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Randomized Maps in Team Fortress 2 Explained 133

Given the amount of time that gamers have been playing the original Team Fortress, it's no wonder that Valve has designed the upcoming Team Fortress 2 with longevity in mind. One aspect of that design process is map layout: a randomization algorithm will reconfigure the map every time a game is launched. The result will be a multiplayer game requiring much more than simple map memorization and sniper rifle spawn camping. The post on Computer and Videogames offers a video featuring project lead Robin Walker describing the complicated process of making every random map work well. "As for how the dynamic maps work in practice, that was hard to judge. The match we played on Hydro, the first map to use this special game mode, was enormous fun. But as extensive as our playtest was, they didn't let us play on the map for three years, and that's the kind of heavy use under which this system should flourish. What we did notice is that this is not just a Battlefield type system with some control points 'locked'. When a point is not in play, routes to that section of the map are physically blocked off, so the physical shape of the map is different for every combination of points. That forces you to revise your mental picture of the map, and see it as fresh again."
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Randomized Maps in Team Fortress 2 Explained

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  • Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mephistophocles ( 930357 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:36AM (#19037611) Homepage
    That's been a long time in coming. Halo 3 multi-player developers take note...
    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:58AM (#19037895)

      That's been a long time in coming. Halo 3 multi-player developers take note...

      I don't think I'm particularly unique, but I have been thinking about this since Unreal Tournament was released ...

      If you designed a (very) large level with 4 or 8 seperate paths/areas then your level could be (somewhat) randomized or load balanced (depending on the number of players on the server) to maintain the fun. I could be wrong but I have always thought that when small levels become overcrowded, or large levels have too few players, the game is simply not fun ...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Interesting suggestion - in fact, that creates the possibility of a middle-of-the-road approach to this - so that you're not just randomizing maps to get rid of campers. In other words, you do get rid of the camper problem and create some diversity to the map so that it doesn't get boring, but it's still possible to develop a good, powerful strategy for how to play it.
      • Re:Nice (Score:4, Interesting)

        by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:36PM (#19039319) Homepage
        You know what's funny. Perfect Dark Zero does exactly that... it's just too bad the gameplay in that game is so kludgey that it's not worth playing, even with all of the ridiculously cool and unique features that game has to offer.
        • The only problem I had with Perfect Dark Zero is that the maps would go from 'too big' to 'enormous' with just a few people added.

          Great concept, but as you said, flawed execution.
      • BattleField 2 does this. If the map has 32 players, its smaller, but if it has like 64 players, its giant. The maps are pretty big to begin with, honestly (there are vehicles from tanks to jets, so the maps, even small, are pretty large), but they can get giant if there are a ton of people on...
    • Flamebait? I don't get it, mods! I'm a self-described Valve-hater and even I've got to give props here. Maybe not the most original of ideas, but it is a VERY good one and I haven't seen anyone else do it before. And even if I had, it's still a good feature and I'd have to give props to the Halo team if they were to include it as well, even though I also hate that game.

      So feel free to -flamebait me too, at least I kind of deserve it. All I'm trying to say is +10 Valve on this one. And now I have to go
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )
      We've had random maps in Nethack since forever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 )
      Soldier of Fortune 2 had randomized multiplayer maps many years ago.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:41AM (#19037649) Homepage
    I never understood why they had specific places where the player respawned. While you'd want to ensure that you didn't respawn someone right above a hole, it makes more sense to just respawn the player in a random location. Except in CTF where the player should always be spawned at their base.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Nos. ( 179609 )

      A lot of the FPS out there today our team oriented, or at least try to be. That means you want to spawn your players nearby, or behind their own team. Spawning at a random place on the map makes it a very solo kind of experience. If its a pure deathmatch, that might work fine.

      Of course several games I've place, including TFC and DoD have both had moving spawn points. If you capture a point, your spawn point moves forward, helping you advance farther in the map. I usually really enjoy those maps. It

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HAKdragon ( 193605 )
        I liked the approach that Battlefield 2 took to spawning. If you were a member of a squad, your squad leader acted as a mobile spawn point You always spawn with your squad mates, assuming that 1)your squad leader is alive and 2)your squad leader is isn't in a tightly packed vehicle. (Having a squad leader in a jeep or attack plane/helicopter for any length of time is annoying)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
      Also, I don't understand why health packs and weapons show up the same place every time. There should be a certain number of each item, with their location being random. It would make the game a lot more fair to those who haven't memorized the maps.
      • The obvious answer is because it's easy.
      • by LehiNephi ( 695428 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:04PM (#19038837) Journal
        Specific weapon and other item spawns are important for a few reasons. First, when you spawn and need a weapon, it's good to know where you can get one. It's no fun running around a map looking for a weapon while those who already have weapons try to snipe you. The same goes for health packs when you're hurt. Second, in many FPS games, well-placed weapon/ammo/shield/health spawns actually become a part of the strategy, particularly in deathmatch mode. I've never seen it personally, but apparently when there are multiple high-level players on the same map, they will often converge on (for example) the location of a shield pickup just as it is respawning. Third, a consistent map allows players to "get to know" it better. You learn where the good camping sites are, where a good hiding spot is, how to get from point A to point B fastest, etc. Yes, noobs won't know where everything is at first, but they'll learn quickly. That *won't* happen if the map is different every time.

        Some measure of randomness in a map, as this story illustrates, can add to the dynamic nature of a game. Blocking some paths and opening others on a given map can force a different strategy on a player or team without throwing them into an entirely alien environment. In other words, it forces adaptation while maintaining familiarity.
        • These strategies involving item respawning aren't really testing pure skill in the game, they're actually testing your ability to memorize things. The fact that a bunch of players all converge on a single spot right when some item is about to appear shows this. It's like rock climbing contests where you know the exact position of the holds before you have to climb.
          • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )
            That doesn't mean what you think it means. When you so casually throw out "pure skill" what you really mean is pure twitch skill and reflex. Memorization is skill; planning out your strategy based on what you know will happen is also skill. I have a feeling quite a few accomplished Chess players would strongly disagree with your assertions.
            • If chess players would disagree, then why was there complaints when Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, because they had programmed every game that Kasparov had ever played into the machine. If chess really is about memorizing your opponents moves, and which moves to make on different board configurations ,then Deep Blue really was the best chess player ever. However, I think it's a little bit of a fallacy to say that memorization of a map means that you are good at a game. Just like saying that memorization of
              • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )

                If chess players would disagree, then why was there complaints when Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, because they had programmed every game that Kasparov had ever played into the machine.

                Really, do I even need to answer this?? Kasparov had played many computer games, thus the computer had a long history of Kasparov's playing patterns to look through. Gary meanwhile did not have a history of the computer's playing patterns since it had not played any games before.

                However, I think it's a little bit of a fallacy to say that memorization of a map means that you are good at a game.

                Wrong. It's not a fallacy if memorization of a map is part of the game. In fact there's many games that require only the skill of memorization, including one called (surprise!) "Memory". Some people prefer being able to memorize a

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Endo13 ( 1000782 )
                  Correction: Deep Blue had played Chess games before, Kasparov simply was not allowed to review them.
            • When you so casually throw out "pure skill" what you really mean is pure twitch skill and reflex. Memorization is skill; planning out your strategy based on what you know will happen is also skill.

              Again, I'll harp about my favorite genre with FPS games with the hard core realism in which skill does count.

              Take Red Orchestra [redorchestragame.com] for example. I keep harping on it because it is realistically painful. Historical imbalances have been added to the game to make it close to the real thing as possible.

              You have to deal wi
              • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )
                I'm right there with you. I love Red Orchestra as well. Every time I play a game like CS or DoD I have to wonder how on earth they can call their system "recoil"... and then I remember that they're trying to make it as newbie-friendly as possible. Ugh. I'll take the realism of RO any day thanks.

                Have to agree with you on the maps too. Given that the specific layout of the map is part of the balance between sides, I think it would be fairly difficult to randomize the maps in it.
        • Specific weapon and other item spawns are important for a few reasons. First, when you spawn and need a weapon, it's good to know where you can get one. It's no fun running around a map looking for a weapon while those who already have weapons try to snipe you.

          Technically, if the map was random then everyone would be looking for a weapon and not just you.

          That is the point of it being random. When I play online games I usually play games that don't have health packs and weapon pickups as far as realism (I pr
      • Item placement determines how the map is played. In Quake, the rocket launcher is the most important weapon, so the team that controls the map's rocket launcher(s) has a great advantage. If the enemy can't get their hands on RLs, they're badly outgunned.

        Claustrophobopolis (dm2): there are two rocket launchers, and one of them can only be accessed through a teleporter (unless you already have a RL, then you can rocket jump instead). The other rocket launcher is in the middle of a room elsewhere. If a team ca
      • This is what made TF different from CTF. It wasn't just that something always spawns in the same place. The point is that you have a base. You have a barracks. You have an armory. You start in the barracks. You get your weapons from the armory.

        It doesn't make sense in the 'base' mentality to have all the stuff spread randomly around the level.

        Also, TF was never just 'deathmatch with flags' like CTF was. It was about specific classes with specific abilities doing specific jobs. It's not about who c
    • Tribes 2 for the PC and Tribes: Aerial Assault for the PS2 (unsure about Tribes 1 or Tribes Vengeance) use what is called a Spawn Sphere that encircles the teams base or a specific area of the map. What this spawn sphere does is guarantee a semi-random spawn point as well as ensure that no one accidentally spawn kills another player. It is a very neat concept that not too many games use these days.
  • Sad Face (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spykemail ( 983593 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:46AM (#19037725) Homepage
    Am I the only one that hates randomly generated maps? I know the concept is becoming popular, and I certainly don't like campers any more than the next guy, but I find it really just not fun to play on a map that constantly changes.
    • I love the idea of randomly generated maps. Still dreaming of a 3D FPS version of Nethack.
      • Too bad for you I trained my pet cat to camp spawn points. So unless you spawn on an elbereth I'm good to go.
      • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

        Still dreaming of a 3D FPS version of Nethack.

        Well actually I can think of a game that has quite some similarities with Nethack (although more maze-ish) and that's in first person 3D and that is almost a shooter (in that sometimes you can shoot and throw stuff). It's called Scarab of Ra [semicolon.com], and works great on Mini vMac (a Macintosh Plus emulator)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EggyToast ( 858951 )
      I don't hate them, but I do know that part of the fun of really getting into a game is knowing where you have to go on a map, what routes are best for certain activities, and what you have to watch out for.

      If the map changes too much, each team is left spending the first few minutes of a match figuring out what's different and how that affects any strategies. For deathmatch, whoever spawns closest to the "best weapons" has an advantage until people figure out what's different.

      I can understand some ra
    • Depends on your personality, I guess. There is more than one kind of player, and there are several classifications already.

      E.g., in Bartle's scheme (ok, so it was made for MUDs/MMOs, not FPS, but it does partially apply to more than MUDs/MMOs) I can just see a die-hard achiever (the guys playing for score) jumping in front of the same vent or taking the same pre-learned route to maximize his score. Whereas an explorer will love discovering new routes, dealing with new situations, etc.

      And don't laugh, I pers
    • I for one welcome the change.

      TF Classic went from "team deathmatch and CTF" to "team know-your-position-and-run-the-map deathmatch and CTF". And it wasn't just TF - that's pretty much symptomatic of any team based FPS you can think of. Sooner or later, a team emerges that has "running the map" as a key component of victory; then everyone else has to follow suit in order to win.

      If I'm playing an FPS, I expect the advantage to be handed to those with good FPS skills: reflexes, ammo management, aiming, steal
    • I've been waiting for this day for a long time. I think I emailed Valve back when they first announced TF2, asking them to implement something like this .... now it's here!!

      I hope I never have to play de_dust again!!! (well I actually can't play anything right now, cause I'm too lazy to configure the 3d drivers under ubuntu and then play around with Cedega to get Steam working...)

      Either way, thank you Valve.
    • I think truly randomly generated maps are great. Doom (Doom 1) had a random map generator that would randomly create the map then randomly place power ups. No, the maps were not perfectly balanced, but then, that was the point: to find and exploit sensitive areas for that round, before moving on to the next randomly generated map. It was great fun for deathmatch.
  • Is it me, or was that (including the video clip) not really much of an explanation?
  • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:48AM (#19037755) Journal
    Is it just me, (and no, I didn't RTFA) but does the brief summary seem to indicate they are doing basically the same thing that racing games do to reuse a track (but with a little randomness instead of being "fixed"). For example, in the NFS series, when you go around a track during level 1, there is a concrete wall that blocks of a portion of a track. Then, in level 2, you get the same location, but the concrete wall is moved so that you can travel down that piece of the track.

    Still cool. But not as much memorization as they imply.....

    • I hate how they do this for NFS. It lets them say stuff like, "we have 40 maps" when really they only have 8 maps, each with 5 different routes with 75% of the route being the same for any 2 routes on the same map.
    • by Kelbear ( 870538 )
      I believe there was a CS map that did something similar. (havana?)

      Every fresh round, it'd pick one of 3 routes through the map to unlock so that the hotspots moved. I don't know if it was random though, because it seems everybody else managed to find the unlocked area perfectly:P
  • I've always liked the idea of the game actively playing against you in some fashion in some sort of "third team" situation. I'd like the idea of an on the fly map change as if some spectators were judging you. For instance if your team is up by 30 points maybe your base gets worse vantage points, maybe the other team gets extra spawn points, or so on. Sort of a way to balance the game as you play a single map. And even better every time you are down by 30 points a different "mutator" if you'll allow me
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theantipop ( 803016 )
      I hate systems that handicap success. They also tend to lead to no team winning ever, which is even less fun than getting stomped by a stacked team. If one team works together better, has better players, or is just plain lucky they deserve to win. Arbitrarily bolstering a weaker opponent provides goes against the very nature of competition.
      • Depends on the winning condition, if you ask me. If a game is timed, and each round will always take X minutes, then assisting the loser should provide a greater challenge for the leader while evening things out, which should lead to a more interesting game. Since the win condition is to simply be better at the end of X minutes, making the most of that time should be worthwhile.

        On the other hand, if it's the first to, say, 3 flags, a handicap that allows a losing team to walk faster or get better weapo
  • TF2 RL (Score:4, Funny)

    by beef623 ( 998368 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @12:01PM (#19037939)
    Sounds like a great idea to me but I have one question. Can I have an @ for my player mesh?
  • That's a good way to avoid being labeled a terrorist for drawing the "wrong" kind of map that might resemble a school or government installation.
    • I worry it could actually get me in trouble if the randomly generated map resembles the white house, and the random seed says "i love bin laden" in ASCII.
  • It makes me so incredibly happy that Team Fortress 2, a game I had written off as dead, is now more exciting than before it dropped off the radar. I guess it is barely the same game though. I think calling it Random Level design is a bit misleading though. It sounds like the next control point you push towards is chosen randomly, and the rest of the level is locked off. I'm sure people have been thinking about this type of game mode for a while. Heck TFC had most of the elements, just not put together
    • It still is vaporware. In August 2006, we saw a trailer for the first time in years. But remember that we also witnessed a trailer back in 98/99. We waited six or so years to see something more, and all we got was another trailer. And now its been almost a full year since the last release and there's nothing new to see/talk about! The game is as dead to me (and it should be for most other people) as it was eight years ago until it's on the shelves!
      • I understand the bit where the game is dead to you, but why is your opinion so important that most people should share it? A little more perspective, please.
        • Most people do share my opinion. It's been almost ten years since it was announced, and the only tangible pieces the public has seen are some sound files, code bits, pictures, and trailers. I am not in a minority thinking that TF2 is vaporware.

          You're either a new TF2 fan and haven't been clinging around for ten years, or you're just a fanatic. Either way, you trying to argue this is a bit ridiculous. Ten years with very little to show for it: that's my perspective.
  • Dumbing down of FPSs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mprx ( 82435 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @12:24PM (#19038273)
    This is part of the ongoing trend to reduce the advantage of skill and make outcomes more random.

    The elements of skill at FPSs:
    1. Twitch
    2. Map control
    3. Enemy prediction
    4. Self unpredictability

    Twitch is pretty much dead now that FPSs are designed for consoles, and usually running at 30fps. Success at twitch requires good genetics (fast reaction time is critical), and obsessive training (so it can become subconscious, if you have to think you'll be to slow), so understandably it is not popular with all gamers. Therefore the game designers add autoaim and weapon spread to make it less important.

    Map control requires great memorization and 3d visualization skills. You need to know where every chokepoint, every item spawn, every enemy spawn is, and be able to instantly visualize every route between any two arbitrary points on the map. This isn't so limited by genetics, but if still requires a lot of effort, and again repels the "casual" gamers. Randomizing the maps makes this skill less important.

    At the tactical level, enemy prediction and self unpredictability are closely related to map control. There's a constant tension between needing to control the map and avoiding predictable behavior. Things like knowing high traffic areas to fire a rocket into without looking, and knowing where an enemy is most likely to appear after seeing them briefly all depend on map knowledge. These last two skills are not completely eliminated by random maps, only reduced to skill at highly local movement.

    Map randomization helps reduce multiplayer FPS from a legitimate competitive sport to just another amusement.
    • by dmwst30 ( 463874 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @12:39PM (#19038481)
      Imagine that, playing a game for fun instead of as a "sport". What is the world coming to?
      • by skobar ( 890726 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:00PM (#19038775)
        exactly! Too many people see changes to their beloved FPS games as something bad for competition. They are so used to play 1 way that they don't want to try a new way. I wonder if those people are even having fun anymore.. Every time they get kill they need to break something because of the frustration. (Like a mouse or a keyboard)
        • You can say the same thing about teeball, or solitaire or any other sport that pits people against something. Regardless, that isn't why people are upset in this case. When you take a game as old as Team Fortress and say you're going to make a sequel, people expect certain things. Changing core gameplay features such as this aren't one of those expectations and are going to lead to a certain amount of moaning. If they want to make a related game, they are certainly free to do so, just don't dangle the T
          • by skobar ( 890726 )
            Take a look a the quake series... Quake 4 is just like quake 3 multiplayer with better graphics but unlike quake 3, quake 4 was NOT popular. People preferred to continue playing quake 3 or just to play another game. If you want to play the same game again, why not just reinstall the old one you like instead? This is a NEW game, they can do whatever they feel like they want to do and they don't have to listen to the old uberfans. I think the biggest mistake a company can make is listen to all the fanboy w
            • I see what you mean, but I'm of the opinion that sequels should be evolutions not revolutions. If you want to make a TF-like game with 9 classes each going by the same name but all with different abilities than the original, with new maps having the same names but completely different flow, and with now-defunct base game mechanics that defined the series, it seems like cheating to call it TF2. I haven't played Quake 4, so I can't make an accurate comparision of it to Quake 3 on that point.

              BTW, my first
              • by dmwst30 ( 463874 )
                A series has to evolve, but who judges whether it's evolution or revolution? Why can't a sequel change things up?

                Grand Theft Auto 2 --> 3 ? Was the game mechanic "stealing cars" that had to be retained?

                Super Mario World --> Mario 64 ? "Platformer" as the mechanic?

                I'm sure you can think of other examples; a series can retain the essence of gameplay but change dramatically (the 2D-->3D examples were the most dramatic I could think of thoug). If people don't like TF 2, why not keep playing the ori
                • GTA2->3 is an interesting example.

                  The main gameplay sections actually aren't that different between the 2! In fact this is most obvious in GTA3, which had an "overhead" camera mode that made it look surprisingly close to 2. Really, the difference is mostly camera angle, and being able to do a bit more vertically. (And, I'd say, drive a lot faster since then you could see where you were going!)

                  The real difference, IMO, was that *cutscenes* were now in the same 3D engine, instead of just voiceover phonecal
      • by CaseM ( 746707 )
        "Fun" and "sport" are not mutually exclusive.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Map randomization helps reduce multiplayer FPS from a legitimate competitive sport to just another amusement.

      I disagree. Map randomization makes scouting useful. Without it, memorization of the map and various points on it is the key to victory, as you have pointed out. By randomizing the map, though, the game becomes more about analyzing the terrain situation and working out the best strategy for it in real time. One skill (rote memorization) is replaced with another (analytical thinking under pressur
    • Thank you for verbalizing everything I thought when I read the "article". I think the reason TF had such longevity in the first place was the extreme familiarity players had with the game and it's maps. Valve carried this tradition faithfully by copying original TF maps in TFC. Sure they added their own fun maps later on, but the community stayed in part thanks to the timeless classics. We had gobs of player made maps to fulfill that need for new content. Randomizing maps is best left to the realm of s
    • Dumber? No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 4iedBandit ( 133211 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:02PM (#19038811) Homepage
      Dynamic maps make the game smarter. You can no longer play a map endlessly till you have it so memorized you can do it in your sleep.

      This adds another aspect to playing the game. You know what you have to do, but now you also need to explore the map and find the weapons, find the best choke points all while the other team is doing the same thing. And you have to do this every single time.

      Team communication is going to be even more important now. Your team will have to be dynamic and adaptable to not only the enemy, but to the terrain as well.

      As far as I'm concerned, eliminating the blind rush to see who can get the super weapon/power up first is a good thing. Making players think more is not making the game dumber. People who don't like to think, who don't like new challenges every time they enter the game, won't like it.

      I stopped playing FPS' because I was bored with the maps. People played the same maps over and over and over and over. It was always a mad rush to the same known locations. While that can be fun too, after a while I need some variety.
      • I completely agree here. Random does not mean that knowledge of a map becomes less important, only that you have to gain that knowledge over the course of the game instead of over a year. It seems to me that the skill to quickly analyze your environment is far more interesting than the skill to memorize a single map. This is from someone who hasn't played CS in about a year yet I could probably still do De_Dust2 blindfolded.
      • by Mprx ( 82435 )
        The memorization is the prerequisite for playing the *real* game, which is the player-vs-player mindgames. It's exactly like in 2d beat-'em-ups, where the ability for all players to pull off all the special moves at will is required before there is any interesting gameplay. You need the limitations and known elements to provide a framework to work within - thinking "what is my opponent thinking now", and "what does my opponent think I am thinking", and the psychology behind it. If you are no good at this
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 4iedBandit ( 133211 )
          Map memorization is what people are currently used to. Does it make a game smarter? No. Does it make it more fun? For some people it undoubtedly does. For me it only means that after a while I become bored with it.

          You're right about one thing. Psychology would change. Instead of running straight to the choke point you know about, you have to find a choke point and then wonder if maybe your opponent may have found a different way in. Every time through it's a whole new game.

          When I state I don't play
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The memorization is the prerequisite for playing the *real* game

          No, you're just being closed mined about it. What the game is simply changes. As for the skills you mentioned above, they all still play in to a random map:
          1. Twitch
          It's an FPS, this will always be part of the game. If anything, the randomness is going to emphasize this further. It takes little in the way of quick reaction to fire a rocket at a known location when you see the enemy. On the other hand, if you don't know where that enem
      • "I stopped playing FPS' because I was bored with the maps. People played the same maps over and over and over and over. It was always a mad rush to the same known locations. While that can be fun too, after a while I need some variety."

        That's prolly why TF classic, quake3 and CS were so unpopular.. oh wait.

        I see it as another attempt at Valve saying "how can we "improve" this already established franchise", unfortunately improving for valve means splitting the fan base and decimating a popular game.
      • As far as I'm concerned, eliminating the blind rush to see who can get the super weapon/power up first is a good thing.

        Have you ever actually played TFC (or even TF?) There are no "super weapon[s]" or "power up[s]" that you can pick up. You spawn with all the weapons you can ever have (barring kit change) depending on the class you chose, and anything you might pick up (armor, ammo, grnades) is always in your base, in the spawn/resupply room, which is usually protected by ceiling turrets against enemy
    • This isn't making the map completely random, It's just making more routes to memorize. In any case, You could drop any hardcore FPS player into a new map, and they would still dominate players with less skill who are familiar with it.
    • by metsu ( 601943 )
      Map control is important. But for the types of rulesets that map control is extremely important (small teams/duels), the teams or duel participants already know which map will be used. It becomes about who can dominate the routes as fast or read and break opponent's patterns.

      TF2 will be mainly team based, and in regards to casual play, random maps is great. Casual duels in team games will be based on who can adapt faster to a new map seed only for the limited time the match is on. realtime visualization a
    • by foxtrot ( 14140 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @01:31PM (#19039233)
      Map randomization helps reduce multiplayer FPS from a legitimate competitive sport to just another amusement.

      I disagree: It adds a new feature to "map control", and that's "reconnaissance." If you don't know what the map looks like up front, you have to determine what it looks like, and then you can attempt control just like in any other map.

      A randomized map still has chokepoints, item spawns, and enemy spawns. Figure them out before the other guy does.

      • Exactly. They're not taking away map control, they're taking away map memorization.
      • by Mprx ( 82435 )
        Adding randomness, even if it's the same randomness for each side, makes the game less like chess and more like poker. Poker is a good game, and certainly takes skill to play well, but it's not something you can judge superiority on from a single match. Even in no-limit format, where the psychological aspect is maximized, a lessor player can often beat the greater player because of better luck. Here some players will find that their reconnaissance strategy works very well for a particular map configurati
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Serengeti ( 48438 )
      "Therefore the game designers add autoaim and weapon spread to make it less important."

      I don't know of a multiplayer game that has auto aim. None of the ones I've played do, anyway.

      "Randomizing the maps makes this skill less important."

      This would be true if the maps were actually redesigned each game. What's happening is that certain parts of maps are blocked in each game, and the starting point changes, but the map itself does not. They're not looking to confuse the player, or to remove any chance of the m
    • by CaseyB ( 1105 )
      You need to know where every chokepoint, every item spawn, every enemy spawn is, and be able to instantly visualize every route between any two arbitrary points on the map. ... Randomizing the maps makes this skill less important.

      No, it doesn't. It's just as important. You just need to be smart and adaptable enough to figure it out as you play. You know, like real life.

      Of course, it makes it harder for Rain-Man players like you who have a conniption if your spaghetti isn't served on the exact same Big Bird
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 )

      The elements of skill at FPSs:
      1. Twitch
      2. Map control
      3. Enemy prediction
      4. Self unpredictability
      The reality of 'skillz' at FPSs:
      1. Clipping
      2. Bot Downloading
      3. Radaring
      4. Getting your buddy to rat out his side for you on Teamspeak
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Das Modell ( 969371 )

      This is part of the ongoing trend to reduce the advantage of skill and make outcomes more random.

      Playing a dynamic and possibly unpredictable map takes far more skill than playing de_dust for seven years non-stop.

      Twitch is pretty much dead now that FPSs are designed for consoles

      Console FPS games are designed for consoles.

      Therefore the game designers add autoaim and weapon spread to make it less important.

      They're added because the games are played with gamepads, which are not as good as mice. It's not a sini

    • by afxgrin ( 208686 )
      "Map randomization helps reduce multiplayer FPS from a legitimate competitive sport to just another amusement."

      Uuuuhh I don't see how this makes it any less competitive. There are still teams and they are still fighting each other for some type of points. This just reduces the game to generalized skills, and would probably lead to increased player communication during a match. In a randomized map, I imagine it would be beneficial to tell your teammates where some weapon spawn is, or where a good sniper p
    • With randomization, add another skill you will need... adaption.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 )
      As a game designer, I can understand your reactions. However, you have to realize that anyone going onto a counterstrike map these days is dead, simply because the players all know the maps and strategies far too well. I've worked for months on online games... and two weeks after launch I could no longer enjoy an online game, simply because the level of competition required too much rote memorization. And quite frankly, that's getting a bit boring.

      A somewhat randomized map is emphasizing a different and
  • TFC (Score:2, Flamebait)

    I don't care, Valve pissed on their chips when they added adverts into classic CS.

    I'm a huge TFC fan, I play it even to today and love every moment of it, but I absolutely refuse to buy another Valve game ever again due to extremely poor marketeering.
    • CS maps always had adverts, they just used to be for fake products. Are you really that anti-capitalist that changing Pop-dog Soda into Coca-cola is going to make you have less fun?
      • http://www.csnation.net/comments.php?id=8645 [csnation.net] - Yea, because I remember "Intel" and hollywood movies in Dust personally. They were always there... oh wait no they weren't..
        • I hadn't seen that they were so blatant. I had heard they were simply replacing the flavor adverts that were around anyway (like out the windows in office and in the old backalley) with actual products. From those screenshots, they also seem to be in very distracting places. Do they allow these in competition?
          • They are permantly added to the maps, they update every round by steam servers phoning home. All I know since I haven't looked any deeper than that.

            The prodige drinks machine is still a fictional drink BTW.
  • I'm sure some counter-strike: Source maps already use logic relays to randomly open or close paths in the level - is that not similar? (DNRTFA)
  • I remember actually buying Quake 2 because this game was supposed to be a mod for it. Then, a few years later, there were big, gushing preview articles in PC game magazines about how TF2 was coming out after all, for the Half-Life engine, and it would be the BEST EVER, with volumetric fog and level-of-detail meshes and something about character animation. (All this sounded cutting-edge at the time.) Then it never came out, and now the cycle repeats itself.

    This game has been in development almost as long as
    • by Novotny ( 718987 )
      I reckon your question would be answered with a brief glance at TFA. Its on a further upgraded Source engine, looks amazing, and they definitely seem to be 'putting up'. They've shown far more of this version than all the others put together. And kudos to the guy at the center of it all - the original designer of the game - who now works at Valve.

      Nobody's seen really anything of the new Duke, correct me if I'm wrong. There's shed-loads of TF2 stuff out there.
  • by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @02:00PM (#19039673) Homepage Journal
    I know the map sequence 99% of the servers in Half-Life TFC by heart. It's easy!


    That was my biggest gripe of Half Life TFC: Almost no map variety. You were almost always guaranteed to play 2fort. It was the de_dust of TFC. It got boring after awhile.

    I enjoyed the other maps like the attack/defense map where you would have the attacking team going literally at a snail's pace towards the flag due to all the crossfire. It was great. Favorite map? The map of the gigantic living room where snipers frequently stood in the bookshelf.

    In terms of multiplayer-PC game maps, Multi Theft Auto is great. Tons of maps(Deathmatch and race), most of them suck, but still fun to play. They load literally in a second, being grafted onto San Andreas. Now only if the combat(ie get out of your car) MTA will surface.
    • That was always a big complaint of mine, as well. True, 2fort is a well-balanced, straight-forward map, but it gets boring when played CONSTANTLY.

      Honestly, my favorite map was a TF original that never (to my knowledge) made it into TFC, called 'bases'
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 has a mode called Onslaught, with 'nodes' across the map that can be captured. Owning a node means your team can spawn there when it isn't under attack, and your team gets first dibs on vehicles that spawn there. The interesting difference between ONS and other position-capturing modes in other games is that nodes form a network in UT, and you can only capture nodes 'connected' to the ones you already control. Most maps offer a variety of different pre-set network configurations, e
  • God you guys just get off on a tangent don't you?

    These are not randomly generated maps. They are not procedural. The idea is actually that there is one base map which can have 14 different states depending on lots of different factors.

    This type of map would then, in my opinion, make memorization even more important. There are certain areas of the map that are blocked off and certain areas that are opened up depending upon factors like CP ownership.

    This is not procedural. It is not done to "balance the game"
  • According to TFA, the maps will just have different routes with a random amount on or off. It's like having a house, locking random rooms, and calling it "randomly generated". While it will provide some variation, the player will memorize the house and then just need to memorize which rooms are on and off on a per game basis.
  • So....what they're saying is that it's Canalzone, with different flag points randomized and doors/portals that are randomly open/closed. Woo. I'm excited.
  • 10 years, and the TF1 community is still going strong. Visit www.customtf.com and download everything you need for free, and you can hop on a server immediately and start playing again.

    There's actually been a lot of development in Quake1 these days. FTEQuake (with shaders and new particle effects) looks like a modern FPS, and is fully compatible with all the old Quakeworld servers and clients.
  • by Foo2rama ( 755806 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:23PM (#19055209) Homepage Journal
    This feature has been in the source engine for awhile. In fact it is used on 1 map for Counter-Strike Source. On the map cs_Havana, there are 3 routes from the CT spawn to the Hostages. On this map there are 6 choke points that may or may not be closed always allowing at least 1 path to the objective. Funny thing is this map is rarely played, and this feature is somewhat un-noticed by the players.

    Granted what they are going for seems a little more ambitious for TF2, but feature like that are what internet based FPS's need to progress and become better. TF has also been one of the few FPS's that truly utilize height in map making, something that is lacking in most CS maps...

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller