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Bastion

[TF2] PL_Ascend (WiP)

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Decided to take a break from updating one of my already released maps and start on something new, and this time build a map properly.

I've fancied making a Payload map for TF2 for quite a while, even made some attempts that got far ahead before simply losing interest in the layouts (alongside being frustrated with how you have to manually do all the gamemode scripting in hammer to make them work). I'll use this as an opportunity to add one of these maps to my portfolio.

 

I started out with drawing up whatever came to mind for a paper layout (although I'm using gimp since: no paper). Biggest thing for me in this first layout is to simply not care about how presentable it was, it goal of the first version was to get the idea down to secure it, it's easier to work off a sloppy first draft than it is to have half of a layout because the idea slipped out of my mind.

As you can expect though the first layout was both ugly and would play poorly in that implementation, but that's okay as that's what revisions and editing is for!

Here's that first version, cover your eyes:

Spoiler

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Look, I did warn you!

Despite the fact the layout is a complete mess and far from being acceptable for greyboxing, there are a few things that I can work with, the cart path loops around the defender's single spawn room, meaning the start of the game only needs an extra path open to serve as an easy forward spawn (which can be then shut off later as checkpoints are capped)

But aside from that there's little to work with

 

All jokes aside, the fact I got something to work with out of that is good enough to keep going, and so an hour later I made a new version to change about things I didn't like, and also to make it easier on the eyes.

Spoiler

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Finally, I have something people can read

This version added the key feature I wanted in my map, a hightower style cart lift that players need to be on to get the cart moving on it's route, Once a player falls off it the lift falls back down until someone gets it to the top, where a checkpoint is capped and the lift secures itself in place.

However that being so early into the map's conception meant that it is not very well defined and looks more like an afterthought in the map.

There are other issues with the layout too, the bridge at the first combat area leads to the void, there are no forward spawns for defenders or attackers and there's no supplies on the map like health and ammo. that is mixed with areas of the map that come across as too open and poorly implemented, there could be dedicated flanking routes here but they're just not included. which is a shame.

So the next layout goes on to look at these issues.

 

Spoiler

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Me gusta

So far this is the most recent version of the layout. It has a lot of changes in it too.

The defender spawn has it's forward spawn and how I block off access is a bit different to the rest, players spawn in a large circle room, at the start they will spawn on the ground floor and leave through the left path, but once a certain checkpoint is grabbed, the floor in the defender spawn rises up and spawns players on the second floor, where they roll out in-front of the cart's final checkpoint.

The cart lift has seen changes to becoming easier to read from top down and is more of a focus point in the layout, it works the same as before with players pushing the cart onto the lift platform and needing to stay on the platform to ensure it reaches the top and locks in place, if they jump off or die then the platform comes falling back down, taking a lot of inspiration from the hightower lifts

I fixed the bridge leading to the void by placing actual content there, should help to keep pressure on sentry guns by giving them another angle to be shot from.

The bridge has been changed to bend in two directions over a death drop, there is a similar addition like this found in Upward and it is a fun spot of the map to play on as a airblast pyro or a force a nature scout. It also helps to split up the sight-lines for the next section of the map.

That leads well into the flanking route across the cliff edge, giving up the safety of not falling off a cliff to take a flanking route.

Map supplies are placed sparingly and placed where they will be in higher demand, ammo packs are mostly placed in defender held spots to allow the defender set classes to resupply their ammo as the heavy, engineer and demoman will be consuming their metal and ammo supplies frequently, and may not be in a position to collect ammo from the ground during attacking pushes, health pickups are more common in attacker used spots as the common attacker clases will be absorbing damage frequently alongside typically having lower heath (scout low health cap, soldier rocketjumping, ect) - Attackers have lower demand for supply pickups as the payload cart automatically heals and supplies metal/ammo when it is pushed, so limiting their pickups will help to encourage attackers to push the cart if they need supplies. Defenders as well slowly lose the need for pickups as engineer dispensers help to supply their team on the field, and towards the end of a match they will have their resupply lockers in spawn, which will be easier to access.

 

-

 

That was a lot to type and now my hand hurts, I'll be revising the layout in 2d a couple more times before I look at doing the greybox, I want to work more on flank routes and adding cover and more vertical elements in the main combat areas.

More soon!

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New adjustments, Currently decided to keep the most recent layout and just make some edits to the existing blueprint.

Spoiler

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The starting area was slightly pushed back to let me make some wanted adjustments, the stair room next to the spawn not has two doors and is slightly larger to move about in. also included a wall that stretches out against the wall to make some more cover.

Spawn room for attackers was slightly edited, showing stairs leading up to the third exit, and the main exit was modified to be larger and lead right onto the payload at the start of a match

The first turning has been adjusted to, there's now some more cover there and a set of stairs leading to an elevated platform to shoot from.

 

I had intended on including a connector for defenders between the cart lift directly to the corner combat area, however I wasn't happy with the implementation and removed it. They can either walk or teleport. Still want to experiment with a connector there though, potentially a one way route, will save that for the greybox version soon.

 

Moving onto the last half of the map, the platform outside of the defender spawn was tidied slightly to remove a poorly implemented corner.

A new vantage point was added for attackers looking into the final cart destination, with the intention of it being used by engineers and snipers to help prevent defenders from getting overly aggressive and pushing out.

Next to that one of the small ammo rooms was made larger and a second exit got added as a more protected diversion from the cart path, the ammo pack there was also moved to better suit it.

Pretty small changes but they should help, will start working on a greybox version of the layout soon, then hope to god I can script this properly.

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Got a fair bit of the greyboxing done, although the map in it's current form is hardly presentable.

So let's present it anyway.

Spoiler

 

BD5716C4A6C4102A8C99C85F7CBE3FE404016C70

Attacker spawn and cart starting point. Three exits of varied heights

Currently comes across as way to open, either due to a mistake in scale or general lack of cover.

 

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First corner turning, suffers again similar problems to the previous of feeling too open, still working on it.

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Bridge section, feeling alright although I imagine this area being a bit annoying to play with in it's current form

Spoiler

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Cart lift area, unfinished but getting there

The current feeling of the greybox is uncomfortable, most areas feeling too open and unused, large section at the start which is just a straight open path, beautiful for snipers to dominate.

Don't like it's current state, but that's no reason to give it up yet. I'll get this developed until I feel like it is fun.

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Back to work with this stuff, took a bit too much time off from working on it, few things were distracting.

But I remember @Radu suggesting that the map would've not been satisfying to look at in fullbright, so this time there is lighting. And yeah, he was right about lighting, I've also made some changes, added a slight diversion in the first stretch and blocked off one of the larger sightlines. Will likely play more with rebuilding the first stage again, but for now I should get the rest of the layout greyboxed first.

Spoiler

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Second cart area, includes deadly cliff path.

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Starting area and cart path

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Attacker vantage point towards the final checkpoint

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Quick look inside attacker spawn

Best thing about TF2 mapping is that you don't have to noclip to get around fast, just have some fun rocket jumping instead.

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Finished the blockout after being delayed due to the dead graphics card, rest of the layout is blocked out with some minor adjustments following the editor.

Spoiler

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I've also adjusted one of the chokepoints to be tighter, but there are some side routes, will want to play with those more.

My To-Do list now will be:

  • Adjust floor height, second half of the map is relatively flat compared to the rest of the map.
  • Finish blockout player-clipping (preventing people from getting onto rooftops, deciding how high people should go, ect)
  • Get the payload and gamemode working
  • Work some more on interiors and sightlines.

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I'm no expert in TF2 as I don't really like the game (but love the art and would map just for that) but layout seems interesting... and challenging, with all those rounded areas.

Is the train-track created automagically by placing point entities or you have to align props plus setting info_something?

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48 minutes ago, blackdog said:

I'm no expert in TF2 as I don't really like the game (but love the art and would map just for that) but layout seems interesting... and challenging, with all those rounded areas.

Is the train-track created automagically by placing point entities or you have to align props plus setting info_something?

tracks are props I have to put in seperately.

Getting the payload to work is... well, a total pain in the ass. Will tell you how it works when I figure it out myself :I

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Started this two months ago, gone from the first random scribbles of a layout, to the first complete blockout.

Currently revising the following for improvements

  • Starting area, make it more like an arena for the payload start, play a bit with height too, help introduce players to what's to come in a smaller scale
  • Interiors, replace the placeholder massive open rooms to more smaller rooms, with hiding and flank spots where needed
  • Mid point elevator, add a new area for practical cover for defenders, consider moving defender forward spawn too

Probably the most curious change I want to try is at the start to mid point route for the payload, replacing a unused wall that was made to block visibility, and turn it into something of a vantage point that defenders can use on the path to the elevator section, and during that section as well. Need to decide on how that will work while maintain the same visibility for optimisation's sake.

Also I've put together a Trello page for the project, so I can track what needs to be done.

https://trello.com/b/yZj9czWC/payload-ascend

 

Will look into doing playtesting once these changes are handled and the scripting is done.

Edited by Bastion

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Time to post a new update.

I've spent the past couple days working on the new version of the start of the map, I'm fine with the buildings around it, it was just the playing field around it I did not find too fun as it came across too underdeveloped and flat, did not feel like a good starting arena for the payload map and didn't encourage much in the way of variation for setups. And now the new blockout is ready to show.

Time for screenshots

Spoiler

 

Before

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After

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Spoiler

 

Before

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After

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Spoiler

 

Before

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After

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Spoiler

 

Old overview

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New overview

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Some parts still need extra touches:

  • Practical cover outside in the more open areas,
  • One new room needs lighting still
  • Cliff edge needs to be done, currently just a flat, square edge.
  • Way back up from the cliff edge route that's not going through spawn
Edited by Bastion

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Seem pretty fluid overall. I really like that part with the hanging logs. Also, please get a blue sky and some warmer lighting. 

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1 hour ago, Radu said:

Seem pretty fluid overall. I really like that part with the hanging logs. Also, please get a blue sky and some warmer lighting. 

Will do eventually, all just placeholder so I can get the layout locked down

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Going to scrap the elevator section, was a bitch to get scripted and doesn't really feel all that fun in practice, will replace it with something a bit more practical. Will also give the opportunity to change some areas of the map there I've not been happy with.

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Took last week off to wrap up other work, back to this.

Current start has been to take better use out of the surrounding area, which has become a new set of interiors to serve as a vantage point (and forward spawn)

Spoiler

 

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Vantage building for defenders following the first cap. has one set of windows and two exits (one outside and one indoors)
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That interior exit, is doesn't line up with the lower door because I hate myself and the world. Should probably fix that (also need to script a one way door so attackers can't go up it)

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Inside the vantage room, will be changing the design of the area outside later to better suit it. also want to take away that visibility between all rooms on this floor.

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Inside the vantage room on the other side, facing what use to be the elevator section.

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Entrance to both vantage rooms, visibility restricted, requiring players to approach anyone inside at closer range.

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Outside where the path is incomplete. Taking away some of the curves and still working on the combat arena in this area to suit a new payload track.

 

Will likely change up the room layouts and give the interiors higher ceilings later. so mobility classes can still compete.

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