So, this new Dreamwidth thing is supposed to be a repository for creative stuff, right? Well, let's open the doors with my latest creative project that I may or may not abandon at any given moment: a custom map for Team Fortress 2.

First, some useful links:
This is the centre of all my TF2 level-making knowledge.
Plentiful video tutorials by a crazed-looking Englishman.

And now, some waffle. I suspect that to people who haven't played TF2 or looked into the SDK development kit, this will mean nothing.

I'm going to start with a capture-the-flag map, since a) they're the easiest kind to make and b) all the existing ones have the same aggravating problem: a single choke point near where the intelligence (the 'flag' in TF2) sits, reducing each one to a grind against this single location.

So, key design principle #1: Every potential choke point should have at least one other way of access that lets you blow up engineer nests and campers with relative impunity.

Design principle #2: Spawn camping sucks, and should be thwarted by having at least three separate exits from the spawn room, none of which is visible from any of the others.

Design principle #3: There should be at least three ways of getting to any given location, and it should be impossible to watch all of them at once.

The basic idea is to have two houses on opposite sides of a valley, with a swimmable river at the bottom. There will be an uncovered bridge across the river in the middle, and two covered ways across at either side of the map so that snipers don't just pwn everybody.

Keeping with principle #2, the house has multiple ways in: the front door (or ground floor windows), the back door (leading upstairs), the first floor windows (accessible by rocket-jumping from the ground or double-jumping from a convenient stack nearby), or a sewer pipeline that comes in from the river in the centre of the map.

The intelligence room has cover in it to make sentry guns a sub-optimal defence, a high-up window that grenades can be lobbed through, and three separate entrances/exits.

The gap between the houses should be about ~1000 hammer units across, so a scout will cover the distance in 2.5 seconds and a heavy a bit more than 4 seconds.

The first floor balconies should be about 300 units off the ground (plus another 32-64 for the balcony). The vaulting boxes should be a ramp up to about 180, then a jump to 280, then a horizontal leap of about 400 to the balcony.

The internal height of each floor should be about 250-300. The sewer tunnels can be a bit more cramped at 192.

Right. That should be enough to get started with... to the level editor!

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"Oh huzzah, yippee. I'm stuck inside a hat that smells of fish - lucky me."

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