[CS:GO] de_veteran

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[CS:GO] de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:54 am

So, a while ago, I posted a thread about staying motivated where I made a dev_textured map and didn't know where to go with it graphically. I was stuck. Well, after much hard work, here it is:

DE_VETERAN


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DESCRIPTION:
Having just intercepted enemy intel of a bomb plot, the US Seal Team arrives at a remote industrial location holding two wherehouses. Within these buildings lies a small but valuable stockpile of warheads. The terrorists plot? Bomb one of the two buildings and take as many casualties as they can with them. Only the truest of true veterans will be able to handle this mission. Good luck, soldier.


DOWNLOAD:http://csgo.gamebanana.com/maps/177950


TOP DOWN:
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SCREENSHOTS:
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Last edited by Teh Frog on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby PaulH on Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:47 pm

I can't comment on the layout having not played it, but from the screens I'd say you could do with getting some artist advice on sprucing it up, in terms of dressing, lighting, theming of areas etc.

It generally looks quite blocky and lacks detail, and the areas are not distinguishable enough from one another as they all have similar blue/yellow lighting and brown textures. In this image:

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Your outside areas should not be so dark, there should be a lot more ambient lighting to brighten the place up. The fact that you've been forced to add lights to the side of buildings to highlight outside routes in the middle of the day should have rung alarm bells. I recommend checking out this list and possibly using official CSGO map settings for your light_environment:

https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wik ... e_Sky_List

Think about what each area could be, and what the building is as a whole. Is it a box factory? As it comes across that way, and trust me that's not very exciting :) Think about how players will remember locations such as this bombsite:

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Well, it's the room with all the boxes, which is also similar to the other rooms with boxes. Real-world reference imagery is your friend, start with a strong idea of what the space is that you're building, couple it with a good layout and you'll have a strong map. You need to include enough differentiation between areas to help the player navigate it without getting lost or confused, or even bored.

Make sure routes are clearly signposted, the bomb site decals are useful but not when you put them in the dark:

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Also vary up your lighting, if you use the same light colours everywhere it all starts to blend into one. Look at this for example:

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Neither route provides a clearly different option for the player or any indication of what they lead to, both kind of look the same.

Finally you seem to have a few areas which are lacking in cover, such as this:

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In the image above, I would add more cover into the garage in the big open space on the right and maybe look at opening up a couple of those gated sections on the left, so the player has the option of nipping into them for cover during a firefight.

Good luck ;)
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:45 am

Hey, thanks for the review. Let me reply to some of your points made.

1.) The lighting: The scheme is blue and orange, as is popular among CS maps and also fits the theme of the map, late evening. Blue and Orange contrast each other and I mic both in many areas, making them pop to the eye. This color scheme is a popular one throughout the ages in many forms of media. Take the original castlevania for example: The pallet for that game was blue and orange. Modern shooters like Battlefield tend to follow a light blue and heavy orange lighting scheme in every map. Many movie posters use blue and orange to highlight conflict or contrast between the characters. Contrast helps things stand out. Also, with the setting being in an industrial courtyard full of warehouses, the lighting wasn't really much for playing with. Most industrial areas either have florescent blue lighting or orangey-yellow lighting, at least in my experience.

2.) The Darkness - My fault on this one. I took these screenshots with the lighting slider turned almost all the way down in-game. I had not noticed this. Playing the map on your own computer with the brightness at 1.6-2.0 would better suit the map. (Most CS players have their brightness at 1.6 regardless, eliminating most of the darkest shadows in maps (Take de_nuke for example, that map has many dark areas. As does de_aztec) brightness of 2.0-1.6 eliminates this problem.) I should have turned my own brightness up for the screenshots. It is much brighter in game.

3.) The Detail - Playing the map should ease your concerns about detail. The map is a compound / warehouse area and, as such, is generally blocky and lacks clutter everywhere. There's a fare amount of cover / clutter as is (boxes and crates due to the setting being warehouse / industrial) and many props within the map to make it feel more real. I guess I didn't highlight these areas enough.

4.) The Garage - This is CT spawn and, as such, doesn't see much action if any at all. The main action points lie in each bombsite and in the courtyards where, I assure you, there is much cover and many nooks for people to hide in.

5.) The two paths you mentioned: Again, bad screenshot taking on my part. Playing the map and going to that area would have lead you to seeing that this area is rather straightforward and easy to read which path goes where at a glance. Left is to Bombsite A, right is to flank the CT's camping their end of the courtyard. Playing the map would have eased this concern.


Overall, thank you for the advice and review. Hope I could ease some of your concerns and I will take your advice into account on future projects! :)
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Re: de_veteran

Postby PaulH on Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:56 am

I know about the use of blue and orange man :) You're free to use it how you want obviously, though it does seem you've taken things to extremes in some cases. Also if it's intended to be an early evening level I would expect the sun position to be lower in the sky, creating more interesting shadows. That, and a skybox that doesn't look like it's the middle of the day. On the plus side your current lighting that does help with clarity of routes in some areas, but making areas distinguishable is also important. Scroll through your first post fairly quickly and you'll have a hard time picking differences between the images, save for the one with a red light in it. The lighting and the generally dull texture palette mean that all areas blend into one, which doesn't help for player interest or navigation.

My points still generally stand, the level comes across as quite blocky and low detail and even though it has a consistent theme, it's not a varied one. It's definitely not the worst I've seen, but at the same time artistically it's quite a way off what it could be.

I am aware however that some people are happy to get their layout across as the main thing and the art comes secondary to that, which is fair enough. Also my criticism is intended as constructive, though it does appear that you may be quite defensive about your level. We've all been there, so it's understandable, my advice though would be don't let a couple of positive ratings on a site like csbanana get to your head. It's a bit of a beginner's playground in truth. Posting on sites like this more frequently will help as you you'll have access to more advice from industry professionals and people with generally higher levels of experience.

What would be interesting to know is whether you see level design as a side hobby, or a potential career path? As if it's the former, carry on regardless, but if it's the latter, then soak up all the advice you can get, never assume anything is totally finished or 'perfect' and always be open to criticism :) There's always more to learn.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:21 am

Oh, trust me, I am always looking for advice and I take yours into account fully! I didn't mean to come off as like, overly defensive haha. Sorry if I did! I'd love to be a level designer, it's currently a hobby, and this is only the third real attempt at level design that I've made. (First was a wildly popular L4D2 Survival map) That one allowed for more artistic freedom with geometry and lighting and I like it better. You can check it out in my signature! (Shameful self promoting) haha! Thank you a lot for the advice though, and I will definitely spend a lot more time on the art direction of my next levels. I kind of got caught up in the tactical aspect of areas (at least in the areas of the bombsites and the courtyards) which led me to put massive amounts of crates everywhere haha. I'm probably going for a L4D2 campaign next. I heard it's quite challenging and I really want to give it a go.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby PaulH on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:29 am

Cool :) Well if this was one of your first levels you're definitely on the right tracks. Also there is no problem with focusing heavily on the layout and the tactical side of the level, that's what level designs all about after all, I've just always believed the art side (theme , dressing, lighting etc) is also worth factoring in. I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with next :)
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:37 pm

I love artistic stuff, but most of my artistic stuff generally lacks gameplay elements. Sure, it's pretty to look at, but it's not fun to play time and time again. I'll have to balance the two next time. Thanks for thew input again!
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Re: de_veteran

Postby ErikKiller on Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:43 pm

Teh Frog wrote:1.) The lighting: The scheme is blue and orange, as is popular among CS maps and also fits the theme of the map, late evening. Blue and Orange contrast each other and I mic both in many areas, making them pop to the eye. This color scheme is a popular one throughout the ages in many forms of media. Take the original castlevania for example: The pallet for that game was blue and orange. Modern shooters like Battlefield tend to follow a light blue and heavy orange lighting scheme in every map. Many movie posters use blue and orange to highlight conflict or contrast between the characters. Contrast helps things stand out.

Very true. But keep in mind one is an ancient game that was limited to a few primary and secondary colours and the other looks gorgeous but super boring, like the brown modern shooters but with some blue and orange flashes.
Look at Mirror's Edge, notice how they simply use all the primary colours and some secondary colours to add life to what would be a generic, boring concrete jungle.
The whole orange/blue contrast thing is a cliché by now but sadly we can't get past it because both are colours we're super used to from life. Generally, good contrast works subconsciously not consciously. It's only after you've spent an hour staring at it and only then realise a start contrast thing going on when it's pulled off correctly.
Colour =/= life; smart use of colour = life.

Teh Frog wrote:Also, with the setting being in an industrial courtyard full of warehouses, the lighting wasn't really much for playing with. Most industrial areas either have florescent blue lighting or orangey-yellow lighting, at least in my experience.

Totally kills your contrast theory. Why not use bright, dark orange env light outside and create shadows and contrast it with colder blue tones inside? That's already leaps and bounds more interesting than what you have. Or hell, go with your way and make the outside blue and the inside orange. Also, pretty sure warehouses have lights ranging from white to yellow to blue to red, a whole palette to mess around with to signpost players. None of the Valve games actually have realistic lighting or colour-use, they're all designed so that they'd look interesting for the player, either to pull them in or push them away. Real life lighting is boring, it's utilitarian not artistic.

Teh Frog wrote:2.) The Darkness - My fault on this one. I took these screenshots with the lighting slider turned almost all the way down in-game. I had not noticed this. Playing the map on your own computer with the brightness at 1.6-2.0 would better suit the map. (Most CS players have their brightness at 1.6 regardless, eliminating most of the darkest shadows in maps (Take de_nuke for example, that map has many dark areas. As does de_aztec) brightness of 2.0-1.6 eliminates this problem.) I should have turned my own brightness up for the screenshots. It is much brighter in game.

Understandable mistake but really tells us nothing. Retake the screenshots then, if it's dark on the screens one would assume it's dark in-game. Also, when talking about actual lighting values stick to "Hammer-speech".

Teh Frog wrote:3.) The Detail - Playing the map should ease your concerns about detail. The map is a compound / warehouse area and, as such, is generally blocky and lacks clutter everywhere. There's a fare amount of cover / clutter as is (boxes and crates due to the setting being warehouse / industrial) and many props within the map to make it feel more real. I guess I didn't highlight these areas enough.
[...]
5.) The two paths you mentioned: Again, bad screenshot taking on my part. Playing the map and going to that area would have lead you to seeing that this area is rather straightforward and easy to read which path goes where at a glance.


The map is blocky even by CS1.6 standards and that's because you're afraid to escape the grid and 90-degree values. It's your third map but it still looks like it's your first. Maybe take a time-out and try to recreate a map that looks like it fits into CS:GO and is not a 30-second port-job from CS1.0. I won't even get to playing the map if it looks like I need an older version of CS to play it. The fact that you yourself forget to highlight the areas shows that it's forgettable even for you.

In conclusion, take some time and re-approach the map. Currently it looks like it's missing a detail pass and there's been no work done on the lighting. You don't have to create it from scratch (I ASSUME it's balanced) but look at things like this: http://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/2013/12/8306/ to see how Valve has updated the maps to look modern.

I know I'm being harsh but right now it seems you're spending time making excuses instead of spending it on detailing the maps. Please do not run away from 'Lopers, let's try to improve your map.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:04 pm

.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:14 pm

.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:27 pm

Teh Frog wrote:
Teh Frog wrote:
ErikKiller wrote:
Teh Frog wrote:1.) The lighting: The scheme is blue and orange, as is popular among CS maps and also fits the theme of the map, late evening. Blue and Orange contrast each other and I mic both in many areas, making them pop to the eye. This color scheme is a popular one throughout the ages in many forms of media. Take the original castlevania for example: The pallet for that game was blue and orange. Modern shooters like Battlefield tend to follow a light blue and heavy orange lighting scheme in every map. Many movie posters use blue and orange to highlight conflict or contrast between the characters. Contrast helps things stand out.

Very true. But keep in mind one is an ancient game that was limited to a few primary and secondary colours and the other looks gorgeous but super boring, like the brown modern shooters but with some blue and orange flashes.
Look at Mirror's Edge, notice how they simply use all the primary colours and some secondary colours to add life to what would be a generic, boring concrete jungle.
The whole orange/blue contrast thing is a cliché by now but sadly we can't get past it because both are colours we're super used to from life. Generally, good contrast works subconsciously not consciously. It's only after you've spent an hour staring at it and only then realise a start contrast thing going on when it's pulled off correctly.
Colour =/= life; smart use of colour = life.

Teh Frog wrote:Also, with the setting being in an industrial courtyard full of warehouses, the lighting wasn't really much for playing with. Most industrial areas either have florescent blue lighting or orangey-yellow lighting, at least in my experience.

Totally kills your contrast theory. Why not use bright, dark orange env light outside and create shadows and contrast it with colder blue tones inside? That's already leaps and bounds more interesting than what you have. Or hell, go with your way and make the outside blue and the inside orange. Also, pretty sure warehouses have lights ranging from white to yellow to blue to red, a whole palette to mess around with to signpost players. None of the Valve games actually have realistic lighting or colour-use, they're all designed so that they'd look interesting for the player, either to pull them in or push them away. Real life lighting is boring, it's utilitarian not artistic.

Teh Frog wrote:2.) The Darkness - My fault on this one. I took these screenshots with the lighting slider turned almost all the way down in-game. I had not noticed this. Playing the map on your own computer with the brightness at 1.6-2.0 would better suit the map. (Most CS players have their brightness at 1.6 regardless, eliminating most of the darkest shadows in maps (Take de_nuke for example, that map has many dark areas. As does de_aztec) brightness of 2.0-1.6 eliminates this problem.) I should have turned my own brightness up for the screenshots. It is much brighter in game.

Understandable mistake but really tells us nothing. Retake the screenshots then, if it's dark on the screens one would assume it's dark in-game. Also, when talking about actual lighting values stick to "Hammer-speech".

Teh Frog wrote:3.) The Detail - Playing the map should ease your concerns about detail. The map is a compound / warehouse area and, as such, is generally blocky and lacks clutter everywhere. There's a fare amount of cover / clutter as is (boxes and crates due to the setting being warehouse / industrial) and many props within the map to make it feel more real. I guess I didn't highlight these areas enough.
[...]
5.) The two paths you mentioned: Again, bad screenshot taking on my part. Playing the map and going to that area would have lead you to seeing that this area is rather straightforward and easy to read which path goes where at a glance.


The map is blocky even by CS1.6 standards and that's because you're afraid to escape the grid and 90-degree values. It's your third map but it still looks like it's your first. Maybe take a time-out and try to recreate a map that looks like it fits into CS:GO and is not a 30-second port-job from CS1.0. I won't even get to playing the map if it looks like I need an older version of CS to play it. The fact that you yourself forget to highlight the areas shows that it's forgettable even for you.

In conclusion, take some time and re-approach the map. Currently it looks like it's missing a detail pass and there's been no work done on the lighting. You don't have to create it from scratch (I ASSUME it's balanced) but look at things like this: http://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/2013/12/8306/ to see how Valve has updated the maps to look modern.

I know I'm being harsh but right now it seems you're spending time making excuses instead of spending it on detailing the maps. Please do not run away from 'Lopers, let's try to improve your map.


Did you read the rest of my conversation with him? I know that artisticly, this map isn't exactly top-notch. Tactics are great, but I know I screwed myself with going for souley tactics. I was inspired by maps like Season and Mill, so I wasn't going for flarey stuff. I really should have. And you're right, I tried to stick to the grid and "be neat" because of the optimization really. Most of the time when I go off-grid my maps tend to be like "Fuck you and your framerates. SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF MY VIS RENDERING!" And then I have a mental breakdown and cry deeply. :3

The lighting is cool blue inside and orang outside, so I don't see what you're getting at with that. I did contrast it. You should see the original version. *shudder* Lets not talk about that. :p
My point with using Castlevania as an example was to show the popular use of blue and orange throughout the ages and how now, even in modern games like BF4, it is still widely used. I know the game's old, but I was using it to prove a point.
Mirror's Edge is in it's own league in terms of color. I've only seen one map go into that type of color scheme. If done well, it can be great, but that would require a lot of custom textures, which I have no clue how to make. I do love ME though. Wonderful game.

As for the last little bit with the overly harsh "feedback", you're just sort of trashing the map without really playing it or providing constructive feedback like Paul did. Look at the screens, it looks like a CSGO / CSS comp map by most standards (Graphics aside). I'm more likely to take what he said into account and not take you as seriously due to your lack of constructive feedback on how to improve versus "I'm not playing the map because it looks blocky." Try it, it's fun to play. Yes, I know visually it isn't stunning, but games aren't all about the aesthetics. I know for my next maps, I should go more into the artistic side of the map, but seriously, take it for the tactics. The gameplay is fun, I know my friends and I played it for a good 4 hours straight and didn't feel bored. Isn't that what counts?

But thank you for the link to Valve's use of artistic updating. I will use that. Just try not to be so harsh before reading the whole thread. Thanks!
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Knights on Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:57 pm

You don't seem to be the type that takes criticism and does anything with it ... You just argue YOUR points for doing it and it's not going anywhere. I'm just going to say the lighting is god awful, it's not a natural color matching the skybox please change it.... :smt021
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:25 am

Knights wrote:You don't seem to be the type that takes criticism and does anything with it ... You just argue YOUR points for doing it and it's not going anywhere. I'm just going to say the lighting is god awful, it's not a natural color matching the skybox please change it.... :smt021


If you read the thread, you'd know that not to be true. Read my conversation with Paul. I personally like the lighting and most of the playtesters liked it too. I'll eventually change it seeing as its apparently such a problem. I've seen like maps on here with much worse lighting get praised as god maps. *sigh*
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Re: de_veteran

Postby ErikKiller on Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:12 pm

Knights wrote:You don't seem to be the type that takes criticism and does anything with it ... You just argue YOUR points for doing it and it's not going anywhere. I'm just going to say the lighting is god awful, it's not a natural color matching the skybox please change it....

Or to put in terms you can't defend: your map looks like shit.
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Re: de_veteran

Postby Teh Frog on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:48 am

ErikKiller wrote:
Knights wrote:You don't seem to be the type that takes criticism and does anything with it ... You just argue YOUR points for doing it and it's not going anywhere. I'm just going to say the lighting is god awful, it's not a natural color matching the skybox please change it....

Or to put in terms you can't defend: your map looks like shit.


Again, you fail to provide viable feedback other than your own rantings. People on the other sites (Steam Community / Gamebanana) love it because, here's the kicker, they actually played it. Wow. Who would of thought that playing a map would lead you to enjoy it?

I like all of the wonderful maps you made, Erik. So many beautiful works of brilliant level design.
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