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unremarkable player

What makes a good CS:GO Competitive map?

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This is something I've always wondered, and no doubt many others, if there's some sort of secret formula to making a good competitive map. An interesting comment in the chat room the other day was to start off with a square, or a cross and work from there. The CS blog and some articles from PC gamer and various other resources always present a well reasoned argument for or against competitive map structures.

 

When you look at the most popular maps these days, Dust2, Mirage, Cache, Inferno and Overpass, there's similarities that all maps share. Dust2, Mirage and Cache follow the traditional 3 lane layout, that give ample opportunity for close, medium and long range combat, and employ a simple layout with staggered connectors. In my opinion, I think that Cache is has the simplest layout, but offers plenty of variety in the combat zones with boost points, height and interesting connector positions. Like Dust2, the B bombsite is difficult to access without good coordination. However, I think that Cache more closely resembles Mirage, with multiple vertical vantage points at both sites and plenty of open space and angles (connector, window, ct, palace, stairs vs warehouse, door, connector, ct, cat) to check, so many good defensive positions to play from.

 

Inferno also plays a 3 lane set up, but in quite a different way. In Cache, Mirage and D2, mid control is important for rotations and access to either bombsite, but it doesn't need to be contested. Inferno's mid needs to be contested to get access to B. My favourite map is Inferno, and my favourite part of any map in CS is Banana - it's a fantastic challenge for both teams, the choke point doesn't give an advantage to either team, and a successful push up banana can unravel the best CT team.

 

Overpass on the other hand is the newest map and Valve's latest attempt at trying to mix things up and provide something a little different to players and spectators. It was an exciting map to see played at the last major and started becoming the most popular decider map, due in part to its massive CT bias. The map has been recently updated so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out, but both sites were notoriously difficult for the T team to take and plant, and the only real chance the T team had to plant was to smoke the site off completely.

 

What I think makes a good map:

 - Map balance when you can win it or lose it on either team (ideally Ts should be able to win 5+ rounds)

 - Choke points that don't offer any real advantage to either teams

 - Bright areas, good lighting and visible silhouettes

 - Bombsites with plenty of cover and variety in placements

 - At least 3 access points (2 main, 1 secondary) to a bomb site

 - Open areas with minimum cover, and tight spaces with cover (eg. banana, lower tunnels, palace, apps, cache door)

 - High risk high reward battle zones

 - Vantage points with minimal to no cover (mirage: palace and apps and shelf outside a stairs, cache cat both sites, overpass cat, nuke cat, heaven, shed, silo)

 - Small cover areas (mirage chair, mirage mid, inferno jungle & quad, nuke outside boxes, d2 boxes on site)

 - Variations in height (although Cache barely has this, in fact it's just a 15 or so degree ramp)

 

I think when people talk about balance, they want to be able to win it or lose it on either team. I think Inferno and Mirage are good examples, even in MM and some comp games (Na'Vi vs fnatic on Nuke) where a really good T team can win more than 50% of rounds. It's a map that 9-6 is a good score, 10-5 even better (CT), but it's quite possible to go 8-7 either team either half (even 12-3 T or CT). I think one of the frustrating things on Nuke is that as a CT if you lose the first gun round you're going to drop a lot of rounds and your economy is going to be ruined if you can't peg it back.

 

There's been some fun casual maps made in the workshop, that look great, and play well in casual when people are running around with shotties and pistols, but don't play out well in MM when the tactics are different and the play style is completely different. Watching the pros play Mirage is different than how it plays out on mm, and same goes for Inferno.

 

I'd like to know what others thing make good competitive maps.

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I think the main thing that's overlooked by all levels of mapper is limiting the connectors between lanes and keeping the layout as simple as possible.

 

CSGO maps need to be predictable and easy to learn- Easy to pick up but difficult to master is the mantra.

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Should be an interesting topic :)

 

 - At least 3 access points (2 main, 1 secondary) to a bomb site

 

 

This doesn't apply to all maps, for example inferno's bombspot B. Depending on how you look at it, it has one (Ts taking, unless they go through A) or two access points (CTs retaking) imo. I guess it also depends on how you'd define an access point.

Edited by Squad

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Should be an interesting topic :)

 

 - At least 3 access points (2 main, 1 secondary) to a bomb site

 

 

This doesn't apply to all maps, for example inferno's bombspot B. Depending on how you look at it, it has one (Ts taking, unless they go through A) or two access points (CTs retaking) imo. I guess it also depends on how you'd define an access point.

 

I guess when talking access points, you're looking for anything you can move through, eg traversable. A barred window for instance isn't an access point, but it's still a vantage point. I find that untraversable vantage points often give an unfair advantage but fortunately there aren't a great deal many maps that have it. Overpass did but it's been fixed, and Mirage has one but it offers no cover at all.

 

For me, Inferno B has 3, the same as D2 B. I don't remember if construction ever existed in the 1.5/1.6 versions, but smoking off CT doesn't deny access to B unless you smoke off construction as well. There's been some pretty nice retakes through construction in pro games, and in most random MM games, retakes come through construction.

 

D2 B is another example having two primary entrances and a secondary entrance through window. Like construction, it gives you a good entry to the site and a good vantage position.

 

I recall that Ali has a nice alternate path on the left from T spawn when heading towards B to flank anyone in the cellars :)

Edited by unremarkable player

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I recall that Ali has a nice alternate path on the left from T spawn when heading towards B to flank anyone in the cellars :)

 

 

Yep, although it wasn't there until operation Phoenix :)

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A lot of people lack putting multiple main paths into bombsites, and sneaky paths for splits. Most maps I see are just 3 lane madness' with connectors.

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I had a good conversation with Skybex during the week about starting a new map, the designing process, reference pictures, visualisation and grey boxing. FMPONE and Volcano wrote about Crown and what processes they went through designing and developing the map. When you look at the pool of competitive maps, with the exception of Cache and Overpass, their origins track back to the original CS, some as far back as the beta releases.

 

I do wonder what the experienced mappers would say the difference is, between creating competitive maps, and creating fun to play maps. I think of maps like Ali, Chinatown, Zoo and St. Mary for visual enjoyment and good fun gameplay; maps like Mirage, Dust 2, Cache and Nuke for their technical, co-ordinated game play and for allowing different play styles, and maps like Overpass, Vertigo and Train for being extremely difficult and most unenjoyable.

 

Some conversations I've had with other mappers about their target crowd has been interesting to say the least, such as maps being developed for fun, more than for competitive environments, even if there was some potential for that to happen. I wonder if it's a desire for all mappers to create the next, best competitive map, or if it's just to create something for fun and the hope that it will make it into the next operation.

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