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I got a LOT of map submissions for playtesting
and really struggled to choose which should be hosted on the server, but I whittled it
down to 6. 2 of these I consider decent, reliable defuse maps that simply require playtesting
and tweaking. The other 4 are wildcards. You probably won’t see these in operations any
time soon. They could be one-sided, or broken in some way. But there was something about
these that I liked. Something that transported me back to when I first started playing and
mapping for Counter-Strike. You know, like when you join a random server and have a casual
game. Maps that you’ll suddenly remember in a year or so and be like ‘oh yeah that
was different!’. Let’s open this up with Ancient’s Armhouse.
This is my favourite sort of map because it really surprised me by how fun it was to play.
From the screenshot I expected it to be just another generic, bland warehouse map. But
it’s really not- it’s a hugely vertical map with lots of windows you can jump through.
I don’t expect it to be that balanced or bug-free, but honestly I don’t care. I think
that we’ll have fun tearing this one apart. It works because it’s fast-paced and compact
and I can’t wait to take part in the violent firefights that take place within this city
block. Now for a wildcard: de_sewage. It’s terrifyingly
small. All too often new map makers create a complicated layout with huge, boring open
places you have to run across and it’s painful to playtest. This map is so small, you don’t
have to worry about all that. You’ll spend all of your time fighting. Within just a few
rounds I had learned the layout and could start mastering the chokepoints. Don’t get
me wrong, I don’t think it’s going to get accepted into an operation any time soon
but I think this serves as a lesson for new mappers. GrandmaAgnes isn’t that experienced
a mapper, but he (or she?) has put what he / she has learned to good use and has made
something worth a couple of minutes of your time.
The third map I chose was Ramis. Zelzstorm was honest in his comment, up-front about
the fact that it’s already been playtested in other places. But I still felt that it
should be included since it’s been faithfully updated for months and still looks like it’s
at a stage where suggestions can be implemented. You can tell that it’s a decent map, it’s
got a very clean and rational design that you know has potential. I even see some pretty
custom models. I included this one because it looks like a reliable choice that we can
fall back on if the other maps fail to impress. We’ll definitely get some good games out
of this map. As maps go de_frenzy is alright, it’s got
a middle area and two bombsites, one either side. It works but it doesn’t feature anything
that really makes it stand out. But I’ve included it because I believe in its maker,
Bud, who has already made many revisions to it and I hope he’ll continue to do so from
feedback from playtesting. I want you to give him constructive suggestions on how to improve
this map in every way, ranging from the graphics and theme, right through to the level design
in general and the bombsite layouts. I see this map as a blank slate to build on, and
if he lets us then we, as a community, can help it to develop. I look forward to seeing
how different this map is by the end of the week! No pressure Bud.
If every map looked like De_network at playtesting stage then the world would be a better place.
Despite using placeholder textures for most surfaces, a mixture of artificial and sun
lighting has been artfully used to make this map look beautiful, like something from out
of Mirror’s Edge. It all connects together nicely and has a really good atmosphere- it
feels like a real, believable place to me. Like a part of Black Mesa or something. Plus,
since mapper Fl1ppy 5aur has resisted adding unnecessary details, it’ll still be easy
to change the map in response to feedback. I’ve tested it with bots but I don’t feel
that they accurately represent how people would play this map. For a start, they largely
prefer A which means I haven’t been able to give the rest of the map a fair try. But
the quality of this map’s design has inspired my confidence, which is particularly impressive
when given Fl1ppy 5aur’s workshop history. I expected it to be filled with amazing maps,
but instead there are just a couple of pretty simple looking submissions. Especially when
compared with this one. Those of you looking to create a defuse map, please look to this
one as a great example of how an early-stage defuse map should look and feel like.
And lastly, Cycles, the ultimate wildcard. It’s a classic example of a map that’s
made with every limited mapping experience, with floating platforms everywhere and the
whole mountainside being carved out of a single brush! Plus you can fall off this map in countless
different ways. Oh, and it’s poorly lit and for some reason the CT’s are the ones
planting the bomb, with the terrorists defending. It’s a hugely ambitious project for somebody
with limited mapping experience. It reminds me a little bit of Mist and I suspect will
require a whole redesign if it’s ever going to work as a… map. But sometimes it’s
fun to take a break from the endless defuse maps and to take time out to fall down a mineshaft
instead, and Cycles looks to be the map to do it in. There’s something beautifully
imaginative about first maps, even if they’re probably doomed to fail if it’s the first
map that somebody’s worked on. And that’s it for now. These 6 maps will
on the server for the rest of the week. Please, if you do get around to playing these maps,
leave constructive, FRIENDLY feedback on the workshop so that the mappers can learn from
the experience. And if you want to be part of next week’s playtesting, look in this
video’s description for a link to the reddit topic. I really wish I could have included
more maps, I was kind of overwhelmed by the number of submissions so if yours wasn’t
chosen for this week, don’t lose hope, try again and you might get on next week’s collection.
As before, post a link to the workshop page along with an explanation of what you hope
to get out of having your map playtested. And thanks to David Randall for letting me
use his music again! Also check out his new album in the video’s description.

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