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Soldat Du Christ

CSGO Community commentary from an outsider perspective

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So i decided i'm going to commit to making a CSGO map, after years of developing Halo maps since the beginning of H3. I started a Thread announcing this map near the beginning of the recent Map contest,

and got some encouragement to finish it, intrigue of the layout, and confusion over my method. Ultimately i gave up because my first run with the hammer editor was infuriating and i just wasn't ready to buckle down and trudge through the initial learning curve. I think i'm ready to see this through to the end, and i wanted to make this post to gauge the interest of the community on some things before moving forward...

 

In an effort to help the broader Level Design community grow and for my own portfolio, i've been documenting the step by step process of my map development. Here a few examples if this i've already shared here in the forums.

My first question is would you guys be interesting in seeing my step by step documentary of my CSGO map development process? This would include My interpretation of CSGO as an Esport, and how the high end play styles interact with level design, and how my interpretation will inspire the layout. Then I would elaborate on all the decisions that go into making each lane and interaction around the map according to my goals and interpretations. And then finally my commentary of the Esport and mapping community as a whole.

 

Those would be the fundamental goals of the design doc, are there any other additions you would like me to add to the documentary? Any specific talking points you would want me to weigh in on? I'm looking for suggestion and feedback before i start working on this to get a better idea of what the community would be interested in seeing. Thank you for your time and reading :) 

- Soldat

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Sounds like a solid plan to me. If I understand correctly, you are suggesting a video just like the ones you showcased, but for CSGO?

Something like that I would be interested in, because it seems like you have a diverging viewpoint from the common consensus on what makes a CSGO map good. However, if, in fact, I misunderstand your post and you intend to make a comprehensive beginners' guide to CSGO map design, we already have a fair amount of those, and most of what you need to know as a CSGO map maker you learn by playing and watching the game. In this case I would consider it as a portfolio piece for yourself first and foremost. There might still things to be learned from a document like that, but my guess is Mapcore won't be the right crowd for it.

Anyways, I hope you go ahead with this. I remember liking your initial map proposal and was actually fairly sad to see it get put on ice. 

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1 hour ago, Freaky_Banana said:

Sounds like a solid plan to me. If I understand correctly, you are suggesting a video just like the ones you showcased, but for CSGO?

Something like that I would be interested in, because it seems like you have a diverging viewpoint from the common consensus on what makes a CSGO map good. However, if, in fact, I misunderstand your post and you intend to make a comprehensive beginners' guide to CSGO map design, we already have a fair amount of those, and most of what you need to know as a CSGO map maker you learn by playing and watching the game. In this case I would consider it as a portfolio piece for yourself first and foremost. There might still things to be learned from a document like that, but my guess is Mapcore won't be the right crowd for it.

Anyways, I hope you go ahead with this. I remember liking your initial map proposal and was actually fairly sad to see it get put on ice. 

It's not a tutorial, but it will be an outsiders suggestions based off of my interpretation of the game and what I believe it could benefit from. Again, not what the CSGO scene NEEDS, but what my outside perspective could ADD on to the experience. For example, I believe creating more movement by rounded off some lanes and encounters could benefit the game, which is otherwise filled with holding and optimizing choke points. Also, one way exits to add more high stakes decision making. Finally, separating the player footprint from player lines of sight a bit more to reward players who think more 3 dimensionaly. Those are some examples of iterations i have my mind on right now.

At best my outside perspective will help the community think out of the very small box i see level designers here being stuck in. But at the very least it will be an interesting and different look into the perspective of someone (me) who doesn't play, watch, or even like CSGO Esports. 

Edited by Soldat Du Christ

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At best my outside perspective will help the community think out of the very small box i see level designers here being stuck in. But at the very least it will be an interesting and different look into the perspective of someone (me) who doesn't play, watch, or even like CSGO Esports. 

haha

Stick to halo dude, this comes off as very myopic

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I don’t know how you could find the motivation to make a map and all this additional content if you don’t even like CSGO @Soldat Du Christ, anyway if you feel like you can add something to the scene you should just do it… sounds like you’re almost asking permission. 

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5 hours ago, Soldat Du Christ said:

It's not a tutorial, but it will be an outsiders suggestions based off of my interpretation of the game and what I believe it could benefit from. Again, not what the CSGO scene NEEDS, but what my outside perspective could ADD on to the experience. For example, I believe creating more movement by rounded off some lanes and encounters could benefit the game, which is otherwise filled with holding and optimizing choke points. Also, one way exits to add more high stakes decision making. Finally, separating the player footprint from player lines of sight a bit more to reward players who think more 3 dimensionaly. Those are some examples of iterations i have my mind on right now.

At best my outside perspective will help the community think out of the very small box i see level designers here being stuck in. But at the very least it will be an interesting and different look into the perspective of someone (me) who doesn't play, watch, or even like CSGO Esports. 

Alright. I think I see what the others here are commenting on. If you don't like CSGO, it's fair to question why you are making a map for it to begin with. It calls into question your motives, because it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to sink countless hours of work into something you don't like. If I were you, I would ask myself, EXACTLY why you want to make this map.

Further elaborating on this, it seems that you have a very clear idea of what you think will happen when you make a map for CSGO. For my part, I thought I knew this, too, when I came in, but there are many things that CSGO is quite specific about. For example, you can barely distinguish (if at all) on which level of a building a sound is being produced. So making 3D sound part of a map is unfortunately really hard, because the engine just doesn't support it propely. 

As I said, if you want to make this map as a portfolio piece and a personal learning experience or skill diversification, go for it! I would just be very careful about my intents and expectations going into a big project like this. 

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Given that you have a lot of experience creating Halo maps, I think you should also consider porting Tribunal, Bastion and Exotic Castle as deathmatch/arms race/fight yard maps into CS:GO. Obviously, you'll need to make adjustments to reduce fall damage and the like, but I would be nice if we can get some more good looking DM maps for the game.

Plus, if you set your maps in space, I can add them to my CS:GO In Space collection

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Responding to some of your points from the last thread to hopefully move the conversation here.

Quote

I feel like there are many engagements that almost require you to purchase equipment like flash or smokes or frags, or at least it makes it very difficult to push through choke points without them, all three chokes on dust 2 come to mind really.

I don't think this is true. Most choke points are designed in a way that allows players to methodically check corners one by one. On Dust 2, the only spot where you're forced to take a 50/50 gamble is double doors on long as T (and I'd say it's the most egregious chokepoint of all the maps in the competitive pool). Every other chokepoint allows you to peak corners in a sequential manner.

I don't think any map denies a player the ability to play without utility, but rather allows for enhanced play when it is used. A site on Mirage is probably the hardest to play without any utility but you can still clear each angle one by one if you know how.

Overpass is a good example of a map that allows you to play without utility. The angles are really well designed for that, and yet it is considered one of the most tactical maps and is greatly enhanced by the usage of utility.

Quote

CSGO is all about optimising very repetitive engagements and using every inch of leverage you could possibly squeeze out of the few options you have. And people seem to like this i guess

I would argue this is what makes an e-sport an e-sport. What makes people appreciate a player's skill is how they are able to anticipate situations and recall their knowledge of the environment and the game's mechanics to overcome an opponent. There needs to be a certain amount of predictability to make that possible. It's the idea of mastery that hooks people onto e-sports and sports for that matter. 

I definitely believe we can find new ways to increase map depth without adding too much complexity and therefore unpredictability. But it's also important to realize that the derogatory way you've framed the game is precisely why people respect it.

Quote

Within the context of Dust 2, I can see your point. The map is room based and heavely segmented, even between both bomb sites. So CTs don't really know which bomb site they will have to defend. This is why you guys need to start thinking outside the box. Most of the time in CS maps: where you can MOVE is synonymous with where you can SEE and where you can SHOOT. An exception to this i've seen very rarely is your standard window that you can SEE and SHOOT through but you can't MOVE through it.

Dust 2 is the map layout that defined how Counter-strike is played but it's also a true relic. The engine 1.6 was built on basically required maps to be heavily segmented because of its limitations. And to some degree, maps still have to be built this way, but there is a lot more freedom now.

The bigger argument for segmentation is you need teams to have to take gambles. There needs to be risk/reward for the pathing choices you make at any point during a round, so you have to be careful with how much visual intel you afford players. CTs should have to take some risks with their positioning. They can position themselves more favorably by pushing for map control and using process of elimination, as well as using sound cues to predict movement.

I don't think it's fair to say designers here aren't thinking outside of the box so much as they are respecting the fundamental principles of how the game is played. I'm not saying we have it all figured out either. 

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You can do a lot of cool stuff by segmenting these fundamentals. Like opening up the lines of sight while still having linear pathing to empower players who want to gather intel by taking up certain advantageous positions.

I think this is something to explore, but keep in mind every sight line is effectively another corner to check. If you've designed a tower for CTs to gain sight of a T across the map, that T has to know to check that tower window every time they cross X location as well as any other corner they already have to check along the path they are walking.

Quote

Or just keep remaking Dust 2, its up to you!

You know what's not Dust 2? Train, Nuke, Overpass, Cache, Inferno, Vertigo, Canals and every entry from the last Mapcore competition. If you consider all of those dust 2, I think you're wishing for CS to be something it's not.

On that note, I'm curious to see what ideas you come up with. I do believe there is a lot more room for exploration.

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@DMU222 

"A lot of good maps do do this. Look at B cat on Mirage. This is a powerful central position, that dynamically shifts in purpose depending on area of control of each team. Good map makers do rethink the fundamentals, but an original twist needs to be implemented in a way that the player doesn't feel like abusing it is the only way to play the map. A lot of good ideas in a single map does not make a map good. Careful, well thought out maps can be beautiful.

Most maps in the competitive map pool right now are completely different from each other. Inferno has three lanes leading to A and only one leading to B. It's a wacky design but for many people it's their favorite map. Why is that? Because if you really break it down it is still a simple four lane map that feels different not because it throws out the fundamentals, but because it puts them in a new perspective and orientation. Even nuke, the wildest map of all, has the same principle design philosophy behind its layout. Yet nobody would even think to call it a Dust 2 clone. Ultimately there is no specific rule that creates 'great' csgo maps, but keeping the fundamentals in mind is what ensures that you create a balanced (and thus fun) experience.

Imagine if Halo level design was approached like it was CS. I don't think that map would be very fun to play for a full match."

 

I agree with everything you said. For the record i don't think it's necessarily bad that most maps are dust2 remakes, or that 3 lane formulas are all dust 2 remakes. It think the 3 lane formula works well for CS offence/ defence. But it is redundant, as everyone here is already aware. My favorite map so far is Zoo, what are your favorite unique maps out there?

 

And there is a map made in Halo forge that was inspired by the day of defeat mod for source, the map is also called day of defeat, lol. I think it's cool, lots of people in the community liked it. Was made by salty koala bear

17 hours ago, sn0wsh00 said:

Given that you have a lot of experience creating Halo maps, I think you should also consider porting Tribunal, Bastion and Exotic Castle as deathmatch/arms race/fight yard maps into CS:GO. Obviously, you'll need to make adjustments to reduce fall damage and the like, but I would be nice if we can get some more good looking DM maps for the game.

Plus, if you set your maps in space, I can add them to my CS:GO In Space collection

This is a great idea! I know a good map of mine that will translate into deathmatch, none of the ones you mentioned, it will be a good warm up to hammer.

6 hours ago, Kokopelli said:

Responding to some of your points from the last thread to hopefully move the conversation here.

I don't think this is true. Most choke points are designed in a way that allows players to methodically check corners one by one. On Dust 2, the only spot where you're forced to take a 50/50 gamble is double doors on long as T (and I'd say it's the most egregious chokepoint of all the maps in the competitive pool). Every other chokepoint allows you to peak corners in a sequential manner.

I don't think any map denies a player the ability to play without utility, but rather allows for enhanced play when it is used. A site on Mirage is probably the hardest to play without any utility but you can still clear each angle one by one if you know how.

Overpass is a good example of a map that allows you to play without utility. The angles are really well designed for that, and yet it is considered one of the most tactical maps and is greatly enhanced by the usage of utility.

I would argue this is what makes an e-sport an e-sport. What makes people appreciate a player's skill is how they are able to anticipate situations and recall their knowledge of the environment and the game's mechanics to overcome an opponent. There needs to be a certain amount of predictability to make that possible. It's the idea of mastery that hooks people onto e-sports and sports for that matter. 

I definitely believe we can find new ways to increase map depth without adding too much complexity and therefore unpredictability. But it's also important to realize that the derogatory way you've framed the game is precisely why people respect it.

Dust 2 is the map layout that defined how Counter-strike is played but it's also a true relic. The engine 1.6 was built on basically required maps to be heavily segmented because of its limitations. And to some degree, maps still have to be built this way, but there is a lot more freedom now.

The bigger argument for segmentation is you need teams to have to take gambles. There needs to be risk/reward for the pathing choices you make at any point during a round, so you have to be careful with how much visual intel you afford players. CTs should have to take some risks with their positioning. They can position themselves more favorably by pushing for map control and using process of elimination, as well as using sound cues to predict movement.

I don't think it's fair to say designers here aren't thinking outside of the box so much as they are respecting the fundamental principles of how the game is played. I'm not saying we have it all figured out either. 

I think this is something to explore, but keep in mind every sight line is effectively another corner to check. If you've designed a tower for CTs to gain sight of a T across the map, that T has to know to check that tower window every time they cross X location as well as any other corner they already have to check along the path they are walking.

You know what's not Dust 2? Train, Nuke, Overpass, Cache, Inferno, Vertigo, Canals and every entry from the last Mapcore competition. If you consider all of those dust 2, I think you're wishing for CS to be something it's not.

On that note, I'm curious to see what ideas you come up with. I do believe there is a lot more room for exploration.

I agree with a lot of your latter points, but you objectively incorrect about your first point. I'll get some media together for you later so i can accurately show you what spots i'm talking about

Edited by Soldat Du Christ

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You know the grand majority of competitive pool maps were maps were made by hobbyists in the 90s right? Nobody back then knew what constituted a good map, they just made things they found fun with the very limited level editor they had for goldsrc. Nobody but the community chose what maps would still be popular today. Dave Johnson didnt sit down and think about 25 layers of level design theory when he made dust2, he just threw shit at a wall and found things he liked. He didnt set out to make the definitive CS map layout, he stumbled upon it.

Now 20 years later you cant really change the basic foundation of a map very much before it becomes something new entirely. Even though it is easier now to make maps at non 90 degree angles, they cant just go back and adjust old maps to be less square. Nobody here chose what maps would be in the tournment pool, no one here likes how stagnant csgo maps have become. We have to cater to a community who doesnt like new things, You can ask anyone here and they probably at some point had some new, revolutionary design that played well and would be a total refresher to the map pool if added, what happens? Players see a map they dont understand from the first 5 seconds in game, then quit and downvote on the workshop.

About the only game changing map to ever make it into the game was Insertion. Want to know what happened when players who didnt like new things played insertion? They left negative reviews for csgo and then went to the map creators profile and left him angry messages. You can look at Insertions workshop page and see in the months when it was in game people leaving essay long rants about why it sucks and massive dislike spam.

Its not our fault that the only new maps the csgo community want are old ones theyve already played. Mappers have tried their best to make less blocky and more out-there layout ideas, but the more you deviate from the dust2/mirage layout, the less an average player will like the map. And when theres a total 8 slots max a year for new maps to get in and half the time those slots will be filled with old maps from previous operations, you can see why mappers have just stuck to the standard layout because its their best chances of getting in the game.

 

To some it up, no one here wants to keep remaking dust2, they just have to in order to get players to play their map.

Edited by fewseb

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quBC4JB.jpg

Let's say you have five CTs in the positions above.

c4pTYaQ.jpg

As I'm approaching from the tunnel I'm hugging the right wall so I can engage a player playing the back of the site without being exposed to any other angles.

NtfAjIV.jpg

When I get here, I can get a narrow peak at a player playing behind the stack on site.

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As I continue forward, I begin hugging the left side of the tunnel as I sweep right to clear each angle on site one by one.

mPDgNOQ.jpg

Before stepping outside the tunnel, I look up to check for a CT playing on top of this stack.

OUUyRPi.jpg

While I'm checking that stack I'm still inside the tunnel and not exposed to the CT playing the corner on the left.

Gq7PyLn.jpg

Then I check that corner.

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Next, I press up against the stack so I can again check for a player playing the stack on the bombsite.

b8tkANg.jpg

After that I check car.

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Then deep in the cubby.

5M6rWkG.jpg

And finally directly behind the stack.

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Most important thing to mention is that in the average round you will have four terrorists doing all this checking against one or two ct players. This gives the terrorist team a great advantage in firefights because they can easily trade if any player goes down. Additionally, you can have different players checking different spots on the site, meaning that all of these positions will be cleared in mere seconds.

Bomb site takes (and retakes) are ALWAYS the moments your players will value the most. In a single moment, the fate of the round is decided as players exert themselves to push their team closer to victory. The push through a chokepoint onto a site is the most important design of any good counter strike map. Most other things on the level must than be built to add more importance to the choke point. What areas of the map do teams need to control to stop or mount a push? What space do we give players to set up before going in (on either side)? How do players get to the chokepoint in the first place?

A counterstrike level is about exploring and exploiting the level to gain a firm grip on your chokepoints, and then blasting through them to secure victory against the other team. It's important to remember that the defending team should also gain something once they push through a chokepoint. Usually this is flanking options and rotation paths against the enemy team, but this could also be intel on where the enemy team isn't.

A good chokepoint is also usually not just a single doorframe or hallway. My two favorite examples are A long and catwalk on Dust 2. As the defending team is pushed back, they get multiple safe areas (corners) that they can duck into in order to try and stop a push. The enemy team also gains cover positions that allow them to hold their newly gained ground and push defenders away from the next safe area.

TLDR

In summary, when creating a chokepoint you shouldn't focus on making it work in a 5v5 scenario with no utility, because no one will ever be playing your map that way. Make developed paths with planned cover positions along them. Make interesting set up areas that allow teams to take a breath before getting into a fight. Create positions that are exposed and hard to get to, but can allow a team to swing the round if they take the risk of taking that ground. Perfecting these areas is what will make your map interesting to players, because these areas are what create those amazing clutch moments that players will remember.

Edited by DMU222

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