A community effort on a map layout

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Hi everyone - I'd like to make a map that is based on some design layouts provided by the community. The intent of the map is to show that a map can both be pretty and visually easy to understand for the competitive player.

pretty.png
A snapshot of a draft for the map Springtime made for a LOUD community member

My question to you all is to provide designs / layouts of your ideal competitive map. This can be as simple as you'd want it to be, as long as you feel your idea is conveyed properly. The designs can also be discussed in this topic.

When the deadline has passed @archsimkat and I will pick a design. We're free to change the chosen design to our liking or not pick a design at all if we do not feel any designs are competitively or aesthetically interesting enough.

The deadline for a design is the 26th of February. A well discussed design will be more likely chosen than a design delivered on the last day. The 1st of March Archsimkat and I will make the chosen design public in this topic.

Take note that this is not a tournament for the best design. There is no prize to be won except for the idea that your design could be a ladder map at some point. Because of this Archsimkat and I will openly join the discussion when applicable.

Example design

concept-a.png
Final design of Archsimkats Valley

A design we discussed thoroughly together in a private discord chat. It contains a lot of the elements that the final map has too. The design was made by Archsimkat.

concept-b.png
An initial draft of the heightmap of Archsimkats Valley

At this point the task was on me to actually make the map. The entire process took a little over a month. This version is very strict to the design.

impression-3.png
The final version of Archsimkats Valley

The final map is the same in its core with a few tweaks after discussing it further with the community and between ourselves. At this point the map has been played in various tournaments and is also present in the Dark Heart Tourney.

Fun fact: the name of this map in particular was more of an accident. You're free to name your design 🙂 .

Limitations

Submission limitations

The scope of your design is to make it as elaborate as needed to spark discussions.

  • Your design must have a description of some sort to explain how you think the map will play out. This is important to spark discussions.

  • Your design must be visualized in some form. The visualization doesn't have to be symmetrical but it may be harder to discuss it when it is not. What I expect to see is:

    • Spawn locations
    • (intended) Expansion locations
    • Mass / Hydro points
    • Ridges (unpathable lines or regions)
    • Water bodies
    • Reclaim (large rocks / wrecks)

As an idea of what a top-of-the-line submission would look like you can take this topic as an example:

But by no means does your submission need to be that elaborate - as long as you feel your idea is conveyed sufficient. (images are gone due to server error a few months back)

Design limitations

The scope of the map is to experiment with visual cues - is it possible to make a map that is visually attractive yet competitively easy to read and understand?

  • The biome of the map is evergreen or similar (mandatory).

  • The map must be a 10 x 10 map (mandatory).

  • The playable area of the map must be symmetrical. The map should try and use up all of space that a 10x10 has to offer (mandatory).

  • The map should be primarily land-based. A few water bodies are allowed but please keep them limited.

  • The map can support up to six players, but no more. The map can be adaptive for less players than this but the design should be made for the maximum number of players your design supports.

  • The map should contain one or two 'cinematic' area's - places in which you do not expect any gameplay but can be used for aesthetics. As an example: the center of Hardshield Oasis. These area's do not have to be symmetrical.

hardshield-oasis.png
Center of Hardshield Oasis

And last but not least: be creative 🙂 . These limitations are here to guide your design so that it is interesting enough to make and play.

Other limitations

For the sake of clarity.

  • I will not do a remake of any kind. A remake entails you do not have full control over the process and that is contractionary with the experimental nature of this map.

  • The design should adhere to the vault rules. You can find them here: Map vault Rules

-You can provide only one submission - you're free to update your current submission based on feedback.

Reasoning

In case you are interested about why these limitations exist:

  • At this point I've tried to apply large map-wide decals on 20x20 maps. This works, but I'd like to experiment on a smaller map again like I did with Root of Beta.
  • I'd like to utilize the entire map as much as possible as the map-wide decal will be from edge to edge.
  • I'd like to experiment with area's that are 'out of your control' for a player and reside purely as a visually attractive piece of scenery. This happens a lot in Starcraft II as well and is appreciated by players.
  • I have not experimented enough with making ocean floors of any kind. As the intent of this map is to experiment with visual cue's I'd like to stick to what I know best right now. Similar argumentation for the biome.

@svenni_badbwoi and I have been experimenting with new techniques to produce maps and the feedback appears to resemble that it looks good but that it hurts the playability of the game. This map will be an attempt to try and prove to everyone that a map can both be aesthetically pleasing and competitively easy to read 🙂 .

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the order is based on the date of submission


82defaa3-e6f2-4aa9-937e-f446cb62ced6-image.png
designed by Tatsu, entry on the 12th of February


5f72ff58-bb1b-4c2c-a42a-9623fb54de7a-image.png
designed by Signal_2, entry on the 13th of February


f77bc27d-e30e-4063-a599-0aaaba703c6a-image.png
designed by Blodir, entry on the 14th of February


42a06552-e793-4bf2-859a-704618603422-image.png
designed by Leto_II, entry on the 22nd of February


c1c30d0b-a35d-4109-854e-4abe80d606b1-image.png
designed by Valki, entry on the 24th of February

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New Project (2).png

2v2 10x10. (a bit quick and dirty, sorry)

central and unique pretty spot. dunno what would go there.

this map favors a lot of high ground and potentially even base-trades. The original bases at the starting points will often come under t1 arty fire. think of it like a smaller, more t1 gameplay-heavy version of Syrtis Major where you are more than strongly encouraged to not put all your eggs in one basket and maybe change the location of your starting base.

the central point is entirely non pathable (probably also too high to shoot over) encouraging the merry-go round battles on the upper platform.

teamates can retreat to each other's base but teams must take the platform across to get down to the opposing side and end the game.

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This post is deleted!
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Here is a drawing of a 5x5 map I stopped working on. The two ramps that approach each other get close enough to allow a factory to be distance built.

As a 10x10 I'm still deciding if the default player spawns should have cliffs instead of beaches to prevent hover units from being too overpowered. Perhaps small ramps to allow single units since that's also another path for an ACU to travel (to take the opposing expansion).

The circle dots are adaptive mexes that spawn with a second player. The reclaim is rocks nearby all the cliffs, trees around the map, and the civilian town in the middle.

not loki.png

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Both are added to the overview - great to see a design or two so soon already! @signal_2 if you update the visualization, make sure to notify me so that I can update the overview along with it 🙂 !

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map_concept.png
Legend:

  • Red: player spawn
  • Dark green: mex
  • Yellow: hydro
  • Bold black: unpassable cliff
  • Thin grey: passable cliff
  • Striped grey: unpassable terrain (edit: looks like i forgot to stripe a few of the smaller unpassable locations, but they should be pretty clear from the map i think)
  • Blue: water
  • Brown: rock reclaim (small 10 mass rocks, that are found on eg. Open Palms)
  • Light green: treegroups mixed with single trees

The bottom left and top right corners are meant to be more or less exactly like Open Palms, along with snow topped mountains and a sizable chunk of tree group reclaim (again, should be similar to the amount in Open Palms, if not exactly the same). If you don't want to do snow topped mountains, these can also be regular mountains with regular evergreen treegroups (as opposed to the snowy ones in Open Palms).

The unpassable area right in the middle of the map is meant to be the "cinematic area".

Here i've numbered the passable elevation levels of the map for clarity. -1 being the lowest (waterbody) and 5 highest (mountains):
map_concept_top2.png

-1: water
0: rocky terrain (no grass or trees)
1+: evergreen terrain, each level should be only slightly elevated from the previous. All elevation changes need to be indicated by visible texture changes

Note about reclaim:

  • rocks should only be found on the areas indicated with brown. If this submission is chosen, I may elaborate more on rock placement especially in the middle. A small amount of rocks next to spawn may also be considered.
  • for rock reclaim the small Open Palms style rocks should be used (worth 10 mass and less). The intention here is that rock fields need to take a considerable amount of time to reclaim. Rock fields are also meant to be spread out over a fairly large area.
  • the tree group spots notated with light green should include a mix of single and grouped trees to reduce reclaim speed.
  • tree group spots are strategically placed to avoid breaking of groups with common engi paths (ie. the placement is important and should be conserved)
  • single trees may be used elsewhere for scenic purposes

Description

Imagined meta gameplay is as follows (bottom player's perspective):

  • ACU is sent early to mid for reclaim (note hydro placement on the path toward mid). The player may then choose to stay in mid (for aggressive/defensive purposes) or move to side reclaim.
  • Engineers make a play for the left side reclaim field
  • Left side is primarily an offensive front, while top side is defensive (due to how vulnerable top side mexes are in comparison, and you are getting left side reclaim anyway)
  • Bottom left section is taken early with either edgebuild or a transport (This is a very important expansion to defend, due to the proximity to your mexes, as well as the great rewards from holding it. Note how this section is vulnerable to raids from the opponent through a ramp on the left side. It's difficult to attack for the opponent due to long distance, but difficult to defend for you, because of the lack of a ramp on your side). A factory is built here for reclaim engineers and transports may be later used to defend this expansion.
  • Earlygame will be very aggressive due to spawn proximity and vulnerability of the top mexes (notice how 4 mexes on the top expansion are far apart and can't be defended by 1 t1 pd similarly to eg. Emerald Crater). T2 air aggression will also be very strong due to the amount of spread out mexes.

Also note some other interesting design decisions (that I didn't get to mention in previous sections):

  • small ponds are placed in the middle of the map for ACU safety
  • Exit from two sides of each pond are blocked, making it risky to use these ponds for aggressive purposes
  • A small elevation increase is placed strategically between 2 mexes and a pond in the middle. This elevation difference makes it more difficult for an ACU camping in opponent's pond to be able to get free damage.
  • Elevation is used strategically to create some locations more defensible for one player. There's always advantages and disadvantages in each location for each player. Eg. the elevated 4 mex expansion up north has very spread out mexes (making it vulnerable), but elevated terrain (making it easier to defend)
  • There are no contested mexes that tend to snowball games, players are instead given a clearly divided (between the players), but vulnerable mex layout so that harassment is encouraged over straightforward pushes.
  • Reclaim is placed aggressively to kickstart the war over reclaim (ie. if both players attempt to fight over a reclaim field, some units will die, then the reclaim field gets bigger, and the fight keeps going on). This is also why the reclaim fields should be large, but sparse.

I'm sure I forgot to mention lots of stuff, but have to finish at some point rather than keep rambling on forever 🙂 Thx for reading & considering my map concept

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Added to the overview, great description and visualization!

@Blodir

rocks should only be found on the areas indicated with brown. If this submission is chosen, I may elaborate more on rock placement especially in the middle. A small amount of rocks next to spawn may also be considered.

If the designer of the chosen layout is up for it then there'll be one or more sessions to discuss the map throughout the entire process. Specifically for smaller details that I may or may not entirely oversee 🙂 . Throughout the making of the Valley map Archsimkat and I had a lot of discussions too - it really helped push the map.

To everyone else reading this - feel free to dive in the discussion! What do you think of the proposed layouts, what would you keep or do different? And feel free to add in your own!

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FAF - 2v2 Map - Rev 1.png

>>>Life in the Fast Lane>>>
Revision 1

Concept
A dynamic map with multiple major attack vectors into the enemy bases as well as a prominent central feature.

Legend
—Red Figures are the Starting Locations
—Light Green Circles are Mass Extractor Locations
—Dark Green Blobs are Tree Clumps
—Yellow Squares are Locations for Hydro-Carbon Plants
—Black Blobs are Reclaim
—Black Squares are Civilian Structures
—Brown Ridges go below ground and are impassable
—Grey Ridges go above the ground and are impassable
—Blues Blobs are Water

Description
The "Central Gorge" of the Map is home to two abandoned Colonies; one of the UEF and one of the Cybran Nation. These Outposts have waged countless battles and the wrecks still litter the bottom of the gorge. The surrounding Hills and Lakes are peaceful and serene (and feature two Aeon Listening Outposts to silently monitor the situation below).

How Matches are intended to play out
The Map features two "Fast Lanes" and the "Central Gorge". The fast lanes go straight into the enemy bases and are difficult to defend. The path through the Central Gorge is initially hindered by the Civ Bases, but yields additional reclaim once they are opened up.

All Players start with 3 Mex Locations close to their ACU, as well as a Short-Walk Hydro. The shortage of Mexes (3 instead of the traditional 4) pushes the ACU out of the Base. The Hydros are situated so that they pull the Back ACU into the "Fast Lane" and the Front ACU into the "Central Gorge". Additional Reclaim and a String of Mexes also pushes the ACUs further into the intended directions. However, by doing so they leave their bases open to attack from behind.

Both sides have several Mexes behind their starting locations that are slow to get, hard to defend and easy to raid.

There are two side-islands with cliffs and two Mexes that need to be air-dropped. By forcing the Players to build a transport they will (hopefully) also use them for drops.

The Civilian Bases should have a t1 pd and one (or two) t1 aa. Maybe even a t2 shield.

edit1: spelling
edit2: Revision 1

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@Leto_II it seems like you have very limited options for how to play this map. ACUs in the center MUST quickly go to the central gorge or else they will fall behind on reclaim. ACUs in the back would have to walk clockwise to protect the reclaim fields there. Trying to go counter-clockwise to stop the opponent from getting reclaim would fail because it would take too long to walk and you probably wouldn't actually deny the reclaim. And you need to protect the 3-mex expansion at the corner of the map, which would be easy to raid if your ACU doesn't walk clockwise. There are enough choke points that it should be relatively easy to hold against T1 spam which would become a mass donation. Players would have to get the gun upgrade. Players would have to eco up and get T2. Which also means that getting the reclaim is absolutely essential to keep up in eco. With only one way to play the map, I think it would get stale. It's too easy to lock down the entire map by holding just 3 choke points.

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@arma473 what would be your suggestion?

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@Leto_II Primarily, it would be: for a 2v2 map, you want to have more openness than just 3 narrow choke points. The more players you have, the more avenues you need to have open.

And if you intended it to be played as a 1v1 map, removing most of the reclaim in the middle would allow players to have more options for where to send their ACU. For example, on Williamson's bridge, the middle path has basically only a single mex (and maybe a couple rocks). So if you rush through the middle, you're not securing economy, it's just pure aggression.

Also, it's basically impossible to use early air to stop the ACU from reclaiming, so if there's big reclaim in the center, there's no point in rushing a bomber. But if there is no reclaim in the middle, an early bomber could be used to pick off engineers trying to scoop the north/south.

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Hi everyone - as a note: I'll be doing more than one designs from those provided. I hope this creates an incentive to provide more designs and to have more discussion. As an example, here is the map Center of Tatsu based on the design of Tatsu:

3730afe1-d602-4ff5-8b81-2780d5f82838-image.png

b69d57f9-57fc-4ea5-a18c-d050153bdaea-image.png

27ed7325-bf96-43b5-96d5-85fecfc2afa8-image.png

It will be in the vault this weekend after I finished up the easter egg in the center 🙂 .

Next to that, I found a great visual example as to how you can think about an extractor layout:

@Fremy_Speeddraw thank you for writing that out.

Similarly I wrote this a while back in the LOUD discord:

That depends on your layout. Personally I like to think in safe extractors, which should be at least 4 / player. Having less is unusual and requires a special build order. Next in line are expandable extractors, which are part of an expansion which should be at least 3 / player (have at least one clear expansion with 3 or more extractors somewhere for each player). This should reward expanding. Then I think about raidable extractors, which can be between 2 - 6 / player depending on your layout. These should be relative far from a base and easy to raid if left unprotected. This rewards having presence and radar / intel. And last contestable extractors which can be between 1 - 2 / player depending on your layout again. This last category is all about map control and rewarding it by having a slight advantage in mass.

This is made with the LOUD balance in mind, so it's not entirely applicable to FAF. But the names (safe, expanding, contesting, etc) are still very applicable and can convey a lot of information in your design as to how it would play out.

edit:

And thank you for your submission @Leto_II ! Perhaps @archsimkat can join in the discussion and provide some feedback too. I think the design has merit (10x10 is rather big, they're quickly not chokepoints because of this - Archsimkat and I were mistaken in how big it was too for the Valley map) but that the reclaim may be poorly positioned enforcing a certain type of gameplay.

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Thanks @arma473 and @Jip for the feedback. I've checked the actual t1 and t2 pd ranges and opened up the Map a little. The Mexes are now mainly located more towards the back but remain raidable. I've also added a few other minor Details (such as the small path at the Beach / Cliff next to the Fast Lane) and removed most of the song lyrics.

Let me know if you have further suggestions.

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This is a FAF interpretation of the Starcraft 2 2v2 ladder map "Heavy Artillery LE" by Themusic246
For the picture I extracted the height level and terrain from the Starcraft 2 map editor.

For FAF, all Starcraft 2 maps have too many chokes, but of all the Starcraft 2 maps I really like I think this one could work for FAF.

Heavy Artillery FAF sketch symbols.jpg

The main and natural expansion are well shielded from attack with a narrow choke, but offer somewhat limited resources. There is a natural expansion forward that is still well protected for FAF, and a back expansion with lots of water mexes for quick income.

Further forward there is another "second" expansion that enjoys some protection but can be attacked from 3 sides. On sea level there are many rich expansions that are very vulnerable to T1 naval attack. Top left and bottom right there are expansion sites with decent protection from cliffs also safe from T1 navy.

The black rocks in the middle should offer protect against fire bases shooting the natural expansions while protecting the second expand a bit too efficiently.

Legend:

  • Grey lines: low cliffs (impassable)
  • White lines: high cliffs
  • Black lines: extreme cliffs (blocks most fire)
  • Lightning: hydrocarbon
  • Blue hex: mass points
  • Red X: Spawn points
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@Valki I'm a bit skeptic because the topic states that I won't remake a map. Given, this is not a Supreme Commander map (yet) but it does open the gate to other remakes of maps of other games and I'm not too fan of doing remakes.

Therefore I'm giving a heads up: if I do the map then it won't be a 100% perfect match with the original. The layout will of course be representative to the original.

With that said, I'll leave it to the others to give their feedback as to whether they agree if it is competitively interesting or not 🙂 . I appreciate that @arma473 is using up some of his time to join the discussion!

edit: and please provide a name or it will quite likely be something with your name in it because I lack inspiration on that part. With any map name - don't make them too serious. You can look up other maps of mine and compare their seriousness with your own map name.

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@Jip said in A community effort on a map layout:

@Valki I'm a bit skeptic because the topic states that I won't remake a map. Given, this is not a Supreme Commander map (yet) but it does open the gate to other remakes of maps of other games and I'm not too fan of doing remakes.

Therefore I'm giving a heads up: if I do the map then it won't be a 100% perfect match with the original. The layout will of course be representative to the original.

I'm sorry for missing that, otherwise I would have acknowledged it and made the point that importing a different meta can be very interesting.

I have been thinking on Starcraft 2 and FAF meta a lot recently, and I have been examining maps and that's when I concluded this is closest. IF you do this map then by all means deviate significantly to make sure it does actually work for FAF 🙂

@Jip said in A community effort on a map layout:

With that said, I'll leave it to the others to give their feedback as to whether they agree if it is competitively interesting or not 🙂 . I appreciate that @arma473 is using up some of his time to join the discussion!

I would be very interesting to hear that as well.

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@tatsu your map suggestion is extremely reminiscent of the gpg map Ian's Cross, however your different spawns and overall structure should play somewhat differently. Untitled.png

I would say that the map is a good first effort, but the land rush distance seems to be extremely long, especially for 1v1, and there are a very high quantity of very safe mexes, so I think it would lead to very turtle-y gameplay. My suggestion to improve the map layout would be to create more passages from the lower to the upper ground area and group mexes into more distinct expansions.

@signal_2 As a 5x5, your map has the issue of making hover far too OP. The main base can be directly attacked by hover with very little recourse for the non-hover factions, and as a 5x5 there won't likely be the time or resources to get navy up. You would need to make the water areas have cliffs to prevent hover from entering, but at that point why have the water even? As a 10x10, your map layout becomes more viable, with likely fast action in the middle with some raiding down the flanks, but still the issue of an advantage for hover factions exists, who just have a lot more options to raid. The first suggestion that comes to mind perhaps would be to add a land path around the edges of the map, but that doesn't seem to good either.

@Blodir Generally your map concept seems very well thought out. The reclaim in the middle is distributed in a straight line towards each player, so some of it is "safe" for each player, which is certainly desirable in a 1v1. After going mid, there are multiple seemingly equally viable paths for the player to expand and contest - the safer option in the closer medium reclaim field, the opponent's reclaim field (using the water as safety), and the opponent's forward mexes (again using the water as a safe retreat point), which is good for diversity on a 1v1 map. The 4 mex expansion is also interesting - they are spaced far out like on Emerald Crater, which makes them more difficult to defend with a single PD, but is on raised terrain which imparts a defenders advantage. The back mexes also have a nice mix of safety (if the tight chokes can be secured) and raidability (if units can slip past/air). The cliff area has an interesting dynamic too - one player gets to cliff build up from a location close to his main, but the other player can contest via the ramps that go up to the cliff area, which risks

@Valki it seems to me your map layout has just way too many mexes, and since that's mainly what you've done I won't comment too much further on your specific layout beyond saying that you should reduce the amount of mexes in play. I've thought about using sc2 maps as layouts for maps in faf as well, because it seems like a reasonable idea, but I've found that in general, sc2 maps have far too many chokepoints and tight passageways to be ported over to supcom well. Compare any classic sc2 ladder map with a classic supcom ladder map, and draw the impassable areas onto both. If you look at a map like Open Palms, the actual playable area is very open, with the only impassable areas being the raised central area, the plateaus at the sides, and the mountains behind the base. If you look at Heavy Artillery for example, the map has many impassable walls which form tight narrow passageways. The nature of the games and the unit interactions are just fundamentally different, so the maps in general are fundamentally different, which make them unfit for supcom.

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As a quick note to anyone submitting designs: no design made in this topic will be part of any (map) tournament.

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@archsimkat said in A community effort on a map layout:

@Valki it seems to me your map layout has just way too many mexes, and since that's mainly what you've done I won't comment too much further on your specific layout beyond saying that you should reduce the amount of mexes in play. I've thought about using sc2 maps as layouts for maps in faf as well, because it seems like a reasonable idea, but I've found that in general, sc2 maps have far too many chokepoints and tight passageways to be ported over to supcom well. Compare any classic sc2 ladder map with a classic supcom ladder map, and draw the impassable areas onto both. If you look at a map like Open Palms, the actual playable area is very open, with the only impassable areas being the raised central area, the plateaus at the sides, and the mountains behind the base. If you look at Heavy Artillery for example, the map has many impassable walls which form tight narrow passageways. The nature of the games and the unit interactions are just fundamentally different, so the maps in general are fundamentally different, which make them unfit for supcom.

Yes, too many mexes. - I was too busy dealing with Paint 3D (first time) to think properly.

However, the map layout not working for supcom is kind of the point. There are very few good maps without chokes like Starcraft 2, maybe they are impossible, but then again maybe not. Having fewer discrete defendable expansions to fight over might be interesting gameplay.

I am also introducing a friend to FAF right now, from Starcraft 2, and he is uncomfortable playing on maps without ramps and chokes. 2v2 Sandbox is his favorite. Maybe more new and even existing players like this "ramp and choke" meta. Maybe a "7 chokes of Rohan" will be popular just because some people need gaps and chokes. That's why I think it is interesting to try, but normally I just pick out some existing ramp and choke maps and host 2v2 with that.

But... this topic asks, I answer