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The Architecture of CTF(Long But Worth a Look)

Discussion in 'Original Unreal Tournament' started by Moneyshot[SeX], Apr 7, 2000.

  1. Things I should most likely save for UTCU. But why not share them here where people spend their time at this time in the UT Community. (Yes I'm sure more will start coming to UTCU...many already do.)

    There is a definitive architecture to CTF. Not only in map making. But in the game itself. But to start with the easier first. I will expound on the architecture of making CTF maps.

    Map Making, The CTF Way

    Online CTF is a very advanced variant on one of the oldest military training evolutions. 2 teams, 2 flags, and the drive to win is what it is at its most basic of levels.

    Alot of the best CTF maps in the history of internet gaming, i.e. 2fort4(Quake TF, with several Q2WF/TFC/UT variants), Strongholds (Q2CTF), Broadside (Tribes CTF), Cancer1wf (Q2WF) and many I cannot think to name right at this moment, all share, overall, alot of the same characteristics from map to map.

    All of the best CTF maps share these similar characteristics.

    <OL TYPE=1>
    <LI>2 symmetrical bases.
    <LI>Alot of open ground between the bases. And correct map scaling.
    <LI>A non-hostile enviroment.
    <LI>Correct Weapon Placement/Utilization.

    Two Symmetrical Bases

    While the hardcore net gamer can, and usually will adapt to nearly any situation, (Eternal Caves, November come to mind here) the general accreation of non-symmetrical CTF maps has hit the main stream with alot of the out of the box maps that came with UT. Now while any true advance in map design is a great thing. And there really is nothing wrong with having to adapt new strategies and tactics. There is a very very obvious example in UT itself that the old style still wins over any *advance* in map design currently in the box in UT.

    My general point here is how many November/Eternal Caves Only servers do you see out there? Essentially none would be the general reply. Now....I can usually find 20 - 30 Facing Worlds only servers out there. Proving...with out a doubt, that for CTF at least. 2fort is the key.

    Needless to say not ALL 2fort style maps are that good. Face plays with a life of its own...and an intensity that isn't seen on alot of the other out of the box UT CTF maps. Take CTF-DiamondScythe from Arkile as example. Now while a wonderful expansion of his wildly successful DiamondSword map concept. It plays like a slug, and...like DiamondSword and even Face itself...suffers from a very bad case of predictable pathing.

    Predictable Pathing is a map killer this one subject in and of itself is what turned me away from Q3A for good. In example;

    Q3CTF1 - a fine 2 for design...ruined completely by midfield size (it was like playing CTF in a closet) and the fact that there were only TWO routes into the base...and only ONE way to get to the flag...which was via jumppad.

    Face, DiamondSword and Scythe all suffer from a more advanced version of this predictable pathing issue. Giving very specific and tightly confined pathing to and from each flag base. And while still enjoyable to play...this is something that will destroy even the most ferverent Face lover's passion to play on these maps over a time.

    Needless to say...to avoid this issue there must be a careful planning of your mapping before you even go into uED. The completion of a working freespace map (DSword/Scythe/Face/EventHorizon) is a fine thing for any map maker to achieve. But can be a very trying time for a player. The constant wariness of a hostile void which you can fall/be knocked into causes a serious restraint of the true power of a CTF player...which is his mobility. Thusly rendering the play experience to something less than what it could be. The easiest way to avoid this is to concentrate on land based maps...the best of which I've seen..at least as indie maps go is Twin Valley.

    Midfield Space and Correct Scaling

    Claustraphobia can transfer to digital information.

    I had occasion a few days ago to play on the Weekend Warrior FAT BASTARD server. Now I have a fine digital connection and even when this server is nearly to max capacity (32 player base...bad idea for CTF definately) I get a fine ping to it.

    I played a few maps...basically slowly being driven insane by the spam...and the complete chaos that is a server that has WAY TO MANY players on it...and then the map switched to the indie map...McSwartzly.

    Talk about a serious need of design review. Needless to say McSwartzly Base plays like a screaming cheetah wheelie. Especially with 16 players per team...but its general scaling...and even its midfield space are only adequate for a MAX 6 vs 6 game. Any more than that and you can even walk TOWARDS a corner without being fragged by someones razorjacks or their flak spam.

    Scaling is a HUGE factor in CTF maps. Even indie UT revision of Stronghold CTF from Quake 2 begs a huge reconsideration of the scale of the map.

    For an example of what I am talking about I invite you (For those of you that have Quake 2 still installed) to take and view Stronghold CTF in Quake 2...and then in UT. The bases are both completely the same in basic design. But in scale...the UT version's roof in the flagroom is not more than maybe a scale 2 feet from the players head.

    This has a HUGE effect on ballistics within a map. In the Quake 2 version of Stronghold CTF and in Mckinley/McSwartzly, the scale of the map itself forced a finer precision of weapons use to achieve desired results....whereas in the UT versions..because of the minimized versions of these maps...it takes little to kill an enemy because a splash damage redirecter (wall/floor/ceiling) is ALWAYS in very close proximity to the player, causing even a weapon as innaccurate and easy to avoid in open spaces as the Ripper to become a veritablly unavoidable death machine...even in the hands of an unskilled player.

    Don't let anyone tell you different. Size DOES matter.

    The actual 2fort5 remakes I've seen for UT suffer from this problem as well. Tight hallways and close ceilings...making this map more akin to a childs clubhouse than a base worthy of defending. If you happen to have played it at all. I now invite you to think on the Q2 Weapons Factory versions of the classic 2fort map. The high vaulted ceilings...the ramp room size...the flagroom size...even the flagroom elevator access. Think of the differences between Q2WF 2fort7 and say....TFC's 2fort...or even the UT 2fort versions. Scale is the key....scale is what can turn a spammers paradise into a map that takes true skill to master.

    Also base access has a HUGE amount of play in the actual playability of a map. Take CTF-Deathfan as an example. This map is MADE for the person that has to spam to kill. 2 Flag room accessways, one in the roof...the other to the main hallway of the map. Curved surfaces on 90% of the map...making Flak spammers and razorjack spammers nearly equal to a skilled player in killing efficiency. This map's playability level is about a 2 on a scale of ten. The flag rooms are FAR to easy to defend...the pathing to and from each flag seems almost designed for indescriminate spamming of any weapon you have. And overall I'll be surprised if I EVER see the score at the end of the map be higher than 2 - 1. Now while this kind of stalemate might appeal to some. The true CTF player needs more options.

    A Non-Hostile Enviroment

    Now think on this for a moment.

    You've stolen your enemies prized possession and you are trying to spirit it away to your stronghold. You are being pursued...closely at times by angry men/women that have access to high power weaponry.

    Do you REALLY need to be crossing a rope monkeybridge over lava?

    Needless to say I am a very loud protestant of the use of voidspace/lava/toxic sludge/hostile textures on CTF maps. While I have alot of respect for the artistic use of these textures in small amounts on any map. The use of them in large amounts is nothing short of annoying.

    Look at Lavagiant. This is an EXCELLENT advance on the old 2fort variation. Its scaling is perfect for small elite matches...or large scale public server battles. But the
  2. reg

    reg Guest

  3. dang Money...(ok, sounding like a *"g"* now) you have some great thought up there in that "sponge" of yours. Keep them coming bud, always a pleasurable read. This one especially, since I am starting to toy with UEd...


    {FU} Clan - Just for the fun of it! -
  4. Super(ST)Trooper

    Super(ST)Trooper Super Like

    Mar 3, 2000
    Likes Received:

    Which one are you? The Quick or the Dead!
  5. SimplyCosmic


    Dec 25, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I agree with the majority of your post, though I do have some reservations towards the idea of all hostile terrain being A Bad Thing [tm].

    If, for some odd reason, you were suddenly asked to create a real-life, honest-to-goodness fortress designed solely to protect some silly flag from an enemy armed with some rather fearful weaponry, the first thing you'd consider are chokepoints.

    Being the lovable death-can't-stop-me people that they are, the enemy *will* get into your fortress somehow, even if it involves dressing up as the pizza guy and relying on the stupidity of those rent-a-cops you hired for the late shift. Now, once they have your flag, they're going to run and run like hell. Chokepoints are designed both physically and psychologically guide your target to a predetermined area which you can pretarget or saturate with the high-caliber weapon of your choice.

    Chokepoints are the worst thing in the world when you have the enemy's flag, but they are a god-send when the enemy has yours.

    Now, I do see your point that hazardous terrain (ie lava, great heights, space or Republican National Conventions) can be overused. Perhaps map authors should consider greater use of non-hazardous terrain to create chokepoints.

    Walls are good as they force you to look towards the doorways for speedy escape.

    Two bodies of water, with a land-bridge between, is even better. The bridge is quick, but makes you an excellent target. The water is crossible, giving you more choice in your path, but slows you down considerably.

    In the end, however, you do raise some valid points, and I'm glad to see dialouges opened on such topics.
  6. ThrasherX9

    ThrasherX9 New Member

    Dec 5, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I got to the part where it talked about Symetrical bases, then i scrolled down, and ummm, well the first part was good /~unreal/ubb/html/smile.gif

    **"Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car."-Evan Davis

    **"Women need a reason to have sex - men just need a place." - Billy Crystal.

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