, although it doesn't seem as if the water is currently a big part of the gameplay, which is something you mentioned you wanted to achieve. Furthermore you mention that the current state is a heavy WiP and things are subject to change. I wonder then why you went through the process of texturing and detailing some spots already, if you wanted to test the initial layout, I'd either go for the grey/orange dev textures, or use a few textures and not add detail such as plants. Some things are very rough such as the bridges, which indicated to me that you were focussing on layout tests, hence I find the added details in random places a bit odd; correct me if i'm wrong here. As for putting a bombsite in a church, you'll have to wonder if that's something you can live with, I can imagine not everyone liking that as much ;-)

I am doing my best not to sound to negative, but the map and your idea's keep raising one too many questions cause it got me exited :)

As for the general references in your map, I advise you not to cram every 'trademark' of The Netherlands in one small island map. If you're going for an island map, you should take references to actual islands in account if you ask me. Take a look at Texel for example:

texel%20island%20air.jpeg

The lighthouse is quite far away from the village; if you do not plan to make the lighthouse a sniperspot (in other words, allowing players to go up), I'd say try moving it further away from the village itself. It's large enough to still act as a reference point for navigation in that position. As for water in maps, I might be the only one that is bothered by it, but I noticed your map features the same 'bug' as I encountered the past days in topic. ;-)

Looking forward to your iterations; if you need help on anything don't hesitate to send me a pm for skype contact etc. I like to learn too ;)

Edited by Spherix
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments!

As a fellow Dutchman I'll have to watch the progress of this map now.. ;-) Based on your story and the screenshots I do have several questions though.

Layout wise the map might be fun, but the way you filled it in doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. The side the windmill is currently placed to (a non-rotating windmill at the moment I noticed), it's not going to work -> it's not a logical place to direct a windmill to since the buildings/lighthouse seem to block the incoming wind. Since you mentioned you love historical city centers, I think you should pay a bit more attention to what's logical and what's not.

You are certainly correct that the layout is not very realistic. I put the windmill facing the map, because that is the most interesting visually. It also faces the sun in this way, which gives some nice shadows in and around the mill from the moving (look closer :P ) sails. I think I can do three things: 1, leave it as is. 2, rotate the mill 180 degrees so it faces the water. 3, change the windmill to a type that better fits the non-rural setting, something higher, like this:

molen-overzichtsfoto-HanDijkstra.jpg

Generally though, I think realism should not be overrated in a non-simulation shooter, as long as it does not break the suspension of disbelief too much. Many CS maps can be quite unrealistic. From the top of my head: cs_office: why is there graffiti on the inside of a private, closed office parking garage? Why are there two huge container obstructing the garage, even the parking spot for disabled persons. Hell, why is there even such a special parking space, when all entrances to the actual office require stairs, surely that is a violation of accessibility requirements! Why are there no cars in the garage when there are obviously hostages at the office? Why are there file cabinets in the middle of the hallways? If they were placed there by the terrorists as barricades against the CT's, surely they could have put up better blockades at the doors! Why are the hostages dressed in orange jumpsuits, did the terrorists bring them, or where the office employees escaped prison inmates? How do the goods get delivered to the market in Italy, when there are only narrow alleys that open up to that square? There are zero scooters or bikes or cars or parking spaces in cs_italy. Why are there huge bales of hay in the middle of the the village of de_inferno, without a farm in sight? There are some car wrecks and even two trucks in inferno, but there is no route that those cars could possibly have taken. Why are the british SAS fighting on German territory in de_nuke? Wouldn't that would spark an diplomatic crisis. Would counter-terrorists really use incendiary grenades in a hostage situation in an office? Why can't that helicopter scout the map from above in aztec and Vertigo? I could go on and on :P . Does it make CS GO a bad game? Does it make those maps less fun? Does it bother players when playing? Not really I think. So I will see what I can do make the map look as realistic as is necessary/desired, but fun comes first IMHO. Rotating the windmill late in the should be a relatively painless process. I need to remake the whole thing anyway, it is now just a squarish placeholder.

Furthermore you mention that the current state is a heavy WiP and things are subject to change. I wonder then why you went through the process of texturing and detailing some spots already, if you wanted to test the initial layout, I'd either go for the grey/orange dev textures, or use a few textures and not add detail such as plants.

I did a crude dev_texture version before, but I felt that realistic textures and some basic props help me to get a better sense of scale and feel of the the map.

As for the bombsite in the church, yeah, I'll try to avoid major controversy. But as far as I know religious things have (perhaps surprisingly) never been a big problem in other maps. The only thing I can think of is of kids getting in trouble for recreating their high school to enact virtual school shootings.

As for the general references in your map, I advise you not to cram every 'trademark' of The Netherlands in one small island map.

Yeah, that might be the most difficult balancing act for me. When I made that list of all the elements I wanted in there, I thought: "damn, this is way too much!" But on the other hand, the map needs a border, so why not make it a beach? The map needs some buildings, so why not make it a church? I need some cover, so why not make it some cargo containers? Of course, if it proves to be too much, I might scrap, unify, or harmonize things.

You made some good points about the lighthouse. It can be outside the game area and still be a good visual element. There is no snipers nest in the top of the lighthouse or something, but the current layout does need some form of building in that place. I might put the lighthouse further away, and put a different building its current place.

Your Texel island reference indeed shows the lighthouse to be away from a village area, but on the other hand, Terschelling (a smaller island, so maybe more similar to what I'm aiming for), has a lighthouse surrounded by houses: vuurtoren-terschelling-orig.jpg

Also see this picture of Goedereede which has a lighthouse and a mill close to village houses:

640px-Netherlands-Goedereede-toren-molen-1910.jpg

As for water in maps, I might be the only one that is bothered by it, but I noticed your map features the same 'bug' as I encountered the past days in this topic. ;-)

Yeah, I certainly noticed that too. I read somewhere else that it might have something to do with the geometry and textures behind the water brushes. So it bothers me too, but I'm not focusing on water optimization at this stage. I would be happy to test some things out if you make new discoveries :) .

All in all, thanks a lot for your comments! I will of course update this thread as I make new iterations :) .

Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the water problems, making every single intersecting brush a displacement did seem to fix the problem; you do however have to keep in mind (although i don't think you'll have a problem with this) that if you have brushes on the edge of the map that 'seal' your map; displacements aren't going to seal it. I had it with a few mountains on my map, light started to leak trough the bottom and sides of the brushes that were converted to displacements but were also sealing the map.

I did not even know we had islands that both features lighthouses and windmills and already wondered why, but it seems you found pictures that made sense (although the windmill faces the opposite direction ;-)) As for shadows coming from it; you could also just change the direction the light_env comes from with the 'point at' property of it.

You currently make it sound as if you chose the island layout cause you needed logical borders for the map, but there are so many things you could do with that; take a look at Naarden Vesting for example;

naarden-vesting2.jpg

Need I say more?

Other options is using the 'default scenery' in the netherlands: farms. Placing a few acres of farm around your map could easily do the trick as it's easy to put those in a 3d skybox as well, but a simple fence or ditch/trench could easily act as border without the need of having to place a big wall or such. Don't forget dykes either ;-)

Just a note on your realism debacle; I agree that maps don't have to be truely accurate for players to enjoy them, but there's quite the difference between the suits a hostage is wearing and putting the tower of pisa in new york. Your windmill is a big landmark, as is the lighthouse, I'd take that in account. You mentioned that the map might be a bit small, and I think that both CT and T can reach eachother very quick based on the image of your layout (note: haven't seen this ingame, so could be wrong here). That still gives you the option to enlarge the area of conflict, perhaps a bit more around the windmill even if it is facing the other side. I don't think most people are familiar with windmills on higher ground as you showed in a photo above, so I think a 'normal' windmill would be more identifiable by the players as dutch :).

One more thing regarding your layout looking at it again, is that to me it seems that the most top path isn't showing much value -> do players even use it?

Edited by Spherix
Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the water problems, making every single intersecting brush a displacement did seem to fix the problem; you do however have to keep in mind (although i don't think you'll have a problem with this) that if you have brushes on the edge of the map that 'seal' your map; displacements aren't going to seal it. I had it with a few mountains on my map, light started to leak trough the bottom and sides of the brushes that were converted to displacements but were also sealing the map.

I did a quick test, and I can confirm that simply converting to displacements works (plus sealing with world geometry afterwards) :) .

You currently make it sound as if you chose the island layout cause you needed logical borders for the map, but there are so many things you could do with that; take a look at Naarden Vesting for example;

Yeah, I think I will go forward and develop the gameplay area first, and then decide what I want to do with the edges; bastion, farms, beach, or something else. I experimented with doing a fortress layout, and currently the east area (T spawn) is designed as such a bastion. I tried to make all edges fit that theme, but I found it to be a bit boring and felt that it restricted my options a bit.

You mentioned that the map might be a bit small, and I think that both CT and T can reach eachother very quick based on the image of your layout (note: haven't seen this ingame, so could be wrong here). That still gives you the option to enlarge the area of conflict, perhaps a bit more around the windmill even if it is facing the other side.

I think that the effective gameplay area is about the size of de_nuke (excluding the nuke spawn areas, as they are quite far away. The minimal encounter times are quite quick, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that the shortest time is about as fast as both teams rushing mid on de_dust2 (double doors). There will be a playtest next Thursday, hopefully I will learn more about the gameplay then :) .

One more thing regarding your layout looking at it again, is that to me it seems that the most top path isn't showing much value -> do players even use it?

Can't really say if other human players find it useful, but the main reason it is there, is because otherwise it would be too easy for the CTs to cover the church (bombsite A). That top route provides another way to A, as well as an option to basically circle around the CT's, perhaps a bit like the outside route on de_nuke :) .

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude, no one reads through walls of text. Like bram said, make maps, have fun, put them out there, get people to play test them, get feedback, fix problems, make them look good and fit the gameplay, onto to the next map.

Also, attach your images to your posts so we can see it better and comment on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Point taken guys, I made my opening post less scary by putting some fluff in spoiler tags :) . Part the reason for the wall of text, is because I usually like reading other mappers' thoughts, but I understand your complaints.

Edited by sven
Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on today's playtest, I'd say it needs a lot of work. There are way too many paths. Wherever you are, you can get attacked from pretty much any angle and its super frustrating. Mid is especially susceptible to that, since you can get shot from both side routes, the windmill, the lighthouse, the middle stairs, and the canal. All the long, hidden flanking routes make that a lot worse. Also, getting to the crane point (cant remember if it was A or B) as CT is annoying. Don't make me do a bunch of jumps just to get to the bombsite I'm supposed to defend! I would say you're better off doing a major redesign but I guess you could just get rid of the windmill and the lower flank path from T spawn and then make some minor changes to the other points.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

After the previous play test, I made quite a few changes. Some things from the top of my head:

 

CT's complained that the shortcut to B over containers took too many jumps -> so I made a ramp to turn 2/3 jumps into 1 smooth movement. Timing seems pretty much unaffected.

 

Made the wind mill inaccessible to focus action to the other paths. Previously you could enter the wind mill and enter the tunnel system or snipe from the top. 

 

Removed all the tunnels (basically around 4 different paths). Only one tunnel now, and it is very short and straight forward (litterally). 

 

I removed the ramp that gave T's another way to A. Instead of this ramp and the tunnels, I added a more straight forward and visual route from T spawn to A and B, which is also slower and more exposed. 

 

Simplified the side route with the bunker. Flanking is still possible for both teams, but now maybe a bit more predictable.

 

Improved the player clipping and and models a bit, though this is still all pretty much placeholder and WIP.

Edited by sven
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...