Journal #8617

Posted 7 years ago2015-10-25 16:04:38 UTC
I've been playing the first Half-Life for about 8 years now, and a large majority of that time was spent fragging friends on various deathmatch servers. Over time, my valve folder was slowing building up an arsenal of downloaded maps.

Recently I did a very long Twitch stream with my friend, and out challenge was to sit down and play a selection of maps that we’d remember from long ago and see if they still held up in any way. Our lot was 55 maps in total and we dedicated at least 5 minutes to each map, increasing it to 10 if we still wanted to check things out.

To our surprise, the maps that held up the most in our eyes were A) really shitty looking, and B) Had something hilariously fun about them that neither of us could describe. I mean, hell, our favourite map from the lot that night turned out to be a map by the name of 1337_Street, and it’s just a street with blocky as sin cars and buildings with rooms you could teleport into. And yet my friend and I had so much fun on this map during out session that it practically stole the night.
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Another example of a shitty map being a hell of a fun time to play is just a map that was simply called “small.bsp”: a house that’s as badly brushed at it was textured, and yet I had a hell of a time playing it.
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Now, contrast that with some of the other maps we played that night. Our folder wasn’t just filled with people’s apparent first map creations; we also had some other really nice looking, thought out maps with excellent design choices when it came to making the map look nice, but the odd thing was that a large majority of them (besides the Karnak, pictured below, which is a BEAUTIFUL map that we had to skip because it was just too big for it to be fun for two people) were surprisingly boring, and we ended it just thinking about how much fun it was to tripmine the fuck out of the kitchen in Small.
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So what’s the point I’m getting to here? That shitty maps are better than well textured and well thought out maps? That sinfully blocky brushwork is far more entertaining than maps with excellent use of brushes? No, not in the slightest. However, our best moments from the session happen on those really shitty maps.

This just reinforces my, perhaps spotty, ideology when it comes to making HLDM maps. I usually don’t really use custom texture wads outside out of the ones that come with half-life, nor do I really try super hard to make my maps look good. If I complete a map and playtest it and my friends and I never want to stop playing it, that is WAY better (in my mind at least) to map that looks exceptional, but does not really get to the top of the list of map suggestions before we start playing. I mean, we still play 2Partment as our first map in our sessions, and that just uses textures that everyone has seen 18 billion times by now.

Maybe I’m just a naïve mapper that needs to grow up from bad practices, but that’s just how I feel.
\_(`-` )_/

4 Comments

Commented 7 years ago2015-10-25 17:24:16 UTC Comment #67024
Less visual obstructions enables quick detection of what is what.
I personally think that most maps are too detailed in the wrong places, even if it seems cool at first spot.

I always like maps more that have both nice geometry and sprites and sounds as well. Maps always felt empty to me with out the use of at least a little sprites/transparent textures.

Also, I used to play l33t street a whole lot when i was younger, the teleport rooms some times stuck players if they used snarks. Fun map.
Commented 7 years ago2015-10-26 15:19:37 UTC Comment #67026
I personally think that most maps are too detailed in the wrong places, even if it seems cool at first spot.
Amen. That seems to be the problem with getting reviews back when you submit stuff to the Map Vault here. The best anyone can judge on their own is the texture work, brushwork, ambiance, and lighting. That's no thing to shrug off (since it's like 80% of the work on a map), the thing that makes it last is how the map plays out, which you at least need a buddy to figure out how well it holds up.

That kind of discourages me from uploading many of my map because although they're super fun to play with friends, it'll get ripped apart by the aesthetics inspection agency.

Kind of reminds me of how the produce industries throw away odd looking fruit and vegetables because they don't look marketable. `-`
Commented 7 years ago2015-10-27 08:46:09 UTC Comment #67025
There is no need to be ashamed of what you made, even if its crap :)
Fun will always be a priority for most people, regardless of looks. Might take some time for them to get used to an environment, but it will definitely happen if they play games for fun.

Took me some time to get Nina to play WC3 XHero with me. At first she disliked the game because of old graphics and stuffy screen but in the end she liked it.

I personally started making maps inspired by old style, there is no need for meaningless details, especially overly complex brushwork.

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Here is an map i made a while ago for my zombie server (remade from 0): http://cs.gamebanana.com/maps/185715

I like the overall simplicity i achieved in the map because in the end it prooven very actiony with the current gameplay on the server. But i am not pleased completely as it lacks that certain atmosphere old maps (that style) have.

Its a bit tricky to get the best look out of things, but we try. Old masters were too good :)
Commented 7 years ago2015-10-27 18:50:36 UTC Comment #67023
Very often mappers focus on making a good looking map without really having a plan for a good map. I'm probably guilty of it too.

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