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CTF Map Fixing Guide

Discussion in 'Map Submissions' started by Xelasi, May 3, 2016.

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  1. Xelasi

    Xelasi Retired Mod | CTF Map Builder

    May 17, 2015
    [Originally posted under CTF Guides. Images have been added, and this post has been extended, reformatted, clarified for better guidance.]

    There is a general agreement that CTF maps should be "perfectly imbalanced." This, however, can only be achieved if you understand how the elements of the map work in-game with the player classes. For those who are new to building maps for this game mode, I hope this serves as a guide for helping correct common problems or catching them before they happen.

    Think of these as guidelines for getting an original map considered for rotation. When you get used to how each element works in relation to gameplay, then you can start bending rules more.

    Starting Places and Map Lists

    CTF Map Making Guide
    CTF Map Requirements
    MinecraftBuild General Guide
    Intro to WorldEdit
    WorldEdit Wiki
    Aesthetics Help

    CTF Map List 2016
    CTF Map List 2015
    CTF Map Wave X
    CTF Map Wave XI
    CTF Map Wave XII

    Most Common Map Gameplay Problems
    Frequent issues with suggested fixes and past map examples

    If most of your map has one flat ground level or the area is mostly flat and really open, it's going to be a mage and turret nightmare. Plus, it doesn't offer enough elevation variety when traveling across the map. This is the first thing everyone will look at when checking your map post on the forum. Find some way to create levels or vary the terrain if possible.

    Example: Wooded Terrain [17734] Look at the lovely asymmetrical trees.

    Temples of Earth [17732] Aside from flatness, also had massive walls and archer cover issues.
    If you don't have trees, walls, underground or side tunnels, etc. to provide a partially covered path for the flag carrier between flag rooms, it's going to be a giant head shot party. It's not fun to be insta-killed the entire game.

    Example: Islands [587] Also had massive navigability issues.

    Unholy Faith [1403] This map was the unholy trinity of tall structure, player funneling, and no archer cover.
    Keep your layout fairly intuitive. If players can get easily disoriented - which happens frequently in enclosed or busy spaces - then the map probably won't make it into rotation. Clean up underground areas. Clearly label sides and directions if needed. Make the flag room buildings and spawn areas obvious.

    Also, it's better to avoid making mirrored maps. A mirrored map means the player has to learn two new maps instead of one.

    Example: Slums [1157] Self explanatory.

    SubZero [67894] Even with sides color coded, the mirrored flip and more complicated building style make this one confusing to get across.

    Pagodas [256] Beautiful map, but I'm pretty sure this is why Pagodas keeps getting pulled from rotation. The spawn is in front of the flag room, and when you spawn you face a weird direction. If you take the sponge when you'd meant to go the other direction, then you have to turn all the way back around and run back. The flag room is out of view when you first spawn, and it gets confusing. Direction isn't clear.

    ^^ This is one of the most frequent things I see potentially awesome maps failing in. Sometimes you have to take your map back a step and simplify.
    Before soldier was nerfed, this was a HUGE problem. It's not as problematic now, but if classes besides soldier and ninja can't get up walls efficiently it's going to be an issue for recovery. Angling exterior walls and making them climbable helps. Lower the walls a bit. Add fast ways up. You can still use coal ore to stop soldiers, but be aware of ninjas.

    Example: Divinity's Reach [605]

    Mountain Oasis [389] Difficult for classes besides soldier and ninja to get around.

    Waterfall [825] Soldier fights and soldier camping. Might be interesting with recent soldier nerf.

    The reason maps like Clocktower and Lighthouse are okay with their taller objects is because the height is in the middle and more decorative. The objects don't interfere with flag rooms or the path to get across the map.
    If your map takes ages to get across and there isn't a sponge in sight, either shorten the map or add sponges in REALLY obvious locations. If the other team can reach your flag room before you, the distance between spawn and the flag room needs to be altered.

    Example: Sphinx [1115] Mirrored symmetry with the spawns directly across from each other and the flag rooms directly across from each other on the opposite end. The map itself is huge and hard to get across. There are also archer cover and archer camping issues.

    Xieroth Station [51974] Has flag rooms that are back to back, and it takes less time to get from flag room to flag room than it does to get from spawn to flag room.

    Norse Dominion [64273] Took too long to get across; the map was reduced in size in a rework (Norse Dominion I).
    Redstone, block 36, excessive lava, paintings, vines, and a few others can cause lag. Remove all block 36 from maps. Keep other non-solid blocks to a minimum.

    Example: Atlantis [50580] 10-block deep exterior water walls, flowing water, instances of block 36. vines, flames, light-altering blocks, and all the translucent blocks. Recipe for FPS drops.
    Please place restriction blocks (monster block, 97) beneath your spawn, under large flag rooms, and under other necessary areas. CTF staff will not have time to place them for you. If not, nercros and engineers will have their structures in spawn or in large flag rooms. Monster block creates a restricted 7 x 7 x 7 cube area around a single placed block.

    Example: You can temporarily move your structures to make setting restriction blocks easier.
    Then //set 97 wherever you want.
    This is one where a lot of people will see that something is off, but it's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is. I see a lot of inexperienced builders making their structures too small (example: houses with walls only 3 blocks tall, 2-block tall tunnels, and tiny trees), and experienced builders making their structures too large. Try to find a balance with what looks good and what Minecraft characters can actually physically fit into.

    Example: Unholy Faith [1403] Is very pretty, but way too tall. See: No archer cover.
    If the map is really hard for more than one class to get across or it funnels players toward small passageways without good alternate options, this is going to make either enraging or boring gameplay.

    Example: Halo [1442] had player-funneling death bridges. One turret and you're toast.

    Shattered Rift [1068] Had pretty much the same issue as the original Halo.

    Canyon [278] Narrow bridges.

    Other things that people will make criticisms of but are more subjective to map design

    OP classes

    Having one or two classes slightly overpowered is going to happen, just make sure to keep it interesting for other classes. This element is what helps keep a map interesting. Leaning toward the free classes (heavy, medic, soldier, archer) keeps it fairer for new players. How to make single classes overpowered:

    Mage: Flat map, no vertical cover (trees, walls, etc). Long, straight hallways.
    Pyro: No water, tight flag room, short structures, corners for trapping.
    Soldier: Very tall buildings for fast flag getaway and camping.
    Archer: High camping spots, no top cover, funneling, no alternative routes.
    Assassin: Having spawn close to flag room. Terrain navigable with minimal jumping.
    Ninja: Ghost capping, high areas other classes can't reach.
    Dwarf: Very enclosed flagroom with no water.
    Engineer: No vertical cover, not having enough paths through midfield to avoid, funneling players into an area.
    Chemist: Chemists tend to like tanking on flatter, open areas with space for running in circles, but they aren't as much of an issue as they used to be.
    Medic: Narrow flag room entrances.
    Heavy/Necro/Elf: Not really an issue lately imo.

    These factors can also change when class updates occur.​

    Pyro isn't as OP as it was so it's not completely necessary in new flag rooms anymore, but it's a good idea to have some occasional water to help extinguish the pyro and mage flames.
    Tall grass might look pretty, but it is a pain to PVP in. Keep it out of major PVP areas.
    If a ninja can throw a pearl and have time to run into the flagroom and grab the flag before the pearl lands, that counts as ghost capping. Practice ninja a bit to figure out the timing of pearls landing
    Make your archers work a bit. Being an insta-kill class alone already makes people rage over them.
    The standard is to have at least 3 entrances for a flagroom. If it's an open flag pole sitting outdoors, you're going to need some good recovery options. If it's fairly enclosed, add water to make it less pyro OP. The flag room design should take the map size and other elements into consideration.
    This is where a lot more personal preference comes into play. From what I've seen and heard, the people who play CTF prefer simplicity in design for PVP, while people in the creative and building communities want to see you detail everything and will call you out if you don't. Try to balance without going too overboard and it will be fine.
    Even though ninjas can pearl through glass, they usually take enough damage whenever they pearl to not get too far. Double up the glass or sandwich barriers between to make it more of a challenge.
    Check the above and see if any of those are your problems. If you still can't figure out the problem, find some hardcore and mouthy CTF players to tell you what's wrong. They won't hesitate. Just be ready to get your beautiful art shredded.
    You might need an entire reskin if it's bad enough. Ask someone with good aesthetic skill to work with you on reskinning, and work with them so it still fits what you want... just be sure to give them credit. Sometimes things like obvious worldedit and hard block mixes will look bad and need some adjusting. If someone complains about you not having custom trees and you get self-conscious about it, you can look for custom tree ideas online. If your map looks too "messy", you may have too many types of blocks in your block mixes and you'll need to minimize the variety or contrast, or stick closer to your main theme.

    Finally, the most important thing to be aware of:
    If you post your map in the forum, you will probably receive some criticism
    . Usually feedback will bring new perspective and point out things that had gone unnoticed. If you find it offensive, the best thing is to step away from the computer for a bit and chill out before responding. Be thankful that someone pointed out that you need more [insert thing here]. If you think their advice is stupid or completely defeats whichever aspect you put a lot of time and thought into already, it's usually better to not respond than to argue. So, heads up.

    Gameplay should always take priority. For those thinking of making a map, make sure you sort out the gameplay before you start on aesthetics. Planning out the shape with huge chunks of stone (or drawing it out on a sheet of paper before that) is a much better way of making a map than choosing a theme that looks nice and working backwards.Think about the routes players will take to get from point A to point B and back.

    I'm hoping some of these tips help you out when designing your own map. If you have any good additional tips on map fixing or guides I should link to, feel free to share. Happy building <3

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    #1 Xelasi, May 3, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  2. xxMineSheepxx

    xxMineSheepxx Staff and Build Team Manager
    Build Team Wiki Team

    May 17, 2015
    You've got too much time in your hands, thanks for the guide though!
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  3. pandanielxd

    pandanielxd I like sloths

    May 17, 2015
    But you know, feedback gets frustrating if someone first says something like the terrain is too even and later someone says it's too uneven.
  4. Xelasi

    Xelasi Retired Mod | CTF Map Builder

    May 17, 2015
    Yeah, I've had that happen as well. At that point use your best judgment, you're free to ignore advice if you think it's bad. You can also PM experienced CTFers and CTF map builders for additional opinions.
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