I have been playing Team Fortress 2 basically every free moment I with my friends and it’s been great. Unfortunately, all the maps are Control Point/Assault style maps as opposed to Capture the Flag. What this means is, I end up playing a LOT of CTF_2Fort. I can’t escape it, especially when my friends feel nostalgic for the TFC glory days. So after a swift kick in the pants, I have decided to build a map to put the CTF back in TFC.
The most important step in creating a new Level is planning and designing the gamplay. Outline the goals of the project first, sketch it out, then do mental play throughs. The first idea was to take the hilarity of having two enemy bases practically adjacent to one another to a new extreme. The guiding theme is that RED and BLU have tunneled into opposite sides of a mountain and have created Flag Rooms that are quite literally connected. An impenetrable glass wall separates the two rooms, but removes privacy. It is my hope that this will increase the communication between offense and defense as well as change the way defenders think about base defense. Hopefully defenses will be built further out and engineers/demomen will push forward to aggressively defend their base.
Second, the most exciting part of Capture the flag is actually running back to the base with the flag, not just penetrating defenses. With that in mind, I want to create a slightly longer return path. This gives the forward defenders a chance to rally around a dropped flag and encourages the offense to squad up to ensure the safe passage of the flag carrier. Hopefully this also allows the “lone wolf” player plenty of opportunities for ambushing.
My last major goal is to make this map as beautiful as possible. I’m not talking about lots of hi-res props beautiful here, I’m talking epic landscape beautiful. Like first day of spring, first time seeing a sky scraper sort of beautiful. The kind of jaw dropping majesty that begs to be explored. This runs a bit counter to industrial stylings of TF2, but I believe enough elements of the two can be mixed.
With all this in mind, I have decided that with my mega busy schedule I don’t have a ton of time for this, so I’m going to bang this thing out as best I can in the next 2 weeks. Week 10 days for creation and balance, then 4 days for pretification and intense testing.
With these gameplay elements in mind the next step is a floor plan. Based on my goal list I know I want at least a mountain, a waterfall, and two bases. Also I would like to have an area with large rocks for intense close quarters combat. Oh and the bases need connected flag rooms and just for laughs, connected respawn rooms. (I love taunting the other team in dustbowl). Lastly, it needs to be symmetrical. As much as I’d like to make an Asymmetric CTF map, I figure I’m taking on enough with this one without the audacious amount of testing needed to balance asymmetric maps. (Mad props to Valve on TC_Hydro)
As you’ll see in the sketch, I decided on a doughnut/egg shape for the map with the bases one side and the waterfall on the other. This way there are several easily identifiable landmarks no matter where you stand on the map. The rocky area is down at the base of the waterfall and there is a treacherous mountain pass the bring you back up to base level. Outside the bases is a forest and crossing the large center chasim is a delapidated bridge. The longest way around is behind the waterfall. I’ll have to play with that a little bit to keep the pace of the game up. Nothing worse than running across a long level only get to cut down before there is significant action.
The bases need to seem incomplete, like this is a true dispute over the use of the mountain. Bullet proof glass seperates the connected portions so that enemy teams can see each other, but do nothing but get out and kill. Two respawn points should stave of spawn camping and some nice choke points should make base battles very intense. This should really bring the point home that the base is the very last line of defense.
Overall I’m pleased with the design, but I’m sure it’ll change radically as I learn what can and cannot be done.
Next Step: Hammer Crash Course!