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Thread: ET competition maps guidelines

  1. #1

    ET competition maps guidelines

    OK, to try and get this thread back on track I thought I'd summarise some of the points raised so far. I've edited this original post to reflect this, and will continue to do so as these guidelines are amended and refined. I've tried to incorporate most points raised by most people in this thread, whilst at the same time trimming it down a bit so as to make it more easily digestible.

    Anyone who wants to add / amend something, please suggest any changes you'd like to make, but please, let's keep this on-topic. I know I'm one of the worst offenders for going off-topic, so apologies for doing so already and I promise to try not to in future.


    Golden Rule

    The map must be winnable by the Attacking team more easily than by the Defending team. Competition is played in Stopwatch mode, where NEITHER team scores ANY points if the defending team hold for the full duration of the map. Points are scored by whichever team completes the objective the fastest over 2 rounds. If neither team set a time, no-one scores any points, and the 2 rounds have been a waste of time playing.

    Basic Structure

    Spark gave a pretty perfect description of basic map struture, and it goes like this:-

    A ---- B -- (X) ---- C

    Attacking team initially spawn at A, defending team at B. The first phase of the map takes place between A and B. Something triggers B switching to a permanent Attacking team spawn and Defenders thereafter spawn at C. (Allies blow Old City Wall on Oasis, for example). The second phase of the map then takes place between B and C. You might also add an additional spawn point for the Attacking team at X, but make it possible for the Defending team to disable it (Command Post on Radar, for example). If you're going to add this additional spawn make it strategic, otherwise neither team will bother with it, and make sure it's closer to B than to C.

    A good competition map should also be consistent with other competition maps, because you don't want to have one map that plays 20 mins on average and another that plays 2 mins. That would make sheduling somewhat difficult. As most ET maps are larger, multi-objective, 15 - 20 maps (compared to other games), yours should be as well. Just don't make them mammoth 64 player epics.

    Objective Type

    "Objective run" maps are often considered better than "blow something up" maps, as "blow something up" requires some fine tuning to get it just right (spawn cycles and locations need very careful planning). Also "doc run" gives the defending team an opportunity to recover the situation and adds a more dynamic element to the game. But either will do as long as they're offensive biased.

    Routes to Objective

    Multiple entry points, no good having a tight balanced map if the defending team can simply camp a single passage-way to lock out the attacking team. Use tunnels, alternate routes, whatever, to allow attacking team to get to the objective a number of different ways. Also, if it's an "objective run" map, make sure there are several ways in and out of wherever the objective is situated, otherwise the defending team will simply camp the objective. However, don't go overboard. Too many corridors encourage full defences close to the objectives, too few create choke points. So keep it open as this allows teams to give their crossfires a good workout.

    Spawn Rule

    If the time taken for Defenders to get to the objective from spawn PLUS the difference in spawn cycle is LESS than the time taken for Attackers to get to the objective from their spawn, then it's a DEFENSIVE map. If it's MORE then it's OFFENSIVE.

    i.e. If a player from each team both die near the objective, which one is more likely to get back there first?

    Here's a couple of examples to clarify:-

    Radar - Axis spawn is 10 seconds slower than Allied. However, it takes almost 10 seconds to get to East Radar from Axis spawn and only about 15 from the command post. Difference in travel time (5s) is less than difference in spawn cycle (10s) - Offensive map.

    FuelDump - Axis spawn again 10 seconds slower than Allied but it takes Axis about 10 seconds to get to the FuelDepot whereas it takes Allies about 30. Difference in travel time (20s) is greater than difference in spawn cycle (10s) - Defensive map.

    Remember, Competition requires Offensive maps, which is why Radar is played in Clan Wars and FuelDump isn't.

    Quality and Visuals

    Don't be too intricate with detail. Competition players reduce all their graphics settings to a minimum anyway, so your beautiful textures won't get the credit they deserve. We prefer great FPS to great scenery. Also, quality is important for a competitive map, which will be played day in, day out. Every little bug will soon be identified.


    20 minutes or less

    Team Size

    6 v 6

  2. #2
    Kendle - thanks for the alert.

    Personally, my problem with making a competition map is that I've never played in a competition league or been a member of a clan. So basically, I have know idea what a competition map should be like. I don't even know where to begin....

    What kind of objectives are needed for competition maps? How many objectives? Timelimit (I'm guessing 15 minutes or less). How big/small should a map be? How many players per side during a match? I think you get the idea that I'm clueless about competition maps....

    I think we need a 'newbie mapping guide' for competition maps. What are the competition rules? What do clans like to see, etc... Maybe I'm the only mapper who doesn't know these things...but I think a 'comprehensive' description of competition rules/map features would help mappers design competition maps. Just my $0.02 worth....

  3. #3

    personally i would make maps for clans if only i could get lots (and i mean lots) of decent feedback from clans rather then one person sending me an email saying "hi i played your map for ten seconds on my own and here are my thoughts"

  4. #4
    I agree w/ Mr. Mustard. I only have a very vague idea of what they want/need. Certainly giving info like the above is informative but far from enough to give us any idea of what is expected as a good competitive map.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by blushing_bride t=120
    Oops, told ya I don't read this forum much!

    As to what Clans want, well I can only give you my opinions, which might not be everyone's, but a few things I would think about are:-

    1) Objective, as Sphere points out, needs to be reachable by the attacking team within a spawn cylce of the defending team. If you want to make more than 1 objective that's fine (indeed preferabe IMO as multi-objective maps are what make ET such a great game), just stick a flag or command post in somewhere, or destructible object that puts attacking team at a forward spawn area once first objective is achieved so the action can move on to the second objective, etc. without compromising the "reachable within spawn cycle" rule.

    2) "Objective run" maps are often considered (by ex-RTCWers at least) as better than "blow something up" maps, so something the attacking team has to grab and deliver to somewhere else.

    3) Multiple entry points, no good having a tight balanced map if the defending team can simply camp a single passage-way to lock out the attacking team. Use tunnels, alternate routes, whatever, to allow attacking team to get to the objective a number of different ways. Also, if it's an "objective run" map, make sure there are several ways in and out of wherever the objective is situated, otherwise the defending team will simply camp the objective (SteelRat made some adjustments to V2Base for that very reason).

    4) Timelimit 15 mins or less maybe (but Oasis and Goldrush are still popular and are played with 20 min timelimits)

    5) Team size, 6 v 6.

    6) Map size. That's a tricky one, as often customs are considered unsuitable simply because they're just so damned big. Do all mappers play on 64-player servers or something (joking). I liked some of those 1024*3 maps, but they're too small. Check out SupplyDepot and SteelRat's V2Base for an indication of size.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard
    I think we need a 'newbie mapping guide' for competition maps
    An excellent idea which would help alot of mappers realise what exactly they should be concentrating on if they require their maps to be used in competitions. But this sort of information really needs to come from clans/players. Something similiar to this thread would be good:

    Good luck with the competition maps and I hope you get alot of mappers taking time to submit maps.


  7. #7
    I think that one of the problems is that you have to design a map for competition from the ground up, and you have to design Stopwatch maps differently than Campaign maps. Stopwatch maps need to be very offensively focused with the opportunities for full holds minimized.

    I'm going to see if I can get my new effort, Vengeance, modified for TWL. So far, the feedback has been positive, though we'll need more extensive testing and a couple of edits to remove some random elements that are popular in the pubs.

  8. #8
    another thing i just came to think of when reading this thread. In the manual all classes are balanced etc, but in reality that isnt the case. A typical clan match is imo played with 2-3 medics, 1-3 fdops and 1-2 engineers. Even though some people use covert ops/mortar/panzer in some moments of some maps, the core of most setups still looks smth like that. Thats something for mappers to keep in mind imo, if you want your map to be used in competitions you shouldnt bother with adding objectives you can satchel / good sniping spots / mg42 spots / etc, in clan matches that probably wont be used anyway so your time is better spent asking clan people to test the map or calculating spawn times

  9. #9
    I think that you can add some well thought out features that make clans change their configurations. It's nice to have barriers that are satchelable, which force clans into making the trade off between the engy+grenade launcher vs the covert which is faster.

    Any good overwatch spot will be used, thought they all get located pretty easily.

    I personally like runnable objectives + multiple routes. Chokepoints are good and necessary, but should be well thought out and placed. You should be able to hold them with just arty spam and there should always be ways around them.

  10. #10
    Ifurita: Of course that's possible. But the problem is not with the team configurations but rather with the lack of decent maps imo. Honestly i do not understand why mappers want to add special features/gameplay "improvements" when all that is needed is a decent 6vs6 map. I play in a clan and i suck, but just for fun i scanned my harddrive for demos to see what maps i actually play and in what proportion to the others, this is what i found:

    oasis: 155
    goldrush: 135
    radar: 38
    supplydepot: 30
    base: 27
    caen: 22
    railgun: 14
    fueldump: 14
    battery: 2

    btw: you're totally right about stopwatch being very different from campaign maps

  11. #11
    True. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I think that good competition maps are build from the ground up - meaning, that the mapper starts out with the intention of making a competition map, prototyping quickly, and getting feedback from competition players as early in the process as possible. SW maps need to be fast, offensive friendly, and geared towards 6-8 vs same.

    To your point, I like maps which force teams out of the "typical" configuration and make them run a covert or something different.

  12. #12
    Firstly, thanks Kendle for putting this thread in a more relevant location

    I have no idea how mappers design maps, so forgive me if anything I say is either obvious or simply ridiculous, but here are a few suggestions for competition maps. Note that there IS such a thing as a map which works in clan matches and campaigns. It just has to be offensively biased. I personally think that Radar is an EXCELLENT map and should thank SD for creating it (without it our win % would be a lot lower... )

    Right, here's what I suggest :

    1) First decide if it's going to be a dynamite or 'docs' final objective. Or some kind of 'moving' objective like Supply Depot. You don't have to, but it will prevent the map from losing direction as it's developed. Note - be careful with dynamite objectives, the map has to be much more finely balanced for them to work because of the need to hold it for 30 seconds. Plus they can be too easy to defend on publics because of the lack of Med support for Engs. I know were talking about competition maps here, but part of what will get it played is if 7-8 man teams on public servers can set times on it.
    2) Use a piece of paper to sketch as much as possible in advance - just the basic routes at first. Don't start by designing a room or a cool lake because you'll just end up trying to fit the map round it.
    3) Don't try to be too original. You don't want it to look like another map ofc, but a two stage map with a flag in first stage which is then secured by blowing a wall or door works consistently well.
    4) Start building the map from the back (final objective) and work forwards. The final stage is what makes or breaks a map and this should be your primary concern.
    5) Don't make it too complicated - too many corridors encourage full defences close to the objectives. Too few create choke points. So keep it open as this allows teams to give their crossfires a good workout.
    6) Make sure you play while you're designing. It'll remind you of what make maps work well.
    7) If possible keep the map size under 6 Mb. tbh this is a secondary concern, but it will help to get people playing it.
    8 ) Don't be too intricate with detail. Competition players reduce all their graphics settings to a minimum anyway, so your beautiful textures won't get the credit they deserve. People like getting a reasonable FPS.
    9) Use the rule of thumb about time to objectives for each team and difference in spawn cycles and make sure it's an offensive map. It's not a perfect rule, but it's a guide.
    10) Make sure spawn camping isn't too easy - i.e. not one spawn / spawnexit that has to be used.
    11) Don't worry about the soldier classes. It's not your responsibility to stretch the game to its limit - Meds, FOps and Engs are the only classes you need to make sure are used. You're unlikely to get anyone saying "Your map has no obvious MG42 spots so we won't use it"
    12) Have multiple spawn points for the offensive team in the second stage. This allows teams to be more creative with tactics. Oasis gets away with one spawn point, but I wouldn't recommend it. Radar, Supply Depot, and now Fuel Dump all benfit from this so give it some thought. Try and keep it so there's not a massive advantage from either but that it allows the offensive team to change the angle of attack.
    13) Try and keep spawn time fairly long - i.e. minimum of 15 seconds for the fastest spawn. Part of what makes RTCW and ET such a good team game is that a decent length cycle FORCES you to make the most of each spawn you have, rather than not worrying about losing players because they'll be with you again in a few seconds. And keep them different - Railgun is MUCH better with the new comp settings which have the defending team spawning every 30.
    14) Try and contour the map - a flat map makes it too easy for riflenades. Strafe jumping should be an aggressive tactic, not defensive - so if there is one, it's better if the height advantage is with the attacking team. Don't make it bumpy, just don't make it like a bowling green.
    15) Don't worry too much about Fixed MGs. Wouldn't bother with more than one. With the exception of Goldrush they aren't really used because it's too easy to headshot the guy who's on it.

    If all else fails, go for a beer with the guy who designed Radar :drink:

    Hope this helps in some way

  13. #13
    As I posted in the Jolt forums, there's no reason why clans and comp players can't give the mappers a hand with a cooridor floor plan, a height map, and a well thought out description of how the game should flow. With the guys I worked with on Vengeance, we were able to crank out a fairly reasonable terrain set + hallways and basic buildings in a weekend - at least enough to see how the game would flow.

    On the lighter side, if you guys want maps with no detail and just high fps, you can crank those out in a weekend.

  14. #14
    I wonder if it's possible to quantify the overall offense friendliness of a map, or even of various objectives. You could assign +/- points based on advantages attackers and defenders have at each objective. An overall score of 0, would mean that an objective doesn't favor either side. Here's what I was thinking of:

    Time Differential to reach objective
    0 - 0 points
    +1-5 seconds, attacker (meaning attacker gets to objective x seconds faster): +1
    +6-10 seconds, attacker: +3
    +1-5 seconds, defender: -1
    +6-10 seconds, defender: -3

    Other factors
    Defender has covered route to objective: -1
    Attacker has covered route to objective: +1
    Objective only has 1 point of entry: -3
    Objective has 3 or more points from which attacks can be launched: +2
    Objective defended by a fixed MG42: -1

    What else is there?

    Basically, you could score each objective and see whether it's about at partity, somewhat offense slanted, very offense slanted or visa versa re: defense. What do you think?

  15. #15
    what Sphere said was pretty good Mustard, imo Docs maps are far better than Dyna ones (and from my poor ET memory, there arent a lot of docs maps, if any single ones as radar has 2) from what I have played with ET it is a multiple stage game where as most Rtcw were single stage, though could get away with it as for map lengths. try not to have too many single route for offense, unless its close to attackers spawn and not to defence. I think what ET Lacks in maps is a short maps (from what I know, as I only played the originals) time wise and doc maps- if you havent played rtcw before you could maybe take a look at some things from them and get some 'ideas'.

    And dont get knocked back by the haters, what you do is great, but it is a good idea to get feedback. I tried to map once and I made 4 rooms from scratch all plain tried a ladder... but heh that took me less than a week, and half of it was screwed with the graph bugs etc.

    drop me an email if you want a hand with ideas or whatever, would be np at all.

  16. #16
    Why so serious? Lanz's Avatar
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    One thing that strikes me the most with the talk of competition friendly maps is that a lot of people thinks they will rule out public play. Imo this is not true at all, since a map that is harder to defend would be more fun on publics. Many times when I play on pub servers running the standard maps playing on the defending side (except radar) I get bored, too easy to defend makes me lazy when you more or less can camp a spot for a long time. Same is happening on offence when you just cant break through because of the team not working together. The standard maps are horrible one sided and almost the only reason that the attacking team win from time to time is the long timelimit. I'm not saying that everyone likes faster games on pubs, since a lot of people plays for xp and leveling up, but there is a lot of people that would like the game to play faster on pubs so maps suitable for competition also suits pubs. Just like the shrub mod has been successfull for some while others hate it. Making maps fair for both sides makes the game more interesting without taking the easy solution, eg increase the time limit.

    As I see it, there's a simple formula that makes a good competion map, spawn times as discussed before, time them well for both teams. Multiple routes to the objectives, maps that have one small choke point with unbalanced spawn timers is just horrible. Many maps succeed partly to make balanced maps, but usually fails on the final objective stage. Do not add too much cover for the defending side, clans like to figure out new tactics for maps, if you just gives them easy and good cover the maps will become boring quickly (too easy to defend, will not evolve in tactics) and will also play bad on pubs. Just remember, a good map is a good map, it has nothing to do with pub or comp play. Not everyone will like it of course but if it's well balanced people wiill play it.

    Another thing a lot of people talk about are the looks of comp maps, remember this is not rtcw/quake 3, you cant dumb down the graphics as much as in those games and I know a lot of competitive players that thanks SD for that. As a player that has been playing both rtcw and et competitively since the first release days of both I hate to be "forced" to play with high picmip/dumbing down graphics just to stay competitive in clan games. So nowdays I play with high quality settings just increasing the visibility with gamma/intensity/overbrightbits. I like nice looking maps and having a crappy setting was what ultimately got me to switch from rtcw to et. Just dont go crazy about details, but dont strip the map down either, the time when 8-10000 tris with absolutely no overdraw was the rule when voodoo and tnt cards ruled the market (if not counting the 125 fps freaks for added physics in Q3)..

    So in conclusion, think hard about the layout of the map, one misplaced brush can cause a hell for the offence, plan the timers carefully, just because one map has 25 for defence and 15 for offence doesnt mean your map will play good with those settings, make it hard for the axis to fully cover all entances to an objective, 2-3 entrances not easily covered by two guys is a good rule. One thing that a lot of mappers do wrong is that they add mg42's in every corner, why they do it is beyond me, but I guess they want something for the engies to build without thinking of the consequenses of it. A well placed mg42 is not in a small corridor that is easily covered from behind forcing you to only one weapon of choise, panzer.

    Well I could rant on forever about this but I wont. :moo:

  17. #17
    Also, if any mappers have maps they think would be of interest, please come forward. A lot of maps seem to be being produced, but bringing a few to our attention would make life a lot easier.

    V2Base has just been played in UnterElite, and it's received "mixed" reviews, with some hating it and some loving it, but most agree that it's a little flawed in that is has an Axis spawn right next to where the Allies have to deliver the objective. Allies can take that spawn, but if they don't get it straight away it's almost game over for them. So some slight adjustments may well be needed. That's something that mappers need to be away of as well, recognising that they're going to get feedback, not all of which will be positive, but if they're willing to work with us to make their maps more suitable they'll find us willing partners.

    Also, to reinforce what Lanz says, comp maps and pub maps are not necessarily completely different animals. If any of you have maps you think might be suitable, even though you weren't thinking competition when you made them, still bring them forward and let's have a look at them.

  18. #18
    Kendle is a stupid head. Discuss.

    @Kendle and Lanz, yes, I definately agree. In fact, I think good offense-slanted maps are a nice breath of fresh air because the challenge becomes how fast you can take the map, vs. "oh god, another 30 minutes of spamage and impossible objectives". If we (as mappers) can come up with a nice set of offensively-slanted maps in which both axis and allies have the chance to attack, the it allows the server admins to mix it up a little in their campaigns

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Also keep in mind that good clans arent your average good public server player. They arent good because they shoot good. They are good because they think long about how they will attack, synchonise it, and most important they will have about half the team as medic, so they will keep on reviving. If one team has a place where they cant be gibbed, thats a huge advantage.

  20. #20
    Hmm, this is an interesting thread.
    Getting this feedback is a good thing for the mapping comminity, it always makes sense to check what the customer wants before developing a product.
    I have not thought along these paths before, simply because I don't play in a clan.
    I have only tested my maps on public servers with people that I know, simply because some people (SiN) and others are too keen on distributing test versions of maps before they are ready, and if people see an early version of your map prior to all improvements they will think it is crap and will not play it again.

    Anybody got a good idea on how to let clans testing the maps for feedback?
    I know you helped me with feedback on V2 Base TE at UnterElite Kendle and I am greatful for that, problem is that that map was a remake from my RtCW map and it does not suit the features of the ET game engine for clan play.



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