Welcome to a series where I talk about the
planning, making, detailing and releasing of a defuse map for CS:GO. I’m hoping that
this will be interesting if you’re planning on making one yourself, or if you play CS:GO
and are interested in knowing what goes into making a map.
De_sparity is the first map I’ve made since this time last year. In this series I hope
to share some of what I learned from my previous maps and with de_sparity itself. And believe
me, I’ve learned a lot from this project. I don’t think that there’s a single person
who has made a map and hasn’t learned anything from it. If they have then they’re not doing
it right. Each and every project is a chance to better yourself and that involves walking
into previously unexplored territory and making a huge number of mistakes. I don’t consider
admitting to mistakes as a weakness, even if, with hindsight, they were silly mistakes
to make. So, how do you start a project like this?
I’ve seen a lot of people plan it on paper or to try and make the whole layout from the
word go. I think that this is a BIG mistake. It never feels the same once you’re in-game
and the majority of what makes the map fun is brought about through extensive playtesting.
We’ve all made maps that look great in the editor, only to be the most boring, uninspiring
messes once you load them up in-game. You’d be hard-pressed to complete a map that de-motivates
you every time you load it up. Because of this, when planning a map I don’t bother with
paper. I have ideas of what I’d like to make in my mind and I put them into the editor
before playtesting them as soon as possible- this is usually within an hour of starting
on an area. You don’t want to grow overly attached to an idea that simply isn’t fun
to play. Before starting with this map I took a look
at previous maps I had made and from the best maps currently out there. In fact, I made
an entire video trying to analyse what makes my favourite map, de_dust2, so brilliant.
Click on this video right now to see my findings, it may help you in the development of your
map. I had made several previous defuse maps. Kyrenia
was my most recent and was developed in quite a generic way, where I made the whole layout
then quickly changed and moulded the map from playtesting with bots from day 1. By version
10 the layout was almost unrecognisable when compared with the original version. The resulting
map was one that looked like a typical Counter Strike map, but in my opinion, wasn’t mind-blowingly
fun to play. It got into the final 10 in the CEVO 2013 competition and was ranked joint
3rd by HattonGames so I guess it isn’t too bad a method for making a map.
However, for this one I wanted to try and build on a map design process that I had stumbled
upon when making de_balfour, an even earlier map of mine. I made the bombsites as two separate
aim maps. I playtested these separately for a while with hundreds of people from this
very youtube channel, making sure that the timings and cover were perfectly placed. Once
I was happy with them I very unprofessionally smeared them together into a working map.
The result was a very small but fun to play map that was very different from everything
else. Feedback was mixed, people criticised it for
being small and different but anybody who played a game on it would tell you that these
weren’t bad things. The emphasis on close-quarters fights with a lot of cover made tactical repositioning
more exciting and faster-paced, and it gave all weapons a purpose instead of just the
classic rifles and snipers. I still believe that this style of making a map leads to a
more fun result and also motivates you to complete it since it’s fun to play since day
1. I don’t think that I’ll ever make a map in any other way from now on. Aim maps are
fun for a reason and I think it’s shame that most defuse maps haven’t borrowed from their
style sooner. But of course, the process wasn’t perfect.
Smearing the two separate bombsites together meant that I had a map with no middle area
and it did cause a lot of problems with regard to optimisation and the placement of the corridors
connecting the two parts. I think it turned out nicely but I don’t want the uncertainty
of repeating it, just in case I was simply very lucky.
So with de_sparity, my plan was to develop the middle of the map so that it would play
like a classic aim map. I would then add the bombsites one at a time and ensure that they
were fun to play before adding additional areas. Once all of the areas were added I
would then stretch or compress parts of the map to get the timings right for the entry
to key areas. Then, and only then, would I start on the detailing of the map.
And that concludes the planning for this map and my reasoning behind it. I developed this
approach from previous projects of mine and have done research into what makes my favourite
areas of other maps so enjoyable to play. I would recommend to anybody who is planning
on making a map of any sort to follow the same design process and it makes the entire
project fun, since if you ever get bored you can always sit back and play what you’ve got
already. There’s nothing more motivating than having fun on an unfinished level, knowing
that anything you add to it will only make it better.